Are you aware of the types of critical reasoning questions in the Verbal section of the GMAT exam? In this article, we will be talking about the critical reasoning questions that you are most often asked in the GMAT exams, we will also be providing some examples for a better understanding, so read on!
Before we move onto the types of critical reasoning questions, let us begin with a brief introduction to the verbal reasoning section.
GMAT Verbal Reasoning
One of the sections of the GMAT exam is the verbal reasoning section. This section tests your ability to read, comprehend the given information, to evaluate and reason arguments and identify and rectify errors in standard English. The verbal reasoning section consists of 36 questions, which have to be completed within 65 minutes. This section is further divided into three parts — reading comprehension, sentence correction, and critical reasoning. In this article, however, we will only be talking about the critical reasoning question.
The critical reasoning consists of a short passage, which is less than 100 words. This short passage is followed by a question that asks which of the five answer choices given strengthens or weakens the argument, supports or damages the given argument or states why the argument provided is flawed.
Here is a sample question for the critical reasoning section taken from the official GMAT website:
Directions: For this question, select the best of the answer choices given.
The cost of producing radios in Country Q is ten percent less than the cost of producing radios in Country Y. Even after transportation fees and tariff charges are added, it is still cheaper for a company to import radios from Country Q to Country Y than to produce radios in Country Y.
The statements above, if true, best support which of the following assertions?
(A) Labor costs in Country Q are ten percent below those in Country Y.
(B) Importing radios from Country Q to Country Y will eliminate ten percent of the manufacturing jobs in Country Y.
(C) The tariff on a radio imported from Country Q to Country Y is less than ten percent of the cost of manufacturing the radio in Country Y.
(D) The fee for transporting a radio from Country Q to Country Y is more than ten percent of the cost of manufacturing the radio in Country Q.
(E) It takes ten percent less time to manufacture a radio in Country Q than it does in Country Y.
Types of Critical Reasoning Questions
The critical reasoning section consists of different kinds of question types. There are five broad categories of these question types— inference, drawing a conclusion, strengthening the argument, weakening the argument or flawed argument, making an assumption, paradox or discrepancy, and identifying the assumption. We will explore these question types a little further.
This question type requires you to infer or arrive at a conclusion based on the evidence or supporting arguments given in the passage. A couple of keywords to look out for are imply or infer.
Example of an ‘inference’ question — Which of the following can be accurately inferred from the statements above?
- Find the assumption
The find the assumption question will ask to choose a statement that could be true. The key here is to choose a statement, which when chosen will ensure the given statement remains intact and remains logical. A couple of keywords associated with this question type are: rely upon, because, and assumption.
Example of ‘find the assumption’ question — Which of the following is an assumption, upon which the argument relies on?
- Strengthen an argument
The strengthening of an argument question requires you to choose a statement that will best support or enhance the argument in the passage. The key is to understand what the passage is trying to convey and then identifying which statement provides evidence for that argument. The keywords you might find in this question are, support or strengthen.
Example of ‘strengthen an argument’ question —Which of the following would most support that media usage has affected one’s mental health?
- Weaken an argument and spot the flaws
The weaken an argument question has two parts. First, you have to identify which statement in the passage weakens the main argument and second you have to identify how it weakens the argument and check for flaws in the construction of the statement. A couple of keywords you will find in this question type are weakens or doubts.
Example of ‘weaken an argument’ question — Which of the following would most likely weaken the argument?
- Paradox or discrepancy
A paradox or discrepancy question requires you to identify and rectify the paradox in the argument. The paradox here refers to any two statements that seem to be in contradiction with each other. You will have answer choices to choose from, you have to choose one that nullifies the contradiction between the two. A few keywords to look out for in this question are discrepancy, explain, and paradox.
Example of a ‘paradox’ question — Which of the following will resolve the paradox found above?
These are the different types of critical reasoning questions that you have to acquaint yourself. If you practice these questions enough, you will surely get them all correct. All the best!