Critical thinking is important to succeed in any sphere of one’s life and now that you have already started preparing for the GMAT, you must have realised how critical it is to do well on the GMAT. The Critical Reasoning questions, which comprise approximately one-fourth of the questions asked in the GMAT Verbal section, test your ability to evaluate arguments and think critically. The topic and question category is quite technical and having a clear understanding of the basic components of arguments can help you nail such questions.
Well, it is easier said than done! Despite a plethora of study material/books available in the market, many students are unable to achieve a very high-level accuracy in acing the Critical Reasoning questions. The reason is that this concept is not about absorbing just the theory, but also demands thorough analysis. If you face trouble in answering Critical Reasoning questions, there could be many reasons for that such as:
- You could be faltering at the question identification stage
- You could be lacking in clearly understanding the various parts of an argument
- You may be getting trapped by the tempting options
If the above is the case, you need to first identify your problem area and then work towards arriving at a solution. Working on a solution will become easier if you understand the main problem. In this blog, listed are the first two common steps/stages where you could be going wrong. Pick your problem area and start working on it.
Common Steps and Stages
Getting the question right – Question identification is the basic step in critical reasoning questions and if this first step goes wrong, the entire process falls flat. Could you give me the right answer if you didn’t understand my question? Lack of clarity on questions leads to vague, irrelevant and tangential responses. Likewise in GMAT Critical Reasoning, it is quite common for students to confuse or misinterpret question types. Inference questions such as ‘Which of the following conclusions is best supported by the information above’ are interpreted or rather misinterpreted as strengthening questions by many students. So if the question identification is your problem area, gear up and get a good understanding of the task(s) involved in each question type.
Having a good understanding of the case or the argument – Many students do not have a clear understanding of the parts of the argument and are unable to identify the role of each sentence in the argument. There is a normal tendency to go by definitions without having a practical understanding of how different parts are related to each other. There needs to be an absolute clarity on how conclusion and premise are related to each other and how the assumption is linked to these two. Assumption identification is one task that is challenging for most students and it can be easily overcome by a thorough understanding of the Critical Reasoning arguments. Students are aware that some common flaws such as casual, planning, etc are frequently used in case of the GMAT Critical Reasoning arguments but without a clear understanding of the right triggers to identify, they may not be able to spot them. Understanding different parts of the argument are the core of critical reasoning and need to be mastered. You can seek help from expert GMAT trainers/mentors to have a clear understanding of them.
Today, we have discussed two common stages and the associated tips that can enable you to achieve a high level of accuracy on the GMAT Critical Reasoning Section. In our upcoming blog, we will be sharing a few more common steps and stages. Till then, continue to practice more and get prepared to deal with the GMAT!