B-Schools not Sold on Importance of GMAT’s IR Section


Two years after its launch, a majority of business schools in the USA are still discounting GMAT’s® Integrated Reasoning Section; most deem it unimportant, but students ignore it at their own risk

According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of admissions officers at over 200 business schools across the United States,  60% say that an applicant’s score on the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section (launched in June 2012) is not currently an important part of their evaluation of a prospective student’s overall GMAT score.

This represents a slight uptick from Kaplan’s 2013 survey, when 57% said an applicant’s Integrated Reasoning score was not important.  

As part of the survey, admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States – including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2014.

Despite the finding, Kaplan’s survey also finds that 50% of business schools pinpoint a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” confirming that applicants still need to submit a strong score overall. And because GMAT takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, poor performance on this section cannot be masked by stronger performance on the Quantitative, Verbal or Analytical Writing Assessment sections of the exam.

Keep in mind that the survey was conducted in the USA and B-Schools in India, Europe or Asia may well have a very different point of view

Kaplan’s survey results may also reflect the fact that not everyone in a school’s applicant pool has an IR score because of the newness of the section. That can discourage admissions officers from using it to evaluate candidates because the scores cannot be applied broadly across all the candidates under consideration.

“The fact that a majority of MBA programs are still not currently placing great importance on the Integrated Reasoning section of GMAT is somewhat understandable since they may want to gather additional performance data before fully incorporating it into their evaluation process.  It’s important to remember that because GMAT scores are good for five years, many applicants in 2012, 2013 and 2014 probably submitted scores from the old GMAT, which did not include the Integrated Reasoning section.” said Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“As more and more applicants submit scores from the current GMAT over the next couple of years, business schools may decide that Integrated Reasoning performance should play a more critical role.

Until that time though, Kaplan strongly advises MBA applicants not to discount the importance of preparing for and doing well on the Integrated Reasoning section. Similar to how not scoring well on Integrated Reasoning cannot be masked  by good performance on other sections because it receives its own separate score, doing well on Integrated Reasoning can set you apart from other applicants in a positive way. Use it to your advantage.”

Also, keep in mind that the survey was conducted in the USA and B-Schools in India, Europe or Asia may well have a very different point of view.

Leave A Reply