4 Vital Tips for GMAT Critical Reasoning
1. Identify the parts of the argument
Essentially, your argument is going to be composed of premises (things you assume are true), corollaries (things which are true if the premise they’re related to is true), and conclusions (things that are true if all the premises are true). A lot of the time you can clearly identify your conclusion based on terms like “should”, “must”, or “clearly”.
2. Extend from the appropriate part of the argument
If the question asks you “the statements, if true, most strongly support which of the following conclusion?”, then you can probably assume they’re asking you to extrapolate from the conclusion, to a further conclusion. If it asks you “which would most strengthen the argument”, they’re asking you to extend from one or more of the premises to a conclusion. If it asks you “which would most weaken the argument”, they’re looking for you to understand the gap between one or more of the premises and the conclusion.
3. Understand the difference between sufficient and necessary
In your answer choices, you will be overwhelmed with a bunch of choices that all seem plausible at first glance. Your task will generally be to sort between what’s sufficient, what’s necessary, and what’s neither, and answer according to the question prompt. For instance, if you’re asked what the primary flaw in the argument is, they’re probably asking you where the premises fail to be sufficient evidence for the conclusion. What’s the difference? Well, think about this example: for an animal to be a dog, it’s necessary for it to have a tail; it’s sufficient for it to be a canis familiaris ; and it’s neither for it to have an owner.
4. Read through your answer choices carefully
Unlike some of the other sections, it can be very difficult to predict what the right answer to a Critical Reasoning question is without reading through the answers. To that end, read through the answers carefully, and get used to reading the prompt quickly enough that you can keep it in mind while reading the answer choices. This is a vital skill for you to master if you’re to score well on the GMAT Critical Reasoning.
What to Do After You’ve Read These Tips
So, now you’ve read these GMAT Critical Reasoning tips and you’re ready to go? Great! Email me at the address in the header and I’ll set you up with a diagnostic test and an introductory meeting. My name’s Trevor Klee; I’m a Boston GMAT tutor who scored 750 on my GMAT and I’d be happy to get you scoring the same.