Does the Integrated Reasoning section on the GMAT matter?



The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT was added when the GMAT introduced the computer adaptive test (CAT) exam. This is a 30-minute, 12-question section that tests your ability to use information from several sources to answer questions that require both reasoning and math skills. It is graded separately from the verbal and quantitative sections and does not count toward your total 200 to 800-point score. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored out of 8 total points, and you can only get scores of whole number values.

So, since it is graded separately, many people wonder if this section is even important. Does the Integrated Reasoning section really matter? The answer is “yes.” Many business schools use the Integrated Reasoning score as a reflection of your ability to process information in a timely manner, which is a critical skill for the business world, and because this section is graded separately, it makes it easier for schools to see how well you do on this section at a quick glance.

You will need to do your best on all the questions in the Integrated Reasoning section, even though the questions will not count toward your composite GMAT score. Doing well on this section can only make your overall score look better, but if you disregard this section, a low score can reflect poorly on you. Do you need Integrated Reasoning help? Contact the professionals at Testmasters to prepare for this and all other sections of the GMAT.

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Reminder — Application Deadlines

It’s that time of year again! No, not Flag Day. Application deadlines!

Just a friendly reminder from us here at Testmasters that it’s already July, and the first round of application deadlines will likely be sometime in September. Deadlines are obviously different for every program, but many of you who are hoping to find yourself enrolled in school next year should be polishing up your resumes, fleshing out those essays, and requesting those letters of recommendation! Hopefully you’ve already taken your GMAT and are satisfied with your results – if not, we’re always happy to help out in whatever way we can!

Here’s a quick, very general checklist of items you will most likely need to complete an application:

1. A resume
2. Transcript from your undergraduate institution
3. GMAT scores
4. Letters of recommendation
5. Essays
6. A completed application
7. An application fee
8. A TOEFL score for international students

Be sure to check you program’s website to make sure you have everything you need to apply. Best of luck to everyone!

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University of Chicago – Booth School of Business

Booth School of BusinessNot only does the University of Chicago have a great research and science department, but their Booth School of Business is one of the most highly ranked business schools in the country. This school was formerly known as the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, but following a generous $300 million endowment from businessman and alumnus David Booth in 2008, it was renamed in his honor. Booth, the second-oldest such school in the country, right after Wharton, has shown up consistently at the top of business school and MBA rankings. The Economist has ranked Booth as having the top MBA program in the world, and Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the school as top in the nation.

Such high rankings are understandably coupled with competitive admissions statistics. Chicago Booth has an acceptance rate of 18% – 24%, with a little more than 4000 applicants every year. The 500 or so applicants accepted have an average GMAT score of 715 and 5 years of work experience. On average, 65% of the class is male while the other 35% is female. The undergraduate major distribution is surprisingly balanced with 31% majoring in business and around 20% from the other fields of liberal arts and sciences, consumer products, economics, and engineering. Students at Chicago Booth come from a variety of industries, the most popular being consulting, education/government/nonprofit organization, and commercial/investment banking.

The Booth School has an annual tuition rate of $58,760 for 10 courses over three quarters. In addition to tuition, the Booth School projects that living expenses and other costs will bring total annual cost of attendance up to $91,984 per year. Thankfully, Booth offers loans and merit-based scholarships and fellowships. They do not offer need-based aid.
Booth’s curriculum is very flexible, with four major components. There are foundation courses in accounting, microeconomics, and statistics with various courses in each topic offering differing levels of difficulty. The second component is called Functions, Management, and Business Environment, which covers the basics of how to run a business and courses on the environment in which a business operates. The third component consists of electives which allow the student to focus in on a field or area of study. These electives may also be classes from other University of Chicago departments. The fourth component is a Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) class that is mandatory for all students. This class basically teaches students how to lead a group of employees. These 4 components allow for concentrations in 14 different fields from international business to general management.

With globalization bringing businesses from all around the world, it is key for students to understand business patterns around the world. Booth is enabling students to get a deeper understanding of global business by partnering with 33 schools across 21 countries, from South Korea to South Africa. These exchange programs also tie into what Booth calls their International MBA. The requirements for this degree are five international business courses, a study abroad term with one of their partner schools, and oral fluency in a foreign, non-native language.

With such great programs and opportunities, it is no surprise that Booth has produced so many famous amluni.

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The University of Texas McCombs School of Business

University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business

It’s true what they say, everything’s bigger in Texas. This includes the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, which enjoys an international reputation as one of the best business schools in the world.

For Texas residents, one of the most attractive features of the McCombs MBA program is its accessibility. The McCombs MBA program is not geographically limited to Austin; in fact, UT offers MBA programs in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and even internationally, in Mexico City. This appeals to many Lone Star state residents because it allows students to earn an MBA from a top-flight program with a prestigious reputation without having to uproot and move to Austin to do so. If you are not a Texas resident, you should not be worried about your out-of-state status; 28% of students in the class of 2017 are international, and 43% are out of state.

McCombs is a very competitive program, with an average undergraduate GPA of 3.4 and an average GMAT score of 694. See below for a full 2017 class profile:

Texas MBA Class of 2017 profile

Source: University of Texas
















When viewing the above admission data, if you are more interested in a part-time MBA program, keep in mind that as a general rule part-time MBA programs tend to be less competitive statistically than full-time MBA programs. The reason for this is that most part-time programs are stretched out over two or sometimes even three years, so they are less rigorous and consequently are not subject to the same stringent admission standards as full-time program.

They also say that you have to spend money to make money, and McCombs is no exception to this rule. Currently, UT charges approximately $21,449 per semester enrolled in a MBA program. This adds up to a whopping $85,996. However when you factor in other costs, like books, special event ticket prices, cost of living, etc. the total cost is actually closer to $127,144, making the McCombs School of Business MBA program one of the most expensive in the country. According to, the McCombs MBA program is the 20th most expensive in the United States.

MBA Program Costs


Although the sticker price may seem prohibitive, consider the average starting salary of McCombs MBA graduate. According to the University of Texas, the median salary of McCombs MBA graduates from the class of 2015 was $113,500. If you have time, although slightly outdated, I encourage you to review the linked article directly as it provides interesting information into popular industry destinations for McCombs MBA graduates.


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How many times can I take the GMAT?


How many times can I take the gmat

For most tests, the more times you take the exam, the better your score gets, and this often is the case with the GMAT. But, there are several things that will limit the number of times that you can take the GMAT in a given amount of time. These factors should help you determine whether you should sit for the GMAT again or use the scores that you already have.

Limits Within 12 Months

The good news is that, per GMAC, you can take up to five GMAT exams within a rolling 12-month period of time. This allows for multiple retests throughout the year, if you feel you need them. Some people retake the test to improve their scores, and other people test repeatedly to make up for canceled scores.

Time Required Before Retesting

If you want to retest as soon as possible, perhaps because you canceled your score, you must wait 16 days. This is a shorter time limit than the 31 days that the older paper and pencil GMAT required before retesting. This is the best option if you have a limited time to submit your scores and you want to show your school of choice a great score on your score report.

Business School Limitations on Repeat GMAT Testing

Whenever you send your GMAT scores to business schools, all scores from the past five years are included on the report, so if you took the GMAT more than 5 years ago, business schools will not see those scores. Additionally, business schools will not see how many scores you canceled because these will not appear on the report at all, but you do need to consider how many scores from the last five years that will appear on your report.

You can choose up to five schools to send your scores to without added cost, but if you select a school, you cannot revoke your decision after you send the scores. Consider carefully which schools to send your reports to because they all evaluate scores differently to determine what a good score to get into their school is. Usually, only the last three scores are looked at on the exam, so taking it more times than that can often be a waste of time and money.

There really are two instances when retaking the GMAT can help: to improve your score enough to get to the median GMAT score for that school or to counter poor undergraduate grades. For instance, if you want to get into a top business school, in most cases, you will need at least a 700 on your GMAT, but if you tested twice and your best score was 670, go ahead and take it again if you feel certain that you can improve enough to get over the required threshold. Some people wait years after undergraduate school before applying to business school. In those cases, your undergraduate grades may not be reflective of your current skills. If you got poor math grades in college but can show a high quantitative score on your GMAT, that can help business school to recognize your current math abilities.

Whether you retake the GMAT is a personal decision, but realize that there is a time and money investment involved each time you take the exam. A better way to improve your scores without spending so much money is to invest in a preparation course, like Testmasters, that gives you multiple practice exams and strategies. Doing so will help you to get your best score possible on your first attempt at the real exam, which can save you time, money, and stress.

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GMAT Data Sufficiency Example Problem

Annex - Rathbone, Basil (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The)_01

“Watson, when doing data sufficiency problems, one must remember that after one has eliminated the impossible, what remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth!”

Data sufficiency questions can often be a thorn in the side for even the most diligent of GMAT test takers. Rather than test your ability to solve a math problem and get an answer at the end, data sufficiency problems really test your logical reasoning skills and knowledge of number properties and mathematical definitions. If you know how to approach them, though, they aren’t as bad as they might seem at first glance. Consider the following data sufficiency problem:



Is rst = 1?

(1) rs = 1

(2) st = 1

Remember, the answer choices for all data sufficiency problems are as follows:

(A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.

(B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.

(C) BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.

(D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.

(E) Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data are needed.

So, let’s think about this a little. Continue reading “GMAT Data Sufficiency Example Problem” »

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GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) – What is it?


On the GMAT, you only have one opportunity to really flaunt your analytic capabilities. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is the essay portion of the GMAT, and it accounts for the first 30 minutes of the exam, and like the score of the Integrated Reasoning section, the AWA does not count toward your total multiple choice score out of 800. This section of the exam is important not only for the purpose of establishing your ability to think analytically, but also because the AWA acts as a writing sample. As mentioned, this won’t impact your composite GMAT score; however, many schools will factor your writing abilities into any admission decision. While you will have other opportunities to showcase your writing in other parts of your application, the AWA is particularly valuable because it is timed; it shows admissions officers how well you write under pressure.

How is the AWA scored?

Scoring on the AWA is done twice: by a human grader and by a computer scorer. Should these two differ in their grades of an essay, a second human reader will grade the AWA. The final total will be anywhere between 0 and 6 points, and unlike the Integrated Reasoning score, you can get half points. So, for example, your AWA score could be 4.5 while the Integrated Reasoning section is only scored in whole numbers.

What else do I need to know about the AWA?

To really stand out on the AWA, you will want to demonstrate your ability to write as a college-educated individual while addressing certain fallacies within a particular argument. Your essay needs to be clear and well-organized to receive the maximum score. If you would like help on your AWA, contact the GMAT gurus at Testmasters. We’ve been helping students to succeed on the GMAT and other exams for decades. With the right approach and some practice, you can score well on the Analytical Writing Assessment when you take your GMAT.

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GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section – What is it?


The Integrated Reasoning section on the GMAT is a relatively new section that tests your ability to break complex amounts of information into the most important pieces. Since the questions in this section often require you to look at multiple tabs of an email or to glean data from complex graphs, these types of problems are directly related to the tasks you’re often required to do in the business world.

Unlike the verbal and quantitative sections, the Integrated Reasoning section does not impact your composite GMAT score, which is out of 800 points. It is graded separately on a scale of 1 to 8, and the scores are only given in integer values. As a separately scored section, the Integrated Reasoning section gives school a quick glance at exactly how well you can incorporate multiple data sources to solve problems.

The Integrated Reasoning section follows the Analytical Writing Assessment and is the second section of the GMAT. It is a 30-minute section with 12 questions, but many of the questions are experimental, and they will not contribute to your overall score. However, the experimental problems are not marked and it is difficult to identify them, so do your best on the entire section. Some of the problems on this section will use math skills, such as finding a percent change, but others present themselves as logic problems, and require your critical reasoning abilities to solve them.

If you need help with the Integrated Reasoning section on the GMAT, or any other part of the test, Testmasters is here to get you through this exam with tips and tricks here on our blog and private tutoring and classes with our test preparation professionals.

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Full-Time vs. Part-Time vs. Executive MBA

Business Students in MBA ProgramThe MBA, or the Master of Business Administration, is most often begun several years after completing your undergraduate education. In fact, many if not most MBA program students will have an average work history of between 4 to 7 years when accepted to business school. It should come as no surprise, then, that many universities offer a variety of options to these busy professionals seeking to further their education. Most commonly, these options include a full-time, part-time, or executive MBA program. This raises an important question for all future MBA students: which program is right for you? While no one can answer this question for you, it is important to understand the differences in these programs in order to make an educated decision about which program fits your needs. While the degree you receive with any of these will still say “MBA,” it is important to consider finances, time commitment, and how important things like time with family and friends, career path, and business school culture are to you.

Full-time MBA

If you have recently finished your undergraduate work and only have one to two years of professional experience, it is likely that a full-time MBA program would be best for you. A full-time program is generally best for those with minimal work or family commitments and those looking for a greater sense of community during their educations. Continue reading “Full-Time vs. Part-Time vs. Executive MBA” »

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Five Business Schools You Might Not Know About — Marketing Edition

Marketing Business SchoolsInterested in marketing? Well here is a list of five business programs that have excellent programs in marketing that you may not have heard of, ironic as that sentence may be.

1. University of Florida

The Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida has a nationally-recognized marketing program that focuses on consumer behavior, marketing management, and marketplace phenomenon. According to their website, “students study the critical linkages between an organization and its environment, particularly customers and competitors.” Recent admissions statistics include an average admitted GMAT score of 670 and an average undergraduate GPA of 3.4.

For more information, visit their website here.

Continue reading “Five Business Schools You Might Not Know About — Marketing Edition” »

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