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GMAT Integrated Reasoning FAQ


  1. What is the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT?
  2. When did the GMAT change?
  3. Why did GMAC decide to change the GMAT?
  4. If I already took the GMAT but won’t apply to business school until next year, will I need to take it again after June, 2012?
  5. What did the Integrated Reasoning section replace on the exam?
  6. How long is the Integrated Reasoning section?
  7. What are the Integrated Reasoning question types?
  8. How should I practice for the Integrated Reasoning section?
  9. How is the Integrated Reasoning section scored?
  10. How will MBA admissions officers use Integrated Reasoning scores? Can a low score ruin my chances of getting into a top school?
  11. I see that some sample problems look like they have spreadsheets. What if I’m not a Microsoft Excel guru?
  12. Can I use a calculator on the Integrated Reasoning section?
  13. Do Veritas Prep GMAT courses cover the Next-Generation GMAT and the new Integrated Reasoning section?
 

What is the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT?

The Integrated Reasoning section was designed to measure test takers’ ability to interpret data from a variety of sources, and to draw meaningful conclusions from this information. By testing multiple scenarios in various ways, Integrated Reasoning questions measure your higher-order thinking skills (such as your ability to sift through tedious details to determine which data are most relevant in decision-making, or to organize information in a way that makes it more accessible and valuable toward a specific objective), not just how well you can memorize content. While existing, more traditional GMAT questions also measure these skills, the Integrated Reasoning section takes advantage of the GMAT’s computer-based testing format to present you with various types of information – including charts, spreadsheets, a long-form text – to get closer to the types of mini case studies that you will see in the business school classroom and in your MBA job search.

When did the GMAT change?

As of June 5, 2012 all GMAT exams administered contain the Integrated Reasoning section.

Why did GMAC decide to change the GMAT?

In 2009, GMAC launched a major study to gather feedback from its member business schools about how it could improve the GMAT. It surveyed hundred of business school faculty and administrators to find out what was working well, what could be better, and what ideas they had for improving the test. As a result of this study, GMAC identified a need to make the GMAT better able to measure the skills that students use in the MBA classroom: evaluate information from multiple sources, identify relationship between disparate data points, and assess the likelihood of different outcomes. In response to this need, GMAC created an entirely new question type (not strictly “Quant” or “Verbal”) that exists outside the bounds of what is currently tested on the exam.

If I already took the GMAT but won't apply to business school until next year, will I need to take it again after June, 2012?

No, you will not need to retake the exam. Your GMAT score is good for five years from the date you take it, and this same policy applies with the Next Generation GMAT. Any scores earned on the old GMAT will still be valid for five years, and business school admissions officers will still evaluate those scores the same way as before.

What did the Integrated Reasoning section replace on the exam?

GMAC replaced its Analysis of an Issue question on the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). So there is now one AWA essay (Analysis of an Argument) and the Integrated Reasoning section, in addition to the Quantitative and Verbal portions of the exam.

How long is the new Integrated Reasoning section?

The Integrated Reasoning section is 30 minutes long. There is one 30-minute AWA essay (Analysis of an Argument) and the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section.

What are the Integrated Reasoning question types?

There are four main types of questions in the Integrated Reasoning section:

How should I practice for the Integrated Reasoning section?

One comforting feature of the Integrated Reasoning section is that it’s quite true to its name; it integrates many of the skills from the quantitative and verbal sections to efficiently gauge your problem-solving abilities in a business-oriented way. Accordingly, your preparation for the verbal and quantitative GMAT sections will produce economies of scale toward success 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. The Integrated Reasoning section is relevant in your daily life, both before and after business school (and certainly during)!

For more specific practice and strategy, Veritas Prep has designed a series of Integrated Reasoning GMAT practice questions and all Veritas Prep GMAT courses include an Integrated Reasoning lesson that covers strategy and practice.

How is the Integrated Reasoning section scored?

Integrated Reasoning scores range from 1 to 8, in single-digit increments. So, your Integrated Reasoning score could be an 8, or a 7, or a 6 (and so on). Your score will be separate from your Quantitative and Verbal scores, and it will not factor into your total GMAT score out of 800.

How will MBA admissions officers use Integrated Reasoning scores? Can a low score ruin my chances of getting into a top school?

Realistically, it will probably be a year or two before MBA admissions officers start to rely heavily on Integrated Reasoning scores when evaluating applicants. Keep in mind that Integrated Reasoning is not only new to you, but it’s also new to admissions officers. It will likely take at least a year before admissions personnel become familiar enough with the Integrated Reasoning score scale (What is a good score? How should they interpret an Integrated Reasoning score that’s significantly higher or lower than an applicant’s score on the rest of the exam?) to place a great deal of emphasis on it when making admissions decisions. While a low Integrated Reasoning score will certainly not help your admissions chances, in the near term we expect that admissions officers will still place much more emphasis on your scores on the other parts of the GMAT.

I see that same sample problems look like they have spreadsheets. What if I am not a Microsoft Excel guru?

Don’t worry! While some Integrated Reasoning questions do include what look like small spreadsheets (including sorting functionality), they are not anywhere near as sophisticated as a real-world spreadsheet. They are really just tables of numbers that make use of the GMAT’s computer-based testing environment to make your job a bit easier – hence the sorting functionality and the ability to pull up an on-screen calculator when needed. Someone who has never used Excel can become familiar with this functionality in mere minutes. GMAC is not interested in testing your ability to manipulate numbers in a spreadsheet.

Can I use a calculator on the Integrated Reasoning section?

You cannot bring your own calculator, but you will have access to a simple on-screen calculator while working on the Integrated Reasoning section. It will offer essentially the same functionality as the basic calculator installed on all Windows and Mac computers. You may need it for some quick computations while working on some Integrated Reasoning questions. Remember, this section was designed to measure how well you think, not how quickly you can add up a column of numbers by hand.

Do Veritas Prep GMAT courses cover the Next-Generation GMAT and the new Integrated Reasoning section?

All Veritas Prep GMAT courses now cover everything you need to prepare, including the Integrated Reasoning section. And, as always, you will have 12 months of access to all Veritas Prep online GMAT prep resources, as well as the ability to retake the course at no charge for a full year.
 
Learn more about the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section!