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New GMAT Pattern 2012 – Integrated Reasoning section

Posted on January 28, 2012
GMAT pattern

The GMAT Pattern is changing – the new GMAT with the Integrated Reasoning section!


You have perhaps heard that the GMAT pattern is changing but are not sure what is changing in it. Read on the FAQs for the new GMAT pattern that includes the integrated reasoning section.


At the outset – fear not! The new section is in lieu of one of the AWA (analytical writing assessment) essays – Analysis of an Issue (Analysis of an Argument stays). So, it will not affect your 3-digit GMAT score. The Quant and Verbal sections of the GMAT will remain untouched.


The GMAT exam will continue to be of 3 hours, 30 minutes (four hours if you include the breaks). Immediately after the Analysis of an Argument essay, the Integrated Reasoning section will begin.


Why was the new Integrated Reasoning section introduced on the GMAT?


Here is what is going to happen. Starting June 5, 2012, the GMAT exam will introduce Integrated Reasoning, which GMAC calls as “a new section designed to measure your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources”. Essentially the idea is that as an MBA you will be an excel-jockey so how about testing those skills right from the time you take the test to even apply to a bschool!


What GMAC did was that ,it surveyed about 740 faculty members worldwide and asked them what was most important for today’s MBA students. The answer was that today’s MBA students need to interpret data from a variety of different data sources to arrive at decisions. Here is Dave Wilson from GMAC explaining the rationale for the change and talking about the “microcosm of what happens in the MBA classroom”.


What does the “The New Integrated Reasoning section” include?


Here is a youtube video from GMAC which explains what the Integrated Reasoning section can possibly ask.


Though over here you see an excel-like structure with a lot of data that you can sort by column, the actual data could be in any format: Table, graph, map, or even simple text. You will be asked questions based on the data.
The initial assessment is that Indian students – especial engineers – should not break a sweat as it would be pretty elementary in terms of the analysis required. Heck you even get a online calculator to do your computation (though we suspect you should not bother too much about it since it will perhaps not be required!).


The following are the 4 broad categories of question types that will constitute the 12 questions of the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section.


1) Graph Interpretation:


This will involve interpreting a graph such as the one shown below and selecting the correct answer option from a drop-down list.


Graph Interpretation


2) Two-Part Analysis:


This will involve selecting one answer from each column (see below) to solve a problem with a two-part solution.


Two-Part Analysis


3) Table Analysis:


This will involve you sorting an Excel-like table to organize the data correctly (or in a manner best understood) so that you can figure out whether certain conditions are met. You need to select one answer for each option – YES/NO, Possible/Not possible etc.


Table Analysis


4) Multi-Source Reasoning:


For a change this will not include a graph and have just text. There will be different MS-Excel like tabs each containing a set of facts and inferences. You will need to carefully analyze each tab to best answer questions based on them.


How to study for the new Integrated Reasoning Section on the GMAT?


Starting April 2012, GMAC plans to release a variety of different methods to help you with this.


1. The GMATPrep software downloadable from mba.com will be updated to contain the new section. This will have 15 questions from the new integrated reasoning section in a separate free questions section.
2. The Official Guide for GMAT will come out with the 13th edition. You read it right – 13th edition as the worthy successor of the current 12th edition which has done well to serve test-takers loyally from 2009 onwards! This will contain online integrated reasoning practice. How GMAC plans to do this online is perhaps through providing a login on mba.com for everyone who buys the book.

Summary of the new Integrated Reasoning section on the GMAT:


1. The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam will consist of 12 questions.
2. A single graph/data-set may have multiple questions around it.
3. All answer options for a given question will be shown on the same screen.
4. As with the rest of the GMAT, even over here you cannot return to an earlier question – you have to answer each question and move onto the next one.
5. The last type i.e. the multi-source reasoning will not be of more than 300 words. So there’s no need to read lengthy passages here.
6. The answer options themselves will be independent of each other i.e. you cannot take information from one question onto another. You need to solve each question independently.

Whew! That was quite a lot of data to digest. Already started in the “integrated reasoning” mode?


Don’t worry; we at CrackVerbal will be watching your back! Starting April 2012 our courses will incorporate the new integrated reasoning section as well. We will make sure you have all the required resources to help you with it.


Here is a quick question – why do you think GMAT is really introducing the new section? Do you think it makes any difference to the test? Let me know your opinion – I am eager to read your feedback.

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Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.
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