Until 2012, GMAT had 2 AWA essays. The integrated reasoning part was introduced in June 2012 and the IR section has replaced one of the AWA essays. Now, the GMAT has the following sections: Analysis of Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Section and Quantitative Analysis Section. Each section has its own score. While IR and AWA scores are presented independently, the scores of verbal section and quantitative section are presented numerically as an aggregate with a maximum score of 800.
GMAT IR score is on a scale of 1 to 8 where 1 is the lowest end of the spectrum while 8 is a perfect score. The primary aim of the IR section is to test you on your analytical skills in solving a complicated problem. IR is all about real world problems and application of mathematics in solving these problems. As a manager in the making, you are expected to study data from various sources and extrapolate information based on the data. Sales forecast, marketing channels and their efficiency, resource allocation and such tasks are done based on such data analyses.
Data is presented to you in various forms. Extraneous data is also present. You have got to use your discretion in handling the data, picking out relevant information. Using such data, the right answer is arrived at. Similar to verbal section and quantitative analysis section, you are given answer options from which you choose the right answer. IR tends to confuse you with the shear load of data. So, choosing the right data to use and then choosing the right answer is the real task at hand. Encountering an IR question uses the collective skills you need to enter B school. Your verbal skills, quantitative skills, mathematical prowess, logical thought process, common sense and decision making skills come together to solve an integrated reasoning question.
Experts swear that integrated reasoning is child’s play when B school aspirants with some managerial experience have an edge over others who do not. This is not something to worry about. If you think you haven’t had such work experience, you can read articles on The Economist and Wall Street Journal to get an idea of what happens in the real business world.
There are 4 different question types in IR: Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, Multi Source Reasoning and Two Part Analysis. In further posts, we shall discuss these types of questions, how they differ and most importantly about how to go about solving each question type.