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How to Solve Two-Part Analysis Questions on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section

On the new GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, there are four major new question formats:

  1. Table Analysis
  2. Graphics Interpretation
  3. Multi-Source Reasoning
  4. Two-Part Analysis

Two-Part Analysis questions are unique in that you actually have to choose two answers, one from each column, for each question. Unfortunately there’s no partial credit on the GMAT, so you have to get both parts correct to get credit for the question. The good news is that in preparing for the GMAT Verbal and GMAT Quantitative sections, you will have already learned all of the content that might be tested on these types of questions; indeed, both math and verbal content are fair game on Two-Part Analysis questions.

Watch this video (below) to learn the best strategy for attacking two-part analysis on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, as well as to see a step-by-step explanation of a typical two-part analysis question like what you can expect to see on test day.

Here is a transcript of the video, for your convenience:

A little bit about two-part analysis. Two-part analysis questions are going to present you
with a brief written scenario, again, integrating verbal with quantitative, so you’re going
to have a written scenario that’s going to ask you to make two choices related to that
information. And so you see here a picture of what these two-part analysis questions
are going to look like. You’re going to have Column A that you have to fill in and Column
B that you have to fill in. And those are your two choices, and they are going to be
connected in some way. And you’re going to see what I mean when we look at a sample here
in a moment. And really, it’s similar to the rest of the GMAT. In other words, the types
of questions you’re asked, the prompt you’re given is going to be very similar to everything
else you’re already preparing for on the GMAT Quantitative and the GMAT Verbal section.
We’ll actually come back to this hypothetical example in a moment, but here is what I mean
by that. Some features of two-part analysis, first and foremost, the question type that
you just saw, this is the first time you’re seeing it, and it’s called two-part questions.
And you’re going to have four of them. And just as we saw, they are questions where your
answer choices are all listed here, and you’re picking one of those answer choices for Column
A and one of those answer choices for Column B. And Column A and Column B will be described
in that question prompt. So again, your possible answer choices are given on the right side,
in that third column, and your choices, the choices you have to make, one for each column,
are listed there in those first two columns. Again, not something you have to memorize,
but just introducing it to you here and you’re going to see an example here in a moment.
Again, an average of 2.5 minutes for each of your Integrated Reasoning questions because
there are going to be four two-part analysis questions. You could expect to spend about
10 minutes total on two-part analysis. Now the general strategies start to look familiar
to you. It’s the same general strategy as for the other three question formats. You
want to start by understanding the prompt, planning your approach, and solving the question.
Let’s take a look at the specific strategy however for two-part analysis. And the specific
strategy is this: you’re going to be starting with that prompt and you actually want to
read that prompt first. You want to read the given information and try to figure out what
they are asking, what type of question is it — is it critical reasoning? Is it statistics?
Is it probability? — so that you know how to plan and prepare. You don’t want to rely
on prior knowledge. Everything that you’re going to need to answer the question is going
to be contained in the information in your question prompt. Then you want to determine
what the question is asking. Again, what are those two columns all about? Are they connected
in some way? And before you start to choose the best answer for each column, you want
to review all of the answer choices. You want to do that before choosing an answer. Are
the tasks dependent or independent? And remember, I’ve seen students do this where you’ll actually
accidentally pick a couple from each column. You only are making two total choices only
one from each column. And of course, both actually have to be correct to get the total
question correct. There is no partial credit, as we’ve seen on integrated reasoning. So
what’s tested? Well, quantitative is fair game. Verbal is fair game. If you see a question
that’s quantitative in nature, really, it’s open season. Honestly, they can ask you about
anything and everything that you’re already having to prepare for for the quantitative
section of the GMAT. It could be algebra. It could be statistics. It could be probability,
combinatorics, word problems. I mean everything that you’re studying already is open season,
and that’s good news for you. The good news is, like I’ve said before, there is nothing
new to learn, and yet on the other hand, quite a bit that you can be asked, so anything and
everything there. Now in terms of the verbal section, it’s mostly going to be critical
reasoning. And I say it’s critical reasoning in disguise, and what I mean by that is it’s
very vaguely disguised. You’re going to be asked to strengthen or weaken arguments. They’re
going to ask maybe to identify assumptions. It could be some cause and effect things.
And there may be little logic games. And in fact, we’re going to look at a second example
here where I introduce that. That’s the only thing that might be a little bit new and it’s
not rocket science. It’s not overly difficult but it’s just a new way of thinking about
verbal word problems. So here we have a sample question. And I want you to press Pause. I
want you to look at it. You actually have already been given your question, so think
through that. Read that. Do everything I just talked about in terms of the specific strategy.
Get your mind around everything that’s being asked, and then we’ll work this together.
Go ahead and see if you can answer the question on your own. Go ahead and press Pause. [Pause]
All right. How did you do? Well, it’s a combinatorics question, right? I mean this is straight up
quantitative section. You need to identify the number of possible combinations for each
of the beds, and that’s obviously what Column A is and Column B. Column A, it’s almost like
you’re answering two questions in one. If this were the quantitative section, you probably
only would have had to figure out, for example, how many combinations there are for the different
types of flower arrangements in Bed A, for example. Here, you have to do both. How annoying.
But they give you more time to do it, so good for them. Now you should know how to do this
because hopefully, you’ve already reviewed the combinations lessons. If you haven’t,
go back and review that. But we’ll take a look at how to actually do this math, and
they give you all sorts of different information up here. So let’s take them in turn. And here
is how you’d want to use your scratch paper. So Step 1 is let’s just do Bed A. Let’s just
do one column at a time. How many combinations are there for Bed A? Well, how many total
types of flowers are we told that there are? Well, first things first, they tell us that
there are six different types of annuals, right? We have four different types of perennials,
and we have seven types of shrubs. So this is just kind of my cheat sheet just to remind
myself of exactly what I’m dealing with. Now, we’re being restricted in a certain way, aren’t
we? For Bed A, what does it tell us? Bed A must have exactly one type of shrub, so Bed
A is going to have one shrub. And just like in the combinatorics video, I’m going to write
this out just like I have horses finishing in a race or whatever. At the end of the day,
how many flowers am I putting here or shrubs or whatever? Five. It says it contains five
types of shrubs or flowers or whatever. So I’m going to divide this up into five different
slots because that’s what I have to figure out what’s going on, right? And so I have
Slot 1. Now it’s telling me that Bed A must have exactly one type of shrub, so how many
shrubs could possibly go into this bed? Seven total possible choices, right? So seven possible
shrubs could go here. Now, filling the next spot, we’ve already used up our shrub, and
then it has exactly two types of annuals, exactly. Notice “exactly.” It’s not going
to have more than two. And also, we’ve also used up our shrubs, so the shrubs are done.
In terms of the annuals, we have an annual here and an annual here. Now how many annuals
can we choose from? Well, we can choose from among six annuals, so six possible annuals
can go here. And then once we’ve placed that first annual, how many could go here? Well,
there are only five left, so five possible annuals can go there. Now, here is the catch.
Is this a permutation or a combination? In other words, this could be Annual 1 and this
could be Annual 2, or this could be Annual 2 and this could be Annual 1. We have to account
for the fact that we have exactly two but not both combinations, so we have to factor
out the overlap. We have to divide by two factorial (2!). Does that make sense? And
if not, revisit the combinatorics lesson where I explain this in more detail. But you should
recognize that that’s the case. And then the final two spots, of course, then must be perennials
because we’ve already placed our shrub. We’ve already placed two annuals, and now we have
two perennials left. How many total perennials could possibly go in this spot? Four. And
then once we have placed those four, or the one, how many could possibly go here? Well,
there are only three left to choose from, so three could go there. But just as we saw
with the annuals, we need to factor out the overlaps, so we have to get rid of the two
factorial (2!) overlap because it’s a combination, not a permutation, and that’s your math. And
remember, we multiply all of this together. So it’s 7 times 6 times 5 over two factorial
(2!) times 4 times 3 over two factorial (2!). And the good news is you have your calculator.
And when you do all that out on a calculator, what do you get? 630. So obviously, you’re
going to have to trust me here or get out your own calculator and do it. And you should
be able to figure out how to make that math equal 630. And one you do and you look over
here, there you go, we’re halfway home, right? Because Bed A, we choose the correct answer
choice for Column A, which would be 630, so we’ll bubble in that one right there. That’s
it. And now we simply do the same thing for Bed B. So let’s go ahead and click over. New
scratch paper. And I’m going to go back in and refill in that we’ve already done 630
for Bed A. And now we do the exact same thing for Bed B. You may already have on your cheat
sheet the fact that we have six annuals, we have four perennials, and that we have seven
shrub types. And then we do the same thing because we’re going to have five total flowers
or shrubs in Bed B as well. And so I need to create my situation here. And then the
exact same logic applies. What does it tell us about Bed B however? It said Bed B must
have exactly two types of shrubs. So we’ll start with the shrubs. We’ll place the shrubs
first. How many shrubs could there be? Seven times … and then once we’ve placed seven,
there are only six left to choose from. But we need to account for the overlap, so we
need to filter out two factorial (2!). And then what else does it tell us? It says two
types of shrubs and one type of annual, right? And so we have our annual. And so our annual
is six, so there are six of those. And then the rest are going to be perennials, right?
And so how many perennials could there be? Four and then three. And 4 times 3 over 2!
and we’re off. That’s it. That’s our math. And again, you use your trusty calculator
that you’re going to be able to use on the Integrated Reasoning section. You multiply
all that out, lo and behold, you get 756. Thank goodness it worked out. It was one of
our answer choices. If it wasn’t, you probably did something wrong and you have a chance
to go back and figure out what you did wrong, but you’d actually fill that in there. And
then that’s it. You’re off to the races. You filled out Column A. You filled out Column
B. You’re assuming both are correct. You check it and move on. And sure enough, you would
have gotten this two-part analysis question correct because you did the math correct.
Hello again. Hopefully you found the information in that segment helpful. If you did, just
imagine how much you would learn in the full lesson, or better yet, the full course. If
you like what you saw, check out www.DominateTheGMAT.com for our full course offerings. So thanks for
watching and go out and dominate the GMAT.