GMAT Multi-Source Reasoning Solutions

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    GMAT exam is one of the most popular exams given in the country. GMAT is a computer- adaptive test that assesses candidates reading, verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills. It is taken to get admissions into graduate management exams and is considered globally as a standard examination in top B-Schools. Around 2,00,000 candidates take GMAT exam every year and 9 out of 10 MBA enrolments are through GMAT test.

    The GMAT syllabus consists of four main sections. These are a Verbal Section, a Quantitative Section, an Analytical Writing Assessment Section, and an Integrated Reasoning Section. The Verbal and Quantitative Sections are separately graded. The score ranges from 0 to 60 for each section. Getting a score below 8 and above 51 in these sections is rare. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) sections are graded on a scale of 0-6. This is evaluated by one human and one computer reader. GMAC does the average of the two grades for the essay and rounds to the nearest 0.5 points. The AWA GMAT score is not included in the overall GMAT score. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored from 1 to 8 and has 1 point increment. There are multiple parts present and you must answer each part correctly to get full credit for the asked question. The Integrated Reasoning score is also not included in the overall GMAT score.

    Multi-Source Reasoning questions in the GMAT IR section are one of the four question types. Multi-Source Reasoning provides three pieces of data/information on the tabbed pages which may include charts, articles, data, emails, etc. There is a lot of information available. It is important to note here that all of the information is not necessary to answer questions. The pieces of data may be quantitative in nature or verbal, or even a combination of both. You may have to click back and forth between tabs to locate the data needed to answer the question.

    The questions present will consist of either a set of multiple-choice questions or a set of yes/no statements. Information will be used from more than one tab to answer the questions, but also there can be an answer present in the same tab for more than one question. According to GMAC, these types of questions are designed to mimic the case study approach used by MBA programs and test the ability of the students to integrate different types of information from several sources.

    Strategy for attempting Multi-Source Reasoning questions

    For all the multi-source reasoning questions, candidates will be presented with the information on two or three tabs on the left side of your computer screen. The questions will appear on the right side of the screen. Keep the followings points in mind:

    • The material is designed to be challenging, and hence, does not expect to be completely familiar with it. However, all the information required to answer the question will be given.
    • Since the questions may require a detailed understanding of the data presented, you need to analyze each source of data carefully. You should be mindful of how each statement is adding to the main idea of the passage since the text will be building ideas in sequence. There could be the presence of graphic elements like tables, graphs, charts, or diagrams.
    • It is vital to understand what exactly is asked in the question and hence understanding the question is necessary. Read the questions carefully. There might be a possibility of finding discrepancies among different sources of data. Other questions may require you to find which one of the data sources is relevant.
    • Don’t let your prior knowledge of the subject matter influence the answer choices. The selected answer should only be based on the data which is provided in the passage. Use only that data and no other references.

    Let us now look at some pros and cons of Multi-Source Reasoning Section

    Pros of Multi-Source Reasoning

    The positive thing about multi-source reasoning is that the question process is quite interactive. The questions have a more practical application. It is more real-world to shuffle between the set of data present in different tabs in order to answer a particular question. This interactivity of the question makes it more latest and modern with today’s technology standards.

    Cons of Multi-Source Reasoning

    One of the major con of these types of questions is that it demands more managing on the part of the user. How do you know which question is referring to which tab of the information present? It’s a major part of your task. You have to find the information which is relevant to answering that question. Sometimes, it can be pretty straightforward as looking at the first part of the question and referring to the first piece of information. Then look at the second part of the question which directly refers to the second piece of information. Though, this might not be the case always. A question may sometimes demand to refer to multiple pieces of information in order to reach the correct answer.

    Multi-Sourcing reasoning is a question format that is very heavy in data. In these questions, we are given a lot of information which is divided into separate categories and those categories are separated into different tabs. So we have 3 different tabs in each of which we will find separate bits of information. Some of these lists, and usually all of them relate to the questions being asked.

    We are all familiar with using tabs from our everyday online use, but in this case, we don’t actually want to read everything. We only have 2 minutes 30 seconds on average per question in a GMAT IR section and is this not a lot of time at all relative to this amount of information. So, instead of reading everything, what we need to do is find only the information we need based on the questions we are asked. But in order to do that effectively, we do need to understand what information we have.

    So the first thing we want to do is read the title and figure out what is this all about. Let us look at a sample question and proceed with things that you should follow while attempting these types of questions. The below question will be of a similar kind that you will face in GMAT exam.

    Sample Question:

    GMAT Multi-Source Reasoning Solutions

    Find one sample question above. The GMAT will follow almost the similar format. In this specific case, we have the first tab as ‘Image types’. The titles present below that head are CT, MRI, and PET. While just skimming through the text, these are explanations of various types of imaging techniques used in science or medicine.

    GMAT Multi-Source Reasoning Solutions

    Looking at the next figure, we have the next tab as ‘Comparison’. Here we can assume that we’ll compare the different techniques which were mentioned earlier. Just quickly skim through the text to get a rough idea. You will have to return to the passage to find the answers to the questions.

    GMAT Multi-Source Reasoning Solutions

    In the following figure, the last tab is ‘Brain functions’. We’ll see exactly what it is once we start answering our questions.

    GMAT Multi-Source Reasoning Solutions

    Refer to the above figure. Now, we will focus on the right-hand column as shown in the figure. There we will see three different statements along with one question. For each statement, we have to select one of two columns, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In this particular case, we are asked to select ‘yes’ if the statement can be inferred from the information and ‘no’ if cannot. Read the question carefully and get back to the passage.

    As is the case with GMAT IR in general, all three of the statements makeup one question only, and getting this question right means answering all three correctly. So, here, for example, the first statement reads ‘MRI poses less risk of DNA damage than CT and PET. Now, this is asking us to compare the different techniques which should immediately send us to the second tab – ‘Comparison’.

    Looking at this tab, we find two paragraphs. This is still a lot of text is present. We are best off scanning this passage with something relevant to the statement. At the very end of the passage, there is DNA mentioned. The answer should be there. Read through it and answer the correct option.

    Let us sum-up what we have learned. We should get a quick impression of tabs and content by looking at the titles but following this, we should let the information lead us. We need to ask ourselves- What kind of information do we need? Are there any keywords we should be looking for? What information is missing? Is there a connection between the pieces of the information given? When reading the text, we’ll always take notes. For quantitative data- on figures and variables and on critical reasoning questions- on all aspects of the argument the question relates to. We also have to keep the time limit in mind.

    The same data is usually relevant to multiple questions. So it is worthwhile to spend more time reading if necessary. We’ll stop when we know the answer for certain but continue when we have doubts even at the price of missing a later question. Remember, we’re better off answering all three statements correctly in one question than only getting part of two questions or more. Make sure you are always applying correct logic and asking yourself relevant questions before marking the answer. It is important that you are clear on the logic for which you are marking the answer which is backed by the reference in the passage.

    Also, don’t forget to practice a lot of these questions. Practicing will make you more comfortable around these questions. Solving within a time frame is important. If you can save some time in this section, you may utilize it for difficult questions later.

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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