The GMAT’s New Integrated Reasoning Calculator Is Not Necessarily Your Friend!

We have good news and bad news for you: The Next Generation GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning Section (debuting in June, 2012) will feature an onscreen calculator, marking the first time the GMAT will allow students to use a calculator on the exam. The good news is that, when you might need it, the calculator will be there to help you do some quick math, and you don’t need to waste valuable time “carrying the 1” and that sort of thing.

So what’s the bad news? It’s the fact that the calculator’s very presence will likely tempt many test takers into using it when they don’t need to. While using a calculator is usually a quick exercise, it still represents time spent doing calculations that may be unnecessary. In today’s video, Brian Galvin explains how this may prove to be yet another trap for less savvy test takers:

Remember, the GMAT is designed to test how well you can think critically, assess information, and make decisions. It’s not a test of how quickly you can do math (whether or not you use a calculator). While we think it makes sense for GMAC to include a calculator in the new Integrated Reasoning section — it more closely approximates real life, in which you have ready access to calculators, spreadsheets, and so on — it doesn’t always make sense for you to use it!

Try some of our Integrated Reasoning practice problems and see how often you reach for the on-screen calculator. Chances are that you’ll be tempted to use it more than you really need to.

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