4 Time Management Strategies for the GMAT's Integrated Reasoning Section

The GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section, which was introduced in 2012, consists of 12 complex questions that you must answer in only 30 minutes. It includes four question types: Graphics Interpretation, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, and Two-Part Analysis. Each Integrated Reasoning problem requires you to analyze provided data, and to then answer multiple parts of the question correctly in order to receive credit.

What are the best ways to process such a large amount of information from multiple sources in a brief period of time? Here are four time management strategies for the GMAT's Integrated Reasoning section:

1. Read the information before you answer an Integrated Reasoning question

Reading the information first will help you gain an understanding of what you are looking at. It will take you less time to answer the question if you know what information it is based on, as opposed to trying to answer a question you know nothing about. For example, if you are presented with three different tabs with paragraphs and tables, look them over to understand the situation in front of you. Then, once you are familiar with the context, look at the first question, and go back to the tabs to find the information that is required.

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2. Write down what you know for each Integrated Reasoning question

With just 30 minutes to answer 12 questions with multiple parts, you have only 2.5 minutes per problem to read the information, analyze the data, perform equations, and select the best answer choices. Do not try to process everything in your head. Use the provided materials to make notes, write down names and numbers, and organize the data you are working with. This will allow you to focus and identify the best answers more efficiently.

3. Answer one Integrated Reasoning question at a time

There is often a great deal of information presented on the screen for each Integrated Reasoning question. You will not always need all the information to answer each part of the question. However, you will need to answer each part correctly in order to earn credit, as no partial credit will be awarded. Look at each part individually, perform your analysis, and select the best answer. Then, move on to the next part of the question. Additionally, answer the questions that are asked. Read the question carefully, understand what it is asking for, and then make the best selection.

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4. Keep moving forward on the Integrated Reasoning section

Again, the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT is only 30 minutes long. Do not spend too much time on any one question. Note, too, that you cannot move backward through the section to change your previous answers. Approach the exam with confidence. Concentrate on the question in front of you, select an answer, and then go on to the next question, knowing that you have used your time wisely and made the best choice.

Integrated Reasoning can be a complex part of the GMAT for test-takers, but it does not need to be a difficult experience. Pace yourself, practice with Integrated Reasoning practice tests, and focus on maximizing your score. If you read the information provided and perform your analysis in an efficient manner—by taking notes and answering the questions that are being asked—then you will have a great strategy for time management on the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning portion.


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