The Integrated Reasoning, or IR, section was introduced in GMAT exam in June 2012. IR replaced one of the 30 minute essay type questions.

The IR section is non-adaptive, 30 minutes long and contains 12 questions. The top score is an 8 and the minimum score is 1, and this score is separate from the AWA score as well as the general GMAT score, which is out of 800 points.

IR section is based on what you learn while you prepare for Quant and Verbal sections you need to get used to the visual nature of the question types and to the different types of multiple choice questions presented.  An on-screen calculator is provided.

Relationship of IR with Verbal and QuantRelation between sections of GMAT

Mean IR score 
Mean IR score country wise

 Type of Integrated Reasoning Questions

Graphical Interpretation

IR Question type_GraphicalIn this question type the test taker will be asked to interpret a graph or graphical image, and select from a drop down list to make response statements accurate




Two- Part Analysis

IR Question type_Two Part AnalysisThis question will involve two components for a solution.  Possible answers will be given  in a table format with a column for each component and rows with possibles option; test takers will be asked to consider the option provided



Multi Source Reasoning

IR Question type_Multi Source ReasoningTest Takers will be asked to use text , charts, and/or tables from two to three sources of information to answer questions.




Table Analysis

IR Question type_Table Analysis

Test Taker will be presented with sortable table of information, which has to be analysed to determine if answer statement are accurate



 How to prepare for Integrated Reasoning

  • Get Familiar with the question types

Getting familiar with the question types of IR is a key ingredient to prepare for the Integrating Reasoning and will help you manage time. This will help you understand the amount of effort you will have to put into each question and let you prioritise your time by applying yourself on the right questions and guessing on other potential time waster questions. For example: a MSR or TA section posing a Multiple Choice Question—this format presents two possible choices (true/false), and makes three statements: you have to decide the right choice for each statement.  Because there’s no partial credit on the IR, you would have to choose the correct option for all three of those statements in order to get any credit for this question. If you are sure about two statements, only  then is it worth to put more time in the third statement, else you should put more time on other questions that might fetch you a mark.

  • Take Mock tests with Integrated Reasoning

A lot of students skip the IR and AWA sections during their practice mock tests. This is not ideal. Eliminating IR from Full length mocks will give you a slightly inflated sense of what your actual score is – since the IR does influence your overall score, from a test taking perspective. Without the IR and AWA, your full length test lasts a little over 2.5 hours. This creates an “ideal” situation to enhance your Verbal and Quant scores. Yet, this isn’t something that is replicable on the day of the test. To ensure that all your tests are authentic, you need to ensure that you solve IR and AWA just as you would on the day of the test. This will help you practice realistically for the IR and help you strategise your method more efficiently to ensure a 5+ on the day the test.

Examinees should know that:

  • IR score can help them stand out

Importance of the IR score will increase from 2018 as if someone who took the GMAT right before June 2012 and applied for business school in 2017, he would report a GMAT score that did NOT include the IR score. However, once it hits 2018, every applicant for sure will have the IR score reported and when business schools have an additional data point, they can use that score to determine the outcome for borderline candidates. This makes IR more Important in coming days.

  • Some Programs may want to weigh IR scores more than others

Weightage of IR scoreThe Data from 2016 intake shows weightage of different segments in different countries for their admission process.

  • Potential Employers may ask for IR score

Many firms are also taking the scores into account as part of their hiring process. As these jobs require employee to analyse data and IR serves this purpose and is also the best standardized test.

Here is what the Test Maker has to say about the IR section

  1. The correlation of IR with GMAT Total is .55. In other words, Quant, Verbal, and IR are all measuring something related, yet also different.
  2. IR score is important because, other things being equal, the test takers demonstrating more skill in this area within each range can be expected to be better students.
  3. 85% of current students and alumni find IR skills to be very relevant and useful in the work place. Similarly, nearly all (97%) of the employers surveyed said the skills—such as the ability to integrate, organize, combine, and synthesize information—were important.
  4. IR and Admissions: The biggest value is that IR is an additional data point. It assesses information that we don’t currently capture in the admissions process. I think it is going to make our process more complete. We’re going to be able to make better decisions because we have that additional set of data that is so relevant to what students are going to do in the MBA curriculum, but also in their careers – Quote from Tuck.


  • IR scores are effective for predicting grades
  • Unique contributions over other factors
  • Most useful when applicants have similar characteristics
  • Results differ by program
  • Employers want to use IR scores for recruitment

For more informative posts on GMAT, refer our post on using scratch Board during the test or follow us on our Facebook for updates about our blogs.

Rajiv has over 6 years of varied teaching experience in the Education Sector: from bring an aptitude trainer, a math lecturer to an economics instructor at Business Schools. Rajiv loves cricket, discussing abstract theories and of course teaching!