Know Your Job
Step one of the general strategy for GMAT Critical Reasoning is: read the question before reading the argument. Know which type of question you are going to have to answer, and read the argument with that question in mind. The eight broad categories of GMAT CR questions are
1) weaken the argument/find the flaw
2) strengthen the argument
3) find the assumption (know the Negation Test)
4) draw inference/conclusion
5) structure of the argument, including boldface structure questions and dialogue structure questions
7) evaluate the conclusion
8 ) complete the argument
Final Tip: The basic idea is when you know what you need to do; you will be reading the argument with that in mind.
What to do
Go into the question with an idea of what you seek. For types #1-3, the best thing to do is to find the assumption of the argument – reaffirming or undercutting the assumption of an argument is the most powerful way to strengthen or weaken it. Finding the assumption may also be helpful in find the flaw of the argument (if the flaw is a faulty assumption).
For the other question types, you will be less able to predict what the answer will be, but still formulating the task in your own words will help you. In your own words, ‘what is the structure of the argument?’ ‘What are the paradoxes that need to be resolved?’ ‘What kind of information would be required to evaluate the conclusion?’ etc. The clearer you can be on what type of information or argument will satisfy the question, the quicker you will be in finding it.
What not to do
In all CR questions, the GMAT gives one correct answer and four tempting and potentially confusing statements for the other choices. If you read the argument & question, and then wander aimlessly into the answer choices without any further thought- you’re asking to be perplexed, and chances are, you will spend much longer than necessary on many CR questions.
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