3 Tips to Improve Your GMAT Critical Reasoning Performance

by on August 24th, 2015

A Critical Reasoning (CR) argument is usually structured into facts (also sometimes referred to as premises) and a conclusion. It is important that you are able to identify the parts of an argument. Isaac has given you tips on identifying the conclusion in his post “Identifying the conclusion in GMAT CR questions”. Your job is never to question the facts of the argument. You can question the gap between the facts and the conclusion. This gap can be called an assumption the writer makes in his/her argument. In other words, what did the writer have to believe to be true in order to reach the conclusion, as based on the premise(s)? There are many CR questions that require you to identify an assumption. It can get complex, but here are some tips to simplify matters.

1. Simplify language.

You know from your work on SC that the shortest, simplest answer is often the best answer. It is as if the test makers take these rules they have established in SC and throw them out the window when they write CR and RC problems. They write their sentences in the most confusing way possible. If you can simplify the language the test makers use, it can make your job easier.

2. Use your own words.

One way to simplify the language used in a question is to express it using your own words. This involves making very short notes to summarize each of the sentences in a CR passage. 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!

3. Understand what is being asked.

For example, let’s imagine a simple example in which the conclusion is that Rome is a pleasant city.

A common question would be: “Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the above conclusion?”

Option A) There are many great art galleries in Rome.
Option B) Venice has many great restaurants.

Sometimes people are confused as to whether they have to consider if the options are true or not. You don’t have to do this. You can assume all the options are true. You don’t have to ask yourself whether it is actually true that Venice has many great restaurants. It’s clear that Option A would be the right answer, because it’s the only answer that actually applies to Rome. When the questions become more difficult, you can save time by remembering that it is not your job to consider whether the options are true or not when the question is worded this way.

Try these tips on your next CR practice questions!

This post appeared first on the Economist GMAT Tutor blog.

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