GMAT To Include Integrated Reasoning Section Starting June 2012

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently announced changes to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) that are set to take effect June 4, 2012. The test, called Next Generation GMAT, will include an integrated reasoning section. The goal of this new section is to provide insight into how the test taker will perform in today’s information-filled business environment.

The integrated reasoning section will evaluate the test taker’s ability to evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources. These sources may include graphs, charts, and spreadsheets. Test takers will also be asked to evaluate trade-offs, interpret visual data representations, and determine probability and statistics. While question types are still in testing, the GMAC predicts that some questions will have multiple parts and more than one correct answer. They have not yet decided whether partial credit will be an option on these questions.

For the past four years, the GMAC has conducted surveys of business school faculties in order to evaluate the current test and pinpoint improvements that could be made to the test for the future. The integrated reasoning section is the primary result of these surveys. Faculties expressed the need for incoming students to be able to integrate data, work through complex problems, and make statistical inferences. Next Generation GMAT seeks to make the test more applicable to business schools by asking test takers to complete problems that are similar to the work they will face once in graduate school.

The GMAT will still take three and a half hours to complete. The 30 minutes integrated reasoning section will replace one of the two essays in the analytical writing section.

Currently, the GMAT analytical writing section contains one Analysis of an Issue essay and one Analysis of an Argument essay. The Next Generation GMAT will only include one essay, but students could be assigned either an Analysis of an Issue prompt or an Analysis of an Argument prompt. Therefore, test takers will still need to prepare for both types of essay during their GMAT test preparation. Business school admissions officers have stated that the two current essay test scores are highly correlated. For this reason, they anticipate that one essay will continue to provide a fair and accurate measure of test takers’ abilities.

Scoring on the Next Generation GMAT will change only slightly. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT will remain the same and will continue to be scored on a scale of 200-800. There will be a separate score for the single essay in the analytical writing section and a second separate score for the integrated reasoning section.

The GMAC assures future test takers that more information about specific question types and sample tests for Next Generation GMAT will be available closer to the time of the test’s release. A GMAT course will help people planning to take the GMAT after June 2012 to prepare for the test, including the new section. Developing a comprehensive study plan is the best way to ensure success on the GMAT. Making time for GMAT test preparation and taking Next Generation GMAT practice tests are generally the best way to enter the exam confident and prepared.

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