GMAT RC inference questions are one of the toughest question types. You can’t skim the content and infer. When you see the question framed as: "It can be inferred from the passage that" or “author's which statement do you agree to..” or “What do you mean by the word or phrase” , they are variations of the Inference question type.
Strategies to Solve GMAT Reading Comprehension Inference Question Type
Inference questions are most likely to quote a statement, phrase, or a word used by the author. Locate the paragraph. Once you know the paragraph, it becomes easier for you to dissect the author’s thoughts depending upon how the author has structured the passage.
2) Main Idea
This is a shortcut that many test takers miss. Once you note down the paragraph that the question is referring, create the summary of each paragraph, including the paragraph that is not referred. After understanding the main idea behind each paragraph and the passage in total, it becomes easier for you to infer the author’s point.
3) Underlying Meaning
The phrases and words used by the author cannot be taken on a literal sense. Look for context, primarily through paragraph summary, and understand the underlying meaning behind the statement. Can we go beyond the literal and find an alternative explanation?
4) Avoid Personal Assumption
While we logically group statements under an idea, it should never contradict the main idea of the passage, which we have reached in Step 1. This often happens when we include our personal biases and assumptions about a scenario in order to interpret the author’s statement. Summary of each paragraph prevents us from making such an error.
5) Process of Elimination
If you try to second guess author’s suggestion, you might lose precious time. The trick is to apply the process of elimination where you evaluate each answer choice and find whether the statement contradicts the main idea of the passage or paragraph. Three answer choices would be out of context or irrelevant for the passage, and you can quickly eliminate them. Solving GMAT RC Inference question comes down to evaluating two inference statements.
6) Find Contradicting Statement
Although we successfully eliminated three answer choices, picking the winner involves understanding the context, and subtly understanding what the author meant. Even after going through the summary of each paragraph, if you are stuck, analyze both the statements separately and find contradicting statements in the passage.
Answer Choice A: Lack of storage in the Food distribution system is to be blamed for the rise in famine in Africa.
Answer Choice B: The corruption in the Food distribution system is to be blamed for the rise in famine in Africa.
Let us assume that both the statements are shortlisted because the author has covered corruption, and inefficient storage in the passage but the trick here is to look for statements that provide direct causation for the “rise in famine in Africa.”
If the lack of storage is inferred as leading to wastage and not rise in famine, you can eliminate Answer Choice A.
Going back to the passages where the author has mentioned the two factors is the trick behind solving such close GMAT RC inference questions.
The above post is an excerpt from Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide. Download it here
Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide (2019 Edition)
Collecting and Interpreting Facts: GMAT Reading Comprehension
Effective Note-taking for GMAT Reading Comprehension
5 Questions to Speed up Summary Creation
Mastering GMAT Reading Comprehension: 3 Best Practices
How to Remember Information
How to improve comprehension by Questioning the Author
How to Read Faster
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Title question
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Main Idea Question
How to Answer GMAT Reading comprehension inference question
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Purpose Question
How to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Detail Question
How to Answer the GMAT organization of passage Question
Passage #1: Protein-Rich Diet
Passage #2: Pregnant Women and Stress Management
Passage #3: F Losing Momentum
Passage #4: Conservatives and Automation
Passage #5: Collaboration, Team size and Performance
Passage #6: Effective Altruism
Passage #7: Loneliness Epidemic
Passage #8: Space Exploration
Passage #9: Lab-Grown Meat
Passage #10: Minimum Wage in the US
Passage #11: AI and Creativity
Passage #12: Bias Against Healthcare in Developing Economies
Passage #13: Legacy Admissions
Passage #14: Plastic Ban and alternatives
Passage #15: Underestimating Homo Sapiens
Passage #16: Conspiracy Theories
Passage #17: Relative Poverty
Passage #18: Why Paintings are expensive
Passage #19: US Obesity Epidemics
Passage #20: The Future of Advertising
Passage #21: Breaking Large Companies
Passage #22: Helicopter Parenting
Passage #23: Future of Democracy
Passage #24: Technology and Global Citizenship
Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide
After reading F1GMAT’s Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide, you will:
1. Complete GMAT RC Questions in less than 1 minute and 50 seconds
2. Read Faster
3. Take Notes Effectively
4. Collect and Interpret Facts
5. Speed up Summary Creation
6. Remember Information
7. Question the Author
8. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Title question
9. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Main Idea Question
Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning
After you read F1GMAT’s Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide, you will learn:
How to overcome flawed thinking in GMAT Critical Reasoning?