The newest section of the GMAT, the Integrated Reasoning, is often discounted by students as “less important” that the bigger beasts of the exam, the Verbal and Quantitative sections. But many MBA programs have become more familiar with what the Integrated Reasoning examines and more than half of programs, particularly those that accept only 90th percentile and higher students, are more closely evaluating the Integrated Reasoning as an indicator of applicant performance. The bottom line is that if you are looking to apply to a top tier school, then all components of the GMAT are important.
What tends to be the biggest hurdle for students surrounding the Integrated Reasoning section is having a reasoning understanding what it covers, what the questions look like, and a few basic tips that lead to success.
The Integrated Reasoning section shows up after the AWA and like the AWA is 30 minutes in length. Test takers are given 12 questions which can appear in one of four formats:
- Table Analysis
- Graphics Intepretation
- Multi-Source Reasoning
- Two-Part Analysis
Many of the questions can be multi-part, with no partial credit given – a key, important point that many test takers do not recognize, that can make scoring well on the section difficult, considering the short amount of time given and the complexity of the problems.
However, there are some great advantages to the Integrated Reasoning section. It is not computer adaptive, unlike the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the exam, and is scored between a 1-8, meaning there is some room for error with the possibility of scoring a perfect 8 score.
The big key with the Integrated Reasoning section is to take full stock in how it can impact the rest of your exam. Situated immediately after the AWA means that walking away from the Integrated Reasoning unsteady can translate into a rocky start for more challenge computer adaptive components of the Quantitative and Verbal sections, when it is immensely important to feel decisive about problem set-up and selection of answer choices.
A few tips for how test takers can prepare yourself for the Integrated Reasoning section, and some additional tips for success:
- While not as abundant as other problem types, the GMAC has recently released more practice problems for test takers – even just starting with a few practice questions, to familiarize yourself with what the format of each of the four question types look like. Simply, knowing what they will look like, can make all the difference.
- Don’t rely on the calculator to solve questions for you. Integrated Reasoning is more about pulling in pieces of data to a come to a conclusion in the form of an answer, versus rote calculations.
- Remember process of elimination is your friend, not just for the Quantitative and Verbal sections. Despite the heavy amount of data offered, in the form of tables and analysis, you still just have a little over two minutes on average to answer these questions – there is little time to waste.
Don’t fall into the trap discounting the Integrated Reasoning – consider it an integral part of your study plan.
The above GMAT Tip comes from Veritas Prep. Since its founding in 2002, Veritas Prep has helped more than 100,000 students prepare for the GMAT and offers the most highly rated GMAT Prep course in the industry.