GMAT Makeover – Integrated Reasoning

Published: July 22, 2011


Anyone contemplating business school wants to know whether to take the GMAT now or wait until next June, when the integrated reasoning section is introduced. First, ask yourself this: Does an Excel file give you pause? The new section is what came of a 2009 survey of 740 faculty members, who were asked what the GMAT should measure that it didn’t. The section will replace one of two essays, and is heavy on data interpretation. “As the business environment changes, the business curriculum changes,” explains Ashok Sarathy, vice president for the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the test. What doesn’t change: total test time (at three and a half hours) and the verbal and quantitative sections. Try your hand at this preview, which GMAC created for Education Life. There are four new question types: multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis and sorting tables.


Table 2



Can you assimilate information from different sources?

Exports to China

In 2009, China was the biggest export market for several countries on many continents. Among these countries, Australia sent 21.8 percent, Brazil sent 12.5 percent, Japan sent 18.9 percent and South Africa sent 10.3 percent of its exports to China. Tables 1 and 2 provide another, perhaps more revealing measure of the impact of economic exports to China: the value of exports relative to the Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P.) for many of China’s major trading partners, including the European Union (E.U.), in 2009.

1. Based on the information provided, which one of the following quantities is closest to the total value, in 2009 U.S. dollars, of Australia’s and Brazil’s 2009 exports to China?

a. $19 billion

b. $31 billion

c. $34 billion

d. $53 billion

e. $64 billion


2. Based on the information provided, which one of the following quantities is closest to the total value, in 2009 U.S. dollars, of Japan’s 2009 exports to all countries?

a. $215 billion

b. $320 billion

c. $450 billion

d. $590 billion

e. $640 billion


3. For each of the following countries or regions, determine whether its 2009 exports to China can be shown, based on the given information, to have exceeded $100 billion in 2009 U.S. dollars. Indicate Yes if the exports can be shown to exceed that value. Otherwise indicate No.

____ European Union

____ Japan

____ Nigeria

____ Taiwan


4. Examine each of the following statements and indicate Yes if the statement can be inferred from the information provided. Otherwise indicate No. All amounts are measured in 2009 U.S. dollars.

____ India’s exports to China exceeded Russia’s exports to China.

____ The amount of exports to China from all the countries of South America combined exceeded $10 billion.

____ Australia’s exports to China accounted for more than one-fifth of Australia’s total exports.

____ South Korea’s exports to China exceeded Malaysia’s exports to China.




Can you interpret and analyze visual representations of data?

Graph 1 shows the year-over-year sales growth for 12 businesses. For each blank, select the option that most accurately completes the statement based on the information provided.

1. To the nearest 10th of a percent, ___ percent of businesses in the graph had positive growth in both years.

a. 0

b. 8.3

c. 33.3

d. 58.3


2. If a company were plotted on the graph at –12 on the x axis and 13 on the y axis, it would indicate that that company had ___ net growth from December 2008 to December 2010.

a. Zero

b. Positive

c. Negative


3. The business in the graph that had the greatest net percent growth over the period of December 2008 to December 2010 had ___.

a. positive growth in both years

b. positive growth in one year only

c. negative growth in both years



Can you solve two-part problems?

Workers in an office are placed into three groups, each containing 20 workers. All workers are in at least one group. Any two groups have exactly 10 members in common.

In the table below, identify two numbers from the list of possible answers that are jointly consistent with the given information: in the first column, mark the row that indicates the total number of workers in the office; in the second column, mark the row that indicates the number of workers who are members of all three groups. Make only two selections, one in each column.

Total Workers | Workers in All Three | Possible Answers

___________|___________________|________4 __________|_________________ |________8 __________|_________________ |________10 __________|_________________ |________18 __________|_________________ |________34 __________|_________________

A version of this article appeared in print on July 24, 2011, on page ED32 of Education Life with the headline: GMAT Makeover.