GMAT Integrated Reasoning: Two-Part Analysis

March 12, 2012

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Of all the new question types included in the GMAT's new Integrated Reasoning section, coming in June 2012, the most interesting may be Two-Part Analysis.

The skills tested in Two-Part Analysis (TPA) are almost indistinguishable from those already tested in the Quant and Verbal sections. What makes the format different is that it throws away many of the traditional conventions of the standardized-test question.

The GMAC has made available five practice TPA questions. You'll see that they test familiar material: critical reasoning skills, quantitative word problems, basic statistical reasoning, and so on. In fact, with a little tweaking, those sample questions could appear on either the Quant or Verbal sections.

But in Two-Part Analysis, each "question" is really more than one question. Based on a passage, you're asked to evaluate two things--they may be the same metric for two organizations, definitions of two terms, or two completely separate issues, turning the problem into a sort of matching game.

It may sound complicated, but compared to traditional GMAT Quant problems, this is more straightforward. Now, a difficult Quant or Verbal question can trick you by including choices that answer slightly different questions. In Two-Part Analysis, you're asked to answer more than one question. No trickery, just a bit more work.

The lesson here is that Two-Part Analysis (and for the most part, GMAT Integrated Reasoning in general) doesn't require that you study new material. All you have to do is familiarize yourself with the new format. Fortunately, the new edition of the GMAT Official Guide will include plenty of Integrated Reasoning practice, and it will be another year or more before your IR score has the potential to make or break your B-School admissions chances.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

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