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July 2012

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Initial Integrated Reasoning Percentiles Released

Following the launch of the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section on June 5, the initial Integrated Reasoning percentiles calculated from the first 6,229 Integrated Reasoning GMAT test takers reveal that the average score was 4 on a scale of 1 to 8, slightly lower than the mid-point score range. Some 26 percent of the test takers scored a 1 or a 2, and 30 percent scored 6 or above.

“Although the percentiles will change as more test takers sit for the exam, the initial score distribution shows a good spread of scores,” said Ashok Sarathy, vice president, GMAT Program.

Integrated Reasoning Score

Introduced as a separate section with a separate score, IR does not affect the Verbal and Quantitative sections and does not contribute to the Total GMAT score. Schools can compare Quantitative, Verbal, and Total scores directly, using the IR score as an extra data point in their admissions decisions.

How will schools use Integrated Reasoning? That’s the No. 1 question GMAC hears from students, said GMAC Market Development Senior Manager Sabrina White.

Speaking with Sarathy at a recent admission symposium for GMAC member schools in Chicago, White led admission professionals in a case study in which they were offered profiles of three different candidates, two with Integrated Reasoning scores and one without. Groups selected one to admit and one to wait-list.

The case study sparked lively table debates about safer and riskier choices but no consensus on who was the clear admit. The specific program the directors were selecting students for — quantitatively rigorous and featuring a new capstone course requiring financial data management — was a key factor for many. So was the desired career path, as all three wanted to pursue consulting. For the candidate without an IR score, the admission directors tried to look at other parts of the file, including previous coursework and work experience, for indicators of how well he could integrate data to solve problems.

The Integrated Reasoning score will give schools a standardized measure of these important skills, Sarathy noted. Throughout the development process, management program faculty, corporate recruiters, business students, and test takers overwhelmingly rated the skills being measured as relevant and important for students and managers to have.

Validity studies, which show how well IR scores predict academic success in management programs, can’t be done until test takers have grades in management programs with which to correlate scores. But a small study of students at five top business schools also showed a good distribution of scores and a very good correlation with mid-point grade-point averages, as good or better than their Quantitative and Verbal scores, Sarathy said.

Percentiles show the percentage of scores below a given score and give context to scaled scores, which are fixed and convey the same level of ability over time. GMAT percentiles are calculated over a three-year period and updated every year. For the Integrated Reasoning section, percentiles will be updated monthly through 2012 and then annually on the same schedule as the other GMAT scores.  Updated percentiles will be available on the GMAT Score Reporting website on, on Official Score Reports, on, and on Additional Score Reports. Schools should use updated percentiles when comparing GMAT Integrated Reasoning scores. 

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