For many students, there’s an air of mystery surrounding the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section. Designed to test real-world skills, the IR section can seem more complicated to study for than the other sections of the exam. In this guide, I’ll help you find the best tools for GMAT integrated reasoning practice.
First, I’ll talk about what the IR section tests and the types of questions you’ll see on it. Next, I’ll talk about what you need to prepare for the IR and what you should look for in your IR practice materials. Then, I’ll review both official and unofficial practice materials so that you have a good starting place to begin your practice. Finally, I’ll give you some tips for making the most out of your Integrated Reasoning GMAT practice.
What’s on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section?
The GMAT Integrated Reasoning section is non-adaptive (meaning the difficulty level of questions doesn’t vary depending on how you do), contains 12 questions, and lasts for 30 minutes. The IR section is scored from 1 to 8, in single-digit increments. Like the Analytical Writing Assessment, your IR score is separate from your Quantitative and Verbal scores and doesn’t factor into your total GMAT score.
IR questions a more open-ended than normal multiple choice questions. Instead of simply selecting the one right answer of five options, you may choose one, two, three, four, or even all five answers as correct. IR questions ask you to use both your Verbal and Quantitative skills together. You’ll have to analyze data in a number of forms (words, charts, tables, etc) and pull out insights from each.
There are four types of GMAT IR questions:
- Two-part analysis: these questions are often wordy and have small tables attached to them. You’ll be asked to choose two correct answers out of five or six options.
- Multi-source reasoning: these questions present information from, you guessed it, multiple sources. You’ll navigate through and analyze multiple sources of data.
- Graphic interpretation: these questions require you to analyze the information presented in a graph or a chart. You’ll have two questions, with answer choices presented in drop down menu format.
- Table analysis: data in these questions is presented in a sortable table along with three questions. To answer these questions correctly, you’ll need to differentiate between essential and nonessential information.
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What Should I Look for in GMAT Integrated Reasoning Practice?
As a test-taker, it can be hard to figure out which GMAT integrated reasoning practice questions are right for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering which materials to use.
#1: Do the Questions Have the Same Format as Real GMAT IR Questions?
GMAT IR questions have unique formats that are unfamiliar for most students and can be confusing. The only way to ensure you know how to approach the questions on test day is to practice with questions that look like those you’ll see on the real GMAT IR section until you’re comfortable with with their style. As such, it’s vital that your GMAT IR practice questions are the same four types and closely resemble those you’ll see on the test.
#2: Is the Resource Computerized?
You’ll take the GMAT on a computer, so it makes sense to practice on a computer as much as possible before test day. This is especially important for IR practice, since the questions require you manipulate data and interact with answers in ways that aren’t possible on paper.
#3: Does the Difficulty Level of the Practice Questions Match the Real GMAT?
While the Integrated Reasoning section isn’t adaptive, you will see questions at different difficulty levels (easy, medium, and hard). When practicing, you’ll want to make sure that your GMAT IR practice questions cover all difficulty levels so you’re prepared to solve whatever questions you see on test day.
You should also beware that unofficial questions can sometimes be much easier or harder than the questions you’ll actually see on the GMAT. If you notice that you’re doing much better or worse than usual on a specific set of practice questions, consider that they may not be very accurate.
#4: Are Practice Questions Grouped by Skill or Difficulty Level?
Targeted practice, when you focus your practice session on one specific skill or question type, is one of the most effective ways to prepare for the GMAT. If you decide to focus on solving only graphic interpretation questions for one hour-long session, you’ll learn more than if you break that same one-hour session into shorter, 15-minute sections for all four question types. You might also want target your practice by difficulty level, for instance working at solving easy questions in a shorter amount of time.
Resources that allow you to sort questions by difficulty level or skill are extremely valuable, since they make creating targeted practice sets much simpler.
Official GMAT Integrated Reasoning Practice
Using official GMAT integrated reasoning practice questions is a great way to ensure that you’re preparing with high-quality practice questions. The questions in GMAT official resources are actual, retired GMAT questions, written by the same people who write the real GMAT.
This print guide, written by GMAC, is an official study guide that covers all sections of the GMAT. The guide comes with a chapter dedicated to the Integrated Reasoning section, which reviews the question types and discusses strategies for solving problems. The guide also comes with access to an online Integrated Reasoning companion, which includes more information about the IR section as well as 50 online IR practice problems.
Overall, it’s a great place to start with your GMAT prep, including for IR.
This online software gives you access to two full-length practice computer-based tests, with the option of purchasing up to six total CATs. Each of the practice tests includes one IR section, with 12 questions.
Beyond the CATs, GMATPrep includes an additional 15 free IR practice questions.
IR Prep Tool ($19.99)
This online software includes 48 IR questions, answer explanations, and customizable question sets. This resource is great because it lets you create your own sets of GMAT IR practice questions, sorting by question type and difficulty. It also lets you practice questions in either study mode (untimed) or exam mode (timed).
If you really want to focus on GMAT IR practice, this is one of the best tools available, but it’s fairly expensive for just a few dozen questions, especially compared to the full official guide.
Unofficial GMAT Integrated Reasoning Practice
Because the Integrated Reasoning section is the newest section on the GMAT, there are relatively few resources out there, especially if you compare the few GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice questions to the numerous Quant or Verbal questions. Even so, there are some high-quality GMAT IR practice materials out there that you can use to supplement the official resources in your prep.
Veritas Prep Integrated Reasoning Sample Questions
Veritas Prep has developed a number of Integrated Reasoning practice questions, and offers 14 of them free-of-charge on their website. Veritas Prep is known for having high-quality practice questions and this resource gives you realistic examples of all four types of questions that you’ll find on the IR section. The questions are also accompanied by in-depth explanations that explain why each answer is correct or incorrect.
GMAT Club’s E-Book Bundle
GMAT Club, an online forum that provides support and advice for GMAT test takers, has compiled a list of all free e-books and practice question sets that address the IR section. This resource is great for test takers who are looking for materials that include both instruction and practice questions. Note that these downloadable resources are available as PDFs, so you won’t be able to solve questions online.
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GMAT Pill’s Integrated Reasoning Sample Questions
GMATPill has compiled nearly 200 IR sample questions that you can practice online. These questions are broken down into question type, with specific information on skills tested and solve rate, so you can see how hard each question is.
The online format is useful, because you’ll get used to solving the questions on a computer, but the web-based interface doesn’t look anything at all like the interface on the real GMAT. Keep that in mind as you’re practicing.
800score.com’s Integrated Reasoning Sample Questions
800score.com offers demos of the four question types in an online format that has a very similar interface to the actual GMAT. The site also offers instructional videos and other resources you can use in your prep.
Unfortunately, there are only four GMAT integrated reasoning practice questions here, but they’re of high quality and worthwhile for their similarity to actual GMAT IR questions.
4 Tips for Making the Most of Your GMAT Integrated Reasoning Practice
It’s important to make sure that you’re making the most out of your GMAT test prep by practicing smart. Here are some tips for how to make sure you’re making your GMAT IR prep valuable.
#1: Practice Your Pacing
The GMAT IR section is short – only 30 minutes to solve 12 complex, multi-step questions. It’s important to consider timing when you’re practicing. You’ll want to pay attention to how long it takes you to solve problems, particularly during practice tests, when you’ll be answering all 12 questions in one sitting. As you practice, place time limits on yourself and work to see how quickly you can solve problems.
#2: Put Away the Calculator
The IR section doesn’t let you use your own calculator, though you’ll have access to an online calculator with basic functions. Practice using the online calculator with your sample questions, or using a simple four-function calculator on your phone that mimics the simple calculator you’ll use on the test. By only using the resources you’ll actually have on the GMAT, you’ll ensure you’re comfortable and prepared on test day.
#3: Dedicate Time to IR Practice
Many test takers skip preparing for the IR section in favor of spending more time on the Quant and Verbal sections, since they’re considered more important. But as the IR section becomes more seasoned, business schools are considering IR scores more. Especially since the IR section is designed to simulate skills you’ll need in the real world, it’s important to make sure you do well on it!
While you’ll likely spend more time prepping for the Quant and Verbal sections, build in time to focus on IR. Make sure you take the IR section on every practice test you do and spend a few dedicated study sessions on IR questions.
#4: Familiarize Yourself With the Questions
The IR questions look different from every other question type on the GMAT. Spend time with the practice questions so that you familiarize yourself with the visual nature of these questions, as well as with the practice of choosing multiple right answers. Doing so will help you feel more confident on test day. It will also save you time, as you’ll be able to easily recognize question types and know what to when you take the actual exam.
Is the GMAT Total score the only one that matters? Read our guide to find out how the total score is calculated and how business schools weight the different scores.
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