Finishing the IR section

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Finishing the IR section

by meanjonathan » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:03 pm
Here's a thought. I've noticed that some IR questions (particularly the very math-intensive ones) take tons more time than others. In this respect, there's a real dichotomy between those that propel you along and those that bog you down.

For someone who's been having trouble finishing IR (i.e., me), could it be a good strategy to simply side-step the crazy number crunching problems and focus on completing faster logic and graphic problems. This way, by allocating time across a greater number of problems, one yields a higher score, just by virtue of simple probability. Essentially, you prevent yourself from putting too many eggs in one basket.

Any thoughts?

-M

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by Saana » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:12 pm
Im no expert in IR, but I have been preparing for it and Im taking the GMAT a week after you, and I guess Im going to go in for the same strategy. Some questions take way to much time and even if we get 1 sub question wrong, the whole thing goes wrong! So I focus on the easier ones and make sure I get them right and the tougher ones, make a sincere attempt and if I cant figure it out, guess and move on.
I find graphics interpretation and table analysis the easiest as of now!

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by Branham24 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:03 pm
Have to throw a differenct perspective your way to consider. I went into my GMAT with the same strategy and then fell victim to my comptitiveness and couldn't help but try to solve all of the questions. Given the unknown of the IR section in that you may get a higher % of math intensive questions, I just decided to trudge through all of them and see what happens. That and I couldn't get myself to just guess. I ran out of time and did not finish 2 of the questions and still got an 8. I do however think I got the other 10 right so, just something to think about.

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by meanjonathan » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:14 pm
Branham,

Very nice job on IR.
I ran out of time and did not finish 2 of the questions and still got an 8. I do however think I got the other 10 right so...
Mind if I ask you a few follow up questions?

1) How much time did you put into IR prep?
2) What materials did you use beforehand (e.g., GMATPrep CATs, OG guide questions, MGMAT CATs, etc).
3) Assuming you took some practice CATs w/ IR, do you find that practice CATs score on par with the real GMAT?
4) Did you find the real GMAT's IR questions, in general, to be easier/harder/about the same as practice questions?

I'm impressed. An 8 is a perfect score. I'm ready to listen to any advice you can throw my way.

--mj.[/quote]

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by Branham24 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:50 am
Meanjonathan,

1) I did not specifically focus on the IR section. Given all of the posts out there about the 1st year of IR being a relevant insignifcant factor on your score I chose to work on my quant because I was consistently slow.
2) I completed all of the 12th ed OG problems, the 2nd ed. quant and verbal reviews, all of the MGMAT books, and browsed over the Kaplan 800 book.
3) I completed two of the MGMAT Cat exams, which I thought were awesome, particularly the breakdowns after you complete the test, which is where I spent most of my time studying the IR problems. The MGMAT answers really helped me understand how they tie the data and charts together. My CAT scores were almost identical to how I did on the GMAT, to include the number of problems I did not make it to due to poor timing.
4) I thought the MGMAT questions were pretty spot on, if anything they may have been a bit harder than the actual GMAT IR questions.

I know there's not a lot of takeaways from my post for you to glean from, but the main one would be that all of the prep you are doing for the quant is in parallel to the IR questions and if you can take a focused approach to understanding the question stem and analyzing the chart you will be fine. I don't believe hours of studying graphs etc.. will really help because each question has a completely unique set of data, unlike quant questions which test a relatively small set of math skills in a dizzying amount of ways. There is rarely any calculation in the IR beyond mean, median, and %. You just have to calmly filter through the useless data and keep track of the two or three data points required to make the right calculation. A lot of questions ask you to interpret a graph to find a date, group, median etc.. and then open the data set and make a calculation based on that specific date, group, median or a comparison of two of them. My only real caveat is to make sure you are completely sure of what the X/Y plots are representing. Some of the questions are designed to lure you into interpreting the graph the wrong way and picking the wrong data points. And second, spend enough time with the question stem to ensure you understand it. If they are asking for the % increase in the mean from the two most profitable years, say X and Y, there are a lot of ways to screw that up along the way. It is easy to quickly just look at the graph and calculate the % difference between the largest data points of X and Y. However, the graph may be of the median and year (not the mean and year), and all the data points are in the second tab. By studying the graphs and analyzing the question stem (much like you would pre-work a data sufficiency stem to simplify it prior to solving), the data you need will jump out at you. Last piece of advice, if you get bogged down in the data and lose your way, I wouls stop immediately and make an educated guess and move on. You could easily get lost in all the numbers and spend wayyyy to much time on a question and frustrate yourself into bombing the rest of IR.
Best of luck on your exam.

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by [email protected] » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:38 am
Branham24 wrote:all of the prep you are doing for the quant is in parallel to the IR questions and if you can take a focused approach to understanding the question stem and analyzing the chart you will be fine.
Well said. IR isn't really adding any new skills for us to learn; it's simply testing the skills we're already working on (in quant and in reasoning) in a new way.
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by meanjonathan » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:44 pm
[email protected] wrote:
IR isn't really adding any new skills for us to learn; it's simply testing the skills we're already working on (in quant and in reasoning) in a new way.
Bill, Yes and no. I don't mean to be a negative nancy here, and if maybe you think I've just psyched myself out, please feel free to call me on it.

....Your "new way" seems to require of me a very different skillset in thinking and application. As the answers are buried, hunting for them has me all discombobulated, and ultimately, it's the time constraint that kills me. Whereas I've been training for a marathon, IR presents me with a sprint.

For instance, I'm used to answering each 700 level quant/verbal prob in about 2 mins (because I've practiced my butt off), but with IR, each question is really 2-3 (albeit, simple) questions. Consequently, with an internal clock set for 2 minutes, I end up spending 2 minutes on each part, 4-6 minutes total! (And on something hard, even longer). That's WAY too long. (I have yet to answer a fresh IR question in <2 mins). So in that sense, this feels drastically different to me. I start to rush. My organization breaks down. The section turns into chaos.... Comparatively speaking, quant and verbal are easy.

The best I've done on an IR practice section is 6 out of 12 correct. The worst I've done is 0 out of 12.

Any additional advice for me? (Exam on Sunday. I'm confident in my quant and verbal--just don't want IR to somehow disqualify an otherwise pristine score.)

--mj.

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by tanviet » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:41 pm
It take me a lot of time doing IR. I can not do all questions. The quesions is

normally, what is easiest part of the IR section ?

we should ignore hard part and do easier parts. This way help us get a "no problem" score on IR. excellent score on IR section is not as important as total score combined from Quan and Verbal section.

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by The Haz » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:54 pm
This may sound like a stupid question, but have you been using the calculator? Since I was looking through many older sources that said no calculator, when I began using the practice exams with IR I didn't notice it in the corner and was always running out of time. As soon as I figured it out I shaved minutes off.

Second, even problems with nasty numbers don't always need tons of calculations. For instance, a question asking if any are 10% of something... If you try to calculate out each one you're in trouble, but if you total a column and then just figure out what 10% should be and compare it's faster. Both ways are easy, but only one is fast.

Lastly, use the number pad to your advantage. On the real GMAT, the calculator looks and feels almost exactly like the Windows calculator and you can use the number pad in just the same way. This makes use of it extremely fast and i didn't notice it until I stopped using my laptop (which doesn't have one) and switched to a desktop. Even better is that you don't have to close the calculator to enter answers on the screen so you can finish a multi-part question with it open the entire time.