Two sections on the GMAT use Computer Adaptive Testing. Computer Adaptive Tests (CATs) are computer-based tests that adapt to the test taker’s performance. Each test taker is given a different mix of questions, the mix depending partly on how well he or she is scoring.

The GMAT software has a bank of questions ranging in difficulty levels from the easiest to the most difficult. The easiest questions are the ones which have already been tested as experimental questions in tests taken by previous questions and 95% of students got them correct. Similarly, the highest level of difficulty questions are the ones which have already been tested as experimental questions in tests taken by previous students and 95% of students got them wrong.

How a Computer Adaptive Test scores your performance

When you start a section, the computer:

  • assumes you have an average score.
  • gives you a medium-difficulty question. About half the people who take the test would get this question right, and half would get it wrong.

What happens next depends on whether you answer the question correctly.

If you answer the question correctly:

  • your score goes up.
  • And you are subsequently given a slightly harder question.

If you answer a question incorrectly:

  • your score goes down.
  • And you are subsequently given a slightly easier question.

This continues for the rest of the test. Every time you get the question right, the computer raises your score, then gives you a slightly harder question. Every time you get a question wrong, the computer lowers your score, then gives you a slightly easier question. In this way the computer tries to “zero in” on your score.

Our Advice – Computer Adaptive Testing takes a bit of time to get comfortable with. We advise you to attempt a series of Mock / Simulated GMATs so that this new format of testing doesn’t shock your senses. Attempting Mock / Simulated GMATs helps you to understand and ace the test-dynamics involved in this exam.

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