GMAC Reports IR Stats – .55 Correlation

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced stats on student performance on the new Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam. Data was available for the 105,000 exams that have been taken since the IR section launched on June 5, 2012 (6 months of data).

So far, the data has pointed out some surprising results.

1) Factors such as native vs non-native English speakers, US vs non-US, white vs non-white, etc – generally don’t affect one’s score too much. In terms of covariance analysis, the variation between these subgroups was always less than 1/4 standard deviation.

So effectively, these factors don’t play much of a role within these demographics.

2) Students who do well on the 800 score (quant and verbal) – do not necessarily do well on IR. The correlation between these scores is only .55.

3) 85% of students and alumni find IR skills relevant. And 97% of employers said these skills were important.

See GMAC”s announcement here.

What does this mean?

It means the IR score tests something completely different from what quant and verbal test.

This low correlation also means that IR scores will likely carry greater significance going forward. Since the type of skills IR tests is much more relevant to the business world—AND the IR score is not really correlated with a student’s Quant and Verbal score—it is now legitimate for GMAC folks to say that IR “adds value” for business school admissions committees in terms of evaluating students’ potential.

So is this good news for GMAC?

Kind of. As mentioned above, it shows that the IR score does “add value.”

On the flip side, it’s still a bit difficult for business schools to treat the score as seriously as they currently do with the 800 score.


Because the IR score is not published and business schools generally don’t (yet) compare their student body’s average IR score with another school’s average IR score. Without the competitive pressure to accept students with higher IR scores, it may be difficult for the IR score to carry as much weight as the 800 score.

Nevertheless, the results do show that the IR score is an additional data point. Given that the IR score does test more relevant skills, some may argue that one’s IR score is a better predictive indicator of how well a student will do in business school and post graduation.

Regardless of how business schools view the IR score – and how their thinking will change over time – you as an MBA candidate should take the IR score seriously–not just for admissions purposes, but also for your future career development.

GMAT Pill has released an “Integrated Reasoning Pill” for this new IR section- complete with 100+ questions and video explanations.

IR = Integrated Reasoning, more details

Recall that the IR section is the second section on the GMAT Exam. It comes right after the AWA Analysis of an Argument Essay (30 min). Your next 30 min will be spent on the Integrated Reasoning section which has 12 questions, scored out of 8. Some of these questions (2-3) may be experimental – there is no way to tell which ones they are. Then the remaining 9-10 questions *actually* count and are used to calculate your IR raw score out of 8. For more details about the IR scoring, read the GMATPill post on IR Scoring.

Since there are 4 new question types on the IR section (some have 2 answers per question, others have 3), it’s usually best to familiarize yourself with a few of the questions. Try some of the questions in the IR e-book or IR practice question on the GMATPill Practice Pill Platform.

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