Preparing for Integrated Reasoning on the GMAT

In recent years, more business schools have been taking a closer look at their applicants’ Integrated Reasoning scores on the GMAT, so it’s a great time for you to prepare for this section of the exam. If you’re still playing catch-up on other sections, consider reviewing these tips on the Critical Reasoning questions as well.

Let’s start with an overview of Integrated Reasoning basics: It’s the newest part of the exam. The questions appear in the second section of the GMAT, after the Analytical Writing Assessment and before the Quantitative section. You have 30 minutes to answer 12 questions, and you must answer each question in its entirety correctly to get credit. (Remember, you must answer every part of one question to move on to the next question.) You cannot go back to any question once you have moved on. As for scoring, you can earn a score of 1-8, which is separate from your Total GMAT Score.

Now, let’s look at the four steps you should take to approach the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT…

1. Determine the type of question

There are four types of questions in the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section: Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, and Multi-Source Reasoning. Look at the information presented, then read the multiple-part question. No outside information is necessary. To help you concentrate and better understand the question that is being asked, use your pen and sheet to write to the question, and then look through the data to find what you need to answer the question.

2. Address each part of the question, one at a time

Separating the question into logical parts before you dive in completely can greatly help you here. Don’t try to answer everything at once. Read one part of the question, look at the information provided, and select the best answer choice. Then, move on to the next part of the question, and do the same thing until you have selected the best answer choice for each part. Additionally, this is the one section of the GMAT in which an on-screen calculator is provided, so use the tools you have to solve the problem at hand.

3. Maximize your opportunity for full credit

Again, you must answer all parts of a question correctly to get any credit for that question. There is no partial credit available. Make sure that you have answered all of the parts of the question to the best of your ability, but try not to second-guess yourself. You’re confirming your answer, not looking for a new one. Also, keep in mind that you only have 30 minutes to answer all of the questions in this section. So, if you are completely unsure of an answer, take your best guess and move on.

4. Move on to the next question confidently

This can be hard because you want to make sure you answered everything correctly, but that’s why you have step number three (see above!). 30 minutes total is approximately 2.5 minutes per question set, so you must move forward. Conversely, if you find yourself rushing through the Integrated Reasoning section during your practice sessions, then slow down. You don’t get any points for completing a section early, so pace yourself to achieve your best performance and maximize your scoring potential. If you need to work with a GMAT tutor beforehand to nail down your pacing, consider checking out online tutoring to get efficient and effective assistance!

Integrated Reasoning may be the newest section of the GMAT, but there are plenty of GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice tests you can work with beforehand. You can also apply some of the skills you are practicing for Reading Comprehension and Problem-Solving questions to Integrated Reasoning questions, and vice versa. By reading questions involving graphs, data analysis, tables, and multiple figures, you will be on your way to developing the necessary techniques to solve the problems you will encounter in Integrated Reasoning on the GMAT.