Many a times test takers ask what the real difference is between certain scores on the GMAT. I am taking two reference scores for this post. The reason why I chose 700 and 760 is because I believe these scores will place you in the 95th and 99th percentile and thus is a good base value to compare at.
One obvious difference is, a 760-level scorer has mastered all of the common and the vast majority of the less common facts and information tested on the exam, as well as all of the common and less common question sub-types. A 760-level scorer has also mastered multiple techniques for tackling any one particular type of question. On the other hand, a 700-level scorer has mastered all of the common items and many of the less common items; this tester has also mastered at least two approaches for tackling any one particular type of question.
So, apart from this obvious difference, what other things separate a 760-level scorer from a 700-level scorer?
A 700-Level Scorer Has Mastered:
- Recognition of at least 40% of the questions that a student sees on the test.
- Effective educated guessing for the 5 question type categories, as well as the major sub-types within each category
- How to minimize careless mistakes (this tester makes perhaps three to four careless mistakes per section)
- The stamina to perform consistently for 3.5 hours
A 760-Level Scorer Has Mastered:
- Ability to recognize, within 20 seconds or so, for 80+ percent of the questions that student sees on the official test
- The ability to determine quickly and accurately when to “let go” of a problem (yes, even 760+ scorers have to make this call sometimes)
- An effective educated guessing process, specifically tailored to any particular sub-type of problem
- The ability to avoid making careless mistakes (this tester makes perhaps one careless mistake per section)
- The stamina to perform at peak levels for 3.5 hours
The single biggest difference between a 760-level tester and a 700-level tester is the ability to recognize a larger percentage of the problems you see. In simple words, a 700-level scorer and a 760-level scorer have similar skill-sets. What makes the difference is the level of expertise between them.
If you are aiming for the 760-level, make sure you master the 700-level first.