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GMAT is a fast-paced test that rewards composure, quite often in the case of the Critical Reasoning (CR) section! During the GMAT exam, the pressure can sometimes result in hasty decision-making and the overlooking of crucial details. Both of which are a recipe for disaster when solving CR questions. So in this blog post, we will explore tips for mindfulness and staying focused along with strategies to enhance your critical thinking skills.

In this blog:

Interpreting GMAT Critical Reasoning

The GMAT Critical Reasoning assesses a candidate’s ability to evaluate and analyse arguments. It measures the skills required to make logical deductions, identify assumptions, and evaluate the strength of an argument. This part of the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to think critically, identify flaws in reasoning, and arrive at logical conclusions. This means being able to evaluate the evidence that is presented in an argument and to draw conclusions that are supported by the evidence.

Also read: Will scores change with the new GMAT Focus Edition?

GMAT Critical Reasoning: Structure & Question Types

The GMAT critical reasoning section consists of 13 questions that test your ability to evaluate arguments. The questions in this section are designed to assess your ability to do the following:

  1. Identify the main point of an argument
  2. Identify the assumptions that are being made in an argument
  3. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of an argument
  4. Evaluate the evidence that is presented in an argument
  5. Draw conclusions that are supported by the evidence

Did you know: New GMAT Focus Edition: structure, duration, questions & more

GMAT Critical Reasoning Strategies

Developing strong analytical skills is the way to go if you’re planning to excel in the GMAT Critical Reasoning section. Here are some valuable tips and strategies to enhance your analytical skills and boost your performance on the GMAT Critical Reasoning:

Master Active Reading Skills

Critical Reasoning questions are based on short passages containing arguments. To effectively analyse these arguments, it is crucial to practise active reading. Actively engage with the text by underlining the key points, identifying the main conclusion, and recognizing any assumptions or evidence provided. This approach helps you develop a clear understanding of the argument’s structure and strengthens your ability to evaluate it.

Learn to Quickly Identify the Question Type

Familiarise yourself with the different question types that appear in the Critical Reasoning section. Common question types include strengthening, weakening, assumption, inference, and evaluation. Understanding the question type allows you to approach each question strategically and employ the appropriate analytical techniques to arrive at the correct answer.

Recognise the Argument Structure

Every argument has a structure, which consist of premises, evidence, and a conclusion. Identify these elements in the given passage to gain a deeper understanding of the argument’s logical flow. By recognizing the structure, you can better evaluate the strength of the argument and identify any flaws or gaps in reasoning.

Differentiate Assumptions

Assumptions are unstated premises that the argument relies upon. They are vital for evaluating the strength of the argument. Train yourself to identify these assumptions by asking yourself what must be true for the argument to hold water. Strengthening or weakening an assumption can significantly impact the overall argument.

Read about: GMAT’s Data Insights: question types and approaches

Evaluate the Evidence

Critical Reasoning passages often present evidence to support the argument. Take the time to evaluate the quality and relevance of the evidence provided. Consider whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conclusion or if it leaves room for doubt. This evaluation helps you understand the strength of the argument and make informed decisions during the test.

Add the Magic of Deductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning involves drawing logical conclusions based on the given information. Strengthen your deductive reasoning skills by practising puzzles, brain teasers, and other logic-based activities. This exercise trains your mind to think critically and make accurate deductions, which are invaluable in the GMAT Critical Reasoning section.

Refine Your Time Management

Time plays a crucial factor in the GMAT. Practice managing your time effectively by setting time limits for each question during your practice sessions. This exercise helps you develop a sense of pace and ensures that you complete the section within the allocated time. Remember, rushing through questions can lead to careless mistakes, so find the right balance between speed and accuracy.

Analyse Gaps in Reasoning & Incorrect Answers

After completing practice questions or mock tests, carefully review the explanations for both correct and incorrect answers. Pay close attention to incorrect answers and understand why they are wrong. This analysis helps you identify common pitfalls and misconceptions that may arise during the exam. By understanding why certain answers are incorrect, you can refine your analytical skills and avoid similar mistakes in the future.

The Powerful Rule of Ruling Out

The GMAT Critical Reasoning section often presents answer choices that may seem plausible at first glance. To enhance your analytical skills, practice using the process of elimination. Eliminate answer choices that do not directly address the question or are inconsistent with the information provided. This technique increases your chances of selecting the correct answer by narrowing down the options.

Becoming a Vocabulary Wizard

Critical Reasoning passages often contain complex language and sophisticated vocabulary. Enhance your reading skills by regularly reading articles from reputable sources, such as business magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. This practice helps you become comfortable with dense and challenging texts, enabling you to extract key information and comprehend the arguments effectively.

Keep Calm and Focus

During the GMAT exam, it’s crucial to maintain composure and stay focused. The pressure of the test can sometimes lead to rushed decisions or overlooking important details. Train yourself to stay calm and approach each question with a clear mind. Take a moment to fully understand the question and carefully analyse the argument before selecting your answer. Practising mindfulness and staying focused will greatly improve your analytical abilities.

Checkout: 10 GMAT Reading Comprehension Sample Questions with Solutions

If you find yourself struggling to improve your critical thinking, talk to us! As with any skill, proper guidance is a shorter route to enhancing your analytical abilities. Dedicate ample time to solving our GMAT Critical Reasoning practice questions regularly. The more you practise, the more familiar you become with the different argument structures, question patterns, and analytical techniques, ultimately boosting your performance on the exam. Click here to book a free GMAT demo class and experience 30 years of GMAT expertise. 

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