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The GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section: What It’s All About and How Do I Prepare For It?

What is the Integrated Reasoning Section?

The integrated reasoning section was added to the GMAT by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) in June of 2012. It was designed to supplement the verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT by directly testing the skills important in both the business school classrooms and in the business world beyond. Inspirica’s online GMAT test prep tutors are well versed in the inner mechanics of the integrated reason section and offer key strategies in how to prepare for it.

What is the purpose of the Integrated Reasoning Section and How Does One Prepare for it?

The integrated reasoning section is designed to measure higher order reasoning skills and requires GMAT test takers to analyze and integrate information (thus, the name “integrated reasoning”!) presented in different formats: charts, tables, graphs, inter-company memos, and the like. Any student seeking to prepare for the integrated reasoning section should become intimately familiar with the format of the IR section. In addition, there are some other factors that set the integrated reasoning section apart from the main sections of the GMAT and one’s GMAT online test preparation for the integrated reasoning should take note of these differences.

  • Integrated Reasoning questions, unlike the main quantitative and verbal questions, are not computer adaptive. The differing difficulty level of questions is random and NOT based on the student’s performance on previous questions. Like the adaptive questions, however, the student must answer the previous question in order to move on the next.
  • The integrated reasoning section consists of 12 questions, and student has 30 minutes to complete the section (standard time). Most of the questions will require more than one response, and the student must answer each question part correctly in order to receive credit for the entire question. Students preparing for the integrated reasoning section should incorporate timing and pacing strategies into their online test preparation for the GMAT.
  • The Integrated Reasoning Section is scored separately from the other components of the GMAT. The integrated reasoning score is not factored into the verbal or quantitative sub scores or the verbal and quantitative composite score. The student receives a separate integrated reasoning scaled score of 1 to 8, in one-point increments.
  • An online calculator is offered for the integrated reasoning section (and this is NOT the case for the main quantitative section of the GMAT), but the student is not required to use it.

What are the Question Types on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section and How do I Prepare for Them?

In order to prepare for the integrated section of the GMAT, a student should incorporate a thorough review of the various question types into their GMAT online test preparation. Here is a breakdown of the question types on the GMAT integrated reasoning section:

  • Multiple Source Reasoning: measures ability to examine information from text passages (emails, press releases, etc.), tables and graphs, or some mixture of these sources. Sample multiple source reasoning questions offer great insight into preparing for the integrated reasoning section.
  • Table Analysis: measures ability to examine and sort data from a spreadsheet-like table and filter relevant data.
  • Graphics Interpretation: measures ability to interpret data in various types of graphs and requires one to identify significant relationships among data elements.
  • Two-Part Analysis: measure one’s capacity for solving complicated problems—verbal, quantitative, or both. These may resemble some standard critical reasoning or quantitative sections from the other main sections of the GMAT. One’s GMAT preparation for the integrated reasoning section must involve a thorough review of the two-part analysis questions.

How Important is the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section and How Much Should It Factor into My Online Test Preparation?

GMAT integrated reasoning section is not quite as important as the GMAT sub scores for the verbal and quantitative sections or as important as the main composite score based on both quantitative and verbal sections. About half of the business schools, however, do deem the integrated reasoning score of some importance, so incorporating strategies to prepare for the integrated reasoning section should be a part of one’s GMAT online test preparation.

Inspirica’s Approach to GMAT Test Prep Online

Inspirica’s approach to GMAT test prep starts with recognizing the differing needs of students applying to graduate programs. We’ve seen every type of student, from those who are in college and want to enroll in business school immediately upon graduation to those who have been out of college and working full-time for years. Our team will work with you to find a tutor who fits your availability, and your tutor will focus on teaching content, strategy, and technique. The tutor will also help you guide your independent preparation as you practice those techniques and review content on your own, in whatever proportion is optimal for you.

More than most other standardized tests, there are certain aspects of taking the GMAT that are impossible to replicate through homework alone, which is one of the reasons that regular practice tests are a staple of our GMAT test prep online programs. Your tutor will help you set up a schedule of periodic mock tests that will give you the opportunity to practice the techniques you’ve learned in the context of a full test while also familiarizing you with the experience of taking the full test straight through. This practice with the test-taking experience is particularly important in GMAT programs, as students need to become comfortable with the question-adaptive computer interface. After each mock test, you and your tutor will go over the results together in detail, using them to revise your practice plan; you’ll be able to see the product of your hard work and determine what part of the test to attack next.

For GMAT test prep online programs, you’ll take official practice tests released by the GMAC using the same software that you’ll use when you take the real test. The practice version of the software scores the test in the same way the actual GMAT is scored but still allows you to review each question individually, giving you and your tutor the opportunity to deconstruct your results in order to pinpoint exactly why and how your right answers were right and your wrong answers wrong.

Get Started Today on Your GMAT Test Preparation Online

To learn more about our GMAT test preparation online programs, schedule a free phone consultation with our team of Program Coordinators today!