“Next Generation” GMAT Launches Today: Kaplan Test Prep Survey Finds Aspiring MBAs Find Integrated Reasoning Test Questions to be Unlike Test Questions They Have Previously Seen

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Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Carina Wong, carina.wong@kaplan.com, 212.453.7571

New York, NY (June 5, 2012) – As the “Next Generation” GMAT launches today, the exam’s 200,000+ annual test takers will now face the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section, with four new question types: table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning and two-party analysis.   These question types, which may feature scatter plots, sortable tables, and multi-tabbed data, are novel compared to the formats traditionally seen on graduate school-level admissions exams such as the GRE, LSAT and MCAT.

In a recent survey of prospective business schools students*, more than half of those who had seen actual Integrated Reasoning sample questions said IR questions were “not too similar” or “not at all similar” to other exam questions they’ve had to answer.

“Integrated Reasoning questions will be unfamiliar to most students and will make the GMAT more challenging.  But the new section also makes the test more reflective of the higher-level analytical skills needed to succeed in both business school and the business world,” said Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

That lack of familiarity with the kinds of questions Integrated Reasoning may explain why 38% of students surveyed said they were influenced to take the GMAT before it changed to avoid tackling the new section.  And they are not alone.  The Graduate Management Admission Council reported a recent spike in GMAT test takers as the new exam’s launch date approached.

“Since GMAT scores are valid for 5 years, today’s test takers will compete with applicants submitting scores up to 5 years old.  Because of the new section, today’s test takers will have to put in more preparation time, on average, to reach parity with those scores,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell notes that test takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, which means poor performance can’t be masked by stronger performance on other sections of the test.

“As far as test changes go, on a scale of 1-10, this is probably about a 5 or 6 – not as drastic as last year’s GRE overhaul, but more significant than, say, the LSATchangesin 2007, which involved adding comparative reading questions and eliminating an essay prompt,” Mitchell added.

Kaplan GMAT courses include a session dedicated to Integrated Reasoning, and all 9 CATs included in the Kaplan GMAT program – including the Official Test Day Experience, in which practice tests can be taken an actual Pearon VUE testing center— contain a full-length, scored IR section.

For more information about the GMAT’s new Integrated Reasoning section, including sample questions and videos, visit www.testchange.com.

To arrange an interview with a GMAT and business school admissions expert at Kaplan Test Prep, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*The survey was administered by email between November 2011 and April 2012 and included responses from 314 Kaplan GMAT students. 

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses.  Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.