GMAT Critical Reasoning: No Coincidence

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    GMAT Critical Reasoning is a question type section asked in the GMAT Verbal section where the prompt presents some sort of argument and the candidates need to analyze the mentioned argument. The candidates need to prove the argument either by strengthening it, weakening it, or looking for any kind of assumptions as well but the candidates must understand that there is no coincidence Critical Reasoning and you need to prove your argument logically correct. There are almost 13 Critical Reasoning questions that are asked in the GMAT Verbal section.

    Although you don’t need to read a prompt in GMAT Critical Reasoning, this test is conducted to test the candidates’ thinking and logical skills more than their reading skills. The argument prompt is much shorter than a Reading Comprehension passage, and mostly there is always a single question on the Critical Reasoning argument. The weightage of Critical Reasoning is almost 1/3 of the Verbal Section, and out of the total 41 Verbal Questions, 13 Critical Reasoning questions are asked in the GMAT exam.

    Common Terms used in Critical Reasoning

    • Argument: An argument is a set of statements, out of which only one is the correct answer, another is facts, and third are assumptions and facts supporting the conclusion. To strengthen or weaken the argument, the candidates need to support or go against the unstated assumption related to the question given.
    • Conclusion: The conclusion is the main part of the argument which is based on the facts.
    • Facts or premises: It is the given evidence supporting the conclusion.
    • Assumption: An unstated /hidden fact that also supports the conclusion.
    • Inference: An inference is something that is interpreted from the given statement.

    Different kinds of Critical Reasoning Questions asked in the GMAT test

    One of the most important strategies for GMAT Critical Reasoning is to read the question before reading the argument completely. The candidates must know which kind of questions are there to come to an answer, and by reading the argument with the question in mind will help the candidates to come to conclude immediately.

    The eight main categories of GMAT Critical Reasoning questions include:

    1. Weaken the argument by looking for the loopholes in the argument
    2. Strengthen the argument
    3. Look for the assumptions as well
    4. Coming to the conclusion
    5. Structure of the argument
    6. Paradox
    7. Evaluate the conclusion
    8. And complete the argument

    The first four questions hold almost 75% of all GMAT CR questions. The basic idea is when you know what you do then you will be reading the given argument with that mindset only.

    Know What You are Looking For

    In all Critical Reasoning questions, there is only one correct answer, and rest all are confusing statements. The candidates who read the argument & question and they look for the answer choices without reviewing the questions first have chances that they spend much more time than actually needed while attempting many Critical Reasoning questions. For the question types 1-3, the best way to conclude is to look for the assumption of the argument, reaffirming or undercutting the assumption of an argument is the best way to strengthen or weaken your answer. By looking for the assumptions in the argument you can find the flaw of the arguments, whether you are supporting the argument or not, it must be logically correct and not based on any kind of coincidences.

    The question where you are not able to predict the answers, formulating the task in your own words will help you to come to a solution. In your words, what is the structure of the argument? What is the paradox that must be solved? What kind of information is needed to evaluate the conclusion? These are the questions which you must ask yourself and more clearly you understand the available information or argument, easily you will be able to conclude. By integrating these strategies, the candidates appearing for the GMAT exam will be able to crack GMAT Critical Reasoning questions faster and more accurately.

    How can you Weaken the Argument in GMAT Critical Reasoning?

    Often the strongest ways to attack an argument is to undermine the assumptions and the GMAT aspirants must know the ways of attacking an argument by

    • Either questioning the evidence cited, and/or questioning the starting point
    • Showing argument that leads to an illogical or absurd further conclusion

    While dealing with the causality or false causality arguments, the candidates must look into the core of the problem. Look whether the arguments are real or coincidental, check whether what is considered the cause is the only factor possible and you will find the right answer quickly and easily.

    Bad Evidence

    Mostly evidence is a good thing after all good evidence is the basis of all authority in the natural & social sciences. However, all evidence is not created equal. In any argument, the evidence cited can be a study, but there are higher chances that it might be a particular authority figure or a generally held belief. It is difficult to call a scientifically validated study into question, but many other kinds of starting points for arguments are not so firm. For instance, in case any argument begins with, “Professor David says that all stocks between $100 and $200 per share will increase by at least 30% between now and next March. Therefore, etc.,” then one way to call the entire argument into question would be to question Prof. David’s credibility or to point out that recently he was wrong on similar predictions.

    In case any argument starts with a general belief (“All professional athletes make a lot of money. Therefore, etc.”), then it might weaken the argument. In case there is a piece of evidence in any given argument, making that evidence irrelevant is a powerful objection.

    Look Where It Goes!

    Rather than focusing on the starting point, an attack on the argument can follow where the conclusion leads. This is one of the best ways to attack an argument without even getting into the specifics of the argument. If the original conclusion of the argument required conclusions, some of which are unreasonable, illogical, or absurd, then it indicates that there is something wrong with the original conclusion. It doesn’t matter how you reached to any conclusion using the argument given if it implies something faulty, it’s a faulty conclusion.

    Tips to improve your GMAT Critical Reasoning performance

    The Critical Reasoning argument is structured into facts and a conclusion and all the GMAT test-takers must be able to identify the parts of an argument. The job of the candidates is not to question the facts of the argument and assume that there is no coincidence in any part of the argument. Try to read between the facts and the conclusion, though coming to the conclusion might get complex, the beneath mentioned tips will help in simplifying the argument.

    Simplify language- The examiners write the sentences in the most confusing way possible so that concluding becomes difficult for the test takers. But the candidates must know the ways to simplify the language the test makers use which would make their job easier.

    Use your own words- Another way to simplify the language used in a question is to express in your words which means making very short notes to summarize each of the sentences in the given passage. The main idea behind writing the test in your own words is to make the passage easier to understand. Understanding the sentences this way becomes easy rather than understanding the difficult words chosen by someone else who is trying to manipulate things.

    Understand what is being asked- Understanding what the examiner is trying to say proves useful for the GMAT aspirants. Many times the students get confused about what is being asked in the question, which otherwise is required to understand the question as lacking in it might result in selecting the wrong answer. There is not any coincidence in the GMAT Critical reasoning section.


    Critical Reasoning is a test to test your Logical skills and is not based on Coincidence

    Critical reasoning is a test of LOGIC so the candidates planning to give the GMAT test must have strong logical skills so that they can come to the conclusion. The GMAT uses the word conclusion in two different ways and majority of times, the GMAT is referred to as an “inductive” conclusion, but occasionally, it also asks about a “deductive” conclusion so don’t get confused between these two. Typical questions that are asked in the critical reasoning section include strengthening an argument, weakening an argument, identifying the assumption of an argument, and evaluating an argument.

    The candidates must not get confused about whether the given argument is true or not, as they are not supposed to do this. You can assume all the options are true and don’t have to ask yourself whether the given arguments are true or not. In case it is becoming difficult to come to any conclusion, just remember that you are not here to consider whether the options are true or not and just use your logical skills to come to a conclusion. There is no coincidence in the GMAT Critical Reasoning skill!!

    *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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