Integrated Reasoning: Official Guide Overview

May 14, 2012

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Included with the 13th edition of the GMAT Official Guide is a link to an online resource containing 50 practice Integrated Reasoning questions. This is the most extensive resource currently available to help you prepare for this new section of the GMAT.

Not only do these 50 practice questions give you a glimpse into what will be expected of you on test day, but they also hint at the overall structure of the Integrated Reasoning section. Since no one has yet experienced this section as part of their GMAT, that's valuable information.

There are four question types in GMAT Integrated Reasoning: Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis. Each one has its own structure and presents its own challenges. The first three of these types bombard you with lots of information, while Two-Part Analysis expects you to make a variety of deductions based on a small amount of information.

Here's the extent to which each question type is represented in the Official Guide:

  • Multi-Source Reasoning: 18 questions, spread across 4 "passages." (Unlike Reading Comprehension, MSR passages contain more than one tab.) Two of the passages are accompanied by 6 questions; the other two have 3.
  • Table Analysis: 6 questions. (Each question is accompanied by a unique table.)
  • Graphics Interpretation: 9 questions. (Each has a unique graph.)
  • Two-Part Analysis: 17 questions.

On the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT, there are only 12 questions. Based on the practice material provided, we can make some educated guesses as to what the section will contain. We can also expect that the different question types will be mixed together: Questions 1 and 2 might be Two-Part Analysis, followed by a Table Analysis problem, followed by another Two-Part Analysis question, and so on.

Here is a likely distribution of questions on the actual GMAT Integrated Reasoning section:

  • Multi-Source Reasoning: 4 questions, all associated with a single passage.
  • Table Analysis: 2 questions.
  • Graphics Interpretation: 2 questions.
  • Two-Part Analysis: 4 questions.

A key takeaway here is to focus on Two-Part Analysis. The question type is not entirely unfamiliar, since it has some characteristics in common with Critical Reasoning. It makes up one third of the Integrated Reasoning section--almost half if you consider the single Multi-Source Reasoning passage as one unit. Furthermore, the prompts are much shorter and more manageable than the multiple passages of Multi-Source Reasoning and the unwieldy spreadsheets of Table Analysis.

Later this week, we'll take this analysis one step further and create a more detailed time-management approach to the Integrated Reasoning section. Stay tuned! (Or if you haven't already, join thousands of fellow students and subscribe to GMAT Hacks.)



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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