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Integrated Reasoning

GMAT integrated reasoning
Integrated Reasoning (IR) measures your ability to analyze information and data presented in graphical, tabular, and written formats. In the IR section, you have 30 minutes to address 12 questions, an average of 2 minutes 30 seconds per question. As described below, each question is accompanied by one, two, or three sub-questions to answer. You must correctly answer each sub-question for the question to be considered correctly answered; there is no partial credit. Some question stimuli may be repeated but with different questions, particularly for multi-source reasoning. You are able to use an on-screen calculator during the IR section only, because the numbers used in IR will not necessarily be as easy to manipulate as those in the quantitative section. Unlike the quantitative and verbal sections, the IR section is not adaptive; question difficulty does not change based on your prior performance.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Question Types

The IR section contains four question types. The mix of non-experimental questions among these four types has not been disclosed but will be the same for everyone. The links below open up sample questions provided by the GMAC for each of these question types; answers are given but no explanations are provided.

  • Graphics Interpretation questions require you to interpret some sort of graph, which often but not always contains vertical and horizontal axes. Each question will have two fill-in-the-blank statements with drop-down boxes. The drop-down boxes allow you to select from three to five possible answers for each statement, with one correct answer per statement. Before proceeding with any calculations, be sure to review the available answer options in the drop-down box.
  • Two-Part Analysis questions provide a stimulus with a two-part question. Both parts of the question will be related somehow, and may even be dependent on each other. You are given five or six possible answers in a column format, and must choose one answer for each part of the two-part question by selecting one answer in the first and the second columns. Although uncommon, it is possible for the same answer to be correct for both question parts.
  • Table Analysis questions present a spreadsheet-like table of information that can be sorted by any column by selecting the column title from a drop-down box. Tables can be as big as 21 rows by 9 columns, not including title rows. You will be presented with three statements with two opposite answer choices (e.g. yes/no, true/false) and you must choose the correct option for each statement. We recommend that you understand what information the table contains (at a big-picture level) before proceeding to the questions.
  • Multi-Source Reasoning questions provide two or three sources of information on tabbed pages that you can switch between, but cannot view simultaneously. The information provided is often text, but can include a chart or table. You will be given either three opposite-answer questions (as with Table Analysis) or one multiple choice question with five answers (as with Reading Comprehension). Making reasonable inferences from the information presented is particularly important.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Approach and Scoring

By design, IR questions can be challenging and require a combination of verbal and math skills. IR questions require careful reading of the stimulus and strong logical reasoning abilities, similar to what is required on the verbal Critical Reasoning question type. Some IR questions require knowledge and usage of certain math concepts, such as percents, statistics, overlapping groups, and probability. When tackling IR questions, start with a big picture approach. If you are given a table or graph, quickly review it to understand what information you have at your disposal when answering the questions. Since lots of extra information may be presented in the question stimulus, you will need to quickly extract the relevant data to answer the questions.

The IR section does not factor whatsoever into your main 200-800 GMAT score. You get a separate IR score on a scale from 1 to 8. Your IR score is based on the percentage of questions that you answer correctly (meaning all sub-questions were answered correctly), with no additional penalty for incorrect responses. The four question types are all weighted equally. On official GMAT practice tests, you can miss as many as three of the 12 IR questions and still score a perfect 8. On the real GMAT, however, you can miss only one of the nine non-experimental IR questions to score a perfect 8.

Sample GMAT Integrated Reasoning Problem

Let’s try a sample two-part analysis problem. Attempt the problem on your own before viewing the answer and explanation.

Read the information provided, review the options presented in the table, and indicate which option meets the criterion presented in the first column and which option meets the criterion presented in the second column. Make only two selections, one in each column.

The organizers of a major technology conference to be held in 2012 are scheduling keynote speakers for the two-day event. Six speakers are required for each day. To reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of the technology industry, more than 50% of the speakers on one day will be from start-up companies. Consistent with the conference’s theme, at least five speakers on the other day will be from social media companies. Neither day should have more than two speakers from the same company. The conference organizers have already scheduled 10 speakers, five for each day, as listed below in alphabetical order by last name.

Day 1 Day 2
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, software, big company
Dick Costolo, Twitter, social media, big company
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook, social media, big company
Ben Silbermann, Pinterest, social media, start-up
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, social media, big company
Paul Berry, RebelMouse, social media, start-up
Billy Chasen, Turntable, social media, start-up
John Donahoe, eBay, auctions, big company
Ian Hunter, Zaarly, social media, start-up
Meg Whitman, Hewlett Packard, hardware, big company

Select a speaker who could be added to the schedule on either day. Then select a speaker who could be added to the schedule on neither day. Make only two selections, one in each column.

Either Day Neither Day Speaker
Mona Bijoor, Joor, fashion, start-up
Paul Davison, Highlight, social media, start-up
David Ebersman, Facebook, social media, big company
Kellee Khalil, Loverly, wedding planning, start-up
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn, social media, big company
Nate Westheimer, PictureLife, file backup, start-up