So how do GMAT test takers feel about the recent launch of the “Next Generation” GMAT with its new Integrated Reasoning section? In a Kaplan survey of prospective MBAs, “more than half of those who had seen actual Integrated Reasoning sample questions said IR questions were ‘not too similar’ or ‘not at all similar’ to other exam questions they’ve had to answer.”
In fact, students were trying their best to avoid the IR section altogether, with 38% of those surveyed intentionally taking the test before the new changes. The GMAC even reported “a recent spike in GMAT test takers as the new exam’s launch date approached.” Plus, those worried about their IR score on the new GMAT can’t cover it up with a stronger performance in the other sections, since a separate score is given for the IR section.
So should you now struggle to master those sortable tables and scatter plots for the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section? The answer depends on when you plan to apply. The word on the street is that schools do not intend to rely heavily on the IR score this year. Obviously, you don’t want to bomb it. So don’t ignore graphs, tables, and charts, even if you are applying this year, but also don’t obsess about them. This part of the GMAT is in its infancy; schools recognize that currently in terms of reliability and credibility, it doesn’t have much to stand on.
With the passage of time, accumulation of data correlating IR results with performance in b-school, and improvements that GMAC is bound to make, reliance on IR will increase and so will its importance. For those of you planning to apply in the more distant future, you can pretty much count on IR’s rising credibility and significance. Prepare accordingly.