Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The new GMAT tests decision making

The GRE changed in 2011 with an overhaul in content and structure, making the test more reasoning based. Close on its heels comes the GMAT (admission test to majority of global MBA programs) change with the addition of a new section, aptly called ‘integrated reasoning’.
This new section replaces one of the essays and comprises 12 questions to be answered by analysing, synthesising, integrating and evaluating given data. The data to be integrated appear as maps, spreadsheets, codes, numbers, charts, texts, audios and graphs. Both multiple choice and highlighting statements or dragging data points constitute the questions.
The new section thus tests the candidates ability to examine and manage complex, multiple format data and draw conclusions from them. The integrated reasoning section will thus generate a measure of a candidate’s decision making skills.

The new GMAT from June 2012
Duration Raw score Final score
Argument essay (1 topic)
1 prompt
30 min
 Grade 0-6

Quant ability
37 qns
75 min
 0-60 raw score

Verbal ability
41 qns
75 min
0-60 raw score

Integrated reasoning*
12 qns
30 min
 To be announced in April 2012
*new addition

What doesn’t change?

The content, format and scoring of the verbal and quantitative sections remain unchanged; the argument essay also remains the same. The issue is replaced by the new section.
GMAT , in the present version itself is projected as a test that examines a range of skills that are prerequisites to participate in and benefit from a rigorous MBA curriculum. It already has a strong emphasis on reasoning. With the addition of the new integrated reasoning section, the test advances to another level of competence.

Test of decision making skills
The integrated reasoning section gives students an opportunity to demonstrate decision making skills- analysing, synthesising and evaluating data in different forms- numbers, flow charts and words to draw logical conclusions. In today's data-intense business space, effective decisions are taken by drawing intelligence and insights from various sources and information of various forms.
The introduction of such competency assessment in the business school intake stage presents a reasoned prognosis of one’s candidature to the world of competitive global business.

How to prepare
The verbal and quantitative sections are not changing in content patterns and scoring, thus test aspirants can continue to prepare for these as before. One has to familiarise oneself with the new section by practising on such problem sets as well as by reading graphs, maps and accompanying texts in business publications.
Since a good number of business schools take GRE score, instead of a GMAT score, applicants can research on colleges and find out which test to take. Some students may be more comfortable with the GRE test.

Test aspirants starting preparation post-March 2012 may have to take the new GMAT administered form June 2012. Good preparation will be the key to success.

Article contributed by
She can be contacted by email -vijaya@semanticslearning.com

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