GMAT test takers are more inclined to pick Answer Choice C in Data Sufficiency just as they would choose choice A in Sentence Correction. This trap in assumption is obvious to test creators, and they formulate the two statements carefully to force you to pick the wrong answer choice. Watch out for this trap and know that the following three factors influence our ability to solve GMAT data sufficiency questions.
a) Order of Reading
Rarely do we change the order in which we parse through the answer choices in a multi-choice question. It is not a problem for problem solving, reading comprehension, or critical reasoning but for Data Sufficiency, the order of reading can influence how we reach the right conclusion. Test creators subtly make us believe that Statement 1 is actually part of the question, which then changes how we interpret statement 2. Here is an example:
The two sides of the rectangle are in the ratio 4:5. What is the length of the rectangle?
Statement 1: The difference in two sides is 2
Statement 2: The area of the rectangle is three times the original area when the length and breadth are increased by 1 unit
When we read statement 1, we sub-consciously start substituting conditions with variables:
X –> Length
Y = X – 2 -> Breadth
Although GMAT DS requires us to verify each statement independently, we will retain this condition. Now when statement 2 is read, we will retain the condition Y = X – 2
(X+1) (Y+1)/(XY) = 3
This is a false assumption that GMAT test takers often make. A technique to avoid this fallacy is to start with statement 2. In any case, if statement 1 or statement 2 is true, you can eliminate options C and E.
b) Poor Memory
GMAT test takers know that when complex conditions are mentioned in each statement, we tend to forget it. Therefore, it is advisable to write down the conditions in a notepad with clearly defined labels like:
Remember, the “Question” is the label that matters. Statement 1 and Statement 2, each add information either to complete or make the question more ambiguous.
c) Not Going Back to Question
Another common mistake that GMAT test takers make is not going back to the question. This can mean depending a lot on memory and statements in hand. If you are efficient with note taking, then going back to Question might not be necessary but if there is any confusion on how the question is formulated or whether you have missed vital relationship between two variables, feel free to go back to the question, and rewrite the key points mentioned in the question.
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