An Insight on Data Sufficiency in GMAT

GMAT isn’t really a Math or English test; such tests are actually designed to test your logical and reasoning skills. GMAT tests how well you can prioritize when provided with too much of data. GMAT Quantitative Ability section have 37 questions to be attempted in 75 minutes. Out of 37 questions, 18-21 will be of Problem Solving while 16-19 will be of Data Sufficiency.

What is Problem Solving?

These are typical multiple choice math questions with five choices, in which one must solve the problem to mark the correct answer out of the given choices.

What is Data Sufficiency (DS)?

Data Sufficiency tests the ability to examine a set of given data and analyse which pieces are required to finish the job. Imagine your superior gives you a bunch of stuff related to cost price of a product and ask you to quote the next raise in price and how? The first thing you will check is whether the information given is enough to give the quote and second, which pieces will explain the reason at arriving to that quote.

These problems test the same mathematical concepts which are tested on problem solving but instead of asking you to solve the entire question, you are asked to determine whether the information given in the question stem is enough to find the answer or not.

A typical DS question looks like:

Question: Question Stem

Fact I: Information 1 to solve the question

Fact II: Information 2 to solve the question

And then the five answer choices:

    1. Statement 1 alone is sufficient but statement 2 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
    2. Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
    3. Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient to answer the question but neither statement is sufficient alone.
    4. Each statement alone is sufficient to answer the question.
    5. Statements 1 and 2 are not sufficient to answer the question asked and additional data is needed to answer the statements.

Because of unfamiliar nature of the style and approach of this question type, GMAT Test takers get confused. However with the right strategy and skills one can easily score well on these questions. The best part about DS is that answer choices and their order remains the same.

If you know all choices well, it will be easy to eliminate the options. Say if Fact I is sufficient to get the answer then eliminate B, C and E, if Fact I is not sufficient then eliminate A and D. Examine both the sections well. Read each fact INDEPENDENTLY, read the question carefully; analyse well to be able to apply right approach to solve the question. Such questions either ask value or ask to answer as “yes” or “no”.

  • A value question will ask for a unique numerical value
  • A “yes” or “no” question type will check the consistency

GMAT loves to test concepts of number properties and inequalities in Data Sufficiency section. That gives the advantage of picking numbers. While choosing numbers, students make all predictable mistakes, say for example if statement I says x >5, student reads that and automatically start picking all integers from 6 onward and completely ignore infinite real numbers between 5 and 6. Plug in numbers of all kind when you are solving a data sufficiency question. Use “ZONE F “ to create wonders in picking up the numbers.

ZONE F stands for :

Zero

One

Negative

Extreme (extremely large or extremely small values)

Fractions

When you start your GMAT prep, especially Data Sufficiency, it may seem very daunting, but only way out is to “keep practicing”. Within 5-6 weeks of your preparation, you should be handling DS questions faster than Problem Solving because you won’t find the need to perform lengthy calculations.

Chinu Vasudeva

Head, Academics

chinu@levergaeedu.com

GMAT isn’t really a Math or English test; such tests are actually designed to test your logical and reasoning skills. GMAT tests how well you can prioritize when provided with too much of data. GMAT Quantitative Ability section have 37 questions to be attempted in 75 minutes. Out of 37 questions, 18-21 will be of Problem Solving while 16-19 will be of Data Sufficiency.

What is Problem Solving?

These are typical multiple choice math questions with five choices, in which one must solve the problem to mark the correct answer out of the given choices.

What is Data Sufficiency (DS)?

Data Sufficiency tests the ability to examine a set of given data and analyse which pieces are required to finish the job. Imagine your superior gives you a bunch of stuff related to cost price of a product and ask you to quote the next raise in price and how? The first thing you will check is whether the information given is enough to give the quote and second, which pieces will explain the reason at arriving to that quote.

These problems test the same mathematical concepts which are tested on problem solving but instead of asking you to solve the entire question, you are asked to determine whether the information given in the question stem is enough to find the answer or not.

A typical DS question looks like:

Question: Question Stem

Fact I: Information 1 to solve the question

Fact II: Information 2 to solve the question

And then the five answer choices:

    1. Statement 1 alone is sufficient but statement 2 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
    2. Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
    3. Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient to answer the question but neither statement is sufficient alone.
    4. Each statement alone is sufficient to answer the question.
    5. Statements 1 and 2 are not sufficient to answer the question asked and additional data is needed to answer the statements.

Because of unfamiliar nature of the style and approach of this question type, GMAT Test takers get confused. However with the right strategy and skills one can easily score well on these questions. The best part about DS is that answer choices and their order remains the same.

If you know all choices well, it will be easy to eliminate the options. Say if Fact I is sufficient to get the answer then eliminate B, C and E, if Fact I is not sufficient then eliminate A and D. Examine both the sections well. Read each fact INDEPENDENTLY, read the question carefully; analyse well to be able to apply right approach to solve the question. Such questions either ask value or ask to answer as “yes” or “no”.

  • A value question will ask for a unique numerical value
  • A “yes” or “no” question type will check the consistency

GMAT loves to test concepts of number properties and inequalities in Data Sufficiency section. That gives the advantage of picking numbers. While choosing numbers, students make all predictable mistakes, say for example if statement I says x >5, student reads that and automatically start picking all integers from 6 onward and completely ignore infinite real numbers between 5 and 6. Plug in numbers of all kind when you are solving a data sufficiency question. Use “ZONE F “ to create wonders in picking up the numbers.

ZONE F stands for :

Zero

One

Negative

Extreme (extremely large or extremely small values)

Fractions

When you start your GMAT prep, especially Data Sufficiency, it may seem very daunting, but only way out is to “keep practicing”. Within 5-6 weeks of your preparation, you should be handling DS questions faster than Problem Solving because you won’t find the need to perform lengthy calculations.

Chinu Vasudeva

Head, Academics

chinu@levergaeedu.com

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