You’re Going to Need it in School, on the Job, and on the GMAT Exam: Integrated Reasoning

Feb 27, 2012
Tags: Admissions, Career, GMAT Prep, Integrated Reasoning, Official GMAT, Prepare for the GMAT

In my previous blog post, I wrote about how faculty at management programs worldwide identified a set of skills, which we call Integrated Reasoning, that were emerging as skills valuable to success in their programs and their classrooms. The skeptics among you may have read that blog thinking, “OK, but I’d still rather take today’s GMAT.” 

So I thought I would share with you the perspectives of test takers who have participated in our research to develop the Integrated Reasoning section and who have actually experienced Integrated Reasoning.  Nearly 8,000 test takers took the Integrated Reasoning section at the end of their regular GMAT exam January 3-12, 2012.  More than 1,200 also responded to a short survey designed to gauge their reaction to this section and the question types. 

One of the first questions that we asked these test takers was if they thought the skills measured by Integrated Reasoning were relevant to graduate management education, including the MBA, as well as the work environment they expected to find themselves in post-graduation. The range of options varied from Very Relevant to Very Irrelevant. As you can see from the chart below, nearly 70 percent felt that these skills are either relevant or very relevant to both graduate management education and the corporate environment.


We then asked the test takers if they thought they had used the skills measured by the different question formats in their undergraduate studies or in their current job.  More than half said that they used the skills measured by three of the question types (Two-Part Analysis was the exception) regularly or all the time. And more than 80 percent indicated that they had used the skills measured by all of the question formats at some point during their undergraduate studies. The numbers are similar for one’s job – an interesting difference being that a large percentage—more than 60 percent— use Multi-Source Reasoning (measuring your ability to integrate information from multiple sources to solve complex problems) regularly or all the time on their job.


Candidates who had experienced the Integrated Reasoning section were also asked how much time, relative to the Quantitative and Verbal sections, they thought someone would need prepare for the Integrated Reasoning section. A vast majority thought that as much or less preparation would be needed for the Integrated Reasoning Section as was needed for the Quantitative or Verbal sections individually. 

We also asked test takers about the difficulty of the questions, and most felt that the questions were difficult. (No surprise there; test takers always say that, right?)  While some of you might read this and think, “I’m going to take the GMAT before June 2012,” my advice is to take the GMAT exam when you feel best prepared to take it.  The GMAT exam, and by extension the Integrated Reasoning section, has been designed to help you  -- and schools -- understand your preparedness  for the rigor and challenges that you might expect in a graduate management program.  It measures an emerging set of skills that faculty have indicated are pre-requisites to hit the ground running on Day 1 of an MBA or other graduate management program. 

As the graphs show, test takers themselves think integrated reasoning skills are relevant, and that they’ have used these skills in a current job or in an undergraduate program. You’re going to need to demonstrate these skills in the graduate classroom and during your career, so what better way to gauge your strength in these areas than by taking the GMAT with Integrated Reasoning! 

-Ashok Sarathy,  Vice President, GMAT Program