GMAT Tip: Integrated Reasoning

(Corrects statement regarding the use of computer-adaptive testing in the GMAT’s new integrated reasoning section.)

The GMAT Tip of the Week is a weekly column of advice on taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, which is required for admission to most business schools. Every week, an instructor from a top test-prep company will share suggestions for improving your GMAT score. This week’s tip comes from Andrew Mitchell, director of prebusiness programs and GMAT instructor at Kaplan Test Prep.

With the GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning (IR) section having been launched in June, many prospective business school students are wondering what to expect and how this new section will affect their GMAT preparation and score. Allow me to turn mystery into knowledge.

First, your performance on the new IR section will not affect your 200 to 800-point GMAT score. Rather, you will now receive five separate scores across four separate scales:

1. Analytical Writing Assessment—0 to 6 points in half-point increments

2. Integrated Reasoning (IR)—1 to 8 points in one-point increments

3. Quantitative—0 to 60 in one-point increments

4. Verbal—0 to 60 in one-point increments

5. Aggregated Quant and Verbal (Total Score)—200 to 800 points in 10-point increments

While you will receive your Total Score on the day you sit for the exam, you will not receive the other scores until your official score report arrives in the mail up to 20 days after test day.

The IR section will replace the Analysis of an Issue essay, so the GMAT will be the same total length it has been. You will write a 30-minute Analysis of an Argument essay, then take the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, then take the 75-minute Quantitative section, and finally the 75-minute Verbal section.

Integrated Reasoning questions will appear in four different formats, and you will answer 12 questions total in the 30-minute time frame. The formats are: Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, and Multi-Source Reasoning. A given prompt, or question setup, may have multiple questions. Unlike the rest of the GMAT, IR is not computer-adaptive. In the Quant and Verbal sections, new questions are chosen based on your answers to previous questions, and once a question has been answered, you cannot return and change the answer. In IR, you will see questions distributed across difficulty levels.

It is very important for you to learn about and practice Integrated Reasoning questions as part of your GMAT preparation. While we will all have to wait and see the impact of this new score on the graduate business school admissions process and decisions, we do know that achieving the highest possible score will only come from your hard work before test day. The good news is that the skills you build for the Verbal and Quantitative sections are absolutely transferrable to Integrated Reasoning. IR is more quant heavy, but verbal skill is most certainly integrated into the new section.

Stay tuned for more on Integrated Reasoning, and good luck on the GMAT.

Mitchell helps manage Kaplan Test Prep’s GMAT business, including marketing, program development, and delivery. Still an active GMAT and GRE instructor, Mitchell is leading Kaplan’s efforts to revamp its curriculum to teach the GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning section. A best-selling author, his previous experience includes consulting for the Pentagon and product development at Google. Mitchell graduated from Harvard University with a B.S. in physics in 2001 and completed his MBA in 2007 at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

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