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GMAT Impact: All About Integrated Reasoning, Part 1

When it comes to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this weekly blog series, Manhattan GMAT’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

As we discussed recently, the GMAT is adding a new section, Integrated Reasoning (IR), in June.

GMAC has released the new version of the Official Guide, OG13 (the 13 stands for 13th edition), and the guide includes a section on IR and a special access code to an online question bank containing 50 questions. In addition, GMAC has just released the latest version of GMATPrep (they’re calling it GMATPrep2.0), and the great news is that it’s finally Mac compatible. Yes! Now I can finally take a GMATPrep test at home!

The new version of GMATPrep is very interesting. In addition to the two full-length practice tests (which include the new IR section), it offers additional practice questions that can be done in varied ways. You can choose just one question type or all six (PS, DS, CR, RC, SC, IR) and you can choose the number of questions that you want to do in the set, up to 15 per set. This mini database has a total of 90 questions. In addition, it includes the option to purchase additional practice questions. I haven’t checked that out yet; I’ll let you know when I do.

The big news is that we finally know a little bit more about how the IR scoring is going to work. Assuming that the practice tests reflect the real scoring scale (and I think that’s a reasonable assumption), the IR section will be scored on a scale of 0 to 8. That’s right, a really small scale—more like the essays than the quant and verbal sections. That reinforces what we’ve been speculating so far: that, at least for a while, the schools are going to view IR more like the essay. It will provide interesting extra info about a candidate, but the main event is still the quant and verbal. (Though I wouldn’t be surprised if, longer term, the IR section expands a bit and becomes more important to the schools.)

If you are planning to take the Next Generation GMAT, go ahead and get started on the quant and verbal, but I’d recommend waiting a few weeks before diving heavily into IR. Wait until the test prep companies can analyze all of this material and start coming out with strategies on how to study for IR—you don’t want to use up all the official questions and only then get a book and learn how to do IR properly.




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