Innovative Questions Reflect Reality of Data-Driven Classrooms and Workplaces
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) launched the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam for graduate business and management program admissions. The new section gives business school hopefuls worldwide the opportunity to differentiate themselves by showcasing skills that increasingly matter most in modern business education and the 21st-century business environment.
Using the exam’s computerized format, the new Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam introduces innovative question types that measure data-analysis skills and the ability to evaluate information from various sources and formats—i.e., graphs, tables, charts and spreadsheets.
The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam was developed over two years and was the result of collaboration with 740 business school faculty from around the world. Deans and faculty identified emerging skill sets that are increasingly critical to success in business school and in the business world.
“From the beginning, GMAC’s goal has been to help schools of management do the best job they can of preparing the world’s next generation of business leaders. The strength of the new Integrated Reasoning section—and the GMAT exam as a whole—lies in our unique position to respond to the specific needs of business schools and employers,” said Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC. “The information age is demanding a new set of skills that require the integration of verbal and quantitative abilities to analyze different types of data from various sources. The new section on the GMAT measures these skills, which have become essential for success in the classroom and in the business world.”
GMAC’s 2012 Corporate Recruiters Survey recently underscored the overwhelming need for management graduates to enter the job market with Integrated Reasoning skills. Of 636 corporate recruiters representing more than 800 companies in 40 countries worldwide, more than 90 percent of respondents said that Integrated Reasoning skills were important in new hires.
Rich Lyons, dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, said: “For us it’s about leadership potential. The Integrated Reasoning section will make us better at identifying it. This type of reasoning is an important input to innovative leadership, which our businesses and societies need more than ever.”
Responses from test takers in pilot testing of the new section also highlight the importance of Integrated Reasoning skills in what students expect to do in the classroom and after they graduate from business school. In a survey conducted in January, nearly 70 percent of student respondents felt that these skills are either relevant or very relevant to both graduate management education and the corporate environment.
“We’re proud of the effort and commitment among our staff and our partners—at Pearson VUE and ACT—in continuing a long tradition of innovation with the GMAT,” said Peg Jobst, executive vice president of the GMAT Division at GMAC. “The Integrated Reasoning section provides another important piece of information about a prospective student that is directly relevant to the new realities in what business schools are teaching and how a student will be successful after they graduate.”
The launch of the new section continues the GMAT exam’s history of innovation. The exam was the first to drop analogies and introduce data sufficiency questions on the quantitative section of the exam in 1961. In 1997, the GMAT exam became the first high-stakes test to be offered exclusively in a computer-adaptive format around the world.
The GMAT exam has also made significant investments in its data privacy and test security programs. For the first time in its history, the French National Commission for Data Protection and the Liberties in 2009 granted approval to a private testing company—GMAC—to collect biometric data. No other private examination has obtained this permission.
The GMAT exam is currently the only exam that utilizes the PalmSecure palm vein identification technology. PalmSecure features a near-infrared light that captures a palm vein pattern, generating a unique encrypted biometric template to ensure the identity of the test-taker and to prevent cheating.
The length of the GMAT exam continues to be 3.5 hours because the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section replaces one of two 30-minute Analytical Writing essay questions on the previous version of the test. A test taker’s Total GMAT score is still based on performance on the Verbal and Quantitative sections (on a 200-800 scale). The Integrated Reasoning section, like the Analytical Writing Assessment, is scored separately.
“The GMAT has a more than 50-year track record as a reliable and proven predictor of success in management programs,” said Larry Rudner, vice president of research and development and chief psychometrician. “With the addition of the Integrated Reasoning section, the GMAT exam is an even more relevant tool to help schools evaluate talent.”
Editor’s Note: The first GMAT exam with Integrated Reasoning was administered in the Northern Mariana Islands at 8 a.m. local time (June 5).
The Graduate Management Admission Council (gmac.com) is a nonprofit education organization of the world’s leading graduate business schools and owner of the GMAT® exam, used by more than 5,400 graduate business and management programs worldwide. GMAC is based in Reston, Virginia, and has regional offices in London, New Delhi and Hong Kong. The GMAT exam—the only worldwide standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs—is continuously available at nearly 600 test centers in over 110 countries. More information about the GMAT exam is available at mba.com.