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Friday, 13 July, 2007

Data Sufficiency

Most people think that data sufficiency is one of the toughest things in the GMAT. Believe me, its one of the simplest things. Unlike PS, here, you don't have to solve the problem, rather you have to classify it according to 5 fixed answer choices.

I will soon publish a flowchart, which will help you to reach the correct option with minimum effort.

1. Memorize the five answer choices; they're the same for each and every Data Sufficiency question.

2. Be careful not to carry over any information from one numbered statement to another. (Making this mistake is remarkably easy, especially under time pressure and in a momentary lapse of concentration.)

3. If a question asks for a numerical value (as opposed to a quantitative expression that includes variables), the question is answerable only if a numbered statement (1 or 2) yields one and only one possible numerical answer--not a range of values.

4. If you can eliminate either answer choice (A) or (B), then you can also eliminate answer choice (D).

5. If either numbered statement (1 or 2) alone suffices to answer the question, then you can eliminate answer choices (C) and (E).

6. In distinct contrast to Problem Solving geometry figures, Data Sufficiency figures are not necessarily drawn proportionately--unless a figure indicates explicitly that it is drawn to scale. Do NOT rely on your eye to measure angle sizes, line segment lengths, or areas. Instead, handle any Data Sufficiency question using your knowledge of mathematics along with the numbers provided.

7. Data Sufficiency questions are designed to test you primarily on quantitative concepts, not on your ability to manipulate numbers (that's what Problem Solving questions are for). So if you find yourself doing a lot of pencil work, you're probably on the wrong track.

8. Just as in Problem Solving questions, in Data Sufficiency questions cast in a real-world setting you should make reasonable real-world assumptions. Don't split hairs by looking for subtle meanings or ambiguous language. The test-makers are not out to trick you in this way.

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