Based on several conversations with business school admissions officers, we do not believe the integrated reasoning section will be a huge factor in business school admissions this coming year (2012-2013). Most of the schools we spoke to were still unsure about how they would use the scores in the admissions process because there is currently no available data on the correlation between the integrated reasoning score and business school performance.
Since the integrated reasoning score is not factored into your GMAT overall score, schools are likely to treat it in the same way they use the Analytical Writing score. It provides additional interesting information about you as an applicant, but it is not nearly as important as your overall GMAT score.
Does this mean that you can blow off the section? Absolutely not. Business schools will still see this section, and they will still be impressed if you get a high score and may be skeptical if you get a very low score. A high integrated reasoning score could set your application apart by showing you are a high-achiever even when you are presented with brand-new material. Likewise, a very low integrated reasoning score may indicate to schools that you did not take the entire test seriously. If, however, you get a score in the middle, schools will likely not register it in either a positive or negative way relating to your application. Therefore, you should strive for an average or above average score on the section.
Furthermore, students have no way of knowing how quickly business schools will be able to determine correlations between the integrated reasoning score and future business school performance. If schools find that there is a very high correlation between the integrated reasoning score and success during the first year of business school, they may start to take the integrated reasoning section more seriously. Therefore, you should aim to do your best on the integrated reasoning section, just as you will on every other section of the test.
Looking for Integrated Reasoning practice? Check out the links below!