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Sarai Yaseen


General Strategies for Critical Reasoning


Categories : Critical Reasoning

Unless the question is a GMAT conclusion question, there will always be two parts to an argument:  The premises—these are the facts that the author presents—and conclusion—the sentence that the author wants you to believe is true, but is not necessarily true.  

Since you cannot mess with the facts that are presented, almost any question impacts the conclusion.  Therefore, there are always two basic steps to answering a critical-reasoning question:

Step 1:  Read the question first!  When you start reading that long, wordy, cumbersome paragraph of an argument, you want to already know what you are looking for so that you do not get lost in the text.

Step 2:  Find the conclusion!  Unless the question is a conclusion question (in which case you have synthesize all the facts presented in the paragraph), your job is to strengthen, weaken, identify the flaw of, identify the assumption of, or infer something from not the entire argument, but the conclusion of the argument.  So make sure you really zone in on that one single sentence!  Also, know your key words signaling a conclusion!

Step 3:  Know your argument types and the underlying assumptions for each type—causal arguments, arguments by analogy, and statistical arguments.  This is critical to the essay analyzing an argument as well!

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How can I raise my Verbal score?



GMAT Verbal ScoreThere are many who might feel that, while quantitative questions are clear-cut and objective, verbal questions are shrouded in the ambiguity of language and that, as a result, achieving a high score on the verbal section is to some degree a matter of luck that is determined by the whims of the little evil verbal GMAT goblins.

This could not be farther from the truth.  The language and communication skills that the GMAT tests are as straight-forward as any algebra problem.  So let's look at how you can take control of your score on the verbal section.

Test Strategy

As you probably already know, the GMAT is an adaptive exam.  This means that whether you answer the question presented correctly determines the level of the next question.  For example, say you are given a critical-reasoning question at a 600 level.  If you answer the question correctly, the next question will be at approximately a 650 level.  (These figures are not precise, for the exact calculations are not disclosed.)  If you get the question wrong, however, the next question might be a 550-level question.   If, say, you answer the next question correctly, then the third question may be around a 575 level, and so on.  

Key to Cracking Adaptive test

In this way, the exam tracks your level.  Whatever the level of the last question you answer correctly, minus a penalty for questions you left unanswered at the end, is your score.  Therefore, you cannot skip questions or go back.  To get to the next question, you must...

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