Many students who take GMAT for the first time are worried by the section on critical reasoning.
To understand what is expected of you in this section, you will have to have a clear knowledge of what may be asked of you here.
Here is a short synopsis of what the critical reasoning section is all about the type of questions that you may be asked, and some tips on how you can ace each question perfectly when you do your GMAT preparation online –
What is the critical reasoning section?
The part on critical reasoning is present in the verbal section of the GMAT paper. It is placed with the sentence correction and comprehension parts. Out of the 36 questions in the verbal section, roughly 11 are on critical reasoning. The purpose of this section is simple – it seeks to test your logical reasoning abilities. It does not require any training on your part but will require you to break down a layered problem and provide a solution that is the best possible answer to the question.
The 5 types of critical reasoning questions
You can expect 5 distinct types of critical reasoning questions.
Support the argument
You will be given a particular stance, and the question will ask you to choose an option that supports it to the maximum. For these types of questions, you will have to keep an eye on the keywords. Also, the answer you choose should not only be relevant to the argument itself but should also contain the specific portion or logic that the question wants strengthened.
Challenge the argument
In this type of question, you will have to find the mistake in the question. Here, you will be asked to select either the statement that would best challenge or disprove the argument in the question, or point out the problem with the logical reasoning posited in the question. When you get these types of questions, the first thing you should do is try to locate the exact argument made in the statement. After this, take a good look at all the options presented in front of you. Choose the one that opposes the logic in the question the best.
Draw an inference
In an inference type question, you will have to draw a logical conclusion from the points given to you. The evidence in the passage will be your guidelines for concluding the same. Always stay away from options that provide general solutions – usually, they contain words like “best”, “worst”, “only”, “every” and the like. Usually, these statements will make claims that you will not be able to verify based on the limited information that is given to you in the question. Instead, opt for one that answers the question directly.
Locate the assumptions
Here, you will be required to select the option that has the best possible assumption to validate the question’s logic as correct. To understand this answer, you will have to find out exactly what the question is asking you. Once you locate the logic, it becomes easy because the correct answer will contain a statement that supports that logic to the fullest.
Find the paradox
These types of questions will ask you to choose the option that best explains the paradox presented in the question. In the context of GMAT, the paradox refers to two sentences with opposite meaning existing in the same argument. The correct answer will explain why the two sentences or pieces of information are not exactly contradictory.
The best GMAT Critical Reasoning Tips
- Keep the timing in mind. You have 65 minutes to be done with the whole section of 36 questions. You can roughly spend about one and a half minutes on every critical reasoning question.
- Always read the question first. That will help you understand what type of question it is, and thereby shape your perspective towards the given passage.
- Understand what you are being asked. This will help you make your choice of the correct option.
- Don’t opt for answer choices that are extreme. Answers with words like best, worst, all, none and any superlative are usually wrong.
The trick to better yourself at GMAT critical reasoning is to practice as much as possible and take as many online mock tests as you can. Remember, practice makes us perfect!