Integrated-reasoning (IR) questions appear right after the analytical writing section. The 12 questions in the integrated-reasoning section are formatted in a variety of ways and include tables and graphs to test how well you apply reasoning skills to different scenarios.
The Integrated Reasoning section measures your ability to understand and evaluate multiple sources and types of information - graphic, numeric, and verbal, as they relate to one another; use quantitative and verbal reasoning to solve complex problems; and solve multiple problems in relation to one another.
This section includes text passages, tables, graphs, and other visual information from a variety of content areas. However, the materials and questions do not assume detailed knowledge of the topics discussed. The Integrated Reasoning section differs from the Quantitative and Verbal sections in two important ways:
The integrated reasoning is relatively new section on the GMAT (introduced from 5th June, 2012). One of the essays is replaced by the integrated reasoning section. As the name suggests, it involves some type of reasoning to answer the question. It includes analysis of some data which will be given in the question.
Most integrated-reasoning questions contain a chart or graph. You won’t have much time to waste, so it is a good idea to know how to extract data from the various types of charts and graphs before you sit down in front of the computer on the exam day.
Graphics Interpretation questions present a graph, diagram, or other visual representation of information, followed by one or more statements containing a total of two blanks. The blanks should be filled in with the option from each drop-down menu in order to create the most accurate statement or statements on the basis of the information provided.
Multi-Source Reasoning questions begin with two or three sources of information, each labelled with a tab, which appear on the left side of a split computer screen. One or more of the sources will contain a written passage. The other sources may be tables, graphs, diagrams, or other types of visual information. Only one source of information will be displayed at a time. To view a different source, select its tab from those that appear above the source currently displayed.
Two-Part Analysis questions present a brief written scenario or problem and ask you to make two choices related to that information. These choices are connected to each other in some way; for example, they might be two steps involved in solving a problem or two components required to successfully complete a task.
Tables report, organise, and summarise data and allow you to view and analyse precise values. For example, a table can be an effective way of presenting average daily high and low temperatures in a given area, the number of male and female births that occur each year within a population, or the ranking of a band’s top-ten hits.
Bar charts (also sometimes called bar graphs) have a variety of uses. They are especially good for comparing data and approximating values. As the name suggests, they use rectangular bars to represent different categories of data (either horizontally or vertically). The height or length of each bar indicates the corresponding quantity for that category of data.
Another graph that comes up frequently in GMAT graphics interpretation questions is the line graph. Line graphs display information that occurs over time or across graduated measurements and are particularly effective in highlighting trends, peaks, or lows. Typically (but not always), the x-axis displays units of time or measurement (the independent variable), and the y-axis presents the data that’s being measured (the dependent variable).
Pie charts, also known as circle graphs, show values that are part of a larger whole, such as percentages. The graphs contain divisions called sectors, which divide the circle into portions that are proportional to the quantity each represents as part of the whole 360-degree circle.