November 12th Scores

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
JohnDoe
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:32 pm

November 12th Scores

My scores as well were shockingly low for this (53%). Is this everyone? And if there is some funny business about the percentiles/scaling for this test, does this mean people who took the test in the earlier months will have an advantage in the admissions process?

goombayao
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:17 am

Re: November 12th Scores

Same thing happened for the October exams.

quinquenion
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:34 pm

Re: November 12th Scores

The updating of percentiles happens across the board, not just for the latest exam. For instance, the latest released old exam (from 2008-09) gives an 86% for a score of 800; immediately after the April 2011 exam, a score of 800 was only 83%; but because ETS again revised the score/percentile charts (over the summer I think), an 800 is now only 82% (granted, a far less drastic change than some of the other percentiles).

When ETS sends scores to grad schools, to the best of my knowledge, they send it based on the new percentiles, rather than ones test takers were given originally. Thus, assuming that ETS properly normalises difficulty across the different test dates, there isn't that sort of advantage for earlier test-takers.

rmg512
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:15 pm

Re: November 12th Scores

I think I read that the scores and percentiles associated with them fluctuate between tests. So, the score and the percentile together are what they would see. I think they'd see, "oh, so an 800 was more impressive than usual on that particular test day." Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.

quinquenion
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:34 pm

Re: November 12th Scores

If ETS is doing their job correctly, scaled scores should be stable across test dates.

To illustrate: let's suppose I got 43 out of 62 questions right on last April's test, which corresponded (I think) to an 800. Theoretically, if I were to have instead taken the October test, because the difficulties of the exams fluctuate, I might have gotten only 35 questions right. However, I should still have scored 800 +/- some error term.

On the other hand, percentiles are not stable. They are revised periodically (once a year?) to account for the fact that test takers are getting progressively better. In April, an 800 corresponded to 83%. But, because more people have been scoring higher, that was revised over the summer, so an 800 now only corresponds to 82%. As I mentioned earlier though, the revision of the percentiles happens to everyone, both old and new test takers.

Thus, getting all the questions right (the raw score) is more impressive on particular test days, but that should be normalised in the scaled 3-digit score.