February 23, 2012
Previously, we looked at Graphic Interpretation and Two-Part Analysis question formats; two of the four new formats GMAT test takers will see in the Integrated Reasoning section poised to hit would-be management grad students in June. In this post, we will continue our new format probe with an examination of Table Analysis questions. For more information on the New GMAT, please visit our dedicated website: www.testchange.com.
This is from the test maker’s website regarding Table Analysis questions:
“Sort the table to organize the data so you can determine whether certain conditions are met. Each question will have statements with opposing answers (e.g., yes/no, true/false, inferable/not inferable); select one answer for each statement.”
Excelophiles unite! If you are a raving Excel lunatic that just can’t get enough sortable data, then Table Analysis GMAT questions are your new guilty pleasure. Want a taste? Click here for three luscious tables.
As for me, I cannot say I am one of the aforementioned Excel-heads, but I do find these question formats to be kinda fun. As with previously reviewed IR formats, Table Analysis questions borrow heavily from other GMAT question types. In one of the above linked examples, the test taker is asked about three facts that, if true, would or would not help explain some of the information from shown in the table. For those of you with even a modicum of GMAT prep experience, you will easily note that these are an interesting take on strengthen/weaken Critical Reasoning questions.
It is also worth noting that in none of the nine questions (3 questions over 3 tables) that comprise this sample set did I have to engage in any calculations. Rather, my attention to detail and knowledge of a few quantitative concepts was all that was needed.
Finally, I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before, but in the Integrated Reasoning section of the New GMAT, test takers will have the use of an on-screen calculator—a very surprising move by GMAC. Please do not take this development to mean that test takers will get one of these computation tools on the Quant section, however. All math in those 37 questions must be done in your head, by hand on your noteboards, or avoided all together via critical thinking.
February 22, 2012
In our next installment of the new question format series, we’re going to investigate Two-Part Analysis questions. Remember, the GMAT is changing in June and that change means a while new section called Integrated Reasoning. This new section will feature twelve questions in four new formats and result in yet a third score (AWA, GMAT Quant and Verbal in aggregate, and now IR).
This is from the test maker’s website regarding Two-Part Analysis questions:
“Select one answer from each column to solve a problem with a two-part solution. Possible answers will be presented in a table with a column for each part.”
In case you’re feeling particularly curious, GMAC offers up five two-part analysis questions for you here. Answers to each are provided, but don’t expect any explanations. As you work through these example questions, be sure to either write down the answers you choose or look at the correct answer before you move onto the next graphic. You cannot review in full after completing. Anyway, because I am always the most interesting guy in the room, I couldn’t help but spend my free time working through these beauties. I was surprised at what I found.
First, not all of them are quantitative problems. Most were, but one was basically a short Reading Comprehension passage with two detail-meets-inference questions and another was very similar to a logic game you might find on the LSAT, though extremely subdued compared to those lovely puzzles. In all cases, the two questions played off of one another or were in some way related. Also, when there was math required to get to the right answer, it was nothing new and old reliable strategies saved the day (e.g., Picking Numbers and Backsolving).
At this point, we have covered half of the new question formats (Graphic Interpretation and Two-Part Analysis) with two more to come (Table Analysis and Multi-Part Reasoning). I am heartened after reviewing these initial formats. I know what folks need to learn in order to succeed on the GMAT, and while some serious attention will need to be paid to the Integrated Reasoning section, I report with pleasure that the content and concepts tested do not appear to be novel in regard to the rest of the test. Much of your Verbal and Quant prep will transfer over to IR.
February 15, 2012
Let’s have a quick look at one of four new question formats test takers will see on the New GMAT among the twelve Integrated Reasoning questions in the new section: Graphics Interpretation. From the test maker’s website:
“Interpret the graph or graphical image and select the option from a drop-down list to make the answer statements accurate.”
For your enjoyment, GMAC provides four in-format graphics consisting of two or three questions each (click here to get started). While the answers are provided, unfortunately the explanations are not. Also, be sure to either write down the answers you choose or look at the correct answer before you move onto the next graphic. If you answer all of them consecutively with the plan to go back and review them consecutively, you will be disappointed (like me!).
As for this inquisitor, I found the Graphics Interpretation questions to be pretty interesting. The math tested is straight from the GMAT quant section (e.g., probability, percents, overlapping sets). However, not all of the questions are based upon calculation or even your understanding of quantitative concepts. Rather, as the name of the new question format suggests, some questions rely on your ability to orient yourself and then “read” the graphical information (check out the second question about the Earth’s geological history graphic for an example).
I anticipate similar complaints from my future GMAT students to those I receive from my current GRE students: the graphs are hard to read. That complaint is usually associated with hard-to-distinguish starts and stops of bars, trend lines, etc. or data points that are difficult to correlate with x- or y-axis values. However, the GRE graphs associated with that test’s similar question type (Data Interpretation) seem of lesser graphical quality than the ones I’ve seen so far from GMAC. That is, the resolution for the GRE charts and graphs is worse making them more of a pain to use. For what it’s worth, the struggle to read the charts and graphs is an intentional element of the game.
Stop in next time for a brief review of Two-Part Analysis questions.