Easy Tricks to Solve GMAT Inequality Questions

GMAT is one of the most coveted entrance exams for almost all the B-schools across the globe. The test examines the basic analytical, verbal, and quantitative skills of the aspirants. While all the sections have their own significance, the GMAT quantitative section is the trickiest one, as it analyses the basic knowledge of mathematical skills. And, with the weightage the section carries, any aspirant can’t ignore the importance of understanding the concepts of the quantitative section. One of the key topics in the quant section is inequality questions.

What are GMAT inequality questions?

Inequality questions ask the GMAT test takers to answer questions based on the limited information. Questions in inequalities appear in both variants – data sufficiency & problem-solving. 

How to Solve Inequality Questions?

In this blog, we will discuss a few simple tricks that can help solve even the trickiest of inequalities.

Use Algebra to Solve Inequalities:

You can use algebra skills to solve the inequality questions. 

Let’s take an example:

5 – 5x > 20

If we assume that “>” is an equal sign (=), we will use the common denominator of 5 to solve the equation. While the above example is simple, yet it shows how simple algebra skills can be used to solve inequality questions.

Flip the Sign, When Multiplying or Dividing by a Negative:

Inequality questions can be solved by using traditional formulas. However, if you find yourself dividing or multiplying a statement by a negative on each side, you can flip the inequality sign.

For example:

X > 5

According to the equation, anything greater than 5 is true. However, if you multiply both sides by -1, you will end up with a number that is less than -5; this illustrates why the sign needs to be flipped.

Never Multiply or Divide Two Sets of Inequalities:

It is very important to note that you should never reduce an inequality by a variable if you are not sure of its sign – whether it is positive (+) or negative (-). Without the knowledge of the sign, you won’t know if you have to flip the inequality’s sign or not.

For example:

If the statement indicates x/y > 4, you will multiply both sides by “y” to determine whether you need to flip the sign or not. However, as you are not sure if “y” has a positive or negative sign, you can’t multiply for the solution.

These are a few simple tricks that can help you solve inequality questions easily. To understand the different types of inequalities, and the elaborate ways to solve such questions, read here!


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