GMAT Tip of the Week: Queme Los Barcos on Integrated Reasoning

If you’re reading this post in preparation for the GMAT, you are in luck:

You’re taking the Integrated Reasoning section.

After a few months of handwringing over whether to rush to take the “old” GMAT or to instead take the “new” GMAT, those taking the test after today have just one choice: take the GMAT. Which happens to include Integrated Reasoning. Queme los barcos.

The phrase “queme los barcos” is attributed to Cortes, who upon his army’s invasion of the Aztec empire ordered his troops to “burn the boats.” This signified “there’s no turning back.” That’s the case on the GMAT now — there’s no turning back, so like Cortes you can only look forward. Like it (and you should) or not, you’re taking the Integrated Reasoning section. So looking forward, remember these themes that you’ve read in this space previously:

1) Integrated Reasoning is a mix of Critical Reasoning and Problem Solving. Studying for IR will help you on the Quant/Verbal sections and vice versa.

2) Integrated Reasoning is new to schools, too. Your score is much more likely to prove helpful in assessing the students three years after you than it will in assessing you as a candidate. Do your best, but don’t stress it.

3) Integrated Reasoning is a great warmup. You’ll get your mind reading critically, processing mental math, and focusing on precision-in-wording so that you can hit the ground running on the all-important Quant and Verbal sections. And because the score doesn’t hold all that much admissions weight yet, it serves the warmup role quite well.

4) Integrated Reasoning is a great tool to see what really matters to GMAC and admissions committees. Pay attention to the lines of questioning and types of mistakes you make as you practice – IR is a more-practical application of GMAT reasoning, so for many it speaks a bit louder when it signals that things like “slightly out of scope conclusions” and “ratios and not absolute numbers” are very-testable items. IR provides you with some insight into what really matters on this test.

Your die has been cast* — if you’re reading this and taking the GMAT you’re taking the Integrated Reasoning section. Queme los barcos — there’s no turning back, so make the most of it. Those who do will not only succeed on the IR portion, but succeed on the entire test as a result.

*If you’re reading this on the afternoon of your June 2nd test date — stop! Get to the test center!

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