5 Tips for the Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT

by Sara Vazquez Shaw

If you are applying for admission to a graduate program such as an MBA, you are probably going to have to take the GMAT exam, Graduate Management Admission Test. This computer adaptive test is designed to find out what your skills are in certain areas like verbal, reading, writing, quantitative and analytical. There are some tips that may make taking this part of the GMAT a bit easier.

The Integrated reasoning section is fairly new to the GMAT as it was just introduced in 2012. This part of the exam is to test your skills when it comes to evaluating data that is shown to you in different formats from different sources. There are a total of 12 questions in the integrated reasoning area that are broken down into four categories: multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, table analysis and two-part analysis.

Time management is important- While there are 12 question in this section, many of the questions will have 2-3 individual questions of their own. Also, you don't get partial credit in this section at all. Because of these two facts, you need to use your time and use it wisely. If you absolutely cannot answer the last statement in enough time, you are better off just guessing and moving on to the next question.

Learn graphs and learn them well- If you are not a natural math whiz, you are going to have to learn all you can about graphs. Two of the best resources for learning graphs are the Economist Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Both of these resources will have a graph or two scattered in each issue. Locate the graphs in these resources and figure out how to interpret them into context.

Grasp the concept of reading comprehension- Most of the integrated reasoning section of the GMAT involves know exactly what the question asks as well as how to actually solve the question. You can't solve the question if you don't understand what the question is asking. It is important that you don't get wrapped up in the details but instead understand what the chart or table is actually presenting. Read the titles and captions first since these are what the question works off.

Think of this section as an open-book test- One of the most common mistakes test takers make in the integrated reasoning section is that they use the wrong information due to a slight understanding of the information presented. The information you need to solve these questions is right in front of you on the screen, you just have to know where to find it. Consider what the question is actually asking you and then think about which part of the passage or which chart, graph or table gives you the important information you will need to answer the question correctly.