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.
In early December, I attended the biannual GMAC Summit, a special conference for test prep companies that is put on by the makers of the GMAT. Click this link to read Part 1 of my report.
Integrated Reasoning (IR) has existed long enough now that GMAC is starting to be able to draw some conclusions about the efficacy of the section. Dr. Lawrence Rudner, chief psychometrician of GMAC, is quite pleased with the section’s performance to date.
Though they still need to collect more data to be sure, early results indicate that IR is actually a little bit better of a predictor of grades in business school than are the Quant and Verbal scores. It will still be a while before they can collect as solid/extensive data as they have for Quant and Verbal, but perhaps IR will eventually become the most important section! (Don’t worry: if you are applying right now, nothing has changed. Even if you are not planning to apply until next year, the importance of IR probably will not change extensively by then.)
No admissions officers were in attendance at the summit, but GMAC did report that they have heard that admissions consultants are starting to consider using IR as a tie breaker for borderline cases. For example, imagine that a school considers 680+ a strong score and 630 to 670 an average score. For the pool of 630 to 670 candidates (only a few of whom are likely to be admitted), one potential tie breaker is the IR score.
If IR is difficult for you, do not stress: that any school is making this tie breaker decision based solely on the IR score is very unlikely. After all, many different variables go into an application; schools might also decide to use number of years of work experience, under-represented industries or some other factor. If you do tend to perform well on IR, though, then bonus: you have an extra mark in the plus column.
Interestingly, U.S. candidates are tending to do a bit better on IR than other candidates. (This is also true for the Verbal section of the test, while non-U.S. candidates tend to do better than U.S. candidates on the Quant section of the test.) A lot of people consider IR more of a Quant section, but Verbal is just as important. If quant is your strength, then you will feel that IR is testing verbal more, and vice versa.
In short, study both quant and verbal (which you are already doing for the main test) and aim for a 5 or higher on IR. If you plan to apply to the top programs or go into consulting or banking after business school, then aim for a 6 or higher.
Check back in next week, when I will share news about the Quant scoring scale and grammar.