GMAT Integrated Reasoning: Time to Panic?

The new section of the GMAT has become the most discussed topic in the world of business education in recent times. And although the developers of the test are trying their best to calm the candidates, Integrated Reasoning clearly will not make it easier for them to pass the GMAT.

June 5, 2012 is inexorably approaching, the day when the next generation GMAT with the Integrated Reasoning section starts. I bet candidates are watching these changes closely and wondering how important ir score will become for schools when evaluating an application. It’s not hard for me to imagine that, because I took this exam myself in 1998.

No one likes change. Even my 18-month-old daughter agrees. It was hard for her to go from bottle to non-spilling mug until she realized that with the mug she had better control, the opportunity to demonstrate her new skills, as well as a larger selection of drinks. Now she is happily drinking from a mug, and no one has suffered from her imaginary problem. Well, except for my wife and I. For us, this problem was real… and very loud.

I’m sure some of you are wondering why the exam changes are being forced on you. After all, isn’t the GMAT just a standardized test on the basis of which the admissions committee can objectively compare you to the rest of the candidates?

Of course it is, but the GMAT is little more than just a standardized test – it’s an exam designed with a purpose in mind. For almost 60 years, he has been assessing the skills that are needed to succeed in a postgraduate program in management, whether you plan to get an MBA, a master of accounting or, for example, finance. 

A recent survey of 740 faculty members of the world’s management programs articulated new skills that the business community believes are – and will remain – necessary for success at the management and senior management level. Schools need to be confident that accepted students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in these skills, with the institutions themselves beginning to develop courses to develop them. We’ve named these skills Integrated Reasoning, and they’re at the heart of the new section.

Their importance is confirmed by examples from the business, for example, data collection and analysis are extremely important in determining consumer behavior, price factors and opportunities for efficiency improvement. Even the case study method common in postgraduate management programs (a typical way of teaching various business concepts) requires students to use several different sources of information (graphs, tables, text) at the same time to answer questions or offer solutions to business problems. So the skills that are assessed in the Integrated Reasoning section are important in business school and at work, but this does not mean that they are completely unfamiliar to you. Students who took part in the new generation of GMAT pilot studies and solved IR tasks reported that they were already using these skills in college courses or at work. One participant said, “… It’s just PowerPoint, the spreadsheet paradigm we live in every day.”

In other words, don’t worry about the new generation GMAT, and don’t panic. On Ieltstuts we’ve created an information center to help you prepare and introduce you to the new Integrated Reasoning section, the skills it evaluates, and the assignments. Here you will find examples of question formats and an algorithm for solving. New exam preparation material will be published in April: the 13th edition of the Official Guide to GMAT Review and the free GMATPrep software.

If you are wondering how to prepare for the next generation GMAT exam in just two months, remember that the mathematical and verbal sections will not change, this also applies to the essay on the analysis of the argument. You will receive separate points for the mathematical and verbal parts and the overall score – they, as before, will be sent to business schools. You’ll also receive separate points for essays – and now for the IR section. 

Now you can start preparing for the mathematical, verbal and AWA sections of the GMAT. When new preparation materials come out in April, just shift your attention to integrated reasoning jobs.

And one more thing: the exam will not become longer in time. Creating the new generation GMAT, we did not seek to complicate it, our task was to improve it in terms of relevance for today’s management education. In addition, this exam helps the candidate to attract attention and demonstrate possession of relevant skills.

Since its inception in 1954, the GMAT exam has been constantly evolving. We are proud to say that we are leaders not just in the development of the gold standard of entrance exams, but also in identifying talents. This means that the new generation GMAT offers a twenty-first century assessment system that will help prepare you – a twenty-first century student – for the business world in the twenty-first century, where you intend to develop your career and future.

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