It has now been a full 4 months since GMAC launched it’s new Integrated Reasoning (IR) section. I have been keeping my eyes and ears open to understand what it is measuring and the benefit to Business Schools in the MBA admissions process. What is the word on the street? Quite frankly, schools are still struggling with how to use the new section and what it exactly measures. Furthermore, early data shows that the majority of students are struggling on the new section. But the bottom-line is that it is very early and with additional data students will be able to find some correlation between student’s IR scores, their true ability to organize, synthesize and evaluate data to solve complex problems, and their actual performance in the MBA Program.
For those of you applying this year, my guess is that schools will take the scores with a grain of salt and explore these abilities further in interviews, looking at undergraduate courses closely to determine a student’s quantitative and analytical background (or lack thereof), and then take a closer look at actually achieved scores. While GMAC has not studied yet whether those in business and other more quantitative majors will have an advantage, I suspect that they will because they have spent more time pouring over data in large databases and spreadsheets which is a big part of the new section.
One thing is already clear, those who take the time to prepare and understand the new section will do better on the section regardless of their current skills. For some this will be some major work, for others it will be like riding a bike after many years. In other words, the skills will be there and it will come back quickly. Either way my advice is the same as it always is to the prospective students I meet with, “Don’t underestimate the GMAT or your overconfidence will lead to a score not reflective of your abilities. If that is the case I will see you in a few months and we can discuss strategies to retaking the exam”.
If you have taken the GMAT recently, I would appreciate your comments on this post so I can learn more about the test takers perspective on this new section. Happy testing and here is to those who can go one and done!
For more information on the Integrated reasoning section check out GMAC’s Integrated Reasoning Information Center: http://www.gmac.com/gmat/next-generation-gmat-information-center.aspx