The GMAT® Exam Is Not Getting Easier

An examination of the fallacy of score Increases and the impact of Score Preview.

Jul 18, 2017


Score Inflation

According to published statistics, the average GMAT scores of the admitted class at leading schools is rising and this has raised questions about the integrity of the GMAT exam and if the exam is getting easier.  GMAC analyzed five years of data and concluded that changes in the distribution of candidates across demographic groups is altering the average GMAT score, but doing so in a predictable way.  Given that average scores have remained stable, GMAC explored other factors that may contribute to the perception of score increases.

Based on analysis presented in the white paper, The GMAT Exam Is Not Getting Easier: The Fallacy of Score Increases and the Impact of Score Preview, the recently introduced score preview and cancel feature is having an impact.  When candidates remove lower test scores from the pool via cancelation, the distribution of scores becomes skewed and programs select from a set of higher scoring candidates.  While this can have reputational benefit, the risk is that a rising average GMAT score may result in good candidates deciding to target different programs, delay their application, or opt out of the application process altogether.  Published GMAT score ranges support transparency yet candidates may regard the typical reported score spread (middle 60%) as fixed and immutable.  Candidates can therefore get swept away by the high score hype and forget that schools seek a balanced class of diverse individuals who will thrive in the class and share insights with fellow students.

The paper does not present a solution to this conundrum but attempts to deliver insights that will inform a robust discussion of the issue. To learn more, read the white paper.

About the Author

Rebecca LoadesRebecca Loades is Director, Innovation and Next Gen Systems at GMAC.