10 Tips for GAMSAT Section 1 Questions: Data Interpretation

Data Interpretation questions are possibly some of the toughest among the GAMSAT Section 1 questions. But take heart, for coming your way are some great techniques you can adapt to deal with these vignettes in the exam.

1.    Check for relations

Quickly note the relationship between the variables in each table, chart, or graph. Do they have a direct or indirect correlation? Where does the data spike or significantly decrease?

2.    Look for closely-related points

Your first step is very crucial in solving data interpretation questions. The first point provided in the question may not necessarily initiate your solution. Try to look out for two (or more) most closely related points in the beginning and then it will be much easier to organise all the clues and/or conditions around them.

3.    Link the question to the data

One common mistake in solving data interpretation questions is using the wrong data. Make sure you understand what the question is asking, then stop and consider which table, graph, chart, or paragraph provides the information you have to interpret for the correct answer. Harder DI questions will require you to use more than one piece of data. The questions may be multi-step, so look closely for key phrases in the question that refer to the labels you already studied when you first reviewed the data.

4.    Simplify

Always try to simplify the question by categorising data given into tables, Venn diagrams, etc.

5.    Read carefully

Don’t miss out on the units, the footnotes and wherever percentages have to be distinguished from the absolute value.

6.    Visualise

If you make a note of the main points in a table or diagram (like a flow of events), it will help you to visualise the clues and/or conditions and you will be able to solve the puzzle very quickly.  However, you have to be very careful while creating the same because a single error may lead to the whole table/diagram being incorrect.

7.    Don’t omit details

Take into account every detail you come across in the vignettes. Everything is there for a reason, and omission of the smallest details might alter your understanding of the question. This also goes for instructions; make sure you understand them thoroughly before proceeding to solve the question.

8.    Don’t calculate unnecessarily

Time management is of utmost importance in GAMSAT, and even more so in the data interpretation questions. Which means you must learn to solve them using the barest minimum of steps. Steps can be omitted while solving, and you might know the answer even before you reach the end of calculations. Learn which steps to skip and how.

9.    The trick of approximation

Which brings us to approximation. You need not solve the entire question to reach an answer; you can easily guess from you calculation midway and the options. For instance, if the question is 79481236/12, you know your answer will start with 6. So you can eliminate any option that doesn’t start with 6. And you can continue likewise until you can eliminate the incorrect options. In another example, say the question is 3670124/1242753, you can guess that the answer will likely be around 3, since 36/12 = 3. You may be able to approximate an answer by rounding off numbers for certain questions. Be consistent in how you approximate, and only do so if the answer choices are far enough apart that estimation is prudent.

10.   Don’t spend too much time on a question

As mentioned before, time management is crucial in data interpretation questions, which often take up the maximum time. So, if you see some question is too tough or requires too many calculations, skip it, at least for the time being. You can come back to it when you have the time again.

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