In this video from the new GMAT tutorial series produced by PrepAdviser and examPAL we are going to talk about a different type of question we will see on the IR – Two-Part Analysis.
In this type of question we are given a passage of text in which there is an argument or several arguments being made. We are then presented with a series of statements which refer to the text, and we have two criteria, arranged in two columns, by which we need to judge each statement.
For example, in this case, we are asked whether each statement supports or weakens two conclusions found in the text. Here, as in all two-part analysis questions, only one of the statements fits each of the criteria: meaning we have to go over the statements and select only one of them in each of the two columns, while leaving the rest of the statements unchecked.
So how do we go about solving a question like this? First, we have to read through the text, paying special attention to identifying the conclusion we are asked about - in this case they are clearly marked as a) and b), but they won’t always be. Sometimes we will have to find our own conclusions.
Then, in a question such as this, which asks us to strengthen or weaken the arguments, we will go straight to the given statements, rather than try to imagine hypothetical statements which could strengthen or weaken them. We will go over statement by statement, and ask – does this support the first conclusion? Does it weaken it? Does it do either for the second one?
By a process of elimination, we will find one statement – in this case, the third – which strengthens both conclusions, and another statement – in this case, the fourth – which weakens them. All the rest of the statements, meanwhile, either weaken one and support the other or don’t do either for at least one of them. It is important to realise that these two columns make up one question, and there is no partial credit! In order to get the points for the question we have to get both columns right.
So how do we go about this? First of all, we always have to read the text carefully and take notes:
- These notes may include quantitative data – meaning figures and variables. Which numbers do we have? Which ratios, which statistics?
- The notes may also include what we will call “critical reasoning” notes – what are the facts presented? What are the conclusions drawn from them?
We also have to keep the time limit in mind:
- This means we will stop solving when we know the answer for certain, but we will continue when we have doubts, at the risk of missing a question. Remember – we only get credit for a fully completed question! Meaning if we are only halfway through it, it is worth our time to keep going, even if that means we won’t have enough time to solve all the questions in this section.
In conclusion, remember: sometimes it is easier to eliminate the wrong answers than it is to find the right ones.
So that’s the second part of Integrated Reasoning out of four. Don’t miss the next two!