The GMAT Quant generally throws up a few problems that designed to act as speed-breakers during the course of the 75-minute Quantitative section. Not surprisingly, these questions are what are usually referred to as the Roman Numeral problems — information followed by III statements, with the question asking you identify the statements that could be true, must be true or is true. Depending upon the the question stem — could be or must be — you need to follow a specific approach to nail these questions without wasting much time. But one still has to proceed with the knowledge that these problems will take a tad longer to solve than the others since the equivalent of since almost three questions is built into one question.
In the previous post, we discussed the various approaches, strategies and DOs and DON’Ts to improve your accuracy on GMAT RC questions. In this passage we shall take up a long passage and see how the strategies need to be applied.
As discussed on the previous post, RC is the bugbear of most India test-takers. Surprisingly, most test-takers complain of having low accuracy levels on RC questions while maintaining high accuracy levels on CR questions. What is the reason for this anomaly? Why is it that those who are good at CR are still unable to do well on RC?
Of all the three questions types on the GMAT Verbal section — Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension — SC is the question type that most people preparing for the GMAT tend to take a liking towards (it goes without saying that RC is the most hated). This fancy towards SC often leads to aspirants really digging deep into Grammar. So much so that they start spouting Grammar jargon! But there is more to GMAT Sentence Correction than the rules — a process or approach that will ensure that you do not become/remain a Grammar expert but become a GMAT SC expert.
It goes without saying that the toughest GMAT Quant Problems are GMAT Data Sufficiency questions involving Inequalities. One specific issue that arises when solving tougher questions of this type is how to combine the two statements when both involve inequalities. Let us use two GMAT Data Sufficiency questions to understand how to go about combining inequalities.
Sometimes the process of teaching helps the teacher as much as the student. I was in Hyderabad the last weekend, conducting a GMAT Boot Camp for IMS Hyderabad students and during the course of the session, I discovered a better way to solve an old problem. Towards the end of a long and grueling day of solving 700-800 level problems we came to this Data Sufficiency problem as part of the segment where we focus specifically on the toughest type of Data Sufficiency problems – those involving inequalities.
In the previous Quantitative post , we saw how seemingly tough and time-consuming Data Sufficiency problems usually require a certain amount of pre-work. In most cases if the pre-work is done properly, you will precisely know what information is required to answer the question even before you go to the statements. The GMAT question below is another one of such problems.
In a few previous posts, this and this, we had discussed the importance of identifying the 3/2 Split as a way of really crashing the solving time on Sentence Correction. Strategically this is crucial since the average time available per question on the Verbal Section is only 1 min 49 sec. Since most Indian test-takers end up taking at least 2 min. per question on Reading Comprehension questions (including passage reading time), it is imperative that they solve SC and CR in under 1:49 sec per question. Between Critical Reasoning and Sentence Correction questions, the former will take longer purely because the amount of new information that one has to process in each option, both in terms of length and logic, is greater than it is for the latter.
The toughest GMAT Quant problems are usually Data Sufficiency questions involving numbers systems and inequalities. These problems tend to pose a lot of difficulties for test-takers because they seem to invite test-takers to plug in numbers and once they take that road, test-takers find themselves taking an inordinate amount of time. Once test-takers become aware of the of the ticking of the timer, panic sets in and even if they do manage to solve it, test-takers are still unsure of their answer. Answering these type of questions correctly is key to moving from a scaled score of 48 to a scaled score of 50 on the Quant.
One of the biggest challenges on the GMAT® is the battle against the timer. But the first thing that test-takers have to realize that it is not a test where a section cannot be completed in 75 minutes. Even the seemingly time-taking problems or calculations always have a straightforward solution provided you pause to think about the best way of going about solving a problem rather than jump into it. Usually the speed-breakers are Data Sufficiency questions involving inequalities. The first reaction of test-takers is to randomly plug numbers and see how things will pan out. Since they have not taken the time to first define the problem well, plugging numbers tends to become a trial and error process in the hope of hitting upon the answer rather than a process of testing the inequality! Over the next few Quantitative posts we will look at methods to effectively tackle Data Sufficiency problems involving inequalities. One of the first methods of decreasing the solving time required on these problems is to test the converse of the …