Critical Reasoning

During GMAT Preparation, Critical Reasoning and Data Sufficiency sections require a great deal of adjustment compared to GMAT Reading Comprehension and Sentence correction, as the latter follows a format that you have seen in Computer Adaptive Tests, undergraduate level tests, and other job interview evaluation. The linear thinking that involve variables, data substitution, rules, and logical thinking might not completely work for 700+ GMAT CR and DS sections.

Let us look at a simple example that will show how our logical minds work, and the assumptions that come into play while solving a problem. An L-Shaped object has 4cm and 2 cm sides.

GMAT Assumption Mistakes - Figure 1
How do you divide this L-Shaped object equally? Immediately our mind will parse towards vertices that can divide this object. And as you might have guessed it, a line from Point A to the opposite vertex divides the L-Shaped object equally.

Dividing the Object into Two Equal Parts


Q) Vegan Diet proponents have often claimed that low-carb, high-fat diets integral in a non-vegetarian diet is dangerous, and therefore, they have a superior and balanced diet. In fact, vegan diets lack important nutrients, responsible for brain function and blood formation.

Which of the following statements support the conclusion of the argument?

a) Carnosine - a protective agent against aging is found only in Animal Foods.

b) Vitamin B12, found mostly in meat, and responsible for vital brain functions, is deficient in a Vegan diet with a recent study showing 92% of vegans lacking this crucial nutrient.

c) There are no conclusive studies to support the theory put forward by Vegan Diet proponents that meat, eggs, saturated fat or cholesterol cause any harm.

d) Vegan diets require you to avoid sugar, trans fat, and vegetable oil. This is the reason for the health benefit, and not abstinence from Meat

e) Vegan diets have health benefits in the short term but nutrient deficiencies follow that require steady intake of supplements.

For answer and explanation, Download F1GMAT's Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning (Read the Chapter on How...

Q) If you go by the popularity of Gaming units, as of Jan 4th 2015, Sony’s PS4 sold 18.5 million units and reached 10.9 million PlayStation Plus subscribers, a growth of 37.9% from October 2014.  Despite the massive growth, Sony’s PlayStation is behind Microsoft’s Xbox One, which in November 2014 accelerated its sales due to a $50 price cut, and a bundle of free games. On 28th January 2015, Spotify, the leading music subscription service announced an exclusive partnership with PS4, and offered digital music to 64 million PlayStation Network users. With the announcement, Feb 2015 saw a spike in sales for the PS4 units by 45%.

Which one of the following conclusions is valid for the above statements?

a) PS4, on itself, does not have the brand reach nor the mass following needed to overtake Microsoft’s Xbox One.

b) Demand for Microsoft’s Xbox One declined during Feb 2015

c) Bundling of services has increased the market share for Sony’s PS4

d) Price Cut had a direct impact on sales of Gaming Units

e) Sales of Sony’s PS4 will overtake Microsoft’s Xbox One in 2015

For answer and explanation, Download F1GMAT's Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning...

Q) The Chorus from Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" has an eerie resemblance to Tom Petty's 1989 song - “I Won’t Back Down. Mr. Petty and Jeff Lynne, the Songwriters, filed a copyright violation case and settled out of court. Modern song creation has evolved away from the standard process - starting with the lyrics, the sheet music, and finally the tune. For new song creators, it would be impossible to fight cases where some parts of the song had similar sheet music as the songs in the 70s and 80s.

Which one of the following statements weakens the argument?

a) According to Muzic82 - an aggregated opinion database from Music Experts, 98% of the experts felt that Sam Smith's song had a more traditional choir gospel theme than Tom Petty's Chorus.

b) Sam Smith chose to settle the case out of court, to avoid any disruption in his promotional tours.

c) In a similar case, Marvin Gayle's family was awarded $7.3 million as compensation when Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams - the songwriter-producer of the 2013 hit "Blurred Lines", infringed on the copyright of the 1977 Marvin Gaye Song "Got to Give It Up" without any due credit.  

d) In modern songwriting - tone, intensity, and feel are equally important to identify the uniqueness of the song

e) In another instance, 2013's #1 Song “Thrift Shop", by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis...

Categories : Critical Reasoning

Answering GMAT Critical Reasoning Weaken QuestionsGMAT Critical Reasoning Weaken Questions follows a familiar pattern. The argument is constructed in such a way that there are enough gaps between the premises and the conclusion. The new information included in the answer choice either weakens the conclusion directly or negates the premise, and in effect weakens the conclusion.

Let us see if you are naturally good at weakening arguments with the Wason 4-card trick. If you are familiar with the problem, ignore this exercise.

Wason 4-Card Trick: You are shown four cards from the same deck. Each card has a letter (A, B, C, D, E…Z.) on one side and a number on the other side. You have to test the rule “If there is a vowel on one side, there must be an even number on the other side” by turning the minimum number of cards from four cards.

Here are the Cards

A 7 4 L

Which cards would you turn to make sure that there is a relationship between even numbers and vowels in the set?




Answer Below

Most readers pick A & 4, the two cards that fit the condition.

Why is this approach...

Categories : Critical Reasoning

GMAT CR Conclusion Question TypeReaching a conclusion in an argument depends on the premise(s) and the assumption.

In simple terms,

Premise(s) + Assumption = Conclusion

What confuses GMAT test takers is the extent to which assumptions can be used to reach a conclusion. A wrong answer choice can plant the idea that it is alright to use personal biases, and knowledge outside the given statements to reach a conclusion. The subtle clues in the answer choices will misguide the test takers. That is why it is important to write down the premises(s) in separate lines.

Let us try one question.

Q) If you go by the popularity of Gaming units, as of Jan 4th 2015, Sony’s PS4 sold 18.5 million units and reached 10.9 million PlayStation Plus subscribers, a growth of 37.9% from October 2014.  Despite the massive growth, Sony’s PlayStation is behind Microsoft’s Xbox One, which in November 2014 accelerated its sales due to a $50 price cut, and a bundle of free games. On 28th January 2015, Spotify, the leading music subscription service announced an exclusive partnership with PS4, and offered digital music to 64 million PlayStation Network users. With the announcement, Feb 2015 saw a spike in...

Categories : Critical Reasoning

GMAT Critical Reasoning Bold FacedThe structure of an argument in GMAT Critical reasoning comes in two forms: Bold Faced and Summary. In Bold Faced question type, the parts of the arguments that the test taker should focus are marked in Bold Font, while for the Summary, the test creators will ask how the argument is structured – whether the author starts with supporting evidences followed by a conclusion, a supporting premise, followed by a contradicting evidence, and finally a conclusion. The permutation and combinations are many. Before you read the answer choices, you have to understand the essential and non-essential elements of a compelling argument.

At its basic level, an argument has a Premise, Assumption, and a Conclusion, but when the question is about the structure of the argument, assumptions are never part of the answer choice. It is the one ‘invisible’ element. What we have are seven building blocks, not all of them mandatory but most of them will be part of one permutation or the other.

1) Primary Evidence/Premise (Mandatory)

2) Primary Evidence not Relevant to the Argument (Optional)

3) Primary Evidence weakening the Conclusion (Optional)

4) Secondary Evidence/...

Categories : Critical Reasoning

GMAT CR Affirming the Consequent FallacyWe have learned how to divide an argument into premises and a conclusion. While splitting the argument, you should watch out for the order in which premises are stated. A common deductive fallacy seen in Critical reasoning question is when the premises and conclusions are true but invalid. The test taker evaluates them separately and finds truth in the statements, thus assuming that truth equals validity. This is not the case, and test creators are using ‘Affirming the Consequent’ fallacy to trap the GMAT test taker.

What is affirming the Consequent?

If ‘A’ & ‘B’ represent the statements, the affirming the consequent fallacy will be structured in the following format:

Premise 1:  If A, then B

Premise 2: B

Conclusion: A

The format is easy to miss since statement B would be true, and Premise 1 follows the logical structure (If A then B). Premise 1 becomes the base of the argument, and test takers often doesn’t consider additional conditions apart from ’ A’ or order of the statement presented in the premise.

Categories : Critical Reasoning

GMAT Slippery Slope Argument FallacyGMAT Critical reasoning assumption questions depend on arguments that involve Slippery Slope. This type of critical reasoning fallacy might not be mentioned in Official GMAT Guide, but the test creators often use this fallacy in various answer choices. It is easy to spot them if you pay attention to how the conclusions are reached.

What is a Slippery Slope?

Slippery Slope is a critical reasoning fallacy where the speaker concludes that some event is bound to follow another event although there is no evidence of the same. Although logically the GMAT test taker might feel that Event B should Follow Event A, there are several intermediate steps or conditions that should be met before Event B immediately follows Event A.


Free Speech Expert : Govt. has set guidelines on Social Media self-censorship. Soon the govt. will control what we can express and what we cannot.

On first read, this statement might seem obvious. But if you pay attention to two words “guidelines” and “self-censorship”, the govt. is not imposing any rules, but they are providing guidelines - not on censorship but on self-censorship....

Categories : Critical Reasoning

Ad Hominem in GMAT Critical ReasoningOnce you get a feel of the various GMAT Critical Reasoning question types, it is important that you understand the fallacies in arguments that would be part of the answer choices. A common one seen in assumption and conclusion question type is the Fallacies resulting from Ad Hominem.

What is Ad Hominem

Ad Hominem is a Latin Word that translates to “To the Man” or more precisely “Against the man”. Politicians are experts at using Ad Hominem. In this type of fallacy, the author or source of the argument is attacked instead of attacking the argument per se.

If you don’t pay close attention, this fallacy might give you the impression that the argument of the author is targeted. This fallacy is a 2-step attack.

First step involve attacking the author’s character where his virtues and vices are questioned and exposed, then his actions and the circumstances under which those actions were performed are brought to the forefront. The first step acts as proof against any arguments that the author make even if the arguments have strong independent evidences to support it.

Conflict in Words and Action (of Group)


Categories : Critical Reasoning

GMAT CR Strongly SupportSanskrit Scholars are a minority in the Syllabus review committee. Since the committee offers recommendations on syllabus changes, the below par representation of Sanskrit Scholars would lead to fewer years of mandatory Sanskrit classes in schools.

If the statements above are correct, they strongly support which of the following?

a) An increase in the number of years of mandatory Sanskrit classes in schools would lead to higher representation of Sanskrit Scholars in the Syllabus review committee.

b) An equal representation of scholars from all subjects would lead to better review of the syllabus.

c) An increased representation of Sanskrit Scholars in the Syllabus review committee would lead to increase in the number of years of mandatory Sanskrit classes in schools

d) An increase in budget for Sanskrit classes would increase the number of Sanskrit Scholars in the Syllabus review committee.

e) By increasing the number of members in the Syllabus review committee, the number of mandatory Sanskrit Classes in Schools will increase.


To answer this critical reasoning question, dividing statements, and finding a causal...

Categories : Critical Reasoning

GMAT Critical Reasoning South Pole AssumptionIn 2013, the sea ice in Antarctica reached a record high. 80% of the increase in ice volume can be attributed to the strong westerly winds in the South Pole. The ice level is much higher than the recorded ice level during the 1970s. This proves that Global Warming is a hoax.

The argument above is based on which of the following assumptions?

a) Global warming and sea ice level are correlated.
b) Sea Ice Level in Antarctica has a stronger correlation to Global Warming
c) One of the effects of Global Warming is the melting of sea ice.
d) Increase in Ice Volume is the result of low temperature
e) There was no interruption in collecting data about sea ice level from 1970 to 2013

This is an interesting assumption question. Some of the answer choices look similar and equally relevant. Before we go into answer choices, let us look into the arguments and conclusion.

Fact 1: In 2013, the sea ice in Antarctica reached a record high.

Fact 2: 80% of the increase in ice volume can be attributed to the strong westerly winds in the South Pole

Fact 3: The ice level is much higher than the recorded ice level during the...

GMAT CR ParaphrasingParaphrasing an argument is a long debated topic. The bottom line is that you would have one minute and fifty seconds to solve each critical reasoning question. Is it wise to paraphrase the argument? It depends.  A 3 to 5 line argument might be stated in a complex way. The goal of paraphrasing should be to simplify the argument with concise statements.

Putting the argument in your own words
can help you break down the arguments to its parts. So in order to paraphrase argument, identify the type of critical reasoning question and its structure. The critical reasoning questions can start with a conclusion followed by arguments or start with arguments followed by the conclusion. In most cases, the transition will be clear but in instances when the transition is blurred it would be wise to paraphrase the argument. Try paraphrasing several GMAT Critical Reasoning questions before adopting it as a strategy for your GMAT test.

Let us look at a question about the Medicare program introduced by President Obama:

Q) According to Congressional Budget Office, President Obama’s Medicare budget proposal is expected to save $364 billion over the next 10 years, an estimate that is close to the...

GMAT Critical Reasoning InferenceYou’re having lunch with your friend Jane, and you suggest getting hot fudge sundaes for dessert; Jane tells you that she doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes.  In real life, you could draw several valid inferences from this: she’s lactose intolerant, she has sensitive teeth and so can’t eat frozen desserts, she’s on a diet and trying to avoid sweets, or maybe she just doesn’t like ice cream or hot fudge. 

In real life, those would all be acceptable inferences, because the real-world definition of infer is to do any of the following:

1. to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence: e.g., They inferred his anger from his heated denial.
2. (of facts, circumstances, statements, etc.) to indicate or involve as a conclusion; lead to.
3. to guess; speculate; surmise.
4. to hint; imply; suggest.

“Infer” is, as you can see, a word with fairly flexible meaning.  We most often use it in day-to-day life to mean “make an educated guess.”  If your friend Jane says she doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes, you apply your existing knowledge about the possible reasons someone could have for...

Flawed Thinking in GMAT Critical Reasoning
Critical Reasoning is a skill that you cannot develop in a couple of days. But GMAT Critical reasoning can be mastered if you understand some of the common pitfalls in our logical deduction. The most common mistakes are made in Syllogism.

What is Syllogism?

A Syllogism is a type of argument where you have a conclusion based on one or more premises. Let’s look at an example

Premise 1: All roses are flowers

Premise 2: Some flowers have thorn

Conclusion: Therefore Some roses have thorn

Most GMAT test taker would agree with the conclusion or naturally make such conclusions when they are presented with similar critical reasoning questions. The CONCLUSION is wrong! We are intuitive creatures. Even when our logical mind asks us to think before making any conclusion, the lazy intuitive mind will force us to make the obvious wrong conclusion. Another factor that contributes to the wrong conclusion is the use of our knowledge about roses (that it has thorns) to make the conclusion.

Remember, GMAT Critical reasoning requires you to...

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