Critical Reasoning: What does it test? Useful TipsCritical reasoning
The critical reasoning is perhaps the most math-oriented part on the GMAT Verbal section, even though there are NO NUMBERS.
Because the critical reasoning section tests you on LOGIC. If you are good with mathematical logic, chances are you’ll probably be pretty good in critical reasoning logic questions. These questions are VERY similar to the logic questions on the LSAT for law school.
Ever heard of people making outrageous stereotype claims that just don’t make sense? Let’s take a look at an outrageous example.Example: “The Chinese government is banning porn on the internet. Therefore, all Chinese people are against internet porn.”
How ludicrous is this claim? This is exactly the kind of logic/reasoning that the GMAT tests (minus the porn part). The GMAT guys test you using much more boring content, but the reasoning part is still there. You need to be able to spot outrageous claims like the above QUICKLY as you reason through each answer choice. You’ll also need to pretend you are engaged and interested in the “boring” topics so you can keep your focus. This takes a little bit of practice but tips here and there can make things A LOT easier.
Notice there are some RED FLAG words that you can keep an eye out for. For example, phrases with extreme words like “all” are almost never correct on the GMAT.QUESTION FORMAT
Each question has 3 parts:
1) The background paragraph
2) The actual question
3) Answer choices
The background paragraph contains all the information that you need. It contains facts or platforms from which the author draws a claim or conclusion. Some test programs call the background info “premise”–but to make things easier, I just use the term “background info.”
In the above example, the background info was: “The Chinese government is banning porn on the internet.”
The conclusion/claim is: “Therefore, all Chinese people are against internet porn.”
Your ability to reason through logic is critical on the GMAT as well as on your academic success in business schools. In business, just because a product is profitable in country A, which has a high population, does not necessarily mean the product will be profitable in country B, which also has a high population.
You need to be able to understand the various possible factors that affect the profitability of a product and realize no single factor necessarily determines profitability. This is the kind of thinking you’ll need to be able to process through VERY quickly on the exam.
Also, some of the actual questions can be quite tricky. So make sure you read questions carefully. You don’t want to spend too much time to understand what the question is, but you also don’t want to answer the wrong question!
Take a look at this.“All of the following argue against the author’s claim EXCEPT”
Did you understand the question within a few seconds of reading it? Can you think of a way to rephrase this question so that you can better understand what it’s saying next time you see a similar question?
Here’s a hint:
When you see two negative words together–turn them into a positive word.
Let’s take a look. The phrase “argue against the author’s claim EXCEPT” has 2 negative words: “against” and “EXCEPT”So here’s the trick. These two words cancel each other out. So instead of thinking of “against,” use the opposite word “support” and rephrase the question like this in your mind:
Which of the following SUPPORTS the author’s claim?”
Notice “All of the following” became “Which of the following” and “against” became “supports.”
Isn’t it so much easier to think of this question as “Which of the following supports the author’s claim?”
“All of the following argues against the author’s claim EXCEPT”
In a time-pressured testing situation like the GMAT, this will help reduce your stress and reduce the amount of time you spend deciphering what the question is.If you need some help with critical reasoning, you might benefit from our upcoming Critical Reasoning Pill Product. Customers have been raving about the Sentence Correction and now we will have the critical reasoning available soon.
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Yes, there will be a discount when you order both sentence correction and critical reasoning. Check back for the announcement.
Please note that “All of the following argue against the author’s claim EXCEPT” doesn't necessarily mean that the 'odd man' out option necessarily SUPPORTS the author's claim..It might be neutral in its approach..neither against nor in favor of the argument on hand
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I hate myself for not having seen this product earlier… Now, there is only 5days left before I take official test.. And I still haven't absorbed all the rules and tricks issued by GMAC.. I just consider the upcoming test a actual test experience.
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Please see our table of contents for free material.
Glad to be of help!
Yes–this is true. It can be neutral as well.
For some, it may be helpful to think of "possibly support" to be in the grey area.