GMAT Data Insights: Integrated Reasoning

The Data Insights section on the GMAT is designed to test a person's ability synthesize, compare, interpret or apply the information presented. It includes both Data Sufficiency and Integrated Reasoning questions.

There are 4 types of Integrated Reasoning questions:

· Multi-Source Reasoning

· Table Analysis

· Graphics Interpretation

· Two-Part Analysis

The questions involve:

· Text passages, tables, graphs, and other visual information for a variety of content areas

· Both quantitative and verbal reasoning, either separately or in combination

In this section, you may asked to determine:

· new examples are exceptions or not

· how new scenarios would affect an existing trend

· whether information provided is sufficient, erroneous, in agreement or strong enough

· probability of an outcome based on given data

· the mathematical formula that will yield a desired result

· logical flow between statements

· the rate of data change over time

· a plan of action to maximize value and minimize risks

· tradeoffs required to reach a goal

· conclusions about new data based on the previously provided information

· whether a claim in one source is supported or conflicted by info in another source

We consider this new section simply as another way of framing a question, the same as Multiple-Choice or True-False. This means that, just as with Data Sufficiency questions, Integrated Reasoning questions won't require you to learn any new formulas or polygons or compound verb tenses or resolutions to apparent paradoxes!

What Integrated Reasoning questions ARE designed to do is test your ability to (sometimes) use your combined Quantitative and Verbal skills in conjunction with the Critical Reasoning and Problem-solving skills you're already practicing and which employers increasingly demand. It's great to be able to work out the rates at which two prospective employees can complete a certain task; it's another, more advanced (and profitable!) skill to be able to combine that information with other facts to determine which applicant will most likely become the better overall employee.

While this does require you to stretch your brain a little beyond previous test formats, the good news is that Integrated Reasoning questions, just like so many others, ultimately rely most heavily on your own good common sense, with your other, more concrete skills sometimes running a distant second. When you take a closer look, you'll see that Integrated Reasoning questions really just ask us to apply the same skills we've already been using; the lines between the topics are just blurred a little, as they usually are in the 'real world.'

So, that's what we need to accomplish: learn how to read, analyze and dissect Integrated Reasoning questions when we see them and determine how we can use the different skills we already possess to solve them quickly, and then stand back and mock them mercilessly.' (Hey, they started it!)