Low GMAT IR Score: Impact on Top MBA Applications

Many applicants express a keen interest in learning more about the new and relatively unfamiliar section known as integrated reasoning (IR). They often ask questions such as “Is the GMAT IR section difficult?” and “How does the IR portion impact the overall score?” Let us clarify what IR is and how it influences your GMAT score overall.

The new section is designed to assess candidates’ ability to manage the more data-driven courses that business schools have adopted as preparation for complex real-world challenges. The test will continue to be scored the same way, with a combined score for the quantitative and verbal components and independent writing. In addition, the IR port will be graded independently on a scale of 1-8.

When it comes to admissions, IR can be a game-changer. A few years ago, IR was not given much importance. However, as the world shifts to more data-driven industries, the real world wants quick thinkers and quick decision-makers, who can calculate risk and make decisions, and that’s where IR comes in; it tests you based on a few factors that play an important role in real-life situations.


The GMAT is a reliable predictor of academic success in MBA and other business master’s programs. It offers a consistent measure of academic skills for admissions professionals, aiding in the selection process from diverse educational backgrounds and levels of professional experience worldwide.

The GMAT online exam assesses the most important abilities for graduate business education: This section is divided into four sections, 

– Assessment of Analytical Writing (AWA) 

– Verbal reasoning, 

– Quantitative reasoning, 

– Integrated Reasoning

A detailed breakdown of the GMAT:

Assessment of Analytical Writing (AWA) – evaluates your critical thinking and communication skills.

Verbal reasoning – tests your ability to read and comprehend written material., evaluate arguments, and edit written material to comply with standard written English.

Quantitative reasoning – evaluates your ability to use thinking abilities to examine evidence and develop conclusions.

Integrated reasoning – evaluates your ability to assess data and evaluate the information offered in various ways.


ScoringHow the Section is Scored
Analytical Writing Assessment0.0-6.0Professional essay raters and a computer algorithm are used to grade essays. 
The score is provided in 0.5 intervals
Integrated Reasoning1-8The number of questions successfully answered determines your Integrated Reasoning score.
Some questions may have numerous sections; in order to gain credit for that question, you must properly answer all parts. 
Scores are provided in one-point increments
Quantitative and Verbal6-51The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning parts are adaptive at the item level, and your score is determined by three factors: 
1. The number of questions you respond to 
2. Check to see whether your answers are right. 
3. The level of difficulty and other factors of the questions you replied 
You will receive a better score if you answer more questions properly, answer more questions correctly, and qualify for questions of a higher difficulty level. 
Scores are provided in one-point increments, with a standard error of measurement of three points.
Total200-800Total Scores are based on your calculated performance before the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning parts are scored. 
After that, the raw computation is translated to a number in the Total Score range. 
Scores are provided in 10-point increments. The standard measurement error is 30-40 points..

Taking the GMAT is one of the most important steps toward admission to a top business school. A good GMAT score demonstrates your academic prowess and ensures the business school that you will complete the difficult MBA program quickly.

Our GMAT score article will provide information on the scores accepted by universities in the United States, Europe, and Canada.

Suggested Reading: Average GMAT scores for top MBA programs – US, Europe, Canada


The GMAT Exam’s Integrated Reasoning (IR) part assesses your ability to evaluate facts to answer difficult issues. Business schools want to show that you can utilize data to make effective business choices, and the GMAT IR score measures this.

The GMAT IR section tests 4 skills: analyzing data from multiple sources, tables, graphs, and two-part reasoning. You get 12 questions in 30 minutes.

Graphic InterpretationThese questions require you to examine data given in the form of a scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution, among other formats, and then provide solutions based on your interpretation.
Table AnalysisThe applicant must analyze a table or a spreadsheet in these questions and then interpret the data into practical knowledge.
Multi-Source ReasoningThis question will provide several sources of information and then ask you to analyze the different sources for important data and produce conclusions or answers if the data is relevant.
Two-Part AnalysisThese tests your abilities to solve complex problems and simultaneous equations to determine the link between the various aspects of the problem. 
There are no partial points if you receive a subsection to a question.


Business schools were directly queried about the IR (Integrated Reasoning) section upon its introduction in 2012. At the time, their comments were of two types: (1) we are not evaluating the IR because there is insufficient evidence, or (2) we examine all elements comprehensively. Let’s skip to 2022. When asked the same question, several business schools say they have begun to consider the IR score seriously.

Yes, IR demonstrates how quick you are to think and solve problems. 

– It combines Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning abilities.

– IR puts your practical approach to real-world situations to the test.

– Business schools and corporations place a premium on your ability to cope with real-world facts.

In business life, fast decision-making is important, and large corporations such as Bain & Co. are one example of a corporation that may begin requiring students to declare their IR scores in addition to the Quantitative and Verbal scores separately.


low gmat ir score

1. Reading and analyzing data. – Don’t haste to answer a question. Go slow, understand the question completely, even if you have to re-read it. Check to see whether you understand what the inquiry is asking. It is intended to be difficult, but all of the information needed to answer the questions is provided. Analyze each data source thoroughly since the questions need a thorough grasp of the information offered.

2. Avoid making assumptions.- Don’t let any prior knowledge of the question influence your response.

If the information is not included in the question, consider it irrelevant. Or else you’ll need to figure out how one piece of information affects another. Many questions will require you to use the facts to develop a conclusion based on a particular relationship. This experience will require you to actively learn how the data fits together.

3. Go through all of the possible answers. – Reading your response options may also assist you in determining your answer since it may remove an answer alternative, Sort through the extraneous data to get the vital information. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information provided by the GMAC with each question. You will always get irrelevant information on all of the queries. That is an element of the test–you must determine which sections of the charts/tables/graphs/etc. are relevant to the question.


low gmat ir score

The average IR section score is 4; however, you usually try to score at least 5 out of 8 in the IR section to get an edge, to be one step ahead of the game


low gmat ir score

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, although only contributing 8 points and not included in the total GMAT score, demands your attention. It remains a crucial element of your application.

Quick thinkers and problem solvers are essential in the corporate sector. With the sheer amount of daily challenges that businesses worldwide encounter, it’s critical for an employee, much alone an industry leader, to remain calm and perform at a high level, even in a demanding atmosphere.

The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section is becoming a game-changer in the business school admissions process. High GMAT scores alone aren’t cutting it anymore, as schools weigh the IR section alongside other scores like AWA, Verbal, and Quant. When candidates tie on overall scores, IR can tip the scales. A well-rounded scorecard is key.

With only two seats remaining and two applications received, the selection process will be highly competitive.

Q48 / IR 8 Candidate A

Q50/ IR 4 Candidate B

Who’ll win the seat? Candidate A, since schools prefer well-rounded individuals over one-trick ponies. A has the upper hand over B.

The keyword here is reasoning, and from its beginnings, the GMAT has evaluated higher-order reasoning ability. 

IR features a basic calculator, but don’t expect tougher math. The difficulty level stays consistent. Since the IR isn’t adaptive, you’ll get a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Keep your wits about you!

Dreading the GMAT’s challenging IR section? Don’t sweat it! Our experts will craft personalized strategies to help you conquer it. Schedule a call today and gain valuable insights to dominate the IR section and stand out in a competitive applicant pool.

Frequently Asked Questions


Does IR score affect GMAT score?

The Integrated Reasoning score does not go towards the final GMAT score. The GMAT IR Score is recorded independently and has no bearing on your overall score out of 800.


Does low IR matter GMAT?

Yes, however, your GMAT score of 800 is considerably more crucial. However, GMAC has said that IR scores link more strongly with first-year MBA grades than Quant, Verbal, or the 800 scores.


How hard is GMAT IR?

The IR section is not adaptive, which means there are some simple, some medium-difficulty questions and tough questions.

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