Just like students, business school admissions officers still are unsure what to make of the GMAT’s new integrated reasoning section, finds the Kaplan Test Prep 2012 survey of business school admissions officers. The survey was conducted in August and September and includes responses from 265 MBA programs.
Among the findings:
- More than half of MBA programs are unsure of how important integrated reasoning (IR) scores will be in the evaluation process, with 54% responding “undecided” to the question, “How important will a student’s integrated reasoning score be in your evaluation of their overall performance on the GMAT?” 22% say IR scores will be important, while 24% say IR scores will not be important.
- In the survey, 41% said IR would make the GMAT more reflective of the business school experience, a big drop from the 59% who answered that way in Kaplan’s 2011 survey. Those who weren’t sure if IR would make the exam more reflective rose from 37% in 2011 to 49% in 2012. Admissions officers who said IR would not make the exam more reflective increased from 5% in 2011 to 10% in 2012.
- Somewhat similarly, 54% “do not know” if integrated reasoning makes the GMAT more reflective of work in business and management after business school; 36% say it does; and 10% say it doesn’t.
Launched in June, IR, according to the GMAT website, tests the skills that were identified in a survey of 740 management faculty worldwide and the score provides a new data point for schools to differentiate among candidates for their programs.
The length of the test remained the same, three hours, 30 minutes. To accommodate the changes, the analytical writing assessment shrank from two 30-minute essays to one “analysis of an argument” essay. The integrated reasoning portion follows the essay and test takers are given 30 minutes to complete it.
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“At this point, it’s so early. Like any exam change, it’s going to be tricky until we get all of our applicant pool on the same page,” Stacy Dorang Peeler, MBA admissions director for the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University, said in a previous article on OnlineMBA.com. She also noted in the interview that the changes to GMAT test won’t affect the two parts that make up the 200-800 scale, the quantitative and verbal. So the initial score that admissions offices get isn’t going to change.
“Not having seen any test takers yet, we don’t know what we are going to do (with the new IR data),” said Peeler. “We will still accept old scores. We aren’t going to have those apples to apple comparison right off the bat.”
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets