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Heads Up: What MBA Applicants Must Know About GMAT Integrated Reasoning

A recent press release from Kaplan Test Prep indicated that many top MBA programs do not place a high value on the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT, which was introduced in 2012. 60% of the schools surveyed felt that the Integrated Reasoning section was not important when evaluating MBA applicants.

However, about 50% of respondents named a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” or the biggest obstacle to getting into business school.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning

So, how much should MBA applicants worry about the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section?

Keep Scoring Process In Mind

On a GMAT score report, MBA applicants’ Integrated Reasoning scores are shown separately from the Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical and Writing Assessment sections. Consequently, a poor performance will immediately stand out and give MBA admissions board s a reason to doubt you. As you prepare for the GMAT, make sure that your Integrated Reasoning score is at least high enough to not distract from your other numbers.

Evaluate Your Strengths

As you decide how much study time to devote to the Integrated Reasoning section, consider your other scores.

  • If you have consistently scored well on other sections in practice tests, but are struggling with the Integrated Reasoning section, you should devote more time to studying for that section, so that a low score does not detract from your strengths. An average score should not be a problem, but you do not want any outlying low scores.
  • If you are struggling with the core GMAT sections, you should devote most of your effort towards improving those crucial numbers to avoid “the biggest application killer.”
  • If you are exceptionally good at the Integrated Reasoning section, consider yourself lucky. You will have a stellar score to go alongside your other numbers.



The Integrated Reasoning section may not be crucial to getting into business school, but that does not mean you should dismiss it entirely. Take a few practice tests to determine where your Integrated Reasoning scores fall, and how much time you need to devote to improving your scores on other sections. Look at those results, and using the bullets above, plan your study time accordingly.

What do you think about the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Click here to leave a comment on our Facebook page and let me know what you think.

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