The New GMAT: What You Should Know

(Editor's Note: Today's post is contributed by the team at Grockit, an online test prep service that boasts a variety of social learning features for their users. In this article, Grockit offers their insight on the new GMAT and what you need to know.)

Who? - The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) is launching a new version of its signature test, GMAT.  After surveying faculty at top business schools worldwide, and in conjunction with an advisory board of international business faculty and staff, GMAC is making its first significant change to the test in years -- the last big change was in 1997, when the GMAT became computer-adaptive.

What? The new section of the test is called “integrated reasoning” and the name fits the task.  There are four new question types that combine -- or integrate -- verbal and quantitative reasoning:

Two-Part Analysis: The solution to the problem contains two parts, with the answers in table form.  The test-taker needs to choose the correct answer for each of the parts after examining their interrelationship.

Multi-source Reasoning: Two or three different sources of information are given, followed by multiple-choice, true/false or yes/no questions.  The sources might be text (perhaps memos, e-mails or reports) or might be data in table or chart form.

Graphics Interpretation: Given a graph or image, test-takers need to interpret the information and select answer choices that accurately complete several incomplete statements.

Table Analysis: Given a sortable spreadsheet for analysis, test-takers respond to a series of true/false or yes/no questions based on the data on the spreadsheet. The questions are not computer-adaptive. And while there are a number of questions on each screen from a given prompt (a graph, table, problem or set of information), information will not carry over from one prompt to another, and test-takers must still answer the questions in order.  Integrated reasoning will be a separate score, like the essay portion.

Where? - This new section takes the place of one of the essays in the “analytical writing assessment.”  Where before test-takers had to write two essays, an “analysis of an issue” (an exercise in supporting your own argument) and an “analysis of an argument” (an exercise in evaluating what’s missing from another’s argument), only the argument essay remains. Integrated reasoning fills exactly the same amount of time. The test will therefore begin with the 30-minute argument essay, proceed directly to the integrated reasoning (also 30 minutes, like the essay it replaces), then give the option of a break before the quantitative section.  The test still lasts 3 hours and 30 minutes, or 4 hours with the optional breaks.

When? - Beta testing was recently completed last month. The Integrated-reasoning portion will debut in June 2012; so- it’s coming soon.

Why? - The increasing reliance on computer-generated information has led GMAC to alter the test format in an important way. These questions are meant to test the types of skills required by the world of business today:

  • Making decisions based on a realistic mixture of quantitative and verbal data
  • Reorganizing information to answer questions and evaluate trends
  • Understanding the interrelationship of data when solving complex problems

This is a new measurement of business acumen, a new way for admissions offices to differentiate MBA aspirants with otherwise similar records.  

About Grockit - Grockit is a fun and engaging learning community that encourages students to learn from group study, game play, expert tutorials and solo study. Students that prepare with Grockit have proven to achieve higher scores on college admissions tests.