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More on the Integrated Reasoning Section

Posted in Test Prep on September 26, 2011 by

Last time I blogged about what I learned at the GMAC Test Prep Summit and I briefly mentioned the new Integrated Reasoning section that will begin to appear on the GMAT in June 2012. On its website GMAC has made available some sample questions that you can find here.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the new section:

The Table Analysis prompt requires you to analyze and sort data in a spreadsheet-like document. The Graphics Interpretation prompt requires that you understand concepts like slope and lines of regression (otherwise known as “lines of best fit”). I wouldn’t be surprised if other kinds of graphic representation, such as pie charts and Venn diagrams, will appear as well.

The Multi-Source Reasoning prompt is like a Critical Reasoning inference question with three distinct but related passages. Finally, the Two-Part Analysis Prompt gives you two components to a solution and requires you to provide your answer in a table format. Both the Multi-Source Reasoning and Two-Part Analysis prompt involve some simple math, and the Multi-Source question requires some basic knowledge of probability. Full disclosure: at first I found the Two-Part Analysis prompt very difficult, because I foolishly assumed that the third column referred to a percentage, and not just to the actual increase of members per year. I constructed a complicated exponential equation when all that was really required was a simple linear equation!

Once I realized my mistake, my impression of these problems was that they were pretty easy. I’m not sure if the math will get much harder; how very nice of the GMAT to provide a calculator for the easiest math problems and then take it away for the Quant section!

But remember, you will see 12 of these prompts, and have to answer one or more questions about each in 30 minutes. In April 2012, GMAC will release new GMAT Prep software (which, by the way, will be Mac-compatible!), as well as the 13th Edition of the Official Guide. Once we see more sample questions, we will have a better sense of how difficult the section is and how it will be scored.