For many students studying for the GMAT, the dreaded data sufficiency questions can be a source of consternation. When you really think about it, though, the data sufficiency questions offer one advantage in that they all have the same answer choices. One of the first steps toward success on the GMAT quantitative section is to learn and internalize these answer choices, but you can also learn this great method for eliminating wrong answer choices by determining the applicability of each statement.
GMAT Data Sufficiency Foundations
In case you haven’t committed them to memory yet, here are those familiar choices:
- (A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- (B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
- (C) BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked,
One of the hallmark points of confusion on GMAT Data Sufficiency is the dreaded Yes/No question.
In a Value question, such as “What is the value of x?” the question of sufficiency is a familiar one: if you can solve for x, you have sufficiency. But in a Yes/No question, especially when variables are involved, finding a solid answer can be a much cloudier process.
Sample GMAT Data Sufficiency Yes/No Question
The best way to clear this fog is with a concrete example. Let’s look at this Data Sufficiency question, along with its first statement:
Is x positive?
(1) x^2 > 1
Is Statement (1) sufficient to answer the question? Unless you have a comprehensive understanding of the underlying Number Properties at work here, your first reaction to this statement is likely to try out different numerical values for x, because working with real numbers instead of variables will … Read full post
Undoubtedly, the GMAT can be a frustrating test to learn how to beat. Most who find themselves in battle with it end up following a red herring by questioning what the heck this test has to do with business. Entertaining this line of inquiry is a fool’s errand and takes the focus off the necessary work. Further, getting distracted by a why-do-I-have-to-what-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything mindset constructs cognitive walls that impede progress.
Rest assured: the GMAT is a valid and useful tool for assessing your business school application package. If you want more information as to the how-and-why of GMAT validity, read this and this or go here. Despite the legitimacy of the exam, I always like to offer brief comments to my students regarding the relevance of GMAT questions and tested skills to managerial acumen when the opportunity arises. The reactions I get are seldom revelatory, but I like to sow … Read full post
Data Sufficiency (DS) questions are unique to the GMAT. When first encountered they are cumbersome, confusing, and generally frustrating. Admittedly, Data Sufficiency questions often remain cumbersome, confusing, and generally frustrating, but such is the nature of the GMAT. After all, the better you do, the harder the test gets! However, thorough understanding of the characteristics and attributes of these questions coupled with a proven method of attack will allow you to handle just about anything the GMAT has to offer. In this blog entry, I will offer some GMAT Data Sufficiency tips to help you master this challenging question type.
The prescribed task for Data Sufficiency questions is straightforward enough: based on provided information, determine whether a posed question can be answered. The structure of these questions is unwaveringly consistent: a question is asked, two statements of additional information are provided, and the five answer choices that follow are always … Read full post
If you haven’t already, visit our GMAT Data Sufficiency and Averages practice problem and give it a try on your own before reading the explanation.
To get this question correct, you must combine your knowledge of fundamental math concepts with use of the Kaplan Method and strategies for approaching Data Sufficiency and Averages. Here’s a breakdown:
The average formula is
Remember, with a Yes/No Data Sufficiency question, you are looking at the statements and trying to determine whether they provide a consistent YES or NO answer to this question. A consistent answer of yes OR no is sufficient. An inconsistent answer (yes and no) is insufficient.
Then divide both sides … Read full post
Who’s afraid of a little GMAT Data Sufficiency and Averages? Not you! Take this one step-by-step to get to the correct answer. Consider timing yourself to see how close you are to the 2 minute suggested average for GMAT DS questions.
Post your answer here in the comments, or on Facebook. We’ll provide a full explanation of this problem in a couple days. Happy practicing!
Edit: The explanation has been added.
If b ≠ 0 and a > b, is a > c?
(1) a/b> c/b
(2) 5ab > 6bc
From a cursory glance, you can see that GMAT math takes you back to concepts that you learned in high school. Look a bit closer and you see that it actually takes you back much further than that, to math you learned in elementary school – integers, positives/negatives, etc. One of the interesting things about the GMAT is that sometimes these throwbacks to simple math are used to create challenging critical thinking problems. The problem above is one of those.
Post your answer and your method in the comments below. We’ll share the full Kaplan explanation, with secrets for how to master GMAT Data Sufficiency, in tomorrow’s blog entry. … Read full post
Many of our readers are in the midst of preparing hard for the GMAT, either to try to squeeze in an application before the first round bschool deadlines this fall or to prepare for second round deadlines coming up at the beginning of next year. Either way, we know that you want all the practice that you can get. Thus, we are bringing back the GMAT question of the week. Each week we’ll post a question here on the blog and on Facebook. We’ll leave off the answer. You can post your answers here or in the comments on Facebook along with any questions that you may have. Keep checking back after that. Once everyone who wants to play has chimed in, we will post the answer.
The first question in a data sufficiency question:
What is the area of the circle above with center O?
(1) The … Read full post