Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Business Schools’ Opinion of New GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section

Guest Blog Post by Kaplan Test Prep, originally published on October 24, 2012. MBA Podcaster listeners receive 10% off all Kaplan GMAT courses

As a new crop of business school applicants prepares to submit the first set of applications with GMAT scores that include the newly launched GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, Kaplan Test Prep’s 2012 survey of business school admissions officers* suggests that the opinion of business schools of the new GMAT section may have slipped – though it is too early to pass judgment on the new section. Among the major findings:

  • In Kaplan’s 2012 survey, 41% said IR would make the GMAT more reflective of the business school experience, a big drop from the 59% who answered that way in Kaplan’s 2011 survey. Those who weren’t sure if IR would make the exam more reflective rose from 37% in 2011 to 49% in 2012.   Admissions officers who said IR would not make the exam more reflective increased from 5% in 2011 to 10% in 2012.
  • Somewhat similarly, 54% “do not know” if Integrated Reasoning makes the GMAT more reflective of work in business and management after business school; 36% say it does; and 10% say it doesn’t.

There is still dominant uncertainty, however.  More than half of MBA programs are unsure of how important Integrated Reasoning (IR) scores will be in the evaluation process, with 54% responding “Undecided” to the question, “How important will a student’s Integrated Reasoning score be in your evaluation of their overall performance on the GMAT?” 22% say IR scores will be important, while 24% say IR scores will not be important.

“Schools generally prefer to gather performance data on a new test or test section before fully incorporating it into their evaluation process,” said Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “Not all applicants in 2012 will submit GMAT scores with an IR component. We can expect that, as more data is available, schools will determine clear policies, in which Integrated Reasoning may play a key role. In the meantime, GMAT test takers should not take GMAT Integrated Reasoning any less seriously than the Quantitative or Verbal sections.”

Mitchell notes that because test takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, poor performance can’t be masked by stronger performance on other sections of the test.

The four question types found in GMAT Integrated Reasoning – table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning and two-party analysis – feature scatter plots, sortable tables, and multi-tabbed data.  Such question types, introduced in the new section in June, 2012, are novel compared to the formats traditionally seen on graduate school-level admissions exams such as the GRE, LSAT and MCAT.

For more information about Kaplan Test Prep’s 2012 survey of business school admissions officers, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com.

* For the 2012 survey, 265 business school admissions officers – including 17 from the nation’s top 25 MBA programs, as designated by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2012.

 

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