The IR section was introduced to the GMAT in 2012, replacing the analysis of an issue portion of the exam. It tests your ability to analyze data in multiple formats. You will be given 12 questions in total and will have 30 minutes to answer them. Many of these questions will have several parts and you are not given partial credit for any answer. So, if you do not have time to dedicate your full attention to each aspect of the question, don’t bother with it at all.
Unlike the quant and verbal sections of the exam, the integrated reasoning section of the test is not computer adaptive, so how well you perform will not affect your future questions. Despite the fact that it is not computer adaptive, you still cannot go back to questions once you have submitted the answers, so make sure you are positive when you click that confirm button. Another important difference is that you will be given a calculator for the integrated reasoning section. There will be a lot of complicated calculations to work through, so make sure that you take advantage of it.
The IR section is scored from 1-8 in whole point increments. Again, you will not be given partial credit for any question so make sure you can do the whole question or don’t bother at all. Since, the test is so new it is still not completely known how important the IR score is and how admissions committees will use it. A good IR score might compensate for a less than stellar Quant score, so I would definitely recommend putting some effort into it.
The four question types
There are four different question types on the integrated reasoning section: multi-source reasoning, two part analysis, table analysis and graphics interpretation.
This question type will provide you with three different tabs of information, which can come in various forms, for example tables or written. You will need to read each tab and organize the information in your head and jot down a map of it on your notepad. You will also be given 3 questions based on the information. They will most likely be yes or no questions. The key to multi-source reasoning is to use the easiest rules first to eliminate the wrong answers.
Two Part Analysis:
This section will ask you to solve a problem with a two-part solution. The answer choices will be given in the form of a table and you will have to select an answer from each column to satisfy each solution. It is important to make sure you select the right answer to the right column. This question type can come in the form of a critical reasoning type question or can be more similar to a problem-solving question.
In this question type, you will be provided with a table and asked several questions about the information provided. The great thing about this question type is that you can sort the table by the different columns, making it easier to find the information you need.
As suggested by the name, you will be provided with a graph that you will have to answer questions about. The graph can come in many forms: scatterplot, Venn diagram or your typical xy graph. Unlike table interpretation, you will not be able to rearrange the information. You will be provided with two sentences with drop down menus and you will have to choose the best option for each sentence.