The New GMAT: Integrated Reasoning, pt. 2

In our next installment of the new question format series, we’re going to investigate Two-Part Analysis questions.  Remember, the GMAT is changing in June and that change means a while new section called Integrated Reasoning.  This new section will feature twelve questions in four new formats and result in yet a third score (AWA, GMAT Quant and Verbal in aggregate, and now IR).

This is from the test maker’s website regarding Two-Part Analysis questions:

“Select one answer from each column to solve a problem with a two-part solution. Possible answers will be presented in a table with a column for each part.”

In case you’re feeling particularly curious, GMAC offers up five two-part analysis questions for you here.  Answers to each are provided, but don’t expect any explanations.  As you work through these example questions, be sure to either write down the answers you choose or look at the correct answer before you move onto the next graphic.  You cannot review in full after completing.  Anyway, because I am always the most interesting guy in the room, I couldn’t help but spend my free time working through these beauties.  I was surprised at what I found.

First, not all of them are quantitative problems.  Most were, but one was basically a short Reading Comprehension passage with two detail-meets-inference questions and another was very similar to a logic game you might find on the LSAT, though extremely subdued compared to those lovely puzzles.  In all cases, the two questions played off of one another or were in some way related.  Also, when there was math required to get to the right answer, it was nothing new and old reliable strategies saved the day (e.g., Picking Numbers and Backsolving).

At this point, we have covered half of the new question formats (Graphic Interpretation and Two-Part Analysis) with two more to come (Table Analysis and Multi-Part Reasoning).  I am heartened after reviewing these initial formats.  I know what folks need to learn in order to succeed on the GMAT, and while some serious attention will need to be paid to the Integrated Reasoning section, I report with pleasure that the content and concepts tested do not appear to be novel in regard to the rest of the test.  Much of your Verbal and Quant prep will transfer over to IR.

The New GMAT: Integrated Reasoning, pt. 1

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.

The New GMAT: Integrated Reasoning

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.

GMAT Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a glorious thing.  Simply put, arbitrage happens by exploiting differences in price for the same good.  Say the currency exchange market (forex) in Asia is trading the US dollar at 1.5 British pounds per USD (yes, I know it’s actually the other way around these days, but let’s have some fun), while the European market is trading 1.25 British pounds per USD.  I could leave New York, head to Tokyo, and buy a whole bunch of British pounds with my US dollars, say \$100 worth.  With my newly minted £150, I could then fly off to London and sell them in exchange for dollars.  Since in London I get \$1.00 for every £1.25, then due to the market inefficiency I will receive \$120 back, yielding a nice \$20 profit on my original investment.   Yay for me!  (And all I had to do was circumnavigate the globe.  Easy peasy.)

Not surprisingly, finding arbitrage opportunities is extremely difficult and exploiting those opportunities is nigh impossible.  For example, in the forex markets, big banks have incredibly powerful computers constantly scanning currency exchanges and will instantaneously capitalize on them for the brief seconds they exist before the markets equalize.  Mere mortals like you and I will never know what it’s like to feel the flush of free money created out of thin air.  Or will we?

Kaplan has created a website dedicated to the New GMAT: www.testchange.com.  (Actually, one of the videos posted there was the inspiration for this blog entry.]  As you may already know, the GMAT is changing in June 2012 by introducing a new section called Integrated Reasoning.  The current GMAT demands 100-120 hours of diligent prep time if you are looking to achieve a competitive score (e.g., 650+).

After June 5th of this year, GMAT test takers will have a brand new section to prepare for in addition to the AWA, Quant, and Verbal sections current test takers must master.  So how does this present an arbitrage opportunity?  If you prepare for and take the GMAT before June 1st, then you will lock in your GMAT score for five years and never have to even think about IR.  Those that do not lock in their scores will have to devote the 100+ hours of prep time you put in, then spend another 30 hours or more learning about integrated reasoning data sets and the new question types that accompany them.

Think smart.  Act strategically.  Let other folks buy the GMAT for 130+ hours of their time.  Your market is selling it to you for a much cheaper price.  I’ll be drilling down on the five new IR question types in some upcoming posts so come on back for a tall drink of schadenfreude.