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How to Answer GMAT Parallel Reasoning Questions

Unlike the critical reasoning question argument structure questions where you have to identify premise, assumptions, secondary facts and conclusion, the question on parallel reasoning require a keen eye on the similarities of the structure and a closer eye on the conclusion.

Most wrong answer choices would subtly insert words and phrases that would misdirect test takers and force them to choose an option that looks like the correct answer but is not the ‘one.’

The similarity of reasoning, not accuracy

The argument might be flawed or accurate. A common error occurs when test takers choose the first answer choice that falls under the same category as the question. Only the observant test taker notices the part of the question, “most similar” – indicating that you must choose an answer choice that is most like the question.

The length of the question is the biggest challenge. Remembering all the information or the structure of the argument is what derails a test taker from concentrating on the core of the structure.


An easier way we have devised to summarize the complex structure of the arguments is to categorize the evidence into:

• Direct Evidence in Favor (DEIF)

• Direct Evidence Against (DEA)
• No Direct Evidence Against (NDEA)
• No Direct Evidence in Favor (NDEIF)

Doctor:
I rarely recommend K’s diaper cream as you might have learned of the billion-dollar lawsuit that families won proving asbestos in the company’s baby powder.  Pharma giants have pressure from shareholders on growth targets that force them to improve the longevity of the product with chemical preservatives. H on the other hand claim to use natural ingredients. I haven’t heard of any negative side-effects, but the potency of the cream is questionable as their moisturizing cream vaporizes in seconds without leaving any visible signs of improvement on your skin. C’s Diaper cream could be trusted. They are local manufacturers who don’t use any chemical additives.


Q) The reasoning is most similar to which of the following?

a) President: I endorse H for the Governor of Texas. He is strong on the border and would bring back jobs to the state. The opposing candidate P is run by interest groups who favor global trade over national interest. Candidate M, on the other hand, is a weak candidate who negotiated with the opposing party without putting up a fight.

b) Soccer Coach: Jon is known to play selfishly ignoring the calls of forwards and maneuver the most skilled defense player, often unsuccessfully, costing us more than three games. Stan tends to play in the middle where most markers occupy leaving him ineffective against the defense. I rarely pick sides, but Dan although lacks the skills as Jon, is a team player and brings an urgency to the forward movement.

c) Movie Reviewer: I am not an advocate of superhero movies as the themes are repeated with predictable paths on the resolution. The guaranteed box office results keep the writers complacent. Slice of the life movies breaks away from clichés, but as an audience, the end result is an unmoving experience. Thrillers keep me the most occupied. However, when the twist ending becomes too extreme, it lacks believability, or when it plays into the expected sequence of events, it leaves the audience wanting for more.

d) Food Delivery App User: If I must pick from the three delivery agents, Job would rank at the lowest. He was worried about the target of the day that he refused to deliver the food when an error in GPS took him 2 miles away from the destination. Steve lacks the attitude for a career in hospitality as he rarely smiles or establishes a rapport before delivering. David is a jovial person with an ambition to stay in the hospitality industry. He is a better fit.

e) Dietician: Avoid processed foods as they are categorized along tobacco smoking and asbestos as IARC Group 1 – the high-risk category of carcinogens. Although Red meat has the benefits in the form of haem Iron, it is offset by the recent classification as a probable cause of cancer by the WHO. Broccoli is safe to consume and even contain sulforaphane that has anticancer properties.

Let us first analyze the question


Doctor: I rarely recommend K’s diaper cream as you might have learned of the billion-dollar lawsuit that families won proving asbestos in the company’s baby powder.  Pharma giants have pressure from shareholders on growth targets that force them to improve the longevity of the product with chemical preservatives. H on the other hand claim to use natural ingredients. I haven’t heard of any negative side-effects, but the potency of the cream is questionable as their moisturizing cream vaporizes in seconds without leaving any visible signs of improvement on your skin. C’s Diaper cream could be trusted. They are local manufacturers who don’t use any chemical additives.

Subject: Diaper Cream

Primary characteristic quoted in conclusion: Safety

Evidence #1: K lost a billion-dollar lawsuit for their baby product that contained asbestos.

Evidence #2: H’s moisturizing cream doesn’t leave any visible signs of improvement on your skin, but H uses natural ingredients. Safe but not effective
Evidence #3: C is a local manufacturer that doesn’t use additives.
Conclusion: C’s Diaper Cream is safe

Assumption: Expect similar toxicity in K’s diaper cream as their baby powder.

Argument Structure: Evidence against product 1 in a related product -> Secondary Evidence against product 2 -> Evidence in favor of product 3 -> Concluding product 3 is better than product 1 and 2.


Flaw in Argument: No direct evidence against Product 1.

No direct evidence on safety against Product 2

Direct evidence on safety in favor of Product 3

Short form:
No Direct Evidence Against (NDEA) Direct Evidence in Favor (DEIF)
NDEA P1 --> NDEA P2
DEIF P3


Conclusion: P3 > P1 & P2


Analysis of each answer choices, how to use the evidence short forms and the Correct Answer in F1GMAT's Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning

Download Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning


You know why GMAT test takers score in the low 600s or never cross the 700+ mark?

They fail to look at critical reasoning as a scoring opportunity. GMAT Critical Reasoning is not a puzzle. There is no extra point in getting to the answer without using Process of Elimination. You are wasting your time overanalyzing the answer choices or posting your findings in GMAT Forums. The so-called Critical Reasoning experts know the answer. Justifying an answer choice is much easier.

F1GMAT’s Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning E-Book will take the mystery out of critical reasoning questions.

Find out How>>




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