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    How Important are AWA and Integrated Reasoning for GMAT?

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    Many candidates ignore the GMAT Integrated Reasoning and GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment sections since GMAT Score is based on just the Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Ability Sections. There is no doubt that these two sections must get the priority, however, the remaining two sections are also equally important and that is why they are tested. For the top B-Schools as well as many recruiting firms, these two sections become highly essential to mark difference between the candidates.

    The GMAT Integrated Reasoning section tests the candidate for the ability to integrate data to solve complex problems. Similarly, the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section tests the ability of communication with respect to the business world in written form. By no means can these sections be taken lightly and the candidate must keep practicing rigorously. This article will shed light on the scoring system of the GMAT Integrated Reasoning and GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment sections along with information like importance, good scores and types of questions.

    GMAT Integrated Reasoning and GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment – Scoring System

    Even though both GMAT Integrated Reasoning and GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment sections do not contribute to the final GMAT Score, there sectional scoring has become essential in the candidate’s ability to handle the competition.

    In the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section, the essay is checked at least twice. This is done once by a human reader and once by a computer evaluating more than 50 structural and linguistic features. Further, the scores given by the human and the computer are averaged out providing a section score. This score is reported in the intervals of 0.5 with a minimum score of 0 and a maximum sectional score of 6.

    As far as the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section is concerned, the sectional score range from 1 to 8. The score in this particular section is based on the number of questions answered correctly. It is important to note that there may be a few questions in your GMAT exam, where a question could have multiple questions and in order to get marks for that specific question, the candidate must be able to answer all the sub-questions correctly. Scores of these sections are reported in intervals of 1.

    Finally, the candidate must note that there is a penalty for not completing each section of the exam i.e. in case of not finishing in the allotted time, the scores will be calculated based upon the number of questions answered as well as an unanswered question. However, the score will decrease significantly with each unanswered question in the particular section.

    Why is GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section important for B-Schools?

    Prior to the 2012 changes made by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in conjunction with the top B-Schools as well top recruiters, the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment used to be highly important, post the introduction of the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section has been reduced by half in terms of time duration as well as the questions.

    Thus, in relative terms with respect to the Quantitative Aptitude section and Verbal Ability section, has lower importance. But the important aspect of this section is that this becomes a criterion for some of the Ivy League B-Schools as well as top recruiting firms.

    So just to understand let us consider an example, if the candidate has got a GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Score of less than 4, this could prove to hurt the chances of getting into the targeted business school. This is because this section tests the candidate’s ability to convey the thoughts in written form and since this skill is very important in the business world, some of the recruiters weigh the candidate’s performance in this section as well.

    GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section – Good Score

    The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section does not add up to the final GMAT Score, however, as it helps the organizations in differentiating the best candidates, the candidate must be able to score well in this section as well. With respect to the average GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section score, the candidate must be able to score more than 4 to be in the sweet spot. Thus, scoring 5 or 6 in the Analytical Writing Assessment section is good.

    GMAT Integrated Reasoning section – Types of Questions

    The Integrated word in the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section denotes the integration of the Quantitative Aptitude section and Verbal Ability section, where this section tests the ability to interpret the complex data. This is something that the candidate will face during the job as the MBA finishes. The organizations are looking for candidates who can make informed decisions as well as interpreting complex data. Thus, this section tests the candidates for the following things:

    • Extract intelligent insight from data represented by the graphs, numbers, or text.
    • Filter out the relevant information for interpretation.
    • Understand patterns or relationships from the data to arrive at a conclusion.
    • Gather and manipulate data from multiple sources to solve complex problems.

    GMAT Integrated Reasoning section consists of a total of 12 questions, with a time duration of 30 minutes with 4 types of questions asked including Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis.

    Multi-Source Reasoning (MSR) Question Type

    As the name suggests there are multiple sources of information and the candidate has to answer the questions based on this information. This information is presented in the form of multiple tabs on the left side of the screen and the questions are given on the right side of the screen. Each card having the information has the data in the form of text, table, formula, etc. The candidate has to combine all of the information from these tabs and answer the questions.

    Table Analysis Question Type

    This is another data and number centric question, where the candidate will find a large table with at least 3 tables and 20 rows. The candidate has to interpret this data and answer the questions. There is a maximum of 3 questions of such type. The candidate can use the sort functionality in order to reach a faster interpretation of the data.

    Graphic Interpretation Question Type

    In the graph-oriented question type, there can be any type of graph, like a scatter plot, line chart, histogram, bar chart, etc. The candidate has to deduce all the possible information from the given chart and answer the questions.

    Two-Part Analysis Question Type

    The Two-Part Analysis question type has two tasks and these tasks have the same answer choices having 5-6 answer choices. The candidate has to mark the correct answer for each of these tasks in order to get the credit. There will be no partial credit in case of an incorrect attempt at any task.

    Why is GMAT Integrated Reasoning section important for B-Schools?

    With the sort of decision-making ability that is required from the MBA graduate, the section of GMAT Integrated Reasoning acts as a testing ground for it. The organization wants the candidate to have all the skills that are required in today’s business environment. Therefore, from assimilating the information from different sources to deal with incomplete information, the candidate should be able to deal with all the possible adversaries and make decision to enhance the business of the organization.

    While the GMAT Quantitative Aptitude and GMAT Verbal Ability Sections are a good measure of the candidate’s capability of performing in the business environment. It, however, does not reflect the candidate’s ability to make sound decisions. The GMAT Integrated Reasoning section is built especially for this purpose, where both the skills i.e. Quantitative Aptitude and the Verbal Ability test in tandem. Thus, the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section Score denotes the candidate’s capacity to bring complex ideas together and work out different parameters.

    As the Integrated Reasoning section was added in 2012, it is the youngest section in GMAT. The importance of this section has grown manifolds in the past few years as the survey suggest that more than 60% B-Schools are considering the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section as an essential parameter for the admission. This is when the same survey results in only 40% considering this section as essential in 2012 i.e. when it was launched. This is because there is a need for having sound analytical abilities in today’s technology as well as a data-driven world where time is the key.

    GMAT Integrated Reasoning section – Good Score

    The score of GMAT Integrated Reasoning range from 1 to 8 with an interval of 1 point. Even though the average score in the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section is 4.29, a good score would mainly depend on how much importance to GMAT Integrated Reasoning is given by the Business School.

    It is important to note that the policies of the B-Schools relating to the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section are not public but it is important for the candidate to be able to perform well as compared to the other candidates. It is generally better to score more than the average score as it may just affect the candidate’s application. Thus, scoring more than 6 in this section would be a sweet spot.

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