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Critical Reasoning on the GMAT: The Do’s and Don'ts You Need to Know

If you're planning to pursue an MBA and add the GMAT exam to your list of upcoming tests, then this blog post is for you. Critical Reasoning (CR) questions on the GMAT are known to be some of the toughest and most perplexing, but it's possible to control how well you do in them with enough practice. In this post, we'll give you a rundown of the Do's and Don'ts when tackling CR questions on the GMAT so that you can build confidence in your test-taking skills. Keep reading if mastering critical reasoning seems daunting - by following our tips, you can confidently approach each question type and find success in nothing more than a few simple steps!

Overview of Critical Reasoning on the GMAT and what it tests

CR is a unique type of question on the GMAT that tests an individual's analysis and comprehension skills, rather than their knowledge on specific topics. The questions require the test-taker to review a given argument or statement and evaluate its weaknesses, strength and any implications. They must determine the elements of the argument and consider different assumptions or perspectives that could affect the conclusion. The ability to critically reason is essential in problem-solving as it requires carefully analyzing a given situation or data, determining the best course of action, and deducing potential outcomes. Understanding how to approach CR questions on the GMAT can provide students with a valuable tool that will help them achieve success during both their academic career and in other aspects of life.

Do's of Critical Reasoning - Key Strategies to Follow

When it comes to CR, there are some key strategies to follow in order to ensure success. First, it is important to think deeply and objectively about the situation at hand -- It is important to consider the voice of the author of the passage you are reading. Additionally, you should try to find the reasoning of the passage contained in the question. Not doing so will result in either losing information or being lost in too much information. It is also vital to consider all possible choices before settling on one; do not proceed without analyzing all possible responses first. Follow these tips for maximum success in any critical reasoning situation.

  • Do Identify the Question Type and Read Carefully

It is extremely important to be aware of what kind of question you are asked. With multiple choice options, it is wise to thoroughly read each answer and make sure the information from each selection matches with your understanding.  Keeping these tips in mind will give you an edge when attempting to answer any type of question during an exam process. Different types of questions require different strategies for answering them. By identifying the type of question being asked, you can more effectively apply the appropriate strategy to answer it correctly.

  • Do Use Process of Elimination

Using the process of elimination to make a decision is no small feat, but it can be very useful. This process involves systematically removing potential options to come to an educated conclusion on which choice is best. It requires careful thought, weighing pros and cons while being sure not to make premature leaps in judgment or put too much emphasis on one benefit or detriment. Eliminating choices until the right decision is made can be time-consuming, but taking your time will ensure a well-thought out outcome that you won’t regret later. Additionally, considering each option closely may even help pinpoint areas of confusion or difficulty in the future. All in all, the process of elimination is an invaluable tool when making a tough decision.

  • Do practice

Like any skill, CR requires practice. By regularly practicing with GMAT-style questions, you can improve your critical reasoning skills and increase your chances of performing well on the GMAT. Practicing Critical Reasoning questions on the GMAT is important because it will give you familiarity with question types; development of critical reasoning skills - not only important for the GMAT but also for success in business and other fields; time management strategies - by practicing with timed tests, you can learn to allocate your time efficiently and avoid spending too much time on difficult questions; confidence and test-taking experience.

In summary, some key Do's for GMAT Critical Reasoning include reading the passage carefully and identifying the type of question, eliminating answer choices and practicing regularly. By applying these strategies, you can improve your performance on GMAT Critical Reasoning questions and increase your chances of achieving a high score on the exam.

Don'ts of Critical Reasoning - Mistakes to Avoid

Critical reasoning is an important skill for anyone in academics or the working world, allowing one to think objectively and draw sound conclusions. Yet, there are a few common mistakes to avoid when engaging in GMAT CR. One of the most common mistakes is jumping to conclusions too quickly or without any evidence or data. Additionally, it's important that you don't get caught up in confirmation bias, which happens when one only looks at information that supports their existing beliefs and ignores alternatives. Finally, it's essential to remain open-minded and considerate of other perspectives when engaging in CR. Taking these measures will help ensure that your approach to CR is sound and accurate.

  • Don't Rush Through Questions

As you begin the test, it is important to remember to not rush through questions. Taking the time to thoughtfully read and consider each one will ensure you don't overlook or misinterpret key details. This is especially true for CR since small details can lead to answering incorrectly. When you rush, you are more likely to make careless mistakes, such as misreading the question or answer choices, overlooking important details in the passage, or misinterpreting the author's argument. These mistakes can lead to incorrect answers and lower your overall score. While it's important to avoid rushing through questions, it's also important to manage your time effectively. By carefully reading and analyzing the passage and question, you can avoid wasting time on careless mistakes and focus your efforts on answering the questions correctly. As CR questions can be challenging, take your time to read and analyze the passage before attempting to answer the question. Rushing can lead to careless mistakes or misinterpretations.

  • Don’t attempt to answer questions without understanding the author’s reasoning

Don't ignore the author's argument: it's crucial to understand the author's argument before attempting to answer the questions. Make sure you know the main point of the passage, as well as the author's stance on the topic. In so doing, don't skip over keywords that will tell you how the argument is built. There are keywords alerting you to the premises of the argument and keywords signaling the author’s conclusions, an essential part of the author’s reasoning. By understanding the author's perspective, you will be better equipped to analyze and evaluate their argument, and increase your chances of answering the questions correctly.

  • Don't rely on outside knowledge

Don't rely on knowledge that isn't present in the passage. It's important to base your answer solely on the information presented in the passage. Only use that information to answer the question. The passages are designed to provide you with all the information you need to answer the questions, and relying on outside knowledge can actually work against you in several ways: It can lead to inaccurate conclusions and it can distract you from the main point of the passage. Therefore, it's important to stick to the information provided in the passage and avoid bringing in outside knowledge. This will help you to accurately analyze and evaluate the information presented in the passage, and increase your chances of answering the questions correctly.

In closing, critical reasoning is a complex skill to master and requires careful thought and consideration. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the do's and don'ts of GMAT CR can help give you an edge as you study for this important exam. From following certain strategies like using process of elimination or identifying question types, to avoiding pitfalls such as making unsupported jumps in logic or rushing through questions, there are many key strategies to keep in mind. By dedicating time to practice and preparation, you can improve your chances of performing well on the GMAT and achieving your desired score. 

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Anish Merchant
Anish Merchant

CEO & Co Founder

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For these reasons, we at Merchant only work with students we are confident have what it takes to succeed throughout the preparation and application processes.

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