GMAT’s New Integrated Reasoning Section Set to Launch in 2012

By Russell Schaffer and Carina Wong of Kaplan Test Prep, where MBA Podcaster receive 10% off all GMAT prep courses

With the launch of GMAT Integrated Reasoning less than eight months away, 67% of admissions officers have not yet seen sample questions from the new section provided by the test maker, according to a Kaplan Test Prep survey of 265 of the top MBA programs across the United States.* Paradoxically, 59% believe that Integrated Reasoning, which adds four new question types to a test that only had five types previously on the Quantitative and Verbal sections combined, will make the GMAT  more reflective of the business school experience.

The four new question types measure test takers’ ability to organize, synthesize, and evaluate information from multiple sources and in different formats. The question types include:

  • Table Analysis:  Test takers will be presented with a sortable table of information, similar to a spreadsheet, to be analyzed to find whether answer statements are accurate.
  • Graphics Interpretation: Test takers will be asked to interpret a graph or graphical image, and select the option from a drop-down list to make response statements accurate.
  • Multi-Source Reasoning: Questions are accompanied by two to three sources of information. Test takers must examine all the relevant information which may be a combination of text, charts, and tables to answer questions.
  • Two-Part Analysis: A question will involve two components for a solution. Possible answers will be given in a table format with a column for each component and rows with possible options; test takers will be asked to consider the options provided.

“The new Integrated Reasoning section introduces question types that are unprecedented among major admissions tests,” said Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “To use a sports analogy, these question types test your ability to think like a coach rather than a player. The team you field and the plays you make depend on your analysis of a variety of factors, sources of information, and opinions. To continue the analogy, the coach must weigh and evaluate competitive factors, player strengths and weaknesses, team dynamics and a host of other issues that all impact each other.  Adding the Integrated Reasoning section is a good step in terms of reflecting higher-level analytical skills, but there’s no question that the new GMAT will be more challenging than the current one.”

Mitchell points out that doing well on the Integrated Reasoning section will be especially important because test takers receive a separate score for this section—poor performance on the new section can’t be masked by stronger performance on the rest of the test. The exam’s test length will remain at around 4 hours (including breaks), since the new section replaces one of the essays.

Below is a Kaplan-created sample question from the GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning section, which could also be found and downloaded at:

Attend a FREE GMAT class session and see for yourself why Kaplan is the industry leader in GMAT prep. And remember, MBA Podcaster listeners save 10% on all Kaplan GMAT comprehensive and tutoring programs. Just use code: PODCASTER010 at checkout or when you call 1-800-KAP-TEST.

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