GMAT critical reasoning

Tips to Ace GMAT Critical Reasoning


Critical Reasoning is basically a simple test section of the GMAT. But, it is one which requires some strategy from the exam candidates in approximately four systematic ways. It is always important for the candidate to know that there are basically about four assumable subsections of the Critical Reasoning section, and that these assumable subsections differ in their style of questioning and what is expected of the candidate for each of the style of questions.

Assumption, Inference, Paradox, and X-Y Reasoning are the four styles of Critical Reasoning questions that have been observed in past questions, and these are different because of their style of questioning. So, because they differ in their question styles, the strategy with which a candidate can crack the questions also differ in approach. Amongst all the styles, the commonest of them is the Assumption questions. This is because in a traditional GMAT examination setting, a huge percentage of the entire Critical Reasoning questions are set to the Assumption style of questions. In this article, we would focus more on the assumption and inference questions. Because, if you get all of your assumption questions correctly, you would most likely be scoring well over 65%. If you add that to your Inference score, you’ve already passed the CR test. However, here we aim for the bull’s eye. So, the knowledge you’ll gain from this article, will set up for 100% score all in all, as we would use principles that are applicable to solving all Critical Reasoning questions.


Understand your Question

When faced with a Critical Reasoning question, the first thing the exam candidate should do, is to try as much as possible to understand the question. Ask yourself, in some split seconds, these questions; What style of question is this? What is required of me?

It is certainly one, amongst the four styles of questions highlighted above that you are dealing with as you concentrate. Assuming it is an Assumption question, which the most part of the test will be, it is required that in the next swift seconds, you should identify the type of Assumption question that you’re about to crack.

Could it be that you are required to; Weaken an argument? Challenge an argument? Or, undermine an argument?

Or perhaps you are required to strengthen an argument? Or support an argument? Or, maybe confirm an argument?

Could it also be that you are only required to identify the assumption that is needed to properly draw the right conclusion?

Or, are you merely required to identify the determinant factor for the success of a proposal?

No matter what you are required to do, the main point is that, the sooner you identify the type of Assumption question you are about to solve, the better for you, in terms of timing and strategizing. Once you have successfully identified the type of question, the next should be to recognising the conclusion.


Recognizing the Conclusion

Recognizing the conclusion is a vital part of solving the any Critical Reasoning question. No matter the type of question you are trying to crack, the conclusion is mostly the initial step in addressing some of the argument. That gives you a direction in working out the solution. Especially, when you are required to either strengthen or weaken the argument you are solving. So, you would be identifying a choice that supports the conclusion the most, or a choice that undermines the conclusion the most.

Sometimes though, when you are required to weaken the argument, you may not border with the conclusion. Simply because the argument is flawed. All you need to do is to identify the flaw in the argument. This could be as sample as  knowing that in many cases, the flaw or fallacy is logically not supposed to be a representative of the whole, but has been used to represent the whole. It can also be a wrong assumption of a causation, that has been accept or assumed to result in an accepted regular effect. Whereas, if it is logically scrutinised, both the cause and the assumed effect would not be always related.


Eliminating the Odds

At this point, you can confidently begin to eliminate the odds. Two questions are usually easy to spot, that are unlikely the right answers. Struck them out of the options immediately. Either mentally or manually. It is very vital that the options are carefully read, while the candidates compare each one of options to the questions, in order to identify the odds.

Ensure that the assumption has been identified before this step is activated. This is because it only makes the elimination activity easier. This assumption is principally the statement or drive that led to the identification of the conclusion. It is mainly the invisible component in the critical argument. Once you locate the reason or evidence on which the conclusion was made, you have identified your assumption.

Now, to enable the elimination method to progress beyond the first two casualties, you must have identified what you think is going to be the right choice. That will guide your elimination process, as you would eliminate the choices that are further away from the suspected best choice, probably using ‘the elimination box’ method, if you like. When you ensure that the right answer is chosen in line with box D, you shall be at peace with your decision, because it will be 100% correct, since you have followed the rules.

The right answer must always fit properly in box [d] when placed in the Elimination Box. The elimination box, is a simple box with four compartments labelled [a], [b], [c], and [d]. Box [a] is incorrect, so without much stress, you know where to place options that are very sure are not correct in the elimination box. Boxes [b] and [c] are the compartments where you place those answers that you are not exactly at peace with, whereas box [d] just gives you a place to say this is it.


Become Perfect

Practice is an assumption that leads to perfection. With what you have learnt so far, do you possibly think that that is always true? Aha… Now you are already thinking differently. That’s the point. The aim is met. To get you to start reasoning critically, so that you can apply retrospect knowledge from simple tips in this article to solve critical reasoning questions in your GMAT. Best Wishes!




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