5 Takeaways From The New Integrated Reasoning Sample Questions on mba.com

Chris Ryan —  December 8, 2011 — 1 Comment

GMAC has posted new sample Integrated Reasoning questions here. Here’s a first review of these questions, with 5 big takeaways.

1) No Drastic Changes

There’s nothing here that’s too surprising. Integrated Reasoning emphasizes three big tasks:

a) Deal with integrated math & verbal content, as the name says
b) Deal with real-world data in quantity
c) Read critically, drawing accurate inferences from given evidence

The newly released questions reflect these three tasks, just as the older ones did.

2) A Few New Charts “ But Not Difficult

One question shows a Venn diagram with overlapping circles, while another shows an exploded timeline with three different scales. Those may be new and unfamiliar, but you have to trust yourself that you can figure them out.

Yes, you should become familiar with these examples, but the path to glory is not to memorize a zillion kinds of charts. Instead, practice reading carefully what you’re given. Take an unfamiliar chart on its own terms. What is the title? What does each part mean, and how does it relate to the rest of the chart? That’s the way to handle the variety.

3) Some Smaller Sortable Tables, Thank Goodness

The only example of a sortable table released till now had 9 columns and 21 rows. Yikes!

Newer tables have 5 columns and 7-9 rows. That’s a relief. The 9 by 21 table is probably at the upper extreme of what you’ll see on the real thing.

4) Critical Reading = Critical Reasoning + Reading Comp (and a hint of Data Sufficiency)

One new prompt in Multi-Source Reasoning (with 3 tabs) pushes the envelope on integrating Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension”and even Data Sufficiency.

Do you have enough information to prove statement X or Y or Z? Does statement X or Y or Z confirm such and such a result? The new Yes/No Question format lends itself well to these sorts of inference questions (since you are asked about X, Y and Z independently).

So you have to read closely and carefully. Of course, this skill is tested throughout the rest of the GMAT. It’s just incarnated in a slightly different form here.

5) A Certain Stats Topic Might Be De-Emphasized?

One previously released sample problem has been omitted from the new list. This problem asked you to estimate a probability. Actually computing that probability would require a spreadsheet and some more advanced stats that you’ll learn in business school “ the binomial distribution. It may be that the GMAC folks recognized this difficulty and pulled the question.


Check back frequently in the coming weeks and months for much more Integrated Reasoning news and strategy.

Chris Ryan


One response to 5 Takeaways From The New Integrated Reasoning Sample Questions on mba.com

  1. Hi – Thanks for your post. I am studying through complete set of 8 MGMAT books + bought IR a week ago… just on my way now!

    I got couple of questions:
    1. Can you plz advise if this Manhattan IR book would be sufficient or should I go through this GMAC site in addition?
    2. I also have latest OG-13, which carries few questions on IR. Are they different than this website?

    Thanks for your advise, will save me a lot of time.


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