Is the section on GMAT Integrated Reasoning important? Isn’t it (almost) all about the 800 score on the GMAT? Will scores reject applicants with strong Quantitative and Verbal scores but poor Integrated Reasoning scores? Ever since GMAC introduced the Integrated Reasoning section on the GMAT, these questions have been coming in. Now, two years after that, they have acquired rising numbers. Through this article, we at GyanOne try to answer some of the questions we are most frequently asked about Integrated Reasoning scores on the GMAT.
Is GMAT integrated reasoning important or is it just another statistic?
Through statistics published by GMAC, we now know that 95% of test takers (+/- 2 standard deviations) fall within 2 and 6 on the 8-point GMAT Integrated Reasoning scale. The mean is 4.34 with a Standard Deviation of 2.1 (see this link)), but Integrated Reasoning scores are reported only on 1-point increments. For GMAT-takers, therefore, a score of 2 or below would therefore be considered poor, while a score of 6 or more should invite no cause for anxiety on the Integrated Reasoning front.
How do B schools look at the GMAT Integrated Reasoning score?
Most schools do not have a specific evaluation criteria around the Integrated Reasoning scores that they receive. They do, however, look at the scores to check if they are too low. In most cases, a high IR score will not win you too much credit (see this link for some information on this topics from Kaplan and this link for some information from ClearAdmit). Consider here also the fact that some applicants applying to the same programs now use GRE scores, and the GRE of course does not include an IR section at all. However, a weak score might raise eyebrows. MBA programs involve a lot of data interpretation, so a very low score may raise eyebrows. In some rare situations, some schools have given applicants feedback on retaking the GMAT because they had very low IR scores (2 and below). However, this is certainly not the norm, and in most cases if your Quant score is good, you need not sweat too much about IR.
Most business schools, at this point in time, are looking at IR scores as good indicators of abilities and skills that are directly correlated to doing better at jobs later on. However, every school also realizes that a low IR score may not necessarily correlate to weaknesses in these areas, and even if it does, this will be more than made up during the MBA program.
Should you retake GMAT just because of a low GMAT score?
If your overall score is good, no. However, you should probably explain the low IR score and be ready to answer questions around this in your interview. Some applicants also try to make up for an unusually low IR score by taking data analysis courses through online platforms such as Coursera. It is a plus if you can do this, though it is not really needed.