Does Integrated Reasoning matter?

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The GMAT has certainly made some major changes since it began in 1954 (“Quantitative Reading,” anyone?), but the most recent change is the addition of an Integrated Reasoning section in 2012.

On the Integrated Reasoning portion of the exam, you’ll be asked to answer 12 questions in 30 minutes. Your final score will be somewhere between a 1-8, but won’t factor into your total GMAT score out of 800. The GMAC designed the Integrated Reasoning section to evaluate test-takers’ ability to synthesize information and draw conclusions from given information.

Theoretically, the questions allow business schools to look at applicants’ analytical skills. After all, a potential employer is far more likely to ask you to analyze a marketing case study than they are to ask you to solve an algebraic equation.

However, not all schools trust the score as a measure of applicants’ abilities. According to a Kaplan survey, 60% of business schools say say that an applicant’s score on the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section is not an important part of their evaluation of a prospective student’s overall GMAT score. For most schools, the section is still too new for them to have enough performance data.

However, Kaplan’s survey also found that half of business schools believed poor performance on the GMAT was “the biggest application killer.” Clearly, students would be unwise to ignore the section entirely. And the number of schools that do take Integrated Reasoning into consideration is expected to increase with each incoming class. While Integrated Reasoning is still young, the skills that it tests are vital.

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