What is Integrated Reasoning (IR)?IR is a new, 30-minute section that’s going to replace the Issue Essay on June 5. No other part of the GMAT will be affected. IR will have a separate score—it will not factor into the 200-800 score that you really care about.
Moreover, the new IR score will be relatively unimportant in the admissions process, for at least years. Why? The 200-800 score (together with your undergrad GPA) is a pretty good predictor of your first-year grades. That’s why the GMAT exists—to help admissions committees figure out how well you can handle the academic side of business school. Decades of research support this use of the 200-800 score.
Now along comes a brand-new section of the GMAT with a separate score. How will admissions committees use this score? They’ll look at it as just another piece of data on you—a piece of data that isn’t calibrated, because there’s absolutely zero history. Right now, it’s impossible to examine the relationship between IR scores and academic performance in b-school. There’s just a hypothesis that these things will correlate.
So, while we think this new section is interesting and well-designed, don’t overstress about it, because schools won’t care that much about your IR score.
Plus, Integrated Reasoning tests the same core skills as the rest of the GMAT! By preparing for GMAT Quant and Verbal, you’re doing the most important prep work you can do for IR.
When should I take the GMAT?If you can be ready by June 2 (the last day of the old GMAT), take it!
Why bother with the new section at all?
For 99.99% of folks, the Issue Essay is easier than Integrated Reasoning.
Schools will take valid older GMAT scores, which are good for up to 5 years.
So if you’re ready by June 2 for the main event of the GMAT (the Quant and Verbal sections), then by all means, go ahead. Popular locations and time slots will fill up quickly, so book as soon as you can.
But if you won’t be ready until after the new section goes live, you’ll be fine!
All the preparation that you’re doing now (or that you will do by June 5) will apply to the new GMAT.
You’ll just need to do some additional training for IR specifically.
By the way, after June 5, it’ll take a full 20 days to receive official scores, so keep that fact in mind as you schedule your test.
What’s different about IR?Integrated Reasoning emphasizes certain topics at the expense of other topics:
Emphasis on Percents, Statistics, Reading Comprehension, and so on.
DE-emphasis on topics such as Grammar and Number Properties.
IR also has some funky new formats of questions. Hey, sort this table! Pick two answers, one in each column! You just have to get used to these new looks.
As the label says, Integrated Reasoning is integrated: it mixes together Quant and Verbal. You get Quant with a lot of words, or Verbal with numbers—take your pick.
You will also encounter real-world data—lots of ugly numbers. You’ll be able to call up a simple calculator on-screen—and in fact, you should be ready to do so, because some of these IR numbers fell out of the ugly tree and hit all the branches.