A Quick Guide to IR: Table Analysis on the GMAT

Analytical approaches to business problems─often required in finance, operations management, and other specialties─require facility with determining patterns in data.  With the table analysis question, we are able to see if a student is able to extract simple patterns through sorting, determining extreme values, and counting.”

-Michael Trick, Professor of Operations Research, Tepper School, Carnegie Mellon

Table Analysis questions will present a table with a drop-down menu that allows you to sort the information in four or more unique ways. Each question will have four two-option statements. You must answer all 4 correctly for credit. Table Analysis is one of four new Integrated Reasoning question-types that become part of the GMAT in June 2012.

Page 787 of the GMAC’s Official Guide to the GMAT provides the instructions for Table Analysis questions, as well as for the other three Integrated Reasoning question formats. These won’t change, so memorizing them now will save you some time on Test Day!

Table Analysis looks like Excel, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you may want to play around with the Microsoft Excel program. You won’t need to work with formulas or do complex calculations, but you will need to be able to sort the columns/rows.

Use the first screen to get an overall sense of the table, then extrapolate any trends. Variables are an important part of Table Analysis questions. You’ll need to effectively manage your time on the Integrated Reasoning section, so only spend so long on the graphs, tables, or paragraphs to identify just the main information, the variables and their relationships to each other, and don’t get bogged down with the confusing details.

Check out some video explanations from GMAC and a few Integrated Reasoning: Table Analysis practice problems on this Learnboard!