Complete Guide to GMAT Integrated Reasoning


What is Integrated Reasoning?

The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section on the GMAT was introduced in 2012. This section tests what the B-Schools authorities think is necessary for the students to succeed in the MBA – ability to analyze data. Managers have to filter through a plentitude of data in various forms to make decisions and incorporate the refined data to find solutions. This is exactly the skill that IR tests the GMAT test-taker.

What does this section constitute?

IR is a 30-minute section. It consists of 12 questions each of which may have many parts. The scores on this section range from a  1-8.  According to the GMAT Syllabus 2020, this section comprises data in the form of passages, table or graphs.  There are four types of questions on this section:

  • Table Analysis – The data is presented in the form of a table whose contents can be sorted column-wise. The answer choice will have three statements which need to be answered with Yes/No or True/False. For a credited response, all three statements should be answered correctly. There is no partial score in this type of question.
  • Graphical Representation – This question will be accompanied by a chart or a graph. There will be two fill in the blanks type questions with answers in a drop-down menu. There can be 3 to 5 answer choices for each question.
  • Two-part Analysis – A brief scenario is described followed by two questions. Both these questions have the same answer choices presented in a table format and there are two columns to choose answers for both the questions. Here too unless both the questions are answered correctly, there is no credited response.
  • Multi-Source Reasoning – Here the information will be presented in two or three tabs. The questions can be either a five answer multiple-choice question or the three statement type questions like the one in Table Analysis.


How is IR similar to the Quant and the Verbal sections of the GMAT?

The IR section tests some of your Critical Reasoning and Quantitative skills. So, when you are preparing for those two sections, you are laying the foundation for the IR section too.  Once you have moved on, you cannot go back to the previous questions. 

How is the IR different from the Verbal and the Quant sections on the GMAT?

  • The IR section is not adaptive, i.e. the performance in a particular question doesn’t affect the difficulty of the next question.
  • The 1-8 score doesn’t contribute towards the composite score of 800.
  • Unlike the quant section, an online calculator is available.
  • The question types are mostly different.


Does my IR scores affect my B-School admissions?

Though it is not very clear as to how the colleges accept the IR scores, there are certain things the applicant needs to keep at the back of his/her mind.

  • A score of 6 on IR corresponds to 70th percentile. So for someone looking for a 700+ on the GMAT, a corresponding decent score on the IR would be 6 or above.
  • The skills that you exhibit on the IR section is what the recruiters will be looking for in their candidates. So, a good IR score will help you stand out.
  • Over the years, there is a shift in how the B-Schools view the IR scores. It is becoming a relevant part of the application process.

How to prepare for the IR section?

No GMAT Prep is complete without preparing for the IR. While selecting the resources for IR prep, remember to keep in mind that the questions should be similar to actual questions.

GMAT Online Prep will be one of the best options because after all GMAT is an online exam. You are going to see the data on the screen and analyze it.


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