The GMAT score is used as an admission prerequisite for a graduate in management & business programs. It’s used to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English.
About a third of the questions that appear in the GMAT verbal section is critical reasoning questions. Critical reasoning questions often worry GMAT test-takers as they require the aspirants to put so many efforts and concentration to solve them. Though Critical Reasoning questions are a little time taking, if you practice on them they are easy to solve them within no time.
Before delving into the question of how to approach the critical reasoning questions in GMAT, let’s first understand the structure of these questions.
A Critical Reasoning (CR) argument is usually structured into facts (also referred to as premises) and a conclusion. Mostly, there is a gap between the premise and the conclusion which is an assumption made by the writer in his/her argument. In other words, it is a fact which the writer must assume in order to reach the conclusion.
Strategy to approach Critical Reasoning questions
- Read the question stem before reading the argument
The first step of any general strategy for GMAT Critical Reasoning is: reading the question before reading the argument. Know which type of question you are going to have to answer, and read the argument with that question in mind. The eight broad categories of GMAT CR questions are
- weaken the argument/find the flaw
- strengthen the argument
- find the assumption(know the Negation Test)
- draw inference/conclusion
- structure of the argument, including boldface structure questions and dialogue structure questions
- evaluate the conclusion
- complete the argument
The basic idea behind this is: when you know what you need to do, you will be reading the argument with that in mind.
- Simplify the passage
One of the major hurdles in solving the Critical Reasoning question is to understand the passage. Its sentences are written in the most confusing way possible. So if you can simplify the passage, it will make your job easier. You can try to simplify the passage either by expressing it in your own words or breaking the passage into parts. The purpose of this is to make the passage easier to understand. Your own words will be easier for you to understand than the difficult words chosen by someone who is trying to confuse you.
- Understand what is being asked
A lot of times, the students get really confused about what is being asked in the question, thus it is imperative to understand the question. This will determine how you approach the answer choices.
- Speculate what you think the correct conclusion is.
Sometimes this may be difficult to verbalize, but having an outline or framework of what the “must be true” answer should include will help to eliminate some answer choices.
- Avoid extreme answer choices.
Extreme or absolute answer choices are a red flag. For the most part, avoid answer choices that contain language like ‘only,’ ‘never,’ ‘always,’ ‘all,’ ‘none,’ ‘best,’ ‘worst,’ ‘must,’ etc. They’re nearly always incorrect.
- Practice through GMAT mock test series
Practice puts brains in your muscles. Any strategy is of no value if you do not put it in practice. Solve as many questions as you can for improving you efficiency in Critical Reasoning. Take a GMAT mock test series to stimulate the real testing conditions so that you can put pressure at bay during the exam. GMAT mock test series will also help you to analyze your readiness for the GMAT and develop and skill up your concentration and stamina for it.