Data Sufficiency Strategies for GMAT


The GMAT is designed to test your aptitude in applying your knowledge of reasoning and basic math. It is straightforward and simply needs you to make use of the given information in finding out answers to the questions asked. The Verbal and the Quantitative sections have questions based on multiple choice answers. So, you need to just locate the correct answer out of the given choices. The math strategies can be very helpful in solving the Quantitative section (also called the math section). It contains two types of questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. This article will give you some insight about data sufficiency strategies for the test.

Data Sufficiency Strategies for the GMAT

The GMAT data sufficiency problems are based on quantitative reasoning. However, you need not do complex calculations or number crunching to arrive at an answer. The questions are based on basics of arithmetic, algebra and geometry. The problem statements are straightforward and do not involve any hidden meanings. The basic math strategies are sufficient to understand the questions and to arrive at answers. All the questions have identical answer options as follows:

  1. Statement 1 alone is sufficient but statement 2 alone is not sufficient
  2. Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient
  3. Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient but neither statement is sufficient alone.
  4. Each statement alone is sufficient
  5. Statement 1 and statement 2 are not sufficient and additional data is needed
Now let us see some of the data sufficiency strategies for the test.

Memorize the Answer Choices

You must remember the above answer choices. This way you need not look at them or read them for every question on the data sufficiency.

Understand What is Asked

The questions of the Data Sufficiency section need some basic calculations to find the answers. An answer can be a fixed value or an expanse of values. So, using simple math strategies you can do the calculations in your mind and arrive at an answer. Once you are clear about what kind of an answer to look for, you can evaluate the answer choices. You must treat every question independently.

Process of Elimination

The process of elimination is one of the best data sufficiency strategies for the test. If you study the answer choices carefully, you will realize that they are interrelated. So, the correctness or the sufficiency of the given statement 1 and statement 2 has an effect on the multiple answer choices simultaneously. For example, If either statement 1 or 2 is sufficient to answer the given problem then the answer choices (C) and (E) can be discarded as they need both the statements either sufficient or insufficient.
Similarly, if we can prove either statement (A) or (B) to be wrong, then we can safely discard the answer option (D).

The above mentioned data sufficiency strategies for the test can be utilized for preparing for the section on data sufficiency. You just need to revise the basic math concepts. GMAT math strategies are useful for doing calculations quickly. However, one should be careful while solving the problems. Data sufficiency strategies for the test do not mean making use of judgment while calculating for the geometrical questions.

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