The Critical Reasoning section of Graduate Management Admission Test is one of the most difficult parts of the examination. The Critical Reasoning (CR) questions measures the analytical reasoning skills of every GMAT aspirant. The CR question includes with two main parts, the stimulus which contains the short argument and the question stem that basically asks questions based on the stimulus.
Evaluating the question argument in Critical Reasoning section does not require the examinee to be very well informed about the given issues and topics. What the examinee needs to do is just carefully analyze the argument and recognize its premises and conclusion and also the bottom of the argument. The examinee should always choose of what is the ‘best’ answer among the answer choices.
It is the cognitive ability of examinee that GMAT Critical Reasoning section wants to measure. The argument questions in Critical Reasoning greatly challenge one’s ability to think critically and analytically. This can be done by requiring the test taker to recognize reasoning errors and unstated assumptions, draw reasonable inferences from stated premises, and follow an argument’s line of reasoning.
Every Critical Reasoning question provides a paragraph-length argument with a question pertaining to the argument. The question will determine on what kind of tasks that the examinee will perform. These tasks are will be either: recognizing how to undermine (seriously weaken) an argument, recognizing how to support (strengthen) an argument, identifying unstated assumptions, drawing an inference from a series of stated premises, making valid deductions based on a series of premises and/or a conclusion, recognizing patterns of reasoning, and recognizing the main point or final conclusion of an argument. The three most common question types in Critical Reasoning tests are the: unstated-assumption questions, undermining-evidence questions, and supporting-evidence questions.
Categorizing the question type is very vital. Identifying the question type will determine on what best approach to use in order to easily choose the right answer. Thus, reading the question stem before reading the argument will be of great help to know what to think about the argument upon reading it. Reading also the answer choices first will give no advantage for it only wasting the limited time by doing so.
There are 6-step approaches to easily handle the three most common used question types that I have mentioned above. The first step is by reading the question stem before reading the argument. Second is by reading the argument and identify its premises and the conclusion. Followed by formulating at least one or two assumptions, but this won’t take long and proceed to the next step if nothings happen. Then the fourth step will be scanning of answer choices that most reflects on the unstated assumptions that have already occurred on the examinee. Well, there’s a chance that one of those will be among the five choices. At fifth, when the assumption is not one of those answer choices then an examinee must consider each answer carefully. The last but not the least, if the examinee unable to determine the best response then better look for the answer choices that opposite of what the question ask for. These are the wrong answers, and must be eliminated in order to increase the chance of choosing the correct answer.
Taking the examination in GMAT where Critical Reasoning is a part of it needs a lot preparation. It needs thorough practice to develop one’s analytical skills. If the test taker is still in school, then enrolling to critical thinking course will not be a big problem. But it will not be the same to those GMAT aspirants that are working individuals. So, choosing online Critical Reasoning preparation and GMAT study materials is the best choice.
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* Before we dive into the big questions of philosophy, you need to know how to argue properly. We’ll start with an overview of philosophical reasoning and breakdown of how deductive arguments work (and sometimes don’t work).
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How to Argue – Philosophical Reasoning: Crash Course Philosophy #2