March 21, 2013
Integrated Reasoning (IR) hit the GMAT in June 2012. Here we are, nearing the end of March 2013. Schools have been receiving IR scores from applicants for the last nine months. I have been teaching the section for that long, as well. Amazingly, Kaplan’s first blog post about Integrated Reasoning was nearly three years ago on June 25, 2010, and my first of many posts involving IR was published on Halloween 2011 (although I first mentioned it in September of that same year). All this to acknowledge the notable history the IR section has already accrued and to tee us up for a little “where are they now” segment.
In September 2012, I wrote a blog post titled “Does my Integrated Reasoning score matter?” At the time, IR had been actively battling GMAT test takers for three months. On the minds of nearly all test-takers-in-training was the potential influence over an admissions decision that this new and difficult section would hold. Unsurprisingly, this concern remains quite potent. So, let’s talk it out.
A colleague of mine, Jenny Lynch, recently referred to a Bloomberg Businessweek article to discuss the evolution of how university admissions offices are utilizing IR scores—or, more accurately, learning how to utilize IR scores. These offices are focused on obtaining data, both university derived as well as data coming from GMAC. The goal is to establish IR as a valid predictor of academic performance in business school. Once this is done, schools can appropriately weight and consider IR scores within the totality of a student’s application package.
While the Bloomberg article maintains a tone suggesting imminent impact, a sober read tracks right along with the expectations we‘ve previously laid out and confirmed through research. In short, admissions committee members remain undecided on the future importance of IR scores. However, what these folks have decided is that, at present, IR scores are not important.
No doubt, Integrated Reasoning is here to stay and no doubt the score it generates will slowly gain traction at admissions offices. However, there is still over four years of valid GMAT score reports that will not contain an IR record. Additionally, the GRE is and will continue to be an accepted admissions exam in lieu of the GMAT at business schools. The GRE has both a Quant and Verbal section as well as an essay portion just as the GMAT does. However, there is nothing like IR on the GRE.
Inarguably, the GMAT is the preeminent business school admissions exam. It communicates a level of focus and dedication to securing a graduate management degree that the GRE will never be able to replicate. Integrated Reasoning strengthens the GMAT’s already powerful position. Students must take IR seriously and prepare diligently. A strong IR score can only help. A weak one could very well damage an application, especially as time marches forward.
It is vital, though, to not artificially inflate or otherwise place this new section above its deserved position. The result will lead to increased stress levels and, therefore, a correlated decrease in overall performance. While IR has the potential to communicate valuable information, it is very unlikely it will become the make-or-break message some might passively suggest. Further, one thing is absolutely certain: no matter how institutions decide to weight IR scores, the 200-800 point total score will always be the most crucial aspect of a GMAT score report.
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.
February 15, 2012
Let’s have a quick look at one of four new question formats test takers will see on the New GMAT among the twelve Integrated Reasoning questions in the new section: Graphics Interpretation. From the test maker’s website:
“Interpret the graph or graphical image and select the option from a drop-down list to make the answer statements accurate.”
For your enjoyment, GMAC provides four in-format graphics consisting of two or three questions each (click here to get started). While the answers are provided, unfortunately the explanations are not. Also, be sure to either write down the answers you choose or look at the correct answer before you move onto the next graphic. If you answer all of them consecutively with the plan to go back and review them consecutively, you will be disappointed (like me!).
As for this inquisitor, I found the Graphics Interpretation questions to be pretty interesting. The math tested is straight from the GMAT quant section (e.g., probability, percents, overlapping sets). However, not all of the questions are based upon calculation or even your understanding of quantitative concepts. Rather, as the name of the new question format suggests, some questions rely on your ability to orient yourself and then “read” the graphical information (check out the second question about the Earth’s geological history graphic for an example).
I anticipate similar complaints from my future GMAT students to those I receive from my current GRE students: the graphs are hard to read. That complaint is usually associated with hard-to-distinguish starts and stops of bars, trend lines, etc. or data points that are difficult to correlate with x- or y-axis values. However, the GRE graphs associated with that test’s similar question type (Data Interpretation) seem of lesser graphical quality than the ones I’ve seen so far from GMAC. That is, the resolution for the GRE charts and graphs is worse making them more of a pain to use. For what it’s worth, the struggle to read the charts and graphs is an intentional element of the game.
Stop in next time for a brief review of Two-Part Analysis questions.
February 13, 2012
The new section of the GMAT, called Integrated Reasoning, is going live on June 5, 2012. While we here at Kaplan implore everyone in the free world to take the GMAT before this date, we are hard at work preparing for the test change so we can start training our bar-setting students to blow it out of the water when the time comes.
In a series of four short posts, I am going to focus on the new question formats that comprise the twelve Integrated Reasoning questions test takers will see in the new section. In part 1, we’ll have a look at Graphic Interpretation questions. But before we get into it, here are some FYI question specification bullet points I found here on MBA.com:
- A given prompt, or question setup, may have multiple questions.
- All answer choices for a single question are presented on the same screen.
- Test takers respond to each question before moving to the next question prompt. Once a question has been answered, candidate cannot return and change the answer.
- Narrative prompts (text on tabs) are approximately 300 words or fewer.
- Answer options will not provide information or clues that help test takers solve other questions.
- A single prompt may provide the information to solve several questions, but the questions are independent of one another. Test takers do not have to answer one question correctly to be able to answer another.
For additional information on the New GMAT, Kaplan has set up a dedicated website at www.testchange.com. Have a look now and revisit often to stay up to date on the latest New GMAT news. Also, be sure to come back to our blog for the IR question exposé series.