Critical reasoning, like its name, is a critical component of the GMAT exam. It is part of the Verbal Section, with 41 questions that need to be completed in 75 minutes. This section also has questions on Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension. The Critical Reasoning component is comprised of 14 to 16 questions. They are designed to test reasoning abilities, and how well the test taker can judge the flaws, assumptions and conclusions in a given statement. What makes these questions important for GMAT participants is that it is an immense scoring opportunity. A well-prepared candidate can answer the questions quickly, and dedicate more time to Reading Comprehension questions, or the tricky Sentence Correction section.
In GMAT Critical Reasoning, a statement is followed by a Question, which can be broadly categorized under:
1) Finding assumption in a statement
2) Finding argument that strengthens or weakens the statement
3) Drawing an inference or conclusion
4) Picking the flaw in an argument
5) Identifying the argument structure
6) Choosing the right conclusion.
The answer should be picked from five choices. The answers are designed to confuse the test taker. Two answers in particular will be similar and structured in such a way that the test will take up lot of the candidate's time.
The trick is to thoroughly analyze the statement while reading it. Test takers must try to figure out the logical flaws, strengths and assumptions in the argument and reach a conclusion as to whether the statement makes sense or not. Even if a firm decision cannot be reached, at list two answers should be shortlisted for Process of Elimination.
There are 4 common logical fallacies made in GMAT Critical Reasoning questions.
It is very easy to generalize based on incomplete assumptions, and insufficient evidence.
Example: Indian Judiciary is known for delaying verdicts, therefore the recent fast track court appointed for Delhi Rape Case can also expect the same delay.
Generalizing the response of Indian Judiciary, and extending it to all cases is a logical fallacy and if you read the answer choices carefully, it is easy to eliminate such choices.
2) Ad Hominem
Ad Hominem in Latin means 'to the man.' It refers to an argument made against a person, rather than dealing with his argument. Students must be careful in dealing with statements that attack the source and not the message.
Example: The doctor's article on the perils of smoking, including cancer, cannot be taken seriously, as he is known to be a heavy smoker.
Just because the Doctor smokes, it does not mean that he is not eligible to speak against smoking.
3) Inconsistencies and Contradictions
An inconsistent argument makes two or more contradictory claims. Such an argument leads to a wrong conclusion. The reason for this is that if the claims are contradictory, then both cannot be correct - one of them must be false, and no argument that rests on a false claim can be considered genuine.
Example: I did not take the cake, and besides, it already had a piece cut out from it.
The contradiction here is that the person claims to not have taken the cake, yet he saw a piece already cut from it.
4) Necessary vs. Sufficient Conditions
Necessary conditions are those which are necessary for a certain event to occur. Without that condition in place, the event will not happen. On the other hand, a sufficient condition is that which is enough for an event to occur. But just because the condition occurs, the event may not necessarily happen.
Example: I ran the race faster than him. Therefore I won.
Here running the race faster than someone is sufficient to win, but it does not mean it will necessarily happen. Other contenders may run faster.
Example: I ran the race faster than everyone. Therefore I won.
Here, running the race faster than everyone is a necessary condition to winning. As a result, the statement is correct.
Here is a GMAT critical reasoning question to test if you can put the above lessons to practice.
Q) Microfinance, pioneered by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus through Grameen Bank, eradicates poverty by providing small loans to poor people, mostly women. Studies on the impact of Microfinance have been studied based on the financial and economic aspects of the sector. But the cultural aspects like patriarchy have thus far been ignored. Studies by a senior professor have indicated that an economic environment conducive to easy access to mid to large sized loans can undermine the microfinance’s goal of empowering women; an effect multiplied in patriarchal societies.
What can be inferred from the above statement?
1) It is impossible to eradicate poverty among women in an economic environment with easy access to mid to large sized loans ....
For Complete Explanation, Download F1GMAT's Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning
Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning (2019 Edition)
2) 6 Step Strategy to solve GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions
3) How to overcome flawed thinking in GMAT Critical Reasoning?
4) 4 GMAT Critical Reasoning Fallacies
5) Generalization in GMAT Critical Reasoning
6) Inconsistencies in Arguments
7) Eliminate Out of Scope answer choices using Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
8) Ad Hominem in GMAT Critical Reasoning
9) Slippery Slope in GMAT Critical Reasoning
10) Affirming the Consequent – GMAT Critical Reasoning
11) How to Paraphrase GMAT Critical Reasoning Question
12) How to Answer Assumption Question Type
13) How to Answer Conclusion Question Type
14) How to Answer Inference Question Type
15) How to Answer Strengthen Question Type
16) How to Answer Weaken Question Type
17) How to Answer bold-faced and Summary Question Types
18) How to Answer Parallel Reasoning Questions
19) How to Answer the Fill in the Blanks Question
Question 1: 5G Technology (Inference)
Question 2: Water Purifier vs. Minerals (Fill in the Blanks)
Question 3: Opioid Abuse (Strengthens)
Question 4: Abe and Japan’s Economy (Inference)
Question 5: Indians and Pulse Import (Weakens)
Question 6: Retail Chains in Latin America (Assumption)
Question 7: American Tax Rates – Republican vs. Democrats (Inference)
Question 8: AI – China vs the US (Weakens)
Question 9: Phone Snooping (Strengthens)
Question 10: Traditional Lawns (Assumption)
Question 11: Appraisal-Tendency Framework (Inference)
Question 12: Meta-Analysis of Diet Trials (Weakens)
Question 13: Biases in AI (Strengthens)
Question 14: Stock Price and Effectiveness of Leadership (Inference)
Question 15: US Border Wall (Weakens)
Question 16: Driverless Car and Pollution (Assumption)
Question 17: Climate Change (Inference)
Question 18: Rent a Furniture (Weakens)
Question 19: Marathon Performance and Customized Shoes (Weakens)
Question 20: Guaranteed Basic Income (Assumption)
Question 21: Brexit (Infer)
Question 22: AB vs Traditional Hotels (Assumption)
Question 23: Tax Incentive and Job Creation (Weakens)
Question 24: Obesity and Sleeve Gastrectomy (Inference)
Question 25: Recruiting Executives (Weaken)