With the introduction of a new section called “integrated reasoning”, the format of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has change. The new section has replaced one essay in the analytical writing assessment section of the paper with a set of 12 questions. Till now, students were required to write two essays.

After a survey identified the need for data skills, GMAT has included new section from June 5. “While the verbal and quantitative sections will not undergo any change, one question from the Analysis Writing Assessment section will be dropped,” said Ashish Bhardwaj, a spokesperson for the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) — the body which conducts the GMAT exam.
The performance on the integrated reasoning section will not affect the total score. “This 12-question section now will be scored separately on a scale of one to eight,” the spokesperson said.
A worldwide survey of 740 business schools conducted by GMAC in 2009 had highlighted the need for processing, analyzing and interpreting different types of information. The current GMAT format has been in effect since 1994 and we believe in constant evolution.
This section has been initiated keeping in mind the “new realities” of today’s business world and the way we use multiple sources of data to make sound business decisions. The section includes four new question formats — graphic interpretation, table analysis, multiple-source reasoning and two-part analysis. The section has been designed to measure the ability to convert data from various sources and formats into relevant information to solve problems.
The survey had identified emerging data analysis skills needed to succeed in the classroom and the professional world. These were not tested in the GMAT,” said the GMAC spokesperson.
Ashutosh Singh, a candidate who recently appeared for the exam said, “The essay was graded on the basis of quality and now points has replaced grades. The new changes are unlikely to make any difference to the marking of GMAT.”
Kuber Sharma, who scored 780 in GMAT last year, said the scrapping of the essay was a good thing as it delayed results. “Everything else is multiple choices but an essay has to be read and graded, which takes time,” he said. He said the essays were redundant as there were 30 expected topics that most people learnt by rote before the exam

A few guidelines while taking the test. The GMAT is an adaptive test and is quite different from the traditional linear tests. You should have the mental make-up of thousands of athletes who are getting ready for the Olympics. You would’ve surely heard of the statement “We need to peak at the right time.” As you go ahead in answering questions, do not spend even a second thinking about the past or wondering how you’re doing. Let the test engine judge your performance. You focus on your job, which is answering the question in front of you correctly and swiftly. Taking the GMAT is a bit like batting in cricket. If you keep worrying about the last ball, you are unlikely to play the next ball well. Use the allotted testing time wisely, read all test directions carefully, confirm your answer only when you are certain that you want to move on to the next question. Let the clock guide you, not dictate to you and have a “Never Say Die” attitude throughout the test.

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