Multi Source Reasoning Pros
The good thing about multi source reasoning is that the question process is interactive. It's a bit more real-world to shuffle between sets of information in order to answer a question. The interactivity of the question makes it a lot more up-to-date and modern with today's technology stsandards.
Multi Source Reasoning Cons
The bad thing about multi source reasoning is that the question type itself requires more managing on the part of the user. How do you know which question references which tab of information? Well, that's part of your task - to figure out which piece of information to look at. Sometimes it can be as straightforward as looking at the first part of the question and referencing the first piece of information. Then look at the second part of the question, which references the second piece of information, and so on. But this is not always the case. Sometimes a question may ask you to reference multiple pieces of information in order to come to the correct conclusion.
What It Means For You
Be prepared. Get practice with this question type. And note that even within Multi Source Reasoning questions, there are two types of questions you may see. One type is your typical multiple choice question where you are presented with a question and 5 answer choices to choose from.
Another type of question MSR question you'll see is a "This/That" question where you are presented with two columns and three rows. Each of the rows fits into one of the two columns. You will need to present 3 correct responses in a row to get credit for this entire MSR question. So it's important to know that if you are really stuck on two of the three parts, it may make sense just to skip the question altogether and focus your energy on other questions that you may be borderline getting correct.
Q: What does Multi Source Reasoning (MSR) test you on?
The MSR section tests you on your ability to integrate information for multiple sources. In a way, this is representative of how a business leader may interact with data in the real world. Not all the data that someone looks at will be actually used for one's decision making. A business leader will be presented with multiple sources of data - much more than the 2 or 3 tabs of information presented in this question type. And from there, the business leader must make sense of these data points and be able to understand what is going on.
In this MSR question type, you'll be presented with 3 tabs of windows. In each tab window, you may get text data or you can get table/graph information.
Structurally, these questions are most similar to the reading comprehension questions you see in the GMAT verbal section. In reading comprehension, you are presented with a passage of data consisting of usually multiple paragraphs. Then the passage is followed with a series of questions about the passage.
In multi source reasoning, you are presented with a shorter passage, but there are more passages. You may have two or three passages. While some questions only require you to reference on of the passage tabs, other questions may require you to draw conclusions by referencing more than one of the tabs. So figuring out which passage you should be looking at is an additional step that is required here in MSR that was not required in reading comprehension questions that involved only one passage.
On top of this logistical addition of figuring out which tab to look at, you'll also be presented with multiple parts to the question - usually 3 parts. You need to answer all three parts of the question that reference the 2 or 3 tabs of information in order to get credit for that question.
Q: How many multi source reasoning questions will be on my GMAT test?
You'll likely see ~2-3 MSR questions on the test. During the integrated reasoning test, you'll get a few experimental questions and it is possible that one of the experimental questions will be an MSR question. However, it will be impossible for you to know if a question you get is experimental. There will likely be a base of 2 MSR questions and maybe 1 or 2 additional ones depending on what the computer generates for you.
Remember that your first question could be MSR but it also very well could be any of the other 3 question types. It is impossible to tell so it's best not to worry about which question type you will get first.
Q: How much time should I dedicate to multi source?
Please reference our 1 Month GMAT Study Plan for more tips on scheduling and studying. Integrated reasoning is important, but not as important as your quant and verbal scores. So before you dive into IR questions, solidify your quant and verbal GMAT strategy.
In general, you should spend at least two SOLID FULL days on integrated reasoning and nothing else. That means at least half a day focused only on multi source and nothing else. Once you've focused on this, you'll need to spend some time each day thereafter to attempt and review additional IR questions while mixing in other types of questions.
Q: Is Multi Source the most difficult integrated reasoning section?
Possibly. For the reasons listed above that include figuring out which tab of information you need to reference for a particular question, answering 3 questions instead of just 1, and managing these logistical issues--MSR can arguably be the most difficult section. However, there are many two part analysis questions that can exceed MSR in terms of difficulty.
So MSR as a question type is overall difficult, but two part analysis questions can either be of medium difficulty or very difficult. So there's a bit more variation in two part analysis in terms of difficulty.
Q: Should I log in to record my answers and is it free?
Yes, you should log in to record your answers and yes, it is free. Creating a login is free. Just enter in your email address as your username and specify a password. Or even better, just log in with Facebook and you'll never have to worry about typing in a username or typing in a password. If you're already logged in to Facebook from another window, you'll be able to access the questions here and already see which questions you previously attempted and which ones you got wrong. Consider this page your log book for multi source questions where you can keep track of what you get right and what you get wrong so you can come back and visit another time.
If you're logged in, you can access your "My Account" page to keep track of questions that you favorited, questions you got wrong and questions you got right. Of course, you can unfavorite any question whenever you would like.
Q: Is Multi Source Reasoning included in GMAT Pill's Integrated Reasoning Pill?
Yes! The Integrated Reasoning Pill includes dozens and dozens of questions focused only on multi source reasoning. You'll see thought process videos created by Zeke Lee on how to think through these questions in an efficient and effective manner. Each part of each question is analyzed and detailed in these video explanations.