The Best Approach to GMAT IR Questions for Your Prep

On the GMAT, Integrated Reasoning (IR) is a non-adaptive section with various question types that test your ability to deal with real-world problems, an ability greatly valued by business schools and in a modern workplace.

Knowing is half winning — this means that the better your acquaintance with the question types, the better will be your ability to answer them easily and accurately. According to the GMAC, IR is 50% verbal and 50% quantitative. So you need both verbal and quantitative reasoning skills to answer IR questions well. You may not need to learn anything new, but being familiar\ with the question types and having a strategy in place will help.

In the IR Section, you get 12 questions and have 30 minutes to answer them. There are four types of Integrated Reasoning questions: (1) Two-Part Analysis, (2) Multi-Source Reasoning, (3) Graphic Interpretation and (4) Table Analysis. Many of these, particularly the last three types, contain questions requiring multiple responses — and all responses must be right for you to get any marks for that question. This is the only section that allows you to use a calculator, but you cannot use your own calculator; you have to use the on-screen calculator, which provides very basic functionality. You should get used to using the calculator while taking practice tests or doing online IR drills.

Two-Part Analysis questions come with two questions based on a given set of data or information. The answers choices are presented in table format, one column for each question. The subject matter may relate to Verbal or Quant.

Multi-Source Reasoning questions come with two or more tabs providing information from different sources. You will not be able to see all the information in one go. Therefore, it becomes important to read the question first and decide which tab to refer to. These questions often involve more reading of verbal content than the other three types.

The Graphic Interpretation questions test the ability to interpret data critically, sifting through the given information, synthesizing it, and using it as required. These questions require you to handle data in charts and graphs and are more about quantitative skills. The answer options come in the drop-down format.

Table Analysis questions come with the information given in a “sortable” table. You should focus on what you need to answer the questions. Often the crucial point is whether to sort or not to sort.

Here are a few things you should take care of. As you may have realized already, the manner in which the questions are presented is pretty tricky.

● If it’s a question with three, four, or five statements with YES /NO or TRUE/FALSE options — you will need to get your responses to all the statements right to get the question right.

● Some questions won’t have visible answer choices; the answers will appear in a DROP box.

Time management is critical in the Integrated Reasoning section; have a plan in place in advance.

● Remember that you have an on-screen Calculator — use it wisely.

Overall, Integrated Reasoning should not cause too much concern as it is based on what you have already learned in the Quant and Verbal sections. Do not get overwhelmed by the amount of data and apparent complexity presented by the questions. The questions are usually more straightforward than you think — and, perhaps, realize later.

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