How to Improve Integrated Reasoning for a Higher GMAT Score

Looking to boost your GMAT score? Check out our guide on how to improve your integrated reasoning skills to maximize your total score.

Posted January 10, 2024

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Whether you’re just starting to study for the GMAT or are looking to specifically improve your IR score, this guide is for you! Here are some comprehensive strategies to improve your skill set and nail the test.

An Overview of the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning Section

The IR section of GMAT comprises 12 questions that you must complete in 30 minutes. The questions are of four types: two-part analysis, graphic interpretation, multi-source reasoning, and table analysis. You must use your analytical and reasoning skills to answer these questions effectively.

The two-part analysis questions in the IR section of GMAT require you to analyze two sets of data and answer a question based on the relationship between them. The graphic interpretation questions, on the other hand, require you to interpret data presented in graphs, charts, and tables. You must be able to identify trends, patterns, and relationships between the data points to answer these questions correctly.

The multi-source reasoning questions in the IR section of GMAT require you to analyze information from multiple sources, such as emails, memos, and reports, to answer a question. You must be able to identify relevant information, draw conclusions, and make inferences based on the information provided. Finally, the table analysis questions require you to analyze data presented in a table and answer questions based on the information provided.

Top Strategies to Enhance Your Integrated Reasoning Skills for GMAT (for First-Time Test Takers)

  1. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to improving your IR skills. Use official GMAT practice materials and other reputable resources to work on different question types and build your confidence.
  2. Analyze Graphs and Charts: Graphics Interpretation questions require careful analysis of graphs, charts, and tables. Practice interpreting data quickly and accurately to identify the relevant information.
  3. Work with Multiple Sources: Multi-Source Reasoning questions involve synthesizing information from multiple sources. Train yourself to understand the relationships between the different pieces of information presented.
  4. Master Two-Part Analysis: In these questions, you have to solve two related problems simultaneously. Focus on understanding the connection between the two parts and how to approach each part efficiently.
  5. Develop Time Management Skills: The IR section has 12 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. Time management is crucial. Learn to identify which questions to tackle first and when to move on if you encounter difficulties.
  6. Avoid Jumping to Conclusions: The IR section can present complex scenarios, and rushing to conclusions may lead to errors. Take your time to read and analyze the information thoroughly before attempting to answer.
  7. Review Incorrect Answers: After each practice session, thoroughly review your incorrect answers to understand your mistakes and learn from them.
  8. Simulate Test Conditions: As you get closer to the actual exam, simulate test conditions during your practice. Take full-length practice tests with a timer to build your stamina and test-taking skills.
  9. Pay Attention to Detail: Integrated Reasoning questions often involve nuanced information. Be careful not to overlook critical details that can impact your answers.
  10. Get a Coach: Leland is home to countless expert coaches who can help you take your score to the next level! Check some of them out, and sign up for a FREE intro call.

Top Strategies to Enhance Your Integrated Reasoning Skills for GMAT (for Repeat Test Takers)

  1. Analyze Your Previous Performance: Take a deep dive into your previous IR scores and performance. Identify the question types or concepts that gave you the most trouble. Understanding your weaknesses will help you target those areas during your preparation.
  2. Review Your Mistakes: Go through your old practice tests and review the IR questions you answered incorrectly. Understand why you made those mistakes and develop strategies to avoid repeating them.
  3. Identify Time Management Issues: If you faced time management challenges during your previous attempt, work on improving your speed and efficiency in handling different question types.
  4. Practice New Questions: Since you have already seen many of the questions from your previous attempt, seek out new practice materials, including unofficial GMAT sources or fresh sets of questions from reputable prep companies.
  5. Focus on Your Weaknesses: Dedicate extra time and effort to the question types or skills that caused the most difficulty during your previous attempt. This targeted approach will yield better results.
  6. Adopt New Approaches: If your previous problem-solving techniques didn't yield satisfactory results, experiment with alternative strategies. Explore different ways to approach and solve IR questions effectively.
  7. Utilize Personalized Study Plans: Based on your analysis of previous performance, create a personalized study plan that focuses on the areas you need to improve the most.
  8. Simulate Test Conditions: Repeatedly take full-length practice tests under timed conditions to get accustomed to the test's format and build your endurance.
  9. Monitor Your Progress: Regularly track your progress and improvement. Celebrate small victories and use setbacks as opportunities to learn and adjust your study plan.
  10. Seek Expert Guidance: If possible, consider seeking guidance from a GMAT coach or joining a test preparation course that offers targeted assistance in improving IR skills.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Attempting IR Questions on the GMAT

  1. Misreading Data: Carefully read and interpret the information presented in charts, graphs, and tables. Misinterpreting data can lead to incorrect answers.
  2. Ignoring the Online Calculator: The GMAT provides an online calculator for IR questions. Make sure to use it effectively when required, but also be mindful not to rely solely on it. There may be questions where mental math is faster and more accurate.
  3. Not Understanding the Question Types: Familiarize yourself with the different IR question types, as each requires a specific approach. Not understanding the question type can lead to inefficient use of time and incorrect answers.
  4. Rushing Through Questions: The IR section is timed, and candidates often rush to complete all questions. This can lead to careless errors. Focus on accuracy and manage your time wisely.
  5. Overlooking Details: IR questions can have hidden clues and nuances. Pay close attention to the details and don't overlook any crucial information.
  6. Failing to Synthesize Information: In Multi-Source Reasoning questions, failing to synthesize information from different sources can lead to incorrect conclusions. Look for relationships and connections between the data.
  7. Not Checking Assumptions: Avoid making assumptions about the data or the relationships between variables. Stick to the information provided and avoid personal biases.
  8. Getting Distracted by Extraneous Information: Some IR questions may include extra data or irrelevant details to test your ability to filter out essential information. Stay focused on the relevant data.
  9. Not Verifying Your Answers: Check your answers against the given data to ensure they make sense in the context of the question.
  10. Not Reviewing Mistakes: After each practice session, thoroughly review your mistakes to understand the concepts you need to improve and to avoid repeating similar errors.

By following the tips and strategies mentioned above, you can improve your Integrated Reasoning skills and achieve a higher GMAT score. Remember to practice regularly, analyze your mistakes, and seek expert advice if necessary. With dedication and effort, you can ace the GMAT IR section and secure your desired business school admission.

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