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DS Trouble. Help analyze DS error log. Need feedback.

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DS Trouble. Help analyze DS error log. Need feedback. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2013, 10:19
I am having some real trouble with data sufficiency. I am about 60 questions in on the OG 13 and my accuracy % is 65. This has been the lowest of all of my accuracy levels for the OG thus far. I obviously need to improve on my DS skills. I don't think its general Quant concepts, because my PS accuracy is around 77% through 65 questions.


I am using the Manhattan books and GMAT Pill for concepts. I have not touched on the DS chapters yet in each individual Manhattan book, because I wanted to get the general quant concepts down. I am most likely will go back and review these, however I am not sure if rephrasing the Qs in DS is what I am struggling with. I feel like the GMAT pill framework is a little broad in scope. It touches on specific question types(i.e. number vs percentages) and then jumps into overall number properties concepts.


I am using the AD BCE strategy and I also rephrase or write down the actual question first. I think one area I am having trouble in is simplifying statements and knowing when to do so.I have kept track of my progress in an Error Log. I've pulled it into a separate spreadsheet and have attached it to this post.

All feedback and suggestions are much appreciated.


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Re: DS Trouble. Help analyze DS error log. Need feedback. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2013, 10:57
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First of all - 60 questions isn't a whole lot of practice so don't worry too much about accuracy. What is important is to have a basic method for approaching DS. You are absolutely correct when you emphasize that even though you may feel comfortable with the DS content that you can still have difficulties with the questions. DS has a stronger critical thinking component than PS. The good news is that DS can be learned and that once you get the hang of it you can save a lot of time on your test.

As you said translating the information is half the battle. You get better at translating through practice and methodical analysis of solutions.

A few other things that can help:

1. Think of each statement in terms of YES and NO. So on your pad write:



Find ways to make the statement function for both Yes and No and it is insufficient. Going through this process every time will train you to spot inferences and patterns. Be organized doing this work.

2. As you are doing the work above focus on this group of numbers: 1, 0, Integers (+,-), Fractions (+,-). This is CRITICAL. Also think about very big numbers v. very small numbers. An example when this makes a difference - .1 + .1 > .1*1 however 1000 + 1000 < 1000*1000. Focus on the idea of What types of numbers will break this thing? So in a number with even exponents all the negative answers will be hidden so negative numbers would create insufficiency.

3. The DS themes repeat themselves. Identify the problem types that you need work on and practice/analyze until you are comfortable. In general, be super comfortable with number properties (signs, odd/even, divisibility...) and manipulating algebra. Number properties comes up a lot and manipulating algebra not only comes up as a main topic pretty often but is often a necessary tool for other types of questions.

One last thing - make charts/diagrams. If the questions is dealing with the powers of 5 then write out the first bunch of powers of 5 to get your mind in that universe. Simple diagrams can make a world of difference. Don't hesitate to "play" and try things out. Practice is the time to explore and to see what works.

Let me know if you need more advice on the subject. Happy Studies!


"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

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Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work:

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Re: DS Trouble. Help analyze DS error log. Need feedback. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2013, 13:22
Hi Big4Advisory,
I can only say about your main issue i.e. DS trouble that you better go for any specific book on Data sufficiency e.g. NOVA's Data sufficiency course. that will help you to prepare yourself for such an altogether different question type.

I analysed your error log. i have certain comments on it.

1) The good thing is that you have also recorded correct questions in to the error log. usually our tendency is to use error log for the only questions that we get wrong. I think this approach is not correct, as, i believe, their is still lot to learn from the correct question.

2) The format of the error log is not so detailed.
The purpose of any error log should be - to record, track, and analyze our errors
--------------------------------------------------- to identify the lacks in our knowledge / identify the weak areas.
--------------------------------------------------- to compare our reasoning for a correct choice(or for any choice) with that of experts (you will find that in OE)
--------------------------------------------------- to record the corrective actions taken on wrong questions.
--------------------------------------------------- to verify the recurrence of errors.
--------------------------------------------------- to evaluate the effectiveness of corrective actions taken
--------------------------------------------------- to analyse your improvement on error types etc.etc.
Our Error log should fulfill these objectives. whenever we come across any wrong question we should verify whether it was because of lack of knowledge or comprehension of question or timepressure or lack of right direction or something else. then we should go for the correction of these errors and then to prevent recurrence of them. Our error log should have space to contain these important elements. In any ISO9001 certified organization you will see the concept ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS OF A NON-CONFORMITY. The concept of error log is similar to that.

3) There are two types of errors mentioned in the log 1.concept 2.careless There can be many other types. e.g. comprehension of question, timepressure, calculation(in quant), not understanding the answer choice fully, the wrong direction of thinking, carelessness in evaluation of answer choice etc. The errors should classified in such categories in order to have better analysis.

4) We should analyse each question, irrespective whether solved correctly or incorrectly, in to the error log. This is especially important because when we analyse any answer choice we should know it can be right or wrong for multiple reasons, especially in verbal questions, so while learning it is important for us to know whether we have found all/most of the reasons for which that choice is right or wrong. with this we can throw all the non-conformities out from their roots.

4) The log contains a column for What did I do wrong? but lacks the important one i.e. what i have done to avoid recurrence. This is extremely important and perhaps the main objective of maintaining the error log.

5) The official resources like Official Guides are extremely valuable because they are official and limited. rigorous analysis of each question from such scarce resources shall be done for maximum improvement

I have attached herewith my own format of error logs for your ready reference. PLS NOTE THAT i am not saying these are the comprehensive or perfect formats rather i will say these are good for fulfilling my expectation. I would suggest you to use them only for your reference and to make your own format that would fulfill your expectations and will help you improve.
I am confident that a good error log will give you a feel of improving substantially after every question solved.



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Re: DS Trouble. Help analyze DS error log. Need feedback.   [#permalink] 17 Feb 2013, 13:22
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