Everyone's been talking about the GMAT's new integrated reasoning section. Here are the highlights of the conversation:
First, to recap: GMAC announced last week in a press release that it would be introducing an "innovative new section designed to measure people's ability to evaluate information from multiple sources." This integrated reasoning section will be introduced in June 2012, and will supply b-schools with an opportunity to see how prospective students respond to managerial challenges similar to what they'd find in the real business world.
Test takers will have to interpret charts, graphs, and spreadsheet, determine the relationship between data points, and answer multiple-choice questions that may have more than one correct answer.
Test takers will be allotted 30 minutes to complete the integrated reasoning section which will replace one of the GMAT's two analytical essays. The total length of the test (3.5 hours) and test scoring (on a 200-800 point scale) will remain the same.
This new section was devised after collecting data from numerous b-school faculty and student surveys.
In a Businessweek article on the subject ("The GMAT Gets a Makeover"), author Alison Damast quotes Dave Wilson who says, "It's a dramatic shift. These questions are really microcosms of what goes on in the MBA classroom, and it will help schools identify students [who] will thrive in the classroom, not just survive."
According to Inside Higher Ed these management-specific changes are most probably a sign of GMAC effort to strengthen the relevance of its test (the GMAT) to business school, especially when compared to the ETS's GRE, the more general graduate school exam which has only recently been accepted by business schools as an alternative to the GMAT.
According to Damast, however, ETS also has plans to unveil a revised GRE, one that is "designed with b-schools in mind." According to David Payne, ETS vice president and COO, ETS has received feedback from b-schools and from test takers and plans to revamp the test based on that feedback.
Test taker feedback is crucial to both exam designers (GMAT and GRE) in developing an ideal test that measures potential student capabilities. View this video (below) to see what some students have said about the GMAT's new integrative reasoning section:
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