Comprehensive Critical Reasoning Guide

Topics: Question, Logic, Premise Pages: 32 (10110 words) Published: September 21, 2015
2010

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The Monster CR Strategy Guide

DISCLAIMER: This is merely a compiled strategy document that I put together after reading various CR strategy books. While this might not work for everyone, this is the method that I use to solve the CRs based on the specific question types. I do NOT claim to have created the content by myself and I have stated the source wherever I have used examples. The content of this document draws from many CR books which are all indexed in the last page of the document. I only wish to give back to GMAT Club and it’s users for all the benefits I’ve derived. So don’t sue me! I’m just a college kid! 

THE INSPIRATION:
(This sounds more and more like a novel than a study guide doesn’t it? That’s the idea. Don’t fall asleep though!)
When I started preparing for the GMAT, I wanted to make a document that would recapitulate the best of the strategies in the reputed books without leaving out anything in particular. This document started out as something I just wanted to use myself – something that I can print out and carry, with not too many examples obstructing convenience and something that can be a pseudo-checklist for CR as I begin my practice. But I showed it to a friend who really liked it and thought I should polish it a bit and put it up so that other people may choose to use it as well. So I added some funky colors and a cover page, and voila! (I really do like colors, btw)

The updated version of this document can be found at:

The Bang-Bang CR Guide

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BASIC DECONSTRUCTION
There are approximately 12-14 CR questions on the GMAT

Step 1: Read the question stem. Not the answer choices, but the question stem. This will help you decide and categorize the question into one among three basic families of questions, and five or six question types.

Step 2: Read the stimulus (the paragraph). Now, the stimulus can basically be broken down into two parts – the premises and the conclusion. Identify these parts.

Step 3: Focus on the conclusion and read the question stem again. Depending on what the question stem asks for, think about possible reasons why the question stem might be valid. For instance, if the stem asks for answers that would be the main point of the stimulus, think about the conclusion and what it is essentially saying. Keep this in your mind as you proceed. This is basic speculation about what the answer choices might actually be like.

Step 4: Eliminate the answer choices that are wrong. DO NOT try to make the answer choice FIT in with what you’ve been given. If you think it’s wrong, eliminate it. If you’re unsure, or if you think it’s a good match, keep it until you’ve read all the options. The method of elimination works the best in CR. Never choose an answer before going through all the answer choices.

Step 5: Read the final answer choice you’ve chosen, and read the stem. Does this answer the stem concisely? If yes, pick the answer and move on. If you’ve eliminated all answer choices, go back to Step 3 and try to gather information more effectively.

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IDENTIFYING PREMISE AND CONCLUSION
As stated in the first deconstruction step, identifying the premise and the conclusion in a stimulus is very, very crucial to your timing and accuracy in answering the CR question. The way I look at it, premise and assumption form the foundation to a conclusion. This is also a place where the logical reasoning can crumble, if the author deduces something wrong from the premise.

Conclusion

Premise

Assumption

The conclusion is formed through the premises and the assumptions. An assumption is NOT stated in the stimulus and hence forms the basis for an entire question type by itself. There are certain indicator words that can be used to differentiate the premise from the conclusion and these are fairly easy to remember.

PREMISE
Supports the conclusion – Answers the
question of...

References: 



Powerscore On-Demand Course Book
Veritas Prep Critical Reasoning Book I.
The Official Guide – 10th Edition
Ykaiim’s post on GMAT Club
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