Two-Part Analysis questions, or TPA, (one of four question-types in the IR section) present a short paragraph with information. Answer choices will be presented in several columns and rows. Each column stands for a component, and each row is part of the solution. You’ll need to choose one answer from each column.

TPA questions measure your ability to solve complex problems. This is designed to mimic complex, multi-part, real-world problems. MBA.com describes the Two-Part format as testing “the ability to evaluate trade-offs, solve simultaneous equations, and discern relationships between two entities.” Because of this, your acquired skills in solving complex algebra and in discerning harder word problems will definitely come in handy on TPA! Let’s practice one together!

Question #1 – Better Home Mortgage has 1200 realtors on staff, while Dream Lenders has 2400. Each year, the number of realtors is increasing by a fixed amount. A housing market specialist suggests that if each organization keeps its current rate of increase, they will have the same number of realtors on staff after three years, and that subsequently Better Home Mortgage will have more realtors.

Identify the number of increased realtors per year for Better Home Mortgage and for Dream Lenders that are consistent with the specialist’s prediction. Make only one selection in each column.

Better Home Mortgage                 Dream Lenders

10

40

110

240

410

620

The correct answer is 410 and 10. Since Better Home Mortgage starts with half as many realtors, but overtakes Dream Lenders in just three years, then Better Home Mortgage must have the higher rate of realtor increase. We can set up an equation since we know the number of realtors will be equal after three years.

1200 + 3x = 2400 + 3y

3x = 1200  + 3y

x = 400 + y

The only option where Better Home’s rate is 400 higher than Dream Lenders’ is 10 and 410.

Question #2 – Identify the number of lenders less than Better Home Mortgage Dream Lenders is adding to its organization annually if the specialist was mistaken and the number of realtors would be equal after just two years. Also identify the number of lenders Better Home Mortgage will have after two years if they add 115% of that difference annually.

Dream Lender                                   Better Home Mortgage

600

630

650

660

670

690

The correct answer is 600 and 690. The new equation becomes: 1200 + 2x = 2400 + 2y

600 + x = 1200 + y

x = 600 + y

That means each year Better Home Mortgage is adding 600 more realtors than Dream Lenders, so Dream Lenders is adding 600 fewer.  Better Home Mortgage will add 5% of “that difference” annually, or 600.  115% of 600 = 1.15(600) = 690.

Remember, TPA questions may focus solely on Quantitative concepts, or may include aspects of Verbal such as inference/reading comprehension. Luckily, as you study for the other sections of the GMAT, you’ll already be developing the skills you need to tackle IR!

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Vivian Kerr is a regular contributor to the Veritas Prep blog, providing advice to help students better prepare for the GMAT and the SAT.