tips for table analysis questions on the gmat

5 Tips for GMAT Table Analysis Questions

The Table Analysis questions (one of five problem types in the Data Insights section), will present one large table with a drop-down menu that allows you to sort information from the table in four or more unique ways. Each question will have four statements with opposing answers (yes/no, true/false, inferable/not inferable, etc), and you will be required to pick one choice for each statement. All four statements must be correct for the question to be correct.

This article covers five strategies for solving table analysis questions on the GMAT.

  • Start with the first sorted screen.

    Use the first screen to get an overall sense of the table. What would be the title of the table if it had one? Is it showing change over time, relationships between scores and percentiles, gross income versus adjusted income, etc.?

  • Extrapolate trends.

    As you move through the remaining sorted screens, pay attention to how each table’s variables relate to each other.  If one variable consistently increases as another variable increases, we can say they have a direct relationship.

    If one variable consistently decreases as another variable increases, we can say they have an indirect, or inverse relationship. Sometimes variables will have a more complex relationship and may have both types of relationships within a spread of data. Write these relationships down in shorthand on your scratch pad. You may want to use arrows or other symbols to simplify.

  • Move efficiently through the screens.

    If a question has more than five or six screens and the table is vast, don’t waste time trying to understand every piece of data. Try to grab the overall gist of the relationships of each one, and keep an eye on the clock. You’ll need time to interpret the statements.

  • Tie each statement back to the most useful table.

    Some statements will only require one table to answer. Ask yourself: which table would give me the clearest picture to answer this statement? It’s fine to flip between one or two sorted screens but trust your understanding of the variables. You’ll know where to look for the answer.

  • Approximate whenever possible.

    If calculations are required, round the data presented in the tables to the nearest integer to make your calculation easier. Don’t feel like you have to use decimals or fractions. Especially with yes/no statements, a quick approximation may be all the math that’s required.