As all 2013 MBA applicants know by now, GMAC has introduced a new integrated reasoning (IR) section to the GMAT. Accepted.com’s newest blog series will offer GMAT test takers with IR tips and insights from representatives from top GMAT prep companies.
First up in our series on IR tips and insights is Brent Hanneson of GMAT Prep Now. Brent has been teaching GMAT prep courses for over 20 years, during which time he has identified all of the GMAT skills required to test confidently and score.
Accepted: What does the new integrated reasoning (IR) section test?
Brent of GMAT Prep Now: The IR section tests your ability to apply math and verbal reasoning skills to real world scenarios. The nice thing about this section is that it doesn’t require any knowledge beyond what you already need to know for the math and verbal sections of the GMAT. However, rather than asking you to answer somewhat sterile questions like determining Juan’s age (if Juan is twice as old as Polly was 5 years ago…), this section may ask you to
perform some sort of analysis on a spreadsheet-like table to determine which department in an organization experienced the greatest growth last year. Given its application to real world scenarios, this section places a strong emphasis on math concepts such as statistics, percents, decimals and ratios. On the verbal side, there’s a greater emphasis on Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. Aside from these skills, you do need to know how to interpret visual information in the form of tables, graphs,diagrams and so on. However, most of these forms will be familiar to you.
Accepted: What are your top three study tips for IR?
Brent of GMAT Prep Now: Study tip #1: Think Big Picture. IR questions often present you with much more information than is needed to complete the required tasks. As such, you must become adept at performing “information triage.” Learn to distinguish what’s important and what’s not, and don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in the details.
Study tip #2: Don’t over calculate. The GMAT isn’t designed to reward the human calculators. If anything, it rewards those with number sense. So, if the answer choices permit, be sure to estimate whenever possible. This will save you a ton of time in the long run.
Study tip #3: Know when to cut your losses (and maximize your score) by guessing and moving on. For more on this, you may want to watch this video.
Accepted: How have your test prep materials and courses changed to prepare students for the IR section?
Brent of GMAT Prep Now: We’ve added an Integrated Reasoning module to our course.
Accepted: For 2013 applicants, do you think schools will make heavy use of the IR score and treat it as reliable and predictive as the other GMAT sections? Or do you believe they will rely more on the tried and true elements of the GMAT and less on IR this year?
Brent of GMAT Prep Now: Our company is devoted solely to helping students prepare for the GMAT.We don’t know how business schools will handle the new IR scores, but my guess is that it will be at least a year before they can begin relying on IR scores to evaluate applicants. In the meantime, the GMAC needs to collect and distribute sufficient test data upon which the business schools can base their decisions.
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