# Rephrasing the Target Question:

In this article, we’ll examine how to make Data Sufficiency questions easier by simplifying the target question before examining the two statements. To set the stage, try solving the following question:

Is ?

1) xy < 0

2) < 1

At first glance, the target question appears complex, but after some manipulation, we can see that it can be simplified significantly. Here’s how:

Get equivalent bases by rewriting 4 and 8 as and to get:

Is ?

Apply Power of a Power rule:

Is ?

Since the bases are equal, we can write:

Is ?

Subtract 6*x* from both sides:

Is ?

Add 3*y* to both sides:

Is ?

Solve:

So, asking, “Is ?” is the same as asking, “Is ?”

This rephrased target question is much easier than the original and, as a result, our question becomes:

Is y = 0 ?

1) xy < 0

2) < 1

Now that we’ve rephrased the target question in simpler terms, we can handle the statements with relative ease.

Statement 1: If *xy* < 0, then *y* definitely does NOT equal 0. Since we can answer the rephrased target question with certainty, statement 1 is sufficient.

Statement 2: If < 1, then there are several possible values for *x* and *y*. For example, it’s possible that and , in which case *y* equals 0. Alternatively, it’s possible that and , in which case y does not equal 0. Since we cannot answer the rephrased target question with certainty, statement 2 is not sufficient, and the correct answer is A.

TAKEAWAY: When answering Data Sufficiency questions, don’t be in a rush to analyze the two statements. Devoting extra time to simplifying the target question first can actually save you time in the long run.

So, as you prepare for the GMAT, watch out for complex, confusing or lengthy target target questions that might benefit from rephrasing. At the same time, please note that we need not rephrase every target question. If the target question is already easily understood, then rephrasing it is unnecessary.

Here are a few examples of rephrased target questions I’ve spotted in the Beat The GMAT forums:

Target question:

Is it possible to assign each of the

nstudents to one of themclassrooms so that each classroom has the same number of students assigned to it?

Rephrased target question:

Is

ndivisible bym?

Click here for full question and solution.

Target question:

xis what fraction ofy?

Rephrased target question:

What is the value of ?

Click here for full question and solution.

Target question:

If

xandyare positive integers, is greater than ?

Rephrased target question:

Is

x>y?

Click here for full question and solution.

Target question:

If

xis an integer, doesxhave a factornsuch that 1 <n<x?

Rephrased target question:

Is

xa non-prime integer?

Click here for full question and solution.

Target question:

Is ?

Rephrased target question:

Does ?

Click here for full question and solution.

Target question:

Is point R equidistant from points (-3,-3) and (1,-3)?

Rephrased target question:

Is point R on the line ?

Click here for full question and solution.

Target question:

Can the positive integer *p* be expressed as the product of two integers, each of which is greater than 1?

Rephrased target question:

Is integer

pa composite number?

*Click here for full question and solution.*

I’ve also started a thread in the Data Sufficiency forum where students can post their own examples of target questions that benefit from rephrasing.

For more information about rephrasing the target question, you can watch our free video. Afterwards, you can practice your rephrasing skills by answering the following questions:

## Easy

- https://www.beatthegmat.com/which-operation-is-represented-t273470.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/words-per-paragraph-t274055.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/inequalities-sign-change-t271810.html

## Medium

- https://www.beatthegmat.com/powers-and-inequalities-t277249.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/each-of-a-b-and-c-is-positive-does-statement-1-state-t208331.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/official-guide-question-73-t274523.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/ds-query-t276597.html

## Hard

- https://www.beatthegmat.com/sequences-and-primes-t273727.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/distance-t273181.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/is-it-possible-to-write-x-as-a-terminating-decimal-t269547.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/good-ds-t270904.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/absolute-values-t174858.html
- https://www.beatthegmat.com/divisibility-t221510.html

## 1 comment

Omer on October 16th, 2014 at 5:35 am

Sony PSN community lets you play online multiplayer games out of your gaming

console.