The Data Sufficiency Content Surprise

August 23, 2012

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Data Sufficiency questions are hard--or, at least, most test-takers find them to be difficult. Behind this truth is a pleasant surprise for some students.

Because the Data Sufficiency format is unfamiliar, much of the challenge in DS questions is simply navigating the questions themselves, avoiding common traps and piecing together exactly what the GMAT is asking for. For this reason, many tricky DS questions do not rely on challenging content.

That's right--tough GMAT Quantitative questions without advanced content! A substantial minority of GMAT test-takers will get these tricky DS questions wrong simply because they have trouble with the question format.

That's how you can grab the advantage. Practice Data Sufficiency--lots of it. Memorize the answer choices and know which are eliminated when a statement proves sufficient or insufficient. Use your practice time to make the DS format second nature.

Once you do that, you'll find that many Data Sufficiency questions aren't that difficult in comparison with more complicated, content-heavy Problem Solving questions. Sure, some DS problems will always be hard. On an adaptive test, there's no getting around that. But by thoroughly knowing the test, you will skip right past many of the obstacles facing your fellow test-takers.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

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