Understanding Arguments | Best GMAT Books for Critical Reasoning

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    Once you decide to launch your career in management, taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the next step. GMAT is often deemed as a very difficult exam to crack. GMAT syllabus assesses the verbal, written, analytical, and reading skills in English for students who aspire to study management. However, any student with the right study plan and adequate focus can ace the exam. GMAT books and GMAT online forums are great resources for preparation. Several GMAT books are available in the market. To know which is the best book for each section of GMAT is quite a task. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about GMAT books and preparation tips for the component of Critical Reasoning (CR), a very integral part of the GMAT Verbal section.

    Overview of GMAT Critical Reasoning

    Graduate Management Admission Test Critical Reasoning or GMAT CR is a type of question that appears in the GMAT Verbal section. It makes up about 1/3rdof the Verbal section. GMAT CR questions are 13 in number and present arguments. You will be required to analyze the presented arguments by strengthening them, weakening them, understanding their underlying assumptions, or using some other techniques. Although reading is definitely involved in GMAT CR, this section of GMAT primarily aims to assess your logic and thinking skills. The argument that you will come across in the GMAT Verbal section will be less than 100 words, which is a lot shorter than a Reading Comprehension passage. Also, there will only be a single question on the critical reasoning argument.

    Why does GMAT CR exist?

    Preparation for GMAT inevitably means joining a business school which in turn implies a career in management. The business world runs purely on the aspects of buying and selling. Therefore, every sale is an argument, but, this argument is only the beginning. Important questions such as – how can my company determine which is the best policy, what causes my company to buy from a particular supplier, what motivates my company’s customers to buy from us, and what are the concerns of my investors, can be settled through arguments. In the business world, you will be expected to have the skill of argument evaluation. GMAT CR exists to assess this essential skill.

    Types of GMAT CR Questions

    When you reach the GMAT CR component of the GMAT Verbal section, ensure that you read the question before proceeding to the argument itself. Understand which kind of question you are expected to answer and then begin reading the argument while keeping that question in mind.

    The eight types of GMAT CR questions are –

    • Type 1 - Strengthening the argument
    • Type 2 - Weakening the argument
    • Type 3 - Finding the assumption
    • Type 4 - Drawing an inference/conclusion
    • Type 5 - Structuring of the argument
    • Type 6 - Paradoxes
    • Type 7 - Evaluating the conclusion
    • Type 8 - Completing the argument

    When GMAT presents an argument, it gives one correct answer and four potentially confusing and tempting statements as the other choices. It is possible for one to wander aimlessly through all the answer choices and end up getting completely perplexed. Rather than spending too much time looking at the answer choices, try to approach the question directly. For questions belonging to types 1 to 3, the best option is to find the assumption of the argument. Undercutting or reaffirming the assumption of an argument is a very effective way of weakening or strengthening it. It can also help in finding a flaw in the argument if the flaw is one of the faulty assumptions.

    For the other types of questions, answers cannot be easily predicted. What you can do is formulate the argument in your own words. Ask yourself – what is the argument’s structure, what is the paradox that needs to be resolved, or what sort of information is necessary to evaluate a conclusion, and the like. Quite obviously, the more clearly you understand the kind of argument that will satisfy the question, the quicker will be your chances of finding the correct answer.

    Kinds of Study Methods in GMAT CR

    Self-study method – This method will provide you with the advantage of customization. You can build a study plan that works best for your needs and lifestyle. The plan will also be self-paced, allowing you to prepare for GMAT whenever you choose to.

    Coaching centre method – This method is quite beneficial for those who have to prepare for GMAT within time constraints. You can have a professional learning experience with a fixed study plan from your mentors and motivating competition from your peers.

    Preparation Tips for GMAT CR 

    GMAT CR questions can be very tricky. Sufficient analytical skills and GMAT practice papers are required to succeed in this component of GMAT.Some of the highly recommended preparation tips for GMAT are –

    • Choose a study method keeping in mind your priorities and comfort.
    • If you choose the self-study method, have the support of the best GMAT books and other study material for critical reasoning.
    • If you choose the coaching centre method, take part in healthy competition with your peers and learn from your mentors.
    • Create a very efficient study plan.
    • Practice as many GMAT CR questions as you can.
    • Sharpen your motivation regularly.
    • Discipline yourself consistently.
    • Start preparing to Implement these tips to succeed in GMAT.

    Best GMAT books for Critical Reasoning

    GMAT CR is a component of GMAT that requires a lot of practice. Ensure that you choose the best GMAT books for critical reasoning. List of best GMAT books that cater specifically to critical reasoning –

    PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible

    • Author – Dave Killoran
    • Format – Paperback and e-book

    The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible is one of the best GMAT books for critical reasoning. It provides you with material that teaches you to recognize the type of questions in GMAT, break down GMAT argumentation, and separate the correct answer from incorrect answers. Practicing critical reasoning through this book can greatly enhance your speed and accuracy in answering questions. If your aim is to achieve the highest score possible, this is just the right book for you. The approaches and strategies that you will learn from this book will also prove to be useful in tackling questions from the Reading Comprehension section. The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible is also supplemented by an exclusive website. The website provides extra learning material for the book. It includes suggested study plans and answers to students’ frequently asked questions.


    1. Clear division of the types of critical reasoning questions accompanied by specific strategies for each type.
    2. Neatly designed, facilitating quick and easy learning.
    3. One of the most recommended books for GMAT CR


    1. Requires more practice questions.

    GMAT Critical Reasoning (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides)

    • Author – Manhattan Prep
    • Format – Paperback and e-book

    GMAT Critical Reasoning from the Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides shows critical reasoning in the light of a clear, comprehensive, and effective approach to arguments. This book is designed to provide a detailed and focused coverage of one component of GMAT – critical reasoning. Students will greatly benefit from the comprehensive study material, precise explanations of the fundamental principles, and step-by-step instructions to crucial techniques. In-action practice questions will challenge the learner while the topical sets of questions from the Official Guide will improve growth. Detailed explanations for all questions and arguments are given in this book so that students can understand why a specific answer is correct and the others wrong. Regardless of whether it is used by itself or along with the other nine Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides, GMAT Critical Reasoning is sure to be of major advantage to the skills, knowledge, and strategic thinking that is required by a student to do well in GMAT. A purchase of this book will grant you one-year access to the Critical Reasoning Question Bank of Manhattan Prep.


    1. Consists of very useful strategies.
    2. Explanations to answers for questions from the Official Guide are very clear.
    3. Provides access to 6 online practice tests.


    1. Provides references only to questions of the Official Guide, not its own practice questions.
    2. The online question bank is quite small and insufficient for adequate practice.

    GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide

    • Author – Arun Jagannathan
    • Format – E-book

    GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide focuses not only on the theory of critical reasoning but also on its practice. It lays an emphasis on the foundation of logic and follows a structured approach to tackle every type of question. It helps students identify the various traps in GMAT CR. As one of the best GMAT books online for critical reasoning, GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide has strategies that are based on a non-native approach. The book has all the essential tools and tips that are necessary to crack the toughest critical reasoning questions in GMAT. It also includes an online GMAT Foundation Course which can help students in strengthening their basics.


    1. Easily accessible for learning on-the-go.
    2. Structured approach to critical reasoning.


    1. Number of practice questions is insufficient for adequate practice.

    Put on your critical reasoning cap and ace GMAT CR!

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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