Sharpen Your IR Skills and Stand Out From the Crowd

Jun 20, 2013
Tags: GMAT Prep, Integrated Reasoning

Exactly one year ago, Integrated Reasoning (IR) became an official part of the GMAT exam. Since its official launch on June 5, 2012, more than 200,000 test takers have sent their IR scores to graduate business schools around the world, where admissions committees have begun to incorporate these scores in their acceptance decisions.

Simply put, the IR section tests you on the skills you use every day to analyze information. You use IR skills, for example, when you conduct an Internet search to find an affordable apartment within walking distance of a subway station; or plan an itinerary for a two-week trip to Barcelona, Madrid, and Casablanca; or schedule your course load for the coming two semesters—or do all three tasks at once.

To mark IR’s one-year anniversary, we offer you an informal quiz to test your awareness of the significance of the new test section for your academic and career success. [Hint: Use the graphs and table below to inform your answers.]

True or false?

  • People who graduated from IR intensive programs seem to find a job more easily and earn more when they use IR skills in their work.
  • The more often graduate business school alumni use IR skills on the job the more likely they are to be ahead of or on track with their career plans.

IR Salary

IR Skills

IR Jobs

IR Skills Are Already in Your Grasp

Pat yourself on the back if you answered “true” to both statements. You successfully demonstrated your “integrated reasoning” skills by synthesizing, organizing, evaluating, and manipulating data in graphical and text formats to arrive at solutions that may have depended on information from one or more sources.

The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam tests skills that management faculty and employers worldwide identified as important for your success in the classroom, such as your ability to analyze data presented in a case study, and in the workplace, where you will need to sort through reams of data, determine what is relevant, and incorporate it into a strategic solution for a client.

Increase Your Value in the Marketplace

With 9 out of 10 employers seeking to hire business school graduates who can demonstrate integrated reasoning (IR) skills, it follows that students enrolled in programs that incorporate IR skills into the curriculum gain a competitive advantage over their peers in terms of their eventual job search success.

  • In 2013, job-seeking students enrolled in programs that incorporated IR skills were more likely to have received a job offer prior to graduation compared with graduates from programs that did not readily incorporate those skills (62% versus 52%).
  • The frequent use of IR skills on the job also pays off in terms of higher salaries, as shown above, with an average difference of more than US$19,000 between median salaries of business school alumni who use IR skills all or most of the time and those who rarely or never use these skills.

Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd

After administering the IR section of the GMAT exam for 12 months, what we know so far is that it is proving itself an objective and impartial measure of an important skill set among a wide demographic cross section of test takers of matching ability in verbal and quantitative reasoning skills.

An IR score offers school admissions staff an additional objective data point they can use when evaluating candidates with similar GMAT scores. Oliver Ashby, senior manager of recruitment and admissions at London Business School offered his perspective on the new test section, noting:

“Integrated Reasoning very closely matches the skill sets that we require for people to succeed in a modern business school classroom. It is a very good benchmark to test the kind of less tangible skills that have been quite difficult to test for [in] the past…The more you can do to get a rounder picture of an individual’s abilities beyond the quantitative and verbal, you are going to be much more confident about making a decision about that candidate.”

As you prepare for the GMAT exam, try to get more comfortable with the IR format. And check out our latest GMAT prep materials for test questions plus instructions for getting yourself familiar with the IR section. Not only does the GMATPrep® Software offer free access to 15 IR questions and answer explanations, but The Official Guide for GMAT® Review, 13th Edition and the Mobile App link you to 50 additional IR review questions and answer explanations. You will also find 24 IR questions with explanations in our GMAT Prep Question Pack 1 software.

Remember, IR is one more way for you to demonstrate and prove your capabilities to succeed in business school and in the world beyond. Check these tools out today!