If you are a b-school aspirant looking to take the GMAT and are alarmed by the title of this piece, don’t be: the new section, announced by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) on 24 June 2011 comes into effect only one year later, specifically 4 June 2012. That being said, MBA applicants should be aware of this new section titled Integrated Reasoning.
The Common Aptitude Test, GMAT’s equivalent in some parts of the world, exemplifies some sharp contrast in test design: while the Common Aptitude Test has sections on Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning, the GMAT scored applicants on Verbal and Quantitative aptitude, with a different section on Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). On first glance, you can see that Data Interpretation is not something the GMAT tests on, with Logical Reasoning being lightly covered by AWA.
Now, this latest development seems to address this issue by adding a new section called Integrated Reasoning where test takers will need to interpret charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, determine the relationships among data points, and answer interactive questions that will test their analytical skills. Additionally, they will also need to respond to inputs over headphones to gauge their auditory learning capability; something similar is already in place for the TOEFL (Test Of English As a Foreign language), often a requirement for admission to b-schools where the medium of instruction is English and the applicant is not a native in that language. The official press release and additonal information about this change can be found at the GMAC website.
While GMAC says that this change will make GMAT more reflective of what MBA students experience in school, its rivalry with ETS’s (Educational Testing Services) GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and the fact that the latter is finding increasing acceptance among b-schools would have definitely influenced this decision.
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