GMAT Impact: Odds and Ends

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.

Today, we’re going to clean up some loose ends in several areas: Integrated Reasoning (IR), Sentence Correction and how the GMAT factors into the admissions process.

Integrated Reasoning Percentiles Released

Our big news is that GMAC has released the first score-to-percentile conversion chart. Here it is:



















The mean score is a 4.0/46th percentile. In general, as we’ve discussed in the past, we want to try to hit or beat the mean. If you’re applying to an extra-competitive program, try to beat the mean, but a 5 (for now) is fine—you don’t need to hit 7 or 8 the first year.

More on the “New” Sentence Correction

Sentence Correction (SC) has been changing for a few years now, but any changes are typically so slow that it takes a while for everything to add up. SC isn’t really new, but some problem characteristics that used to be more rare are now much more common, such as questions that test meaning or answer choices with substantially changed sentence structures (or both!).

We discussed this a few weeks ago, but Manhattan GMAT has a new article for you now that compiles the accumulated “wisdom” to date on this subject.

Should I Take the GMAT Again?

Finally, I’ve been hearing from a lot of students recently who have taken the new GMAT with IR and, for various reasons, are wondering whether to take the GMAT again. (We also discussed this more generally on the mbaMission blog earlier this week.) Let’s discuss a few of the cases.

One person scored a 740 on the “main” test (and both subscores were above 80th percentile) and a 4 on IR. Someone applying this year with those numbers does not need to take the test again. In a few years, this advice could change, depending on how the schools begin to use the IR section.

Another person took the test for a second time and received his desired “minimum” score (“I want at least XYZ”). This student is thinking about going for more but worried about how the schools will view three test scores. As a general rule, most schools don’t care if you take the test up to three times. If you do get what that school considers a “good” score on one of the administrations, then great; if not, then it doesn’t matter how many times you took it.

Finally, I have spoken with multiple students who knew going into the test that IR wasn’t their focus, so they prepared a little bit, but not much. During the real test, however, their “school” training kicked in: they tried their best simply because it was a test! Unfortunately, they tired themselves out and didn’t get the score they wanted on the quant and verbal portions of the test. Remember that part of the preparation for IR is simply this: I actively don’t want the best score (not this year), and if I see a question that’s too hard, I’ll have no problem making a guess and moving on because I know that IR is not the main event.

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