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Survey Finds GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section Scores Unimportant to Most B-School Admissions Officers

test takingA majority of admissions officers from more than 200 U.S. business schools surveyed this fall say that an applicant’s score on the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section is not currently an important part of their evaluation of a prospective applicant’s overall GMAT score, according to Kaplan Test Prep, which conducted the survey.

Kaplan found that 60 percent of admissions officers surveyed this year said that performance on the IR section was not important, an uptick from 57 percent of those surveyed last year. That said, Kaplan reports that 50 percent of business schools surveyed point to a low overall GMAT score as “the biggest application killer.” For its 2014 survey, Kaplan polled admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States, including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. GMAT scores are good for five years, and the IR section launched in June 2012, which means that many applicants in the past three years likely submitted scores from the old GMAT, without the IR section. “As more and more applicants submit scores from the current GMAT over the next couple of years, business schools may decide that Integrated Reasoning performance should play a more critical role,” Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs for Kaplan Test Prep, said in a statement.

The IR section is scored separately from the Qualitative, Verbal and Analytical Writing Assessment sections of the GMAT exam, which means that poor performance on this new section can’t be masked by stronger performance on the other sections. This, Kaplan argues, presents an advantage to those applicants who prepare for and score well on it.

“Similar to how not scoring well on Integrated Reasoning cannot be masked by good performance on other sections because it receives its own separate score, doing well on Integrated Reasoning can set you apart from other applicants in a positive way,” Carlidge says.

Learn more about the 2014 Kaplan survey of admissions officers.