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GMAT Critical Reasoning: How to Prepare and Score High on the Exam

Preparing for an exam like the GMAT can bring a lot of stress and concern, especially when it comes to the Critical Reasoning (CR) section. However, with some preparation and understanding just how this part of the test works, you can set yourself up for success on your way to achieving a great score. Here's what you need to know about GMAT CR - from what it is and why it matters, to how best to prepare for it so that you can confidently ace this valuable MBA entrance exam!

Understand the Test Structure and What is Required to Pass

Knowing the structure of a test and what is required to pass it can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Understanding the overall format of the test, including how much time you will have and what type of questions will be asked, will help you plan ahead and create an effective study strategy. In addition, familiarizing yourself with any special instructions given by the administering body is essential in ensuring that you are prepared for whatever may come up on the test day. Ultimately, knowing what is expected of you is key in maximizing your chances to achieve success on your tests.

Learn the Different Types of GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

Knowing the different types of GMAT CR questions can help streamline test preparation and give you a leg up on your practice tests. There are five main types of GMAT CR problems: Strengthen Argument, Weaken Argument, Assumption, Evaluate Argument and Inference. To understand what each type means, it is important to understand the basics of a CR problem: reading and analyzing the argument using evidence from the argument and staying within the framework of the passage. With this knowledge in mind, you'll be able to accurately attack these questions with ease. Strengthen Argument questions will require you to identify what makes an argument valid and reliable, so focus on logic and evidence when approaching these types of questions. Weaken Arguments will ask you to find conclusions that lead away from an argument's validity; pay attention to the adjectives used for clues about which direction the argument might go towards. Assumption questions require you to find evidence for what must be true in order for an argument to be valid; think beyond overt statements made by the author or within the passage itself here. Evaluate Argument questions test your knowledge of how good or bad an author's argument is by comparing it against other potential solutions. Finally, Inference questions ask you to draw conclusions based on information presented in the passage; you should ask yourself what else must be true, given the validity of the author’s argument. By understanding and applying these four categories during practice tests, you'll be well-prepared for whatever comes up on your actual GMAT Critical Reasoning exam!

Establish a Study Routine that Works for You

Establishing a study routine that is tailored to the individual can be one of the most effective methods for mastering subject material. A successful study routine should take into account details such as your preferred learning style, natural tendencies and available schedule. Once you have identified these details, you can set time aside for activities like taking notes, researching new concepts and reviewing material. Additionally, adding in small rewards throughout your study time can help keep you motivated and engaged in the subject matter. By implementing these tactics, you can create an individualized system that will help you thrive in any setting!

Use Practice Tests to Get Comfortable with Exam Formatting

Taking practice tests is a great way to get comfortable with the format of an exam before taking the real thing. By using a practice test, you can ensure that you are familiarizing yourself with anything from the way that questions are worded to the structure of the exam itself. This can help to set your mind at ease and reduce stress when it's time for the final exam as you will already be familiar with what to expect. Taking ample practice tests is one of the smartest ways to prepare for any exam!

Familiarize Yourself with Common GMAT Strategies & Tactics

Gaining a familiarity with common GMAT strategies and tactics can be a great benefit to those seeking to enter into professional programs. Taking the time to plan out your approach and study habits is key, as is developing a deep understanding of the various sections of the GMAT. Understanding the format of the GMAT and learning how to allocate your time appropriately are also essential components. Resources such as practice exam sections, online tutorial videos, and detailed study guides can offer a wealth of information on strategies and tactics that have been used by successful test takers in the past. Familiarizing yourself with these strategies will help you make the most of your studies, unlocking valuable knowledge that will serve you well on test day.

Build Your Confidence by Identifying Weaknesses & Strengths

Building confidence is an important factor in both professional and personal life. To achieve this, it is effective to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding our personal abilities allows us to recognize areas of improvement as well as build on existing successes. Additionally, understanding ourselves allows us to recognize situations where we can use our strengths and be aware of those times where we should seek assistance from another who might have the skills or knowledge needed to succeed. With this awareness, individuals are better able to act confidently rather than being overwhelmed trying to do something that goes against one's natural dispositions. Knowing ourselves can be a powerful tool for recognizing our capabilities and utilizing them efficiently in different scenarios.


Overall, properly tackling the GMAT is a daunting process. But by understanding the test structure, learning the different types of CR questions, establishing a study routine, using practice tests to become comfortable with exam formatting, familiarizing yourself with common GMAT strategies and tactics, and building your confidence by identifying weaknesses and strengths, you will be able to achieve success with this vital step on your journey towards attaining an MBA degree. Each student has their own unique goals and requirements when it comes to GMAT prep; preparing for the exam according to what works best for you is essential to gaining admission into the business school of your choice. Start your GMAT journey today with expert coaching from Merchant GMAT & Admissions! We specialize in providing students with customized prep plans that are tailored specifically towards their interests and objectives. With top-tier coaches and positions at elite institutions like Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, Wharton Business School, and Columbia Business School—Merchant GMAT & Admissions can provide you with the support system needed to reach peak results. Take charge of your MBA aspirations now and unlock greater opportunities than ever before!


Take the next step in your career today.

Anish Merchant

CEO & Co-Founder

- "Preparing for the GMAT and applying for an MBA requires a tremendous commitment, and that doesn’t take into consideration the personal challenges our students must face when deciding if they want to leave their friends, families, and native cultures behind to advance their careers abroad. An MBA is not for everyone and that’s precisely what makes this advanced degree so valuable. 

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.

Given an increased demand in our services, we do not have the ability to offer free consultation services to unserious applicants. If you are interested in learning more about Merchant, please fill out this form. After reviewing your LinkedIn profile, our team will be in touch with you if we feel you are a good fit for our services."