How to Answer GMAT Critical Reasoning Weaken Question

GMAT 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?

Think…

Think…

Done?

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

Why is this approach wrong?

If we turn A & 4, and both follows the Vowel – Even number relationship, does that mean that we can say for sure that the other two cards 7 & L follow the same rule?

No.

We have to turn a third card to make sure that the rule is universal for the set.

Explanation

If you have turned A & 7 or 4 & L, you are naturally good at weakening arguments.

The question is, 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.

By turning A, we get either an even number or an odd number. The rule is followed or broken.

By turning 7, a number not mentioned in the condition (If there is a vowel on one side, there must be an even number on the other side”) or a contradicting rule, we are fool proofing whether the condition is universal for the set.

In GMAT Critical Reasoning, look at the answer choices that directly weaken the conclusion. The easiest way to find out such answer choices are by eliminating the ones that do the opposite. Test creators use at least one answer choice in a cleverly worded format that strengthens the argument and another answer choice that is irrelevant. Eliminate them.

Let us try one GMAT critical reasoning question:

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, and Le1f’s “Wut” had a similar patterns with identical synthesized sax, but Le1f has limited option left for a legal claim.

Let us look at each answer choices
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Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning (2019 Edition)

Chapters

1) Introduction
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 Bank
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 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)

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