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Official Sample GMAT Data Insights Questions

We’ve already covered why studying with official practice questions is the best way to prepare for the GMAT. But even if you come up with the correct answer to an official problem, you still might not understand the underlying principles used to create that particular question, leaving yourself open to traps and pitfalls set by the test writers. In the explanations below, I will use some of the core tenets of the Menlo Coaching GMAT curriculum to breakdown two official GMAT Data Insights practice questions and provide important principles for correctly attacking this question type in the future. 

Data Insights is the most recent addition to the GMAT, debuting with the Focus Edition. The section includes “Data Sufficiency, Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, and Two-Part Analysis.” In the two sample problems below, we take a look at Graphics Interpretation and Table Analysis.

GMAT Data Insights, Sample Question #1

The diagram shows, in three column groupings, various divisions of Earth’s geological history since its formation approximately 4,600 million years ago. In the leftmost column grouping, the Precambrian eon is subdivided into chronometric eons shown on the far left; but otherwise, in the rest of the graphic, each subsequent column to the right shows the subdivisions of the timeframes to its left. Each of the rightmost two column groupings is a magnification—with additional information—of a portion of the grouping directly to its left.

Fill each blank using the drop-down menu to create the most accurate statement on the basis of the information provided.

The Miocene epoch spans closest to of the era of which it is a part.

According to the diagram, the beginning of the marks the onset of a new eon, era, and period in geological history. 

Answer & Explanation
The Miocene epoch spans closest to 25% of the era of which it is a part.
According to the diagram, the beginning of the Cambrian period marks the onset of a new eon, era, and period in geological history.

The data provided presents an unusual format, but it doesn’t demand specialized knowledge in geology to analyze. The key instructions were to understand the magnification of data in the rightmost columns and to interpret the timeframe represented by the given data, which is in millions of years ago. Because the values decrease as we move up in the table, they indicate more recent time periods.

For the initial task, identifying the percentage span of the Miocene epoch, we can exclude extreme options (3% and 85%) due to the evident discrepancy in the data. By process of elimination, 25% is the closest approximation based on the dispersed options and the data’s visual assessment.

The subsequent task involves recognizing the onset of a new eon, era, and period. The transition where a new eon, era, and period begin is observed at the start of the Cambrian period, considering the chronological arrangement of the data.

Despite the technical appearance, this analysis didn’t necessitate complex calculations. It emphasized precision in interpreting the data accurately. Similarly, upcoming questions may seem daunting but will likely rely on pattern recognition and straightforward, logical thinking.

GMAT Data Insights, Sample Question #2

The table displays data on Brazilian agricultural products in 2009.

CommodityProduction, world share (%)
Production, world rankExports, world share (%)Exports, world rank
Beef162221
Chickens153381
Coffee401321
Corn84102
Cotton55104
Orange juice561821
Pork44124
Soybeans272402
Sugar211441

For each of the following statements, select Yes if the statement can be shown to be true based on the information in the table. Otherwise select No.

No individual country produces more than one-fourth of the world’s sugar.

There are countries that export a greater percent of their coffee crops than does Brazil.

Of the commodities in the table for which Brazil ranks first in world exports, Brazil produces more than 20% of the world’s supply.

If Brazil produces more than 20% of the world’s supply of a commodity, it must be the world’s top exporter of that commodity.

Answer & Explanation
YesNoNo individual country produces more than one-fourth of the world’s sugar.
YesNoThere are countries that export a greater percent of their coffee crops than does Brazil.
YesNoOf the commodities in the table for which Brazil ranks first in world exports, Brazil produces more than 20% of the world’s supply.
YesNoIf Brazil produces more than 20% of the world’s supply of a commodity, it must be the world’s top exporter of that commodity.


The task involves determining true statements based on table data. The goal is to discern absolute truths from potential falsehoods. Similar to critical reasoning exercises, we aim to distinguish what must be true from what could be false.

  1. The statement “No individual country produces more than one fourth of the world’s sugar” is evaluated based on Brazil’s agricultural production in 2009. Brazil is identified as the top producer of sugar, contributing 21% to the global production. As a result, if Brazil, ranking first, contributes less than one-fourth, it signifies that no other country could exceed this percentage. Thus, the statement is confirmed as true.
  2. The claim about countries exporting a greater percentage of their coffee crops than Brazil demands careful interpretation. The data doesn’t specify the percentage of coffee crops exported by individual countries, only their export rankings. Therefore, a country might have a high export rank but export a smaller percentage of its total coffee production. As such, without explicit percentages regarding crop exports, determining whether other countries surpass Brazil’s percentage becomes inconclusive.
  3. Identifying commodities where Brazil ranks first in world exports requires assessing the production world rank. For each commodity where Brazil ranks first, evaluating whether Brazil contributes more than 20% to the world’s supply is necessary. The data reveals that for these commodities, Brazil’s contribution varies, indicating that Brazil doesn’t produce more than 20% of the world’s supply for all the items where it ranks first in exports.
  4. The final task probes whether a commodity comprising over 20% of Brazil’s supply is also the top commodity exported globally. By sorting the world supply percentages and correlating these with export ranks, it’s evident that not all commodities where Brazil exceeds 20% of the world’s supply are the top exported commodities. This contradicts the claim, indicating that high production in Brazil doesn’t necessarily equate to being the top global exporter.

Final Thoughts: Data Insights Questions in GMAT Prep

To succeed on GMAT Data Insights questions, precision in interpreting specific data subsets, careful consideration of contextual details, and an ability to discern crucial information from overwhelming datasets are key. As you can see with the other sample questions, you must learn how GMAT data insights questions are made difficult and what mindsets and strategies allow you to overcome this difficulty. Keep this in mind as you pursue your GMAT prep, no matter what form that prep takes.

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