Why We Love the New Integrated Reasoning Section Coming to the GMAT

While the GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning section is still eight months away from seeing the light of day, we at Veritas Prep are already hard at work making preparations for this new section of the exam. And, the geeky bones in our bodies are tingling, because we can see that the GMAT is evolving in a way that makes it even more relevant to graduate management education.

Integrated Reasoning question present students with a small compilation of data — presented various forms, including words, charts, and tables — and challenges them to pull out key insights to answer multiple questions about what’s going on. The questions vary by type, but they all measure your ability to truly perform analysis, rather than your ability to apply rote rules or memorize content. This is the future of the GMAT, and we love it.

Integrated Reasoning questions get even closer to measuring the type of analytical skills that truly matter in business school and beyond. These questions actually look quite similar to the mini-case studies MBA students get when interviewing for management consulting or brand management jobs. This sort of exercise is a great measure of someone’s analytical abilities. So often applicants hear “analytical” and assume this means “quant” or “numbers,” but great analysis actually goes much deeper and is much more challenging than just crunching numbers. That skill is just what many recruiters at top business schools look for, which is why it makes sense for the GMAT to measure it as well as a standardized test can.

“This is all well and good,” you say, “but how do I prepare for these questions? Do you guys have a list of stuff I can memorize? Any flashcards I can buy? Got an app for that?” You’re barking up the wrong tree! The good news is that, if you prepare for the GMAT the right way, that work will already help you succeed on the Integrated Reasoning section. Furthermore, as this section is designed to test your analytical abilities in a business context, your day-to-day activities will help you prepare, and you should note items such as “which data are most relevant to a decision” and “how could this information be displayed graphically to highlight important trends” when you perform professional and personal tasks that involve numbers and decisions.

In the meantime, take a look at the Integrated Reasoning section of our site and try some of our Integrated Reasoning sample questions. (Between now and June we will introduce many more!) If you plan on taking the test in June, 2012, or later, start familiarizing yourself with this question format now, and you’ll be in good shape on test day.

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