GMAC, the organisation behind the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) has announced that the test will gain an extra section, titled Integrated Reasoning.

Due to be introduced on June 4th 2012, the new section will ask test takers to assimilate and integrate information from multiple sources to solve complex problems; accurately interpret visual and tabular data representations; and determine or estimate probability and statistics, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC).

GMAT stays at three and a half hours

While the Integrated Reasoning section is likely to create a greater amount of stress for students preparing for the GMAT, the overall length of the exam will remain at three and a half hours. To make room for the extra section, GMAC have opted to remove one of the two essays that currently form the analytical writing section.

Keen to point out that this decision was due to feedback from business schools, GMAC explained that, admissions officers have stated and GMAC research has shown that performance on the essays is closely aligned, making a single essay acceptable for predicting performance.

Verbal and quantitative sections remain unchanged

The coming enhancements to the GMAT exam stem from multiple surveys of business school faculty conducted during the past four years, GMAC announced. The integrated reasoning portion of the GMAT will capitalise on innovations in technology and assessments and feature questions that further enhance the validity of the test, through the use of graphs, spreadsheets, charts and the like, which participants have to analyse successfully in order to score highly.

The remaining features of the GMAT exam, most notably the verbal and quantitative sections will remain unchanged, and those participating will receive a breakdown of their results for each part, including the new integrated reasoning section.

Speaking at the announcement, Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC explained the benefits of the integrated reasoning section to business schools. The new integrated reasoning section of the GMAT will be a microcosm of today's [business] school classroom... These questions will provide critical intelligence to schools about the ability of prospective students to make sound decisions by evaluating, assimilating or extrapolating data.