March 14, 2013
Last summer, the GMAT made the most major change to its format in 15 years by replacing one of the essays with the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section. Since then, GMAT test-takers have been wondering how IR impacts their b-school applications. As it turns out, business schools are wondering exactly the same thing.
In the IR section of the GMAT, test-takers evaluate data in graphs, spreadsheets, and charts, similar to the materials they will eventually see in business school. In theory, IR can better assess students’ ability to perform the tasks expected of them in business school and the work world. Nearly a year after the inclusion of IR, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), who administers the GMAT, and business schools nationwide are taking the first steps to determine what role IR should play in the admissions process.
Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that business schools across the country are actively assessing the significance of IR performance on students’ eventual success in business school. While IR isn’t currently being given much weight in the admissions process, largely because many applicants took the GMAT before the test change and therefore do not have IR scores, business schools are analyzing IR data to get a better understanding of the role it will eventually play in admissions. Dan Poston, of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, states, “We want to see how it [IR] plays out…We want to see how predictive it is of student’s success at school.”
GMAC has released some key data on the IR section, based upon results of the more than 123,000 test-takers who have taken the GMAT since IR was added to the test. GMAC reports that the distribution of scores is normal and without bias against any subgroup of test-takers. In short, these results suggest that IR has the potential to be a valid predictor of student success in b-school.
In addition to analyzing data from GMAC, some schools are directly studying the connection between IR and student performance. For instance, at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, a group of 60 second-year students will complete the IR portion of the GMAT. Their IR scores will then be compared to their success in core courses in order to determine whether IR performance positively correlates with b-school performance.
The obvious question for GMAT test-takers is how they should approach IR in order to put together the best application package possible. While IR may not play a major role in the admissions process for the next few years, a solid IR score can only help applicants. As Dawna Clarke of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business notes, “IR will help prospective students more than it will hurt them…If you are not ‘quant strong,’ but you have strong IR skills, then this test will help you shine.”
July 2, 2012
Being the best means never letting up—always moving forward and always striving to be even better. It is with great excitement that we officially launch our new and improved GMAT prep course offerings.
As always, you can choose to study with Kaplan GMAT On Site, Classroom Anywhere, On Demand, or GMAT One-On-One – and we have revamped all of these GMAT prep course packages. From the textbook to the number of class sessions, our students get more and better of everything. Let’s take a look at some of the features and details of the new course:
- 11 class sessions: We have added 2 sessions. Our new GMAT course is now comprised of 11 class sessions. If you’re in an instructor-led course (On Site or Classroom Anywhere), your session structure will include Fixed and Flex sessions to heighten personalization, convenience, and in-depth, structured training (more on this in a moment). (If you’re studying with the On Demand course, then all of your sessions are on demand – you’ve opted for maximum flexibility. These Lessons-On-Demand are included in the On Site and Classroom Anywhere courses, also.)
- Integrated Reasoning (IR): Our courses now feature a dedicated IR teaching session and a Lesson-on-Demand in addition to full-length, scored Integrated Reasoning sections on all 9 practice tests. It’s the most IR preparation you’ll find anywhere.
- 9 full-length practice tests: Students have access to 9 full-length test. In addition, we offer the Official Test Day Experience – students can take any of their practice tests at a Pearson/GMAT testing center, the same place they will sit for the actual GMAT exam.
- Free make-up sessions: You can schedule makeup sessions at your convenience, because we know how hectic and unpredictable GMAT students’ lives can be.
- Adaptive Learning Technology: With our proprietary Smart Reports™ technology, we answer two questions: How am I doing? and, What should I do next?
- Brand new coursebook: Written with extreme pedagogical care and expertise and influenced by feedback from students and faculty, our new coursebook has doubled in length and serves as the comprehensive reference and practice guide for GMAT success.
- Guarantee: As always, every course comes with our exclusive Higher Score Guarantee. (Which reminds me: this guarantee also covers those of you who are finishing up your course. If you’re hungry for our overhauled study program, you can use your guarantee to repeat “into” the new program.)
All this and more make up our new GMAT course—one of our biggest projects to date. Innovation and commitment to excellence have yielded a powerful GMAT prep arsenal for our students, and we can’t wait to see the scores roll in. Take a look at some of our GMAT links below for more information:
June 16, 2012
One thing I like about Google is that they are constantly churning out both new products and improvements to additional products. Google knows that in order to stay relevant and lead the market, innovation is fundamental. Kaplan does, too.
For more than 70 years, Kaplan has been training ambitious individuals to reach and exceed their goals on standardized tests so they can reach and exceed their goals professionally. We have been teaching the GMAT to prospective business students almost since its inception in 1954. In short, Kaplan Test Prep is a product leader and, like Google, we have multiple teams devoted to continuous product improvement and innovation.
Instead of letting all this hard work and commitment go unnoticed, I want our students to know what is going on behind the scenes. Not only do the smart people behind these projects deserve some recognition, but it is also important that everyone is up-to-date with everything we have to offer. After all, the worst resource is the one that goes unused!
Recent Product Updates:
- All nine of our computer adaptive practice tests contain an Integrated Reasoning section. We offer the most full-length practice tests in the business and we were the first to develop IR lessons and realistic practice sections. By the way, practice tests taken at a Pearson VUE Testing Center will include the IR section, as well, and that Test Day Experience is only available to Kaplan GMAT students.
- We offer eight practice test timing options. It is important to provide our students with a realistic testing experience during their preparation with us. Some individuals require special accommodations to sit for the GMAT due to various physical and cognitive challenges. In order to maintain an ultra-realistic testing experience for all of our students, we have fully fleshed out our special ADA timing options within our program to meet every need of every student.
- Students can flag quiz questions and create quizzes comprised of flagged items. Our GMAT Quiz Bank tool houses the highest number of GMAT practice questions in the business. Students can create hundreds of quizzes across multiple layers of granularity. A quiz parameter example might be: a timed quiz (timing based on q-type) focusing on arithmetic and specifically set properties offering medium and high difficulty problem solving and data sufficiency questions pulled from both used and unused items. Now, we have added a new functionality: flagging. Students can flag questions and create quizzes from those flagged questions for further review.
- Question statistics and enhanced explanation display. Our answer explanations are extremely robust and always reflect the most efficient and strategic way to solve a GMAT question. We know that studying can be an arduous process. Just like the need for a comfortable chair, the ergonomics (i.e., visual appeal) of the explanation display makes a difference. No detail is too small! Furthermore, in order to help you identify wrong answer pathologies and to self-diagnose performance, we now offer question statistics. We tell you the percent of test takers that chose each answer choice option for each question.
- The Lessons On Demand and Workshops list now include run times. Sounds simple, I know, but it makes planning study sessions easier. Before, a student would not know how long one of our professionally produced videos would last until they clicked on it. A simple but helpful solution of adding the total run time next to the video title lets you make the most of your study session.
- We adjust our 1-8 Integrated Reasoning scoring scale in tandem with GMAC. As more and more test takers sit for the New GMAT with the IR section, more and more data will help GMAC communicate what a given score within the scoring scale means in relation to a percentile distribution. As GMAC collects this data and updates their percentile distribution chart, so will we. For more on the Integrated Reasoning scoring scale, click here.
- Improved answer choice selection functionality. Again, this may seem like a nominal improvement, but the results justify such attention to detail. In the past, when a test taker selected an answer choice, the cursor of the mouse needed to hover over the bubble preceding the choice. Now, test takers can click anywhere on the answer choice to select it. So what? Well, that small improvement could mean an aggregated decrease of 1 minute of time spent just placing the cursor in the right spot on the screen. One minute can easily equal one question!
From now on, I am going to track our course and product improvements for our students, teachers, and everyone else interested in learning with Kaplan. Check back often for updates. Also, please reply with any and all suggestions you may have to make our GMAT products even better. Thanks!
June 5, 2012
The GMAT has changed this morning–and Kaplan is here to make sure you’re ready to take on the new test. To make sure the changes don’t provide any bumps on the road to crushing your b school applications, here are a few points to keep in mind:
- From today forward, the new GMAT will include an Integrated Reasoning section. It will take place after the Argument Essay, in lieu of the Issue Essay. Since it will last 30 minutes, the overall time to sit for the test will remain the same. The IR section is scored on a scale of 1-8, while the AWA score of 1-6 will now be based on the Argument Essay alone.
- There are 4 question types on Integrated Reasoning. To see samples of those questions, and for the latest on the new test, visit our GMAT Test Change information center, testchange.com.
- Kaplan’s free GMAT practice tests include complete IR sections. The free practice test can be found at kaplangmat.com/gmatpracticetest. Current students should not take the free practice test, and doing so will not grant them access to additional questions.
- The Kaplan GMAT program fully addresses the new section. We offer a session dedicated to IR, and all 9 CATs in the Kaplan GMAT course include a full-length, scored, IR section. This applies also to tests taken at the Pearson testing center as the Official Test Day Experience.
We’ve worked with GMAC, the test maker, to ensure you have everything you need to prepare for the new test. And we’ll continue to place updates on testchange.com as we have them.
Please post a comment and let us know if you have any questions about the new GMAT or your GMAT preparation.
A lot of people are taking the GMAT this month. June 2nd is that last day to take the test in its current form, and after a two day blackout the New GMAT goes live on June 5th. The only real change will be the addition of a new 30 minute, 12 question section called Integrated Reasoning (IR), which will take the place of the Issue essay. [To learn more about the test change and how to prepare for it, visit www.testchange.com.] The savvy aspirant graduate student has made the strategic decision to avoid the Integrated Reasoning section and take the GMAT before that section launches.
The decision is a sound one, but these test prep strategists find themselves in a stressful situation. No one wants to take the GMAT more than once, but we all know that is a very real possibility if test day does not yield the GMAT score needed to reach our goals. In order to avoid IR, everyone has a hard stop to their study schedule—no one can buy more time. This, of course, begs the question: What if I have to take the GMAT again? Am I back to square one studying for a whole new test?
Fortunately, the answer is, “No.”
While it is true that Integrated Reasoning questions are new and the format of the section is unlike any of the other GMAT sections (AWA, Quantitative, & Verbal), IR questions lean heavily upon the skills and competencies tested throughout the rest of the test. In short, you will need to spend a good deal of time studying and practicing IR, but all of the other studying you have done for the GMAT’s quant and verbal sections will absolutely transfer to the IR section.
New GMAT test takers can expect four new question formats built to sample their skill at integrated reasoning. To learn more about each of these new question formats, read my series of blog posts beginning here (navigate to the rest of the posts from the links just above the post title). What you’ll find in my IR exposition is that the GMAT is not springing a bunch of new stuff on us with the inception of this new section. Rather, the quantitative and verbal skill set all you May test takers have been solidifying over the past months will absolutely be utilized in IR. Thus, you can walk into the testing center in a couple weeks with a little less stress. If you have to take the GMAT again, you’ll be just fine.
Looking for more details? Tell me about your specific situation, and I’d be glad to help you think it through.
March 28, 2012
PoetsandQuants.com has always been one of my favorite websites for all things MBA/business school/GMAT. Tons of excellent information and always done well. They recognize a good thing when they see it over there and Kaplan has put together an infographic that ties up the GMAT’s history and current state into a nice neat little package for all to see.
Interestingly, the infographic follows along a recently posted YouTube video Kaplan tossed out into the ether. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already done so, and carefully comb through our New GMAT dedicated website www.testchange.com
If you have 1 minute 13 seconds to spare, then watch this. Kaplan has put together a killer video that will bring you from the launch of the GMAT way back in 1954 up to the launch of the New GMAT on June 5th of this year. Production quality rocks, information is packed in, and we’ve made it so you can learn more and make good decisions.
The video will direct you there, but please visit www.testchange.com to learn even more about the new test section known as Integrated Reasoning. Also, have a look at our infographic called The GMAT: Demystified & Digestible featured on PoetsandQuants.com. The name says it all!
March 18, 2012
GMAC has posted a FAQ page on their website www.MBA.com regarding the upcoming Next Generation GMAT (which basically means the same ol’ GMAT with one less essay and one more section in its place). For those who have no idea what I’m going on about, have a look at www.testchange.com and my blog thread for a lot more info.
Among the list of Qs and As, one exchange reads thusly:
Q) When is the last day I can take the current version of the GMAT exam?
A) June 2. The GMAT exam will not be offered June 3 and 4 while test centers prepare to administer the new exam.
That’s right, there’s gonna be a blackout! As you may know, the Next GMAT Generation is going to be born on June 5th. However, please be sure your birth plan includes June 2nd as the last possible Test Day, not June 5th. Also, take a moment to think about how fast test centers are going to fill over the coming months and how extremely competitive those last seats on those last days will become very, very shortly.
Think forward, act now. It is time to start prepping.
Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions is the first test prep company to launch a comprehensive curriculum for the new Integrated Reasoning (IR) section, which is being added to the GMAT on June 5, 2012. In addition to in-class, online, and lesson on-demand training, Kaplan has robust, detailed, and accurate practice problems for test takers who are planning to tackle the GMAT after June 5th.
For those who have been following the developments during the run-up to the New GMAT, you know Kaplan is committed to the type of product leadership that translates into our students’ success. At www.testchange.com—Kaplan’s dedicated GMAT test change website created in consultation with GMAC—everyone can learn about the new IR section and what the score means to aspirant graduate management students. The idea is that no matter what, we are ready so you’ll be ready.
Finally, Kaplan is offering up to $150 off our GMAT course packages for the month of March. We truly want to lock in as many strong GMAT scores as we can before the test change hits in June. These scores will be valid for 5 years, and IR will just be something that other people have to deal with.
The iron is hot, folks. Time to strike.