A 6 minute read

GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) are the two sections whose scores are not counted towards the overall GMAT score. Therefore, a lot of GMAT takers wonder about the importance of these two sections. Do Analytical Writing Assessment and GMAT Integrated Reasoning matter for business schools? If yes, what is a good AWA score and what is a good Integrated Reasoning score? In this article, we have answered these questions.

Here is the outline of the article:

Take a look at this article to know how to score a perfect 6 on the AWA

Scoring system of AWA and GMAT Integrated Reasoning

GMAT AWA is scored on a scale of 0 – 6 and Integrated Reasoning is scored on a scale of 1 – 8.

How important is the GMAT AWA section for business schools?GMAT Integrated Reasoning AWA importance MBA Admissions

When thinking from the perspective of the admissions committee, they tend to give more importance to your overall GMAT score and your Quant and Verbal scores. Even the Integrated Reasoning section is given more importance.

The testament to this statement is the fact that when the IR section was introduced first on June 5, 2012, the AWA section was reduced by half.

So, when it comes to relative importance we can safely assume that AWA has the lowest importance. But ‘low’ importance is not similar to ‘no’ importance. You still cannot take the AWA section for granted.

An AWA score of less than 4 could hurt your chances of getting into your target business school. The purpose of the AWA section is to judge how well you convey your thoughts in written form. This skill is really important in the business world as you would be communicating with people in written form on a daily basis.

GMAT-Integrated Reasoning-AWA-importance-MBA-Admissions-5

It would be good to devote 10% of your time on the AWA section. This time will be enough to secure a good AWA score. But, what is a good AWA score?

What is a good GMAT AWA score?

 

Take a look at the average GMAT AWA score of test takers. Since, 4.48 is the average score, scoring below 4 would not be a good AWA score. Therefore, scoring a 5 or a 6 would be a good AWA score.

Now, let’s look at the Integrated Reasoning section and understand the importance and a good score in this section.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning

GMAT Integrated Reasoning AWA importance MBA Admissions

GMAT Integrated Reasoning tests your ability to integrate data to solve complex problems. One of your jobs, after you complete your MBA, would be making informed decisions. You can take those decisions only if you know how to filter out the useful data and interpret it. The GMAT Integrated Section, therefore, tests your ability to

  1. Extract information from graphs, numbers, and text.
  2. Filter out the relevant information
  3. Use data to understand patterns/ relationships to arrive at a conclusion
  4. Manipulate information from multiple sources to solve complex problems

 

GMAT IR Questions Formats

This section contains 12 questions which you are expected to solve in 30 minutes or less.

There are 4 types of questions asked in the Integrated Reasoning section:

  1. Multi-Source Reasoning
  2. Table Analysis
  3. Graphics Interpretation
  4. Two-Part Analysis

Multi-Source Reasoning (MSR)

GMAT Integrated Reasoning AWA importance MBA Admissions

Multiple cards are presented in this type of question on the left side of your screen. Each card has different information in the form of text, table, formula etc. You have to combine the information from all the cards and answer questions based on these multiple sources of information.

Table Analysis

In this type of question, you’ll deal with a large table with at least 3 columns and 20 rows of data. You have the option to sort the table. There are 3 questions based on the information presented to you.

Graphic Interpretation

A graph in this type of question could be a pie-chart, a bar chart, a scatter plot, a line chart or any other type of chart. You have to deduce information from the chart and answer 2 questions.

Two-Part Analysis

In this type of question, you’ll be given an introductory statement which will be followed by a table with 3 columns. The top row of first 2 columns are the questions and the rightmost column has a list of possible answers. You have to select one of the entries in each of the 2 columns.

What does a GMAT IR score indicate to business schools?

GMAT Integrated Reasoning AWA importance MBA Admissions

MBA professionals around the world have to deal with incomplete information to make decisions. Therefore, to make decisions they assimilate information from different sources and evaluate the information.

This is the skill that you learn and enhance in the business school.

The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT do a good job of measuring and predicting how students are likely to perform in business school. But, these sections separately measure these attributes and are not necessarily a good indicator of how someone will combine these skills to make sound decisions.

The IR section is designed to test this skill. You have to find a solution to a problem based on information which is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Thus, an IR score is a good indicator of your ability to bringing complex ideas together and analyzing data in a variety of formats.

Does GMAT Integrated Reasoning score matter in MBA Admissions?

GMAT Integrated Reasoning AWA importance MBA Admissions

Integrated Reasoning (IR) section is the newest section of the GMAT. It was introduced in June 2012. Initially, business schools did not value the IR section much as they did not have enough data to compare applicants. To understand Admissions committees’ perspective on the Integrated Reasoning section, Kaptest did a survey of more than 200 business schools in 2014. 41% said that they found Integrated Reasoning to be an important part of overall GMAT score evaluation.

Kaptest did the same survey again in 2015. This time the number of business schools considering the IR section to be important was up to 59%.

With this data, we can infer that there is a shift towards GMAT Integrated Reasoning being considered an important part of your GMAT score. This shift would make sense because in today’s technology and data-driven global marketplace you need sound analytical skills to compete successfully and IR section is a test of your analytical skills.

Therefore, when it comes to MBA admissions it is better to score well in the Integrated Reasoning section. But, what is a good IR score?

What is a good GMAT Integrated Reasoning score?

GMAT-Integrated Reasoning-AWA-importance-MBA-Admissions-5

A good GMAT Integrated Reasoning score would depend on how important the IR score is for your target business school and how others are performing on the IR section. Business school policies are not clear on the IR score as of now but you have can know how others are performing on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning.

4.29 is the average GMAT Integrated Reasoning score as can be seen in this table. So, firstly a good GMAT IR score should be more than this average score. Secondly, a good GMAT score should be the one which does not give you sleepless nights after submitting your application.

Therefore, a good IR score would be in the range of 6 to 8.

Takeaways

  • GMAT Integrated Reasoning tests your ability to integrate data to solve complex problems
  • This section contains 12 questions which you have to solve in 30 minutes or less.
  • There are 4 types of questions asked in the Integrated Reasoning section
  • IR score is a good indicator of your ability to bringing complex ideas together and analyzing data in a variety of formats
  • Business Schools are increasingly considering the IR score to be an important part
  • A good GMAT score is between 6 and 8