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IR section importance for top programs?

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IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 16:51
Hi all,

I recently scored a 730 (45Q, 45V). While I realize this is a solid overall score, I also scored a 4 on the Integrated Reasoning section. I am concerned that this IR score, coupled with my relatively weak quant score, will raise a red flag despite my overall scaled score. I am aiming for top programs (HBS, GSB, Columbia). Does anyone have thoughts on whether an IR score of 4 could undermine my 730 overall? Thanks for your help.
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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 19:47
Well that is entirely upon the adcom, how holistically they view your profile. As for INSEAD the have kept a minimum IR cutoff at 6. "For the Integrated Reasoning section, we recommend achieving a score of 6 or above."

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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 21:01
Thanks for the response. Given that HBS' Round 1 deadline is approaching, does anyone have thoughts on whether it's worth it to retake the test and submit for Round 2 instead? I understand a 45 Q is below their median (and a 4 IR isn't very good either), but it feels a bit weird to retake a 730 given that it's Harvard's median. Does anyone have thoughts?
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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 21:48
Whether or not it’s “worth” holding off for Round 2 to give you time to retake the GMATs depends on you - that is, do you have the time to devote significant amount of studying necessary to improve your scores? How much/how consistently have you studied already? Do you have time to devote to consistent, regular study over the next couple months? Or do you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your studies, and wouldn’t be able to improve much even with the extra study time?

If (and only if) you do think the extra time would likely significantly improve your score, then yes, it is worth taking, even with a 730. The balance between quant and verbal is something these schools care about, and your 45 in quant is just as much of a red flag as the 4 in IR. It would help your chances if you could get that up to at least a 47 or 48. Especially if you don’t have other proof of your quantitative ability, such as a strong GPA with lots of quant-heavy coursework. And I suspect if you devoted additional time to improving your quant score, that would help the IR as well.
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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 22:04
Vmacc wrote:
Whether or not it’s “worth” holding off for Round 2 to give you time to retake the GMATs depends on you - that is, do you have the time to devote significant amount of studying necessary to improve your scores? How much/how consistently have you studied already? Do you have time to devote to consistent, regular study over the next couple months? Or do you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your studies, and wouldn’t be able to improve much even with the extra study time?

If (and only if) you do think the extra time would likely significantly improve your score, then yes, it is worth taking, even with a 730. The balance between quant and verbal is something these schools care about, and your 45 in quant is just as much of a red flag as the 4 in IR. It would help your chances if you could get that up to at least a 47 or 48. Especially if you don’t have other proof of your quantitative ability, such as a strong GPA with lots of quant-heavy coursework. And I suspect if you devoted additional time to improving your quant score, that would help the IR as well.


Thanks for the response, that definitely makes sense. For more context, I graduated from one of HYP, magna cum laude, as a History major (but with some econ course work), and have been working as an Investment Analyst for a buy side firm for the past two years since graduation. I guess I'm somewhat surprised that a 45 in quant is that much of a red flag -- I realize it's a relatively low percentile score, but I've read elsewhere that it's a solid enough absolute number. Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 22:42
Maybe someone else with more admissions insight can chime in here, but as best as I understand it, there isn’t a huge difference between your ability to get in round 1 vs. round 2; round 2 is still relatively early. But it does decrease your chances of getting good scholarships (Can someone else confirm/provide insight here?)

Given your investment analyst experience and undergrad education from H/Y/P, the 45 is probably less of a red flag. Especially if in your statement of purpose, you can show that you’ve been successful and developed over your two years of work experience, had opportunities to take on increasing levels of responsibility and leadership. I’d say actually a 45 might be more of a red flag, say, for a math major with a 4.0 in-major GPA. Then the 45 would be a sign that there’s some sort of discrepancy in the application. Like maybe it’s a 4.0 at a school with inflated grades, or maybe the person is naturally good at math but didn’t study at all for the GMATs and scored poorly because they forgot the high school math that’s tested/didn’t bother (re)learning some of the stat. That’s not the kind of attitude/work ethic b. schools want to reward.

So there are certain cases where, given the whole history/background of the person, the imbalance between an amazing verbal score and a respectable but not awe-inspiring quant score would be a red flag. But given what you’ve told us about your background, it’s probably not for you. So long as the rest of your application package is strong, coherent, and consistent, then, yes, I’d agree with the characterization that a 45 quant is “solid enough” for you. I’d still consider applying round 2 to give yourself extra time to improve the IR. Then spend most of the additional time working on IR and maybe just a little to keeping the quant fresh in your head to make sure your quant score doesn’t get worse (and maybe improves a bit?).
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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2017, 06:44
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Given the holistic approach of top schools, you should worry more about your overall application than the specific score. I would say you made the range. While the IR score is not ideal, it's not worth a retake in your situation. Remember, it's also very possible that, for whatever reason, you end up scoring worse the second time despite extra studying. While unlikely, it's not worth the risk at your stage.

Best to work on presenting your story at this point.
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Re: IR section importance for top programs? [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2017, 08:48
AAA93 wrote:
Thanks for the response, that definitely makes sense. For more context, I graduated from one of HYP, magna cum laude, as a History major (but with some econ course work), and have been working as an Investment Analyst for a buy side firm for the past two years since graduation. I guess I'm somewhat surprised that a 45 in quant is that much of a red flag -- I realize it's a relatively low percentile score, but I've read elsewhere that it's a solid enough absolute number. Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I think you should be fine with a Q45. It's usually only the applicants from Asia who are advised to aim for the very top end of the quant scale.

You might also want to run this by the experts here.

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Re: IR section importance for top programs?   [#permalink] 02 Sep 2017, 08:48
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