Sunday, October 4

Critical Reasoning

Today i spent sometime on understanding the basics of CR. I would like to summarize few key points which must be kept in mind while attacking the CR questions:

1. Read actively: No matter what the complexity of stimulus is you should read the argument actively. One must keep a note of BOUNDAY WORDS {such as some, many, most, Only if, all, none etc} for they define the scopre of the argument. For example:

Only few soccer players become soccer legends. Some soccer players  frequently change their partners and many soccer legends sleep with some girls. Zidane is a soccer legend.

If above mentioned information is true then which of the following MUST be true?

a.) Zidane slept with many girls -- which might be true  but we are looking for something which MUST be true{but the stimulus says MANY soccer legends not all sleep with SOME girls and not MANY}
b.) Zidane headbutted  Materazzi -- {This type of answer choices are out of scope answer choices ... whether Zidane head butted Materazzi or Butt headed him is not within the scope of this stimulus.}
c.) Zidane frequently changed his partners {again -- stimulus says some soccer players do that not all -- so this info might again be true but is not necesarily true.}
d.) Zidane was a soccer player -- correct --{how else he can be a soccer legend ?? }

2. Identify the Conclusion: Don't read the question before you read the stimulus and have a crystal clear idea about the conclusion of the argument. I am saying this because most of the questions either have to attack the conclusion or support it. Even if it is a method of reasoning or a Bold face question it helps to know the conclusion. Say in a bold face question one of the bold part is the conclusion of the argument and 3 of the answer choices mention that very part as an asumption or premises then you can quickly cross out those 3 choices.

Now, the conclusion can appear anywhere in the stimulus. In the begining, in the middle or in the end. few things which should be kept in mind are:

Using premise and conclusion indicators to confuse the reader:

Therefore, since higher debt has forced consumers to lower their savings, banks now have less money to loan.”**

“Higher debt has forced consumers to lower their savings” is the premise;“banks now have less money to loan” is the conclusion. So, in this instance“therefore” still introduces a conclusion, but the appearance of the conclusion
is interrupted by a clause that contains a premise.

See how the premise and conclusion indicators can be clubbed to catch the pasive readers off the guard.

Sub-conclusion and Conclusion: Not every CR stimulus will have a simple structure wherein the premises will lead to the conclusion. One trick that GMAT plays is to place the main conclusion at the begining of the stimulus without any conclusion indicator and then place a sub-conclusion with a conclusion indicator at the end of the stimulus.

a simple argument appears as follows:

Premise  ----> Conclusion

a complex argument takes an initial conclusion and then uses it as a premise for another conclusion:

Premise  ---> Conclusion/Premise {sub-conclusion} -----> Conclusion

Psychologist**: The obligation to express gratitude cannot be fulfilled anonymously. However much society may have changed over the centuries, human psychology is still driven primarily by personal interaction. Thus, the important social function of positively reinforcing those behaviors that have beneficial consequences for others can be served only if the benefactor knows the source of the gratitude.

Take sometime to identify the conclusion and sub-conclusion of the above mentioned stimulus. Due to stress during the exam it is quite possible that you mistake sub-conclusion for the main conclusion {idiom --> mistake x for y ;) }

3. Read the question properly: Read the question properly, whether it is a strengthen the argument question or Strengthen Except question {i.e all of the following strengthen the argument excep??}

 Also, there might be multiple levels in the question itself. For e.g:

Let us consider that some environmentalists are in favour of exploiting the natural resources to the fullest while others are not. The stimulus can load you with tonnes of other information. And the question might be as follows:

All of the following strengthen the attack against the defensibility of exploiting natural resources Except??

simplify the ques as --> which choice does not strengthen the attack on environmentalists who support the exploitation of natural resources..

Again have a crystal clear idea of what you are supposed to do...

Will share more ideas as and when i learn something new.
** Source: Powerscore CR Bible

1 comment:

Eric Bahn said...

Very solid tips on Critical Reasoning. I'm glad that you're studying from the PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible--it's one of the best references on the market for this area of GMAT verbal.

Keep up the good work!

Eric Bahn
Founder, Beat The GMAT