GMAT Preparation: Understanding the Integrated Reasoning Section

We’ve written here before on the mixed reviews for the newly added Integrated Reasoning (IR) section on the GMAT, but many GMAT preparation questions still revolve around how to actually prepare for this. What kinds of questions are asked? Should you even be worried about the section? How much does it matter? How is it different?

Even though over half of MBA programs interviewed said they had no idea how the new section would impact admission, GMAT preparation requires full preparation and attention to all possible types of qeustions. As pointed out before, there are four main question types found in this section, including table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning, and two-party analysis.

A post by Lawrence Rudner on GMAT preparation for the new IR section points out “this 12 question, 30-minute section introduces new item formats requiring you to effectively use multiple sources of information and complementary skills to solve reasoning problems.”

The post also mentions that scoring is “based on the number of correct questions, and the questions will have multiple integrated parts. To receive credit for a question, you will have to answer each part correctly. There is no partial credit; you will not get extra points for getting part of a question right.” This part is not new—there has never been partial credit, and needing to correctly answer multiple parts is also nothing new. So how is it different?

Rudner goes on to say that these IR questions may be more interesting, if only “because they are more realistic and more practical,” so preparation itself might be more interesting. As with all sections, familiarize yourself with the item formats and be able to pace yourself, because each question will require more than one response, and you should not spend more than one minute on average for each response.

Another post at Beat the GMAT discusses GMAT preparation specifically for the table analysis. It presents a typical question and table in all its detail, gives advice for walking through such a problem, and closes with three key takeaways for these questions. Take a look at their post if you need some additional help sorting through large quantities of data and picking the crucial information.

GMAT preparation is not easy, but is absolutely manageable, even for these new and somewhat uncertain sections. Whether or not all MBA programs in Virginia know how the scores for this new section will impact their decision making, preparing for this new section will undoubtedly help you prepare for others.


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