The GMAT is broken into several sections: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Verbal Reasoning (VR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), and Integrated Reasoning (IR). This article will explain the differences between QR and IR.
QR, simply put, tests your knowledge and application of mathematics. Specifically, they test basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry knowledge. This section contains 31 multiple-choice questions for which you are allotted 62 minutes. There are no calculators allowed. This section of the GMAT is computer-adaptive; the questions adjust their level of difficulty according to your performance on the previous questions.
QR is broken into two kinds of questions: problem solving (PS) and data sufficiency (DS). PS questions require you to arrive at an answer given the information in the question, whereas DS questions simply require you to determine whether the given information in the two statements is sufficient to answer the question.
An example of a PS question
Company P had 15 percent more employees in December than it had in January. If Company P had 460 employees in December, how many employees did it have in January?
The correct answer is B.
An example of a DS question:
If x is a positive integer greater than 1, what is the value of x?
- 2x is a common factor of 18 and 24
- x is a factor of 6
- Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
- Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
- BOTH statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.
- EACH statement ALONE is sufficient.
- Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.
The correct answer is A.
IR, on the other hand, tests both your mathematical as well as reading comprehension skills. There are several types of IR questions: multi-source reasoning, two-part analysis, graphics interpretation, and table analysis. This section has 12 multiple-choice questions (some of which have multiple parts and you must answer all parts correctly to receive credit for that question) for which you are allotted 30 minutes, and is not computer-adaptive. You’ll be provided an online calculator, but most questions on the IR do not require the use of one. The IR tests your ability to absorb information and make conclusions; however, be careful to not make conclusions that your general knowledge tells you to be true but that is not suggested by the information provided.
Multi-source reasoning questions will provide you several sources of information on a particular topic, much like multiple tabs open on your web browser. You will be required to tie in the information from all sources and answer multiple choice questions or yes/no questions based off what the tabs allow you to conclude.
Two-part analysis questions usually give you a paragraph that talks about scientific research, or logic puzzles. You will be required to answer the question being asked and make only one selection in each column, where each column has 5 possible answer choices.
Graphics interpretation questions, as the name suggests, provide you with a graphical representation of some data, and you’re required to answer two questions, each with a drop-down menu from which you need to select your answers.
Table analysis questions provide a tabular representation of some data, from which you’re required to answer several yes/no questions.
Overall, the IR is scored on a scale of 1-8, in 1-point increments, and is not part of the overall 200-800 GMAT score. The QR is scored on a scale of 6-51, in 1-point increments, and contributes to the overall GMAT score.
All sample questions were taken from the GMAT Official Guide 2021.