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Chapter One: The Critical Reasoning Challenge
Do you like to point out the assumptions in others' arguments? Do you like to home in on logical flaws like a detective, and analyze precisely how arguments could be made better, or worse? Then GMAT Critical Reasoning is for you. So start dissecting op-ed pieces and cutting the contestants on television debates down to size. When you see your GMAT score, you'll be glad you did!
Which of the following can be most properly inferred from the passage above?
(A) Mastering the Critical Reasoning question type will ensure an excellent GMAT score.
(B) No question type contained on the GMAT is represented in more sections of the GMAT than is Critical Reasoning.
(C) Op-ed pieces and television debates contain content that is related in some way to material tested in GMAT Critical Reasoning.
(D) Logical flaws and assumptions are question types that appear only on the GMAT.
(E) Thinking like a detective has no impact on one's GMAT score.
Explanation: Choice (C) is correct. The final two sentences strongly imply that dissecting op-eds and debates will lead to a higher score, which, in fact, it certainly can. There must therefore be some relation between GMAT content and the content of these forums. As for the others:
Mastering Critical Reasoning is necessary to achieve a top GMAT score, but is not sufficient; one must ace the other content areas of the test as well. So (A) is not inferable. There's no basis for (B) either -- the number of sections on the test is outside the scope of the argument. (D) isn't inferable. For all we know, other tests such as the LSAT test these same areas. And (E) represents the opposite of what the passage suggests: The instructor strongly implies that the proclivity for playing detective is relevant to (hence, inferably bodes well for) one's Critical Reasoning performance.
So win arguments! Prove people wrong! Amaze your friends! Be the life of the party! Get an 800 on the GMAT!...Just a few of the many and varied uses of the ability to master the subtle art of Critical Reasoning.
Disclaimer: Hacking through the bogus arguments of others and/or demonstrating superior logical acumen in everyday conversation will NOT make you the most popular person in town.
However, the ability to do so will do wonders for your GMAT score. The purpose of this chapter is to help you hone your critical thinking skills through practice on some of the toughest Critical Reasoning material around.
Using the Critical Reasoning Questions in this Book
This section is broken up into chapters that detail various difficulties commonly encountered in GMAT Critical Reasoning. It is designed to allow you to learn as you go and to apply your learning to subsequent questions as you progress through the section. In chapter 2 you'll be introduced to seven major categories of difficult Critical Reasoning questions, each highlighted by an example. In chapter 3 you'll find seven more questions that test whether or not you can recognize the distinctions and logical elements introduced in the first group. Finally, chapter 4 offers 28 additional questions representative of all the elements and forms discussed in the previous chapters.
Strategies for Critical Reasoning
Here are a few general pointers to keep in mind when tackling all Critical Reasoning questions, but especially the challenging questions like the ones you're about to see:
Keep your eye out for the author's evidence, conclusion, and any assumptions relied upon in the argument. The wordiness and logical subtlety of the questions that follow often cause test-takers to lose sight of what's actually being said, and it's nearly impossible to answer questions like these correctly when one is foggy about the specifics. The conclusion is the "what" of the matter; the evidence is the reasons "why" the author feels entitled to make that particular claim; and assumptions are any missing premises that are nonetheless needed in order for the conclusion to stand.
Paraphrase the text. You can get a leg up on tough text by simplifying the passage's ideas and translating them into your own words. The same goes for the longer Reading Comprehension passages.
Familiarize yourself with the common Critical Reasoning concepts tested. Review the logical elements and structures discussed throughout the section, and look to recognize which of them are present in each Critical Reasoning question you encounter in this book as well as in any other questions you practice with during your GMAT preparation. While the specific subjects you'll encounter (names, places, scenarios, etc.) will naturally be different from those you'll see on your test, the underlying logical patterns remain incredibly consistent. Use the questions and explanations that follow to get to know them.
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