GMAT Impact: Integrated Reasoning Has Launched

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.

Well, this is it: Integrated Reasoning (IR) finally launched this week, on June 5. We’ve been talking about IR a lot in recent weeks (see posts herehere, here, herehere and here), but I have a couple of things to add (or repeat) now that IR is live.

(1) Do not stress about IR. For the first year, we expect the schools to gather data but not use it. They simply don’t know enough about how to interpret the scores or how much emphasis to place on them during the admissions process. So for at least the next six months, IR is slightly more important than the essays but much less important than quant and verbal.

(2) The major “danger” spot for IR right now is that we have to complete this section before we can get to quant and verbal—the main event. We do want to study IR enough that we won’t get either psyched out or tired out: know what the question types are, how to handle them in general, how to make educated guesses, how to handle the timing. Beyond that, don’t even think about going for an amazing IR score or trying to get everything or almost everything right.

(3) A lot of people view IR as an extra quant-based section, and if they don’t like quant, they’re pretty stressed about this new section. Actually, IR is a pretty even mix of quant and verbal, so if verbal is your strength, you will have an advantage on some of the questions in the section. You’ll be asked to make inferences, to strengthen or weaken something, and so on. Conversely, if quant is your strength, you’ll also have some advantages from the start. Either way, you’ll have some basis to feel not too terrible about IR.

(4) When you first try a couple of these IR questions, you’re going to think, “Wow! That’s really hard. These feel kind of bizarre!” Don’t panic. I felt the same way when I first looked at IR questions. They’re different, that’s all. You’re going to have to get used to them, but you will, as long as you’re diligent in your study.

In short, yes, you’re going to have to study for IR, but no, this is not going to completely derail your GMAT study. For IR, be prepared enough that you can answer some questions and guess on others without tiring yourself out or getting anxious—you don’t need a great score here. Quant and verbal are still your priorities.

Good luck and happy studying!

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