B-Schools Give GMAT’s New IR Section Mixed Reviews

By - Nov 12, 21:22 PM Comments [0]

According to a recent poll of 265 business school admissions officers, early opinion of the GMAT’s newly introduced Integrated Reasoning (IR) section is decidedly mixed. As a new season of applicants prepares to submit the first set of applications with GMAT scores that include the IR section, Kaplan Test Prep‘s 2012 survey reveals that more than half of MBA programs still aren’t sure how important IR scores will be in the evaluation process.

While 54% responded “undecided” to the question “How important will a student’s Integrated Reasoning score be in your evaluation of their overall performance on the GMAT?”, 22% say IR scores will be important, and 24% say IR scores will not be important.

The four question types found in GMAT Integrated Reasoning – table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning and two-party analysis – feature scatter plots, sortable tables, and multi-tabbed data.  Such question types, introduced in the new section in June, 2012, are novel compared to the formats traditionally seen on graduate school-level admissions exams such as the GRE, LSAT and MCAT.

Among the major findings:

  • In Kaplan’s 2012 survey, 41% said IR would make the GMAT more reflective of the business school experience, a big drop from the 59% who answered that way in Kaplan’s 2011 survey.
  • Those who weren’t sure if IR would make the exam more reflective rose from 37% in 2011 to 49% in 2012.
  • Admissions officers who said IR would not make the exam more reflective increased from 5% in 2011 to 10% in 2012.
  • Somewhat similarly, 54% “do not know” if Integrated Reasoning makes the GMAT more reflective of work in business and management after business school; 36% say it does; and 10% say it doesn’t.

“Schools generally prefer to gather performance data on a new test or test section before fully incorporating it into their evaluation process,” says Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs at Kaplan Test Prep.

“Not all applicants in 2012 will submit GMAT scores with an IR component,” Mitchell adds. “We can expect that, as more data is available, schools will determine clear policies, in which Integrated Reasoning may play a key role. In the meantime, GMAT test takers should not take GMAT Integrated Reasoning any less seriously than the Quantitative or Verbal sections.”

Mitchell notes that because test takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, poor performance can’t be masked by stronger performance on other sections of the test.

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