If you are attempting the GMAT exam, then you should be aware of the 4 sections — Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Verbal Reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR) and Integrated Reasoning(IR). However, only the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections contribute to your total score. The Analytical writing section and Integrated Reasoning section are scored separately and are not part of your total score. Due to this, most of you at some point must have asked yourself — “can I skip the AWA and IR section in GMAT?” Well, the answer is that it is not advisable to do so, because you can skip the sections and still receive a score of 0. This is something that you wouldn’t want and ultimately would have to take the exam again. Though these scores are not the ones required for your admissions, it is still considered important by many universities in India and abroad.
So make sure you prepare and answer all the sections of the GMAT exam. Now, let’s take a look at both the AWA and IR section of the GMAT in detail.
Analytical Writing Assessment Section
The Analytical section has one question – Analysis of an argument. You are allotted a time of 30 minutes to write an essay. You have to analyse and write a critique of the argument. The scoring range for the AWA is between 0 to 6. A good AWA score is a score of either 5 or 6.
The Analytical Writing scores are important for the admissions process since this gives the admissions committee a chance to understand how well you are able to communicate. This is a basic skill which is required once you are in the business world because you are expected to interact and communicate with many people.
The Analytical Writing section is also used by the admission committee to test your English language proficiency since most of the candidates attempting the exam are not native speakers. Therefore, it is essential that you spend adequate time honing your writing skills so that you are prepared for the analytical writing essay.
Integrated Reasoning Section
On the other hand, the Integrated Reasoning section has 4 different question types which you are likely to encounter. We have listed them below :
- Table Analysis – The questions in this category are presented in a table format. The most common topics tested in this category are statistics and probability, ratio and proportion.
- Two part analysis – These questions are designed to test how you can solve complex problems. Questions could be either verbal or quantitative or a combination of both.
- Multi source Reasoning – In these types of questions you are provided data in graphs, tables and charts and you are expected to interpret the given data. You might have to check for discrepancies and come to a conclusion.
- Graphical Interpretation – You will need to analyse information which is presented in the form of graphs, pie charts, box plots, bar charts, confidence level graphs, etc.
You are expected to solve these questions within a duration of 30 minutes. Each of these question types tests your ability to interpret data given in various visual formats like – graphs, tables and charts. You should be able to extract information from all these forms to get meaningful data to answer the questions. Some questions may have subsections and you should answer all of them correctly to be able to score the full point for that question.
The scores you obtain in this section are reported separately just like your AWA scores. The scoring range for IR is between – 1 to 8. A good score on the IR is considered anywhere between 6 and 8. These scores matter to the admissions committee since this exhibits your ability to integrate and compile data from various sources. Knowing how to assimilate data from various sources and formats on a daily basis is what you will be required to do during your MBA programme as well as when you take up a job later on.
As already mentioned the scores from your Analytical writing and Integrated Reasoning sections do contribute towards your admissions process significantly in different ways. Therefore, as mentioned in the beginning, if you ask yourself “can I skip the AWA and IR section in the GMAT?”. Then the answer will be no as it is not a wise decision. Therefore, do spend sufficient time in preparing both the Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning sections of the GMAT exam.