After all, most of these schools that have mentioned that the IR score won’t be a primary factor in this fall’s applications have left the door open for “next year.” So even if you can conclude that “IR won’t affect my 2013 intake application to Stanford,” you can’t really conclude that “IR won’t affect my chances of getting into Stanford.”
The lesson here?
First, be careful in drawing conclusions. The GMAT tests Critical Reasoning in large part because it can be so easy – and costly – to make poor decisions by allowing yourself to be baited into logical leaps that aren’t directly supported. In this particular case, be wary of letting the facts here lead you to the conclusion that you can simply ignore or blow off Integrated Reasoning. That may well be true, but it’s not logically certain, so if you draw that conclusion you’re taking on some risk. In a Critical Reasoning context, this is a learning opportunity. If you scan GMAT/MBA-related blogs and forums, you can probably find several cases of people drawing conclusions that aren’t entirely supported by the facts. And if you can train yourself to notice those things in day-to-day life, you’ll be that much more attuned to it on test day.
Will Integrated Reasoning affect your chances of getting into business school? For most of you, it’s not likely. But for at least some of you reading this, Integrated Reasoning could be a factor, so you’ll want to assess your own risk/reward situation when determining how much time to invest studying for IR (probably not much for most of you) and taking it on test day (here’s where it probably makes sense to at least give it a reasonable effort). And there’s a payoff – as you’ve seen here, Integrated Reasoning is an opportunity to exercise your mind in ways that will pay off on the rest of the exam. So a low-stakes warmup on test day, before you get into the higher-stakes quant and verbal sections, may be just the perfect way to get your mind right for when it counts.
How will Integrated Reasoning impact your MBA admissions prospects? It all depends on which conclusion you’re trying to draw.
Brian Galvin is Director of Academic Programs at Veritas Prep,a GMAT prep and graduate school admissions consulting provider. Galvin writes a monthly column for Poets&Quants, offering typically contrarian advice for GMAT test takers.