Don’t Sweat Your IR Score On The GMAT

According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of business school admissions officers, 57% of MBA programs say that an applicant’s score on the GMAT’s recently launched (August 2012) Integrated Reasoning section is not currently an important part of their evaluation of a prospective student’s overall GMAT score.  Despite that finding, Kaplan’s survey also  finds that 51% of business school admissions list a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” confirming that applicants still need to submit a competitive score overall. 
In Kaplan’s 2012 survey, business schools were largely undecided about Integrated Reasoning’s importance, with 54% saying they were unsure how important an applicant’s score would be; 22% said it would be important and 24% said it would not be important. 
Because test takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, poor performance on this section cannot be masked by stronger performance on other sections of the GMAT.
“It’s not surprising that a majority of business schools are not currently placing too much importance on the Integrated Reasoning section, since it makes sense they’d want to gather performance data on a new section before fully incorporating it into their evaluation process.  It’s important to remember that because GMAT scores are good for five years, not all applicants in 2012 and 2013 submitted GMAT scores that included the Integrated Reasoning section — many applicants submitted scores from the old GMAT,” said Lee Weiss, executive director of pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep.  “Moving forward, business schools may decide that Integrated Reasoning should play a more critical role.  In the meantime, prospective MBA students should not take Integrated Reasoning any less seriously than the Quantitative or Verbal sections.  It still matters.”

Rich D’Amato, a spokesperson for GMAC, said the organization expects the relatively new section of the GMAT to become increasing more important. “We fully expect it will grow in how much it matters in the future, since the section and the skills it measures were designed with input from both schools and recruiters about what they were looking for, respectively, in prospective students and staff recruits,” he told Poets&Quants.

“To date, we have conducted several concurrent validity studies (tracking scores on the IR section to a student’s current performance in a program) and we are now beginning to conduct predictive validity studies, which schools use to understand an applicant’s ability to succeed in a particular program. The concurrent studies we’ve conducted are showing us that IR will add to the predictive validity of the GMAT. As always, we will await the research and the predictive validity studies, but this is what we have been sharing with schools because this is what we have been seeing in our research to date.”

For the 2013 survey, 152 admissions officers from business schools across the United States were surveyed by telephone between July and September. Among those 152 are five of the top ten MBA programs, as compiled by U.S. News & World Report.