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What Makes GMAT Questions Seem Difficult? (Video)

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It is important to pay attention to the devices examiners use to make GMAT questions difficult. This video by Veritas Prep shows the blueprint for how tricky questions are designed and explains a common structure some of these questions can take.

The video investigates the concept of data sufficiency and how it is perceived by the majority of exam takers. If you start thinking like the examiner, you will learn that that there are only two ways that a question can get you a wrong answer. The first scenario is if you think you have enough information and you think it is sufficient but it turns out it is not. The second scenario is if you think the given information is not sufficient but it turns out that it is.

Since these are the only two ways a question can confuse you, testmakers use their own blueprint – a common method for getting people to think that the given clues are more sufficient than they are or less sufficient than they are. The focus of the presenter in this particular video is on explaining the second scenario in detail by visualising a problem you may be required to solve.

Check out: The Most Challenging GMAT Questions

The problem starts with two equilateral triangles – a small one and a big one. What the examiners want to know in this case is the sum of the perimeters of the two triangles. One clue you can rely on according to the Veritas Prep instructor is the fact that they ask for “the sum of the perimeters” and not for one particular side of the triangles. Frequently, when they ask you to find out a combination of different components as in this question, it means that this is the easier solution to get to compared to finding out the individual components.

The blueprint that GMAT testmakers use relatively frequently to make the problem seem tricky is including one statement which does not immediately look sufficient and one which is clearly not sufficient by itself. What the latter statement does is to remove all doubt about your final answer. In other words, if you take both statements together, you can fill in all the details. However, as the presenter from Veritas Prep clarifies, this can often turn out to be the longer route. Relying solely on the first statement, which does not give you the entire set of clues but just enough to solve the problem, can be sufficient by itself for you to give a correct answer.

The video then visualises the worldwide statistics from the Veritas Prep practice tests which show that people usually go for the more difficult version of solving the problem while the sufficient “reward” can often be found in the statement explained by the presenter.

If you get to know the blueprint that examiners like to use to come up with tricky GMAT questions, you can learn to think like them and beat them at their own game.

Check out: Retaking the GMAT: Pros and Cons

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