Friday, May 6, 2011

Next Generation GMAT: Coming to you in June 2012

Starting from June 2012, GMAT takers will have to sit for a new section called "Integrated Reasoning". The Integrated Reasoning section is a 30-minute test which covers a combination of quantitative (interpreting graphs, spreadsheets, data) and verbal (critical reasoning, analyze information, draw conclusions and discern relationships between data points, etc.). The Integrated Reasoning questions may include multiple parts but they are non-adaptive, according to GMAC, the official GMAT provider.


Format of Integrated Reasoning section
This section takes 30 minutes and will have 12 to 15 questions covering:
  • Multi-Source Reasoning. The questions are accompanied by two to three sources of information presented on tabbed pages. Test takers click on the tabs and examine all the relevant information─which may be a combination of text, charts, and tables─to answer questions.
  • Table Analysis. Test takers will be presented with a sortable table of information, similar to a spreadsheet, which has to be analyzed to find whether answer statements are accurate.
  • Graphics Interpretation. Test takers will be asked to interpret a graph or graphical image, and select the option from a drop-down list to make response statements accurate.
  • Two-Part Analysis. A question will involve two components for a solution. Possible answers will be given in a table format with a column for each component and rows with possible options; test takers will be asked to consider the options provided.

As you might get between 12 and 15 questions and finish within 30 minutes, you can only afford between 2 and 2.5 minutes per question (including reading, understanding and perform whatever calculations). I hope GMAT prep providers (those listed on the right sidebar) have developed Integrated Reasoning questions for practice.

Sample question

Manhattan Review posted a sample table/graph and a set of questions. See for yourself how the questions will be structured and tested. In this case, the questions were TRUE/FALSE. Try answering these 5 questions in 10 minutes.

Between now and May 2012, inclusive
The current GMAT structure - 60-min essays (2 essays), 75-min Quant (37 Qs) and 75-min Verbal (41 Qs) remains until May 2012, inclusive. Takers can opt-in to try the Integrated Reasoning section and will not be counted towards your GMAT score. GMAC is offering a monetary incentive for those who opt-in to take this Integrated Reasoning section.

From June 2012 onwards
The Integrated Reasoning section will be part of your new GMAT score. The total test time will remained unchanged at 3 hours 30 minutes, excluding break time. Instead of 2 AWA essays, you will do 1 essay for 30 minutes and Integrated Reasoning for 30 minutes. The Quant and Verbal sections remained unchanged.

For more information:
Next Gen GMAT press release, here.
Next Gen GMAT more information, here.
Integrated Reasoning format, here.
Integrated Reasoning test, here.

I do not know how the actual Integrated Reasoning section is tested but judging for the above video clip, my take is it will be a good addition for future GMAT takers and potential MBA students. I don't see having 2 AWA essays actually beneficial since you are tested on your ability to write and analyze. You could easily score a 4/5 on the AWA if you know the trick. Furthermore, AWA score does not form part of your GMAT score. If you can't write well, you are unlikely to get pass the admissions committee anyway (the admissions essays are even tougher)

Based on what was shown in the video clip, I understand the benefits of having Integrated Reasoning. The charts, graphs and spreadsheets are common in case studies, the basis of many MBA learning and teaching. To be actually tested in GMAT for something that you will do in MBA raises a host of questions. Rightly or wrongly, I believe it is a refreshing move by GMAC and hope that future MBA students will benefit from the Integrated Reasoning section.

Don't delay your GMAT (after all the your score is valid for 5 years from date of test) or be ready for the next generation GMAT.

Jimmy Low

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