This is one of the different types of GMAT questions that students often find very difficult to solve and understand. Critical reasoning questions test your ability to understand the logic and flow of ideas behind a question.
It is important to understand the different types of these questions available in order to
- Save time: Once you understand the various classifications of the critical reasoning type of questions, you should be able to save time and solve the questions faster.
- Make fewer errors: Once you understand the various types of critical reasoning questions, you would have a better understanding of what these questions ask for and as a result make fewer mistakes. Have you ever noticed how sometimes you get a CR question wrong because you don't understand what is being asked for? Understanding the various classifications under this pattern would help you avoid such mistakes.
There are basically six steps to solve such questions( we do not need to use all these six steps to solve each question. These are the general six steps.)
- Identify the question
- Understand the argument and its parts like premise, counterpremise, assumptions and conclusion.
- Puzzle out the possible assumptions that may have been ignored in the assumption
- Confirm whether any of the possible assumptions might weaken or strengthen the argument,
- Confirm what your goal is
- Eliminate the wrong options
There are 7 classifications under this type of question.
- Assumption questions: Remember this type of question will ask you to find the assumption that holds the argument together. Remember that the assumption will not be stated and you will have to read between the lines to understand the assumptions. There can be many assumptions in an argument but to find the true assumption that holds the argument, you can do the negation test. In order to do the negation test negate the assumptions given in the options to find that assumption which on failing would cause the argument to fail. This question could be worded as mentioned below:
- The passage assumes which of the following?
- Support or Strengthen questions: This question requires you to find the evidence or assumption that can increase the probability of the conclusion bring right based on the premise. The wording of this type of question could be in any of the following forms:
- Which of the following, if correct, would strengthen the author’s conclusions?
- Which of the following, if true, will support the author’s argument in the passage?
- Which of the following, if true, will give credibility to the passage’s reasoning?
- Oppose/ Weaken questions: Weaken questions are the opposite of the above category. This type of question asks you to choose the new evidence that, if true, would cause the argument to fall apart. The conclusion cannot be derived from the premise if this assumption is true. You would need to look at a question from various angles to identify the right answer. The wording of this type of question could be in any of the following forms:
- Which of the following answer choices, if true, nullifies the author’s conclusion?
- Which of the following, if true, weakens the author’s conclusion?
- Flaw questions: In this type of question, you would need to choose the missing piece or missing link in the argument. Once you read the argument and identify the various parts of the argument, you would understand some assumptions don't hold their ground.
- Boldfaced parts questions: These questions have two sentences written in bold in the argument. You are required to find the relationship between the statements written in bold and the other parts of the argument. You are also sometimes required to find the relationship between the parts of the argument written in bold. This question can be worded as shown below:
- The phrases that are in a bold font play which of the following roles in the passage?
- Inference questions: This type of question will state a list of facts which should be considered true. You must choose one of the options that can be inferred if the facts mentioned in the question are true. This type of question can be worded in any of the following forms:
- According to the passage which of the statements must be true?
- Which of the following can be inferred from the information in the passage?
- Which of the following is a reasonable statement based on the information in the passage?
- Explain questions: This type of question will provide you with two statements that oppose each other. From the given options, you are supposed to identify one option that tells you why the two statements do not oppose each other. This type of question can be worded in the following ways:
- Which of the following explains the conflict in the passage?
- Which of the following, if true, best explains the theory above?