1 on Integrated Reasoning = Retake?

Does your Integrated Reasoning Score Matter for MBA Admissions?

gmat tutor nycI had a GMAT tutoring student a few years back who rang in a great GMAT score but landed a one on Integrated Reasoning (IR). He called me that day extremely anxious about getting the lowest possible IR score and what it would mean for admissions.

It’s not good to get a 1 on IR. And it is at best neutral on your MBA application. Still, this tutoring student got into his top school. What can we infer? Even the lowest possible possible IR won’t automatically get you dinged.

Does that mean it has zero relevance? No. But in our small sample size of tutoring students the IR score doesn’t seem to have ever played a factor.

Does that mean you should just click though IR? Well, before “section order” became available the IR section (and essay) came before the quant and verbal. So one strategy was to take it super easy on the IR so you wouldn’t waste any energy there. Now that you can choose to have IR after Quant and Verbal it makes sense to give it your all.

Yes, it doesn’t count for much but you are much safer getting at least a decent score so that you don’t have to worry about it.

With that said, I would avoid doing too much direct IR studying unless your quant and verbal are perfect. Why? Quant and Verbal studying will naturally improve your IR performance and because they matter so much more it isn’t worth diverting much attention from them.

What can you do for IR studying?

  1. Do 2-3 full IR sections so that you have a sense for the question types and the overall format.
  2. Have an IR timing strategy as it is likely that you will feel time pressure.

The second point is very important for securing a decent IR score and not risking a catastrophically low one. Most people should skip a minimum of two and probably three entire inter-grated reasoning questions so there is plenty of time for the rest. Here is a more in depth look at integrated reasoning timing strategy and, while we’re on the subject, you might really benefit from this deep dive into overall GMAT timing.

If you do get a 1 on the IR: panic. No! Don’t panic!!! You are probably OK given that your overall GMAT score is in the right range for your target school. If you are a bit below the median then certainly consider a retake for that reason but not necessarily to improve the integrated reasoning score.

IR in the future?

Of course, IR importance may change in the future and it is entirely possible that some schools look at it more than others. Also, if you are considering the Executive Assessment, the IR is a key component of the test.

I hope this has been helpful. Comment with any questions that you have. If you are interested in some support on your GMAT then feel free to contact us via our GMAT consultations form. You can find a ton of information about our GMAT tutors and our program on our tutoring home page.

Happy studies and good luck from NYC!