The Purpose of the IR Section
- Most business schools use case studies to teach some or even most topics. Cases are true histories of difficult business situations: they include vast amounts of real information, both quantitative and verbal, that you must sort through and analyze to glean insights and make decisions.
- The old GMAT has been a decent predictor of academic success in business school; thus, it must measure the quant and verbal skills required for case analysis.
- What the old GMAT could not fully do is mirror two key aspects of case analysis: math-verbal integration and the flood of real-world data. The IR section puts a new, unique focus on these aspects.
- Of course, any word problem on GMAT Quant involves math-verbal integration, and a few Critical Reasoning questions require you to draw numeric conclusions. However, you never have to apply hard quantitative thinking to numbers embedded in a Reading Comprehension passage. On the IR section, you will have to do such thinking.
- Likewise, real-world data in excess quantity is new to the GMAT. In fact, current Quant problems include extraneous information so rarely that you can often break logjams by asking yourself what data you haven t used yet. Moreover, the numbers in the Quant section are rigged for easy computation by hand, once you see the trick.
- In contrast, Integrated Reasoning gives you giant tables of ugly numbers, many of which you’ll never compute with. And you’ll need to use the provided calculator to save time as you crunch messy decimals.
- It is true that Reading Comprehension passages include lots of miscellaneous facts that you won’t be asked about, but IR takes this fun feature to the next level.
- In short, the new IR section seeks to measure your ability to do case analysis in business school.
- How? By asking you to do mini-case analysis on the GMAT.
- Integrated Reasoning is very “business-school”-like, so it might seem that admissions officers would pay particular attention to the score.
- Remember two things, though: IR is brand-new, and it’s only 30 minutes long.
- We believe that for a significant period of time at minimum, your performance on the standard Quant and Verbal sections (the 200-800 score) will be substantially more important than your performance on IR.
Don't Let IR Mess Up the Rest of Your Test
Unfortunately, for most people the Integrated Reasoning section is much harder than the Issue essay that it replaces. You have to absorb a ton of new data of various types, repeatedly shift mental gears, and make a swarm of decisions... all in 30 minutes.
Twelve data-intensive prompts, with at least one question per prompt, in just 30 minutes?
That’s some intense time pressure. You will have to work fast and avoid rat holes. Most importantly— you will have to recover very quickly for the rest of the exam.
Unfortunately, after the IR section, your brain will be spent. How should you prepare to deal with this mental exhaustion? Do the following:
- Build stamina in advance. Take more than one full practice exam with the IR section included.
- During review, study the fast and easy way to do each problem. Then drill that way into your head. Don’t be too cool to use the calculator.
- Replenish your brain’s food—glucose. During the break after IR, drink Gatorade or a similar energy drink. Nothing else will work faster to counter so-called “decision fatigue” and restore your mental willpower. As you go to your locker, only get a beverage or an energy bar. Do not touch your cell phone or anything else—your exam will be immediately disqualified if you do.