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GMAT Tip: Three Tips for GMAT Integrated Reasoning

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When the Graduate Management Admission Council introduced the Integrated Reasoning section a few years ago, it was in response to considerable business school feedback around evolving technology, changing student skill-sets and the need to continue adapting. Now with a few years of data available, schools are starting to determine how to best utilize this score data, so while the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section doesn’t fall nicely and neatly into the quant or verbal bucket, let’s break down IR since this section doesn’t look quite like the others.

Familiarize Yourself with GMAT Integrated Reasoning Answer Formats and Types.

Integrated Reasoning questions don’t utilize the typical 5-choice answer options (e.g. options A-E). There are question types such as graphics interpretation that ask you to pick a word that describes the relationship between two values to complete the answer statement. Other question types like two-part analysis essentially ask you two questions, but give you the same answer choices for each question. In many ways, this is most similar to your standard 5-option multiple choice question, except that it isn’t presented in a format that resembles that traditional structure. One way to think about this is by answering one question, you automatically increase your odds of getting the second question correct since you only have 4 answer choices remaining. Spend some time understanding how answers are presented so that you don’t get hung up on that part of the question on test day. If it’s been awhile since you’ve used Excel, or interpreted graphs and charts, do a quick refresher and look up old Census reports or other economic reports that combine text and graphs. Being able to read both simultaneously and understand relationships between data presented in both will give you a great head start.

Pacing is key!

This might sound familiar since pacing is so important for success on quant and verbal, and on the surface 30 minutes for 12 questions doesn’t  sound too terrible (after all, you have 75 minutes for 37 and 41 questions on quant and verbal respectively).  However, each IR question has multiple parts, and in order to receive full credit, you need to answer each part correctly.  As you start preparing, take stock of how much time you spend on each question type and get a sense of which question types are your strengths and weaknesses. This will be important for the next tip.

Know when to walk away.

Unlike quant and verbal, IR is NOT computer-adaptive which means a few things. If you get a question that feels harder or easier, don’t overthink. Questions are pre-set which means unlike quant and verbal, your performance on the previous question does not dictate the next question you see. So don’t get hung up on analyzing the difficulty and second guessing the question you just answered, but rather focus on answering the question in front of you.  What this also means is that if you’re faced with a question type that you know is a weakness and one that you’re  less comfortable with (e.g. two part analysis), make a conscious decision to skip it and invest that time in another question type that’s a strength (e.g. graphics interpretation).

While there isn’t as much information available on Integrated Reasoning compared to quant and verbal, much of what  you’ll see in IR is rooted in skills you already use in your professional life as well as leverage for quant and verbal. Taking some time to better understand the section and how to prioritize will ensure a better test day – on all sections!

The above article 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.

Lena Maratea
Lena Maratea is the Digital Marketing Manager at Clear Admit. She's a South Philadelphia native who graduated from Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a BBA in Marketing. She creates and curates essential digital content for the Clear Admit community.