GMAT Impact: All About Critical Reasoning, Part 2

When it comes to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this weekly blog series, Manhattan GMAT’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about the overall process for solving Critical Reasoning (CR) problems and reviewed the four major CR question types (the ones that show up the most often on the test).

Now let’s take a look at the five minor types.

The Assumption Family

Assumption Family questions always involve a conclusion. This group consists of five subtypes, two of which are minor types:

Flaw: This is the “flip” of Find the Assumption. The author assumes something, but that thing might not be true. What is the flaw in the author’s reasoning?

Evaluate the Argument: What information would help to determine whether the conclusion is more or less likely to be valid?

The Evidence Family

Evidence Family questions really do not have conclusions (never “big” conclusions, like the Assumption arguments, and usually no conclusions at all). This group consists of two subtypes overall, but only one of these is a minor type:

Explain a Discrepancy: The argument contains some surprising information or outcome. Which answer choice provides some new information that clears up this surprising situation?

The Structure Family

Like Assumption questions, Structure questions do involve conclusions. The answer choices are usually in more “abstract” form, discussing characteristics of pieces of the argument. Both question types here are minor types.

Describe the Role*: These are also known as boldface. The boldface portion plays what kind of role in the overall argument?

Describe the Argument: These are a variant of the boldface question, and they are so rare that I do not have an article for you. If you are really worried about these, you can take a look at our CR Strategy guide—but my best advice for you is not to worry about these.

* Note: This Describe the Role article is old enough that it doesn’t use our “new” CR process, introduced nearly two years ago. I will do another in an upcoming article!

Now what? Join us next week, when we will talk about overall CR study strategies based on your scoring goals.

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