Today, we’ll take a look at strategies that can help you excel on the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT.

These two simple strategies will help you when it comes time to answer two-part analysis questions on test day. Make sure to keep your work clean along the way, and hopefully that will add to your success with these questions.

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]]>The only reason it is new is that it reduces the probability of guessing correctly and it puts more time pressure on you! Your probability of guessing correctly is 20% in PS/CR questions; it goes down to 4% in two part analysis because you have to guess correctly twice. As for time pressure, you get about 2 mins for every PS and about 1.5 mins for every CR question. For each part of two part analysis, you have only 1.25 mins.

Anyway, let’s look at a sample question to get familiar with this question type.

**Question**: A grocery store sells fruits in pre packed closed bags such that individual pieces of fruit are not sold. Mangoes are sold at the rate of $5 per bag (each bag contains two mangoes) and apples at the rate of $8 per bag (each bag contains five apples). During a particular day, the store started with some mangoes and apples and sold them all by the end of the day. The revenue at the end of the day from selling mangoes and apples that day was $128. Which of the following could represent the number of mangoes and the number of apples that were in the store at the beginning of that day?

Choose only one from each column:

**Solution**:

Note that it is a PS question. Only the format of the question is different. Also, the use of the word ‘could’ in the question stem suggests that there could be multiple solutions to this problem. Let’s take a closer look at how to solve it.

Say, number of bags of mangoes is ‘m’ and number of bags of apples is ‘p’.

Then 5m + 8p = $128 (total revenue)

Each bag of mangoes has 2 mangoes and each bag of apples has 5 apples.

So number of mangoes sold = 2m (to be selected in the first column)

Number of apples sold = 5p (to be selected in the second column)

We need to solve for this equation: 5m + 8p = 128

It is easy to see that one solution to this equation is m = 0, p = 16. The next solution will be m = 8, p = 11. Another will be m = 16, p = 6. Yet another will be m = 24, p = 1. If you are wondering how we are landing on one solution after another so effortlessly, you need to check out a previous post of QWQW – Integral Solutions to Equations in Two Variables.

So there are three solutions possible to our question: Which of the following could represent the number of mangoes and the number of apples that were in the store at the beginning of that day?

There are three different cases possible:

Case 1: Number of mangoes sold could be 16 (= 2m when m is 8). In that case number of apples sold will be 55 ( = 5p when m is 8, p is 11)

Case 2: Number of mangoes sold could be 32 (= 2m when m is 16). In that case number of apples sold will be 30 ( = 5p when m is 16, p is 6)

Case 3: Number of mangoes sold could be 48 ( = 2m when m is 24). In that case number of apples sold will be 5 (= 5p when m is 24, p is 1)

The case we select should be that of which both numbers are included in the options. Case 3 satisfies this condition. So we select 48 in the first column and 5 in the second column.

This is the only ‘*exotic*’ step of the two part analysis. The rest of the question is just like any other PS question.

*Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the **GMAT** for Veritas Prep and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!*

Sounds like the GMAT and the graduate management education market are firing on all cylinders, right? While we agree that reports of the death of business schools have been greatly exaggerated, there is a huge part of the story here that everyone is missing, one that will almost certainly bubble up once we see Testing Year 2013 numbers from GMAC later this year.

What’s missing? The effect of the big change on June 5, 2012, when Integrated Reasoning was added to the GMAT. While GMAC does not break out month-by-month data, and the organization has not shared a lot of specifics around the surge that came from students trying to take the test before June 5, but everyone in the GMAT preparation industry knows it happened. The net effect was that thousands of students took the test a couple of months earlier (or even a year earlier) than they otherwise would have, pulling forward some of the volume that would have naturally happened in TY 2013 into TY 2012.

*From the 2012 GMAT World Geographic Trend Report*

As we’ve written before, this is likely going to lead to a drop in testing volume in the current year. We’re actually a little surprised that GMAC hasn’t gotten out in front of this a little more now, since the organization will likely have some explaining to do when the TY 2013 numbers come out late this year. Of course, perhaps underlying testing volume is so strong that GMAC won’t need to do that, although we think the chance of that happening is low.

Ultimately, if you’re studying for the GMAT now, none of this matters to you. Focus on making yourself a stronger GMAT student and MBA applicant, rather than hoping that a few thousand extra people decide not to apply to business school this year.

But, there is a GMAT lesson to be learned here: Just as we often teach with Critical Reasoning and Data Sufficiency questions, it’s easy to look at one set of numbers and draw one conclusion, when there is actually another piece of information that can dramatically impact what conclusion you can draw. In this case, GMAT volume does indeed seem to be healthy overall, but looking at year-over-year GMAT volume growth without considering the June 5 change can lead to some faulty conclusions!

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting around the world next week. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

]]>We hope that this blog has provided you with some useful insights as you’ve studied for the GMAT or SAT, or as you have slaved over your applications. Sometimes we have a little fun, and sometimes we veer off topic to talk about what interests us, but everything written here comes from the same place: We want to help you be successful in your pursuit of admissions success!

Without further ado, here are some of the announcements and articles that we remember most from the past 12 months!

- Is a JD/MBA Right for You? (Actually a post from late 2011, but one of our most popular posts this year!)
- Announcing the Veritas Prep 2011 Worldwide GMAT Instructor of the Year Winners
- 50 IAVA Member Veterans Receive Veritas Prep Scholarships!
- Do Your Letters of Recommendation Have This?
- The Silent G in GMAT
- Get to Know the New GMAT Integrated Reasoning Scoring Scale
- Why Not Go to Business School Directly After College?
- 3 Mistakes Every GMAT Rookie Makes… And How to Avoid Them
- Queme Los Barcos on Integrated Reasoning
- Tean Years Older, Ten Years Wiser (Happy Birthday, Veritas Prep)
- Lin-tegrated Reasoning
- HBS Clarifies What It Wants from Your Recommendations
- When to Take the GMAT
- How I Got a Perfect SAT Score and Won the Lottery
- College Admissions: If your GPA or SAT Score More Important?
- Introducing Application Boot Camp on Demand!
- Introducing the GMAT Question Bank!
- Profiles in Education: Brian Galvin
- 3 Ways to Prepare for Your MBA Admissions Interview
- The National Parenting Center Recommends Veritas Prep SAT 2400!
- Sentence Correction for Non-Native Speakers

We hope you’ve enjoyed these pieces as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing them to you. Have a wonderful and safe holiday, and we will see each other again in the new year!

]]>“Wait, why wouldn’t they use it if the people behind the GMAT went through all the trouble to create it?” you may be asking. Don’t take this as a sign that Stanford or any other MBA program does not believe in the new Integrated Reasoning section. Instead, think about how much history MBA admissions officers have with the “old” GMAT… The Stanford admissions team alone looks at thousands and thousand of them every year. Now, a new number shows up on the report, and they need to get comfortable with that number before they can make life-changing decisions based on it.

If you walk up to any admissions officers and bark out a GMAT score (“750 with a 49 on Quant and a 45 on Verbal!”), that admissions officer will immediately be able to put that score in context. But bark out a “6!” to an admissions officer (the Integrated Reasoning scoring scale goes from 1 to 8), and it will be harder for them to form an immediately opinion on whether or not that’s a great score. They simply haven’t seen enough applicants to develop a strong intuition for what those numbers mean. So, they’re going to use this year to learn more about Integrated Reasoning and what strong or weak scores look like, and then probably start factoring that into their decision-making processed next year.

Going back to the Stanford example, they don’t only want to see thousands of IR scores, but they specifically want to see the IR scores of the people they will admit this year based on everything else in their applications, including the rest of their GMAT score reports. “What does a Stanford GSB look like in terms of an Integrated Reasoning score?” is the question they will ask themselves this year. They’ll need to take some time to answer this, and in the meantime, you don’t have to worry about what your IR score looks like if you take the GMAT after June 5 this year.

Sound familiar? This is what we wrote back in May:

Put yourself in admissions officers’ shoes… This fall, when they first see GMAT scores come in containing IR scores, they’re not going to be ready to admit or reject someone based on that single number. What’s a great score? What’s a mediocre score? They will be able to look at percentiles to help them gauge how much better a score of 7 is than a 6, but even those aren’t going to be a sure thing for a while. GMAC has announced that the scoring percentiles will be updated every month for the first six months, so even those normally trustworthy numbers may be in flux. The bottom line? Admissions officers have a lot of learning to do about what looks, smells, walks, and talks like a great IR score. Until they do develop that intuition, you can be sure it will only be a very minor factor in their admissions decision, if any at all.

So, sit back, relax, and focus on killing it in the rest of your business school applications!

Every year we help hundreds of applicants who apply to Stanford, Harvard, and every other top-ranked MBA program. For more advice on getting into these competitive programs, download our Essential Guides, 15 guides to the world’s top business schools. If you’re ready to start building your own MBA application, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*By Scott Shrum*

Why the frequent updating? Integrated Reasoning is still so new that every new wave of test takers can have a noticeable impact the overall pool. For the other, more established sections of the GMAT (which are taken about 300,000 times per year), percentiles will move very slowly and subtly. But, when only ten thousand or so students have taken the test, these percentile numbers may keep moving around a bit (especially as test takers become more familiar with the new section), and GMAC wants to recognize that fact by adjusting its numbers frequently.

Here is the first Integrated Reasoning score percentile chart, published by GMAC on June 25:

Percentile |
Score |

94% | 8 |

85% | 7 |

70% | 6 |

54% | 5 |

46% | 4 (Mean) |

26% | 3 |

17% | 2 |

0% | 1 |

**What the Integrated Reasoning Percentiles Mean**

Let’s get back to basics for a second, just for anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with the idea of percentiles. In the above table, we see that a score of 6 would put you in the 70th percentile (70%). This means that 70% of test takers have scored below a 6 since the Integrated Reasoning section was launched. Also, notice that a perfect score of 8 is in the 94% percentile. That means that 94% of test takers scored below and 8. Said another way, 6% of test takers earned a score of 8 on the exam. (Yes, it will almost certainly be impossible to score in the 99th percentile on this part of the GMAT… The scoring scale simply isn’t granular enough.) As noted above, these numbers may shift over time, although we bet that they will stop moving significantly after the first couple of months.

**So What’s a Good Integrated Reasoning Score on the GMAT?**

Don’t fixate on that 6% too much! In fact, don’t stress over these numbers much at all. As we have written before, admissions officers know that score percentiles may fluctuate in the first year. And, they still need to develop their own feel for what’s a great score, what’s a bad one, and how much they should focus on your IR score. So, don’t worry about it too much yet!

To stay on top of Integrated Reasoning score percentiles as they evolve, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Why? Because a drastic change in the test from last week to this week would make all sorts of comparisons difficult and threaten the validity of the exam, and that’s the last thing that GMAC and its member business schools want. GMAC has already made plenty of Integrated Reasoning prep resources available. The last thing they want is for a wave of people to walk into testing centers without having any idea about what Integrated Reasoning is!

GMAC has put out a wide range of prep resources over the past six months:

- Detailed explanations of the four main Integrated Reasoning question types
- Multiple videos to help familiarize you with the new section
- A short and useful FAQ to answer most of the questions you may have about the new GMAT
- 50 Integrated Reasoning practice questions (available online) included with the
*Official Guide for GMAT Review*, or access to those same 50 questions alone for just $10

**More Integrated Reasoning Prep Resources**

Not enough for you? At Veritas Prep we have already been preparing for the Next Generation GMAT for about a year now, and we have independently developed our own resources to help you with your prep for the new GMAT:

- Our own free bank of Integrated Reasoning sample questions
- A detailed FAQ about the new GMAT, including everything you need to know about Integrated Reasoning
- A free 70-minute online lesson including a detailed walk through of the exam, as well as our approach for effectively breaking down each Integrated Reasoning problem type
- Every Veritas Prep GMAT course includes an Integrated Reasoning lesson as well as about 150 practice problems!

Now you have no excuse. June 5 is here, the new GMAT has arrived, and the prep resources are available… What are you waiting for?

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep classes starting in many cities this week! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

It seems that the world saves special events for years that are divisible by four, and GMAC went along with the plan by waiting until 2012 to introduce its biggest change to the GMAT is nearly two decades. The new Integrated Reasoning section goes live on June 5, but judging by all of the chatter, it feels like it’s been here for months already. “Why the big change to the test?” everyone has been asking.

Here’s the thing: It’s not as big a change as many people seem to think. As we wrote nearly two years ago, when GMAC first announced the new section:

These are the skills that really matter in business school (and, more importantly, in business in general). And the good news for GMAT examinees is that these skills are consistent with those that already lead to success on the GMAT. As the exam has involved, it has included, among other things, greater emphases on Number Properties and Data Sufficiency on the quantitative section, and on statistical premises in Critical Reasoning and logical accuracy in Sentence Correction on the verbal section.

For decades now, the GMAT has primarily been a test of your reasoning skills. Yes, the new section is the mostly finely honed measure of those skills that GMAC has yet come up with, but it’s not the only one. Around the same time that GMAC began promoting the Integrated Reasoning section, GMAC representatives’ verbiage for the rest of the test subtly evolved as well. In presentations and conference calls, they began referring to the “Quantitative” and “Verbal” sections as the “Quantitative Reasoning” and “Verbal Reasoning” sections. Further, they carefully named the new section Integrated Reasoning, a term that can be broken down to show you the true intent of the test. “Reasoning” is the operative word here, and keep in mind that it’s significantly different from “knowledge.” Reasoning refers to your ability to think -– to apply knowledge and create solutions, not just to remember content. The GMAT is a test of how you think, not of what you know, so in order to be successful you need to sharpen not just your content knowledge, but also your reasoning ability.

For the Integrated Reasoning section, this means that while it will be important to familiarize yourself with common types of graphs (for example, for the Graphics Interpretation question type), it will be just as important to train yourself to read those graphs critically: Does the scale of the graph provide you with a skewed visual representation? Check the legend: Does the graph illustrate absolute number data or ratio data?

For the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections, this means something similar: *What you know* is only as useful as *what you can do with it*. Knowing the Pythagorean Theorem, for example, is helpful; recognizing that circles, squares, and three-dimensional objects often lend themselves to right-triangle diagonal distances is what separates you from the rest –- success means being able to find unique opportunities to employ your knowledge. The fact that GMAC has been so emphatic with its use of the term “reasoning” should be evidence enough.

Are you taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep classes starting in many cities in early June! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!