How to Prepare for the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section

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The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT was introduced in 2012. It replaced one of the 30-minute essays. This change was requested by business schools.

Now the GMAT also checks applicants’ skills to work with charts, tables, and other statistical data. Below is some advice by the academic director at GMAT Tutor about how to approach the Integrated Reasoning section.

An increasing number of students are asking me how much the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section will matter in business schools’ admissions decisions, and what they should do to prepare for the section.

Applicants’ IR scores may factor in some schools’ decisions. Some consulting firms are also taking the scores into account as part of their hiring process. Big data is taking over and many workplaces are seeking employees who can analyze complex data. The IR section addresses this (well, as much as a 30 minute section of a standardized exam can!).

How much you study for IR should be based on the amount of time you have to prepare for the GMAT, and in what industry you wish to be employed. In my opinion, it’s still far more important to get an impressive Verbal/Quant score.

The IR section comes before Verbal/Quant, but I am not of the opinion that IR will destroy your stamina. After all, the IR section is only half an hour long. It can only hurt the rest of the exam for you if you become stressed about it.

Take a deep breath and recognize that you will have learned most of IR by studying for the Quantitative and Verbal sections. You should still study for the IR so you will know what to expect, and you will therefore worry less. No surprises equal less stress.

Remind yourself of the following:

  • Have perspective: the IR section is only a half hour long and is not part of the 200-800 score.
  • Learn the IR question types and formats.
  • Try not to invest too much emotionally into the AWA and IR sections. You should be saving your energies for the Verbal and Quant sections.

Learn how the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section is scored.

Read the original article on the blog of The Economist’s GMAT Tutor.

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