GMAT Integrated Reasoning FAQ
- What is the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT?
- When did the GMAT change?
- Why did GMAC decide to change the GMAT?
- 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?
- What did the Integrated Reasoning section replace on the exam?
- How long is the Integrated Reasoning section?
- What are the Integrated Reasoning question types?
- How should I practice for the Integrated Reasoning section?
- How is the Integrated Reasoning section scored?
- How will MBA admissions officers use Integrated Reasoning scores? Can a low score ruin my chances of getting into a top school?
- I see that some sample problems look like they have spreadsheets. What if I’m not a Microsoft Excel guru?
- Can I use a calculator on the Integrated Reasoning section?
- 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:
- Table Analysis – You will review a table of data (similar to a spreadsheet, but with very little functionality) and use this information to evaluate a series of “True/False” statements.
- Graphics Interpretation – You will analyze a graph or information in an image, and then complete a series of statements using drop-down menus.
- Multi-Source Reasoning – You will click through several tabs containing information in various forms (including text, charts, and graphs). You will then answer a series of “Yes/No” questions based on the information.
- Two-Part Analysis – You will need to take two different sources of information and piece them together to answer the question asked.
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.