Critical Reasoning Notes (Topic Wise) : GMAT Verbal Section
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# Critical Reasoning Notes (Topic Wise)

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21 Nov 2012, 16:24
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Objective1: Determine whether the stimulus contains an argument or only a set of factual statements
Objective2: If stimulus contains an argument, identify the conclusion of the argument. If the stimulus contains the fact set, examine each fact.
- Confusing form – “conclusion/premise indicator”
o Therefore, since, Thus, because, Hence, due to
Format -> combo indicator, <premise>, <conclusion>
Place the statements in an arrangement that forces one to be the conclusion and other to be premise and build the sequence/flow.
Complex constructions: Premise, -> sub-conclusion/premise -> main conclusion (or reverse)

Alternate/opposing viewpoint:
(Although) A number (some, many, etc) of people (critics, students, legislators, etc) believe (claim, propose, argue, etc) that...
Objective3: If stimulus contains an argument, determine whether the argument is strong or weak.
Do premises strongly support conclusion?
Does conclusion go beyond the scope of the premises information? Etc
You can accept GMAC premises as accurate, but don’t have to accept the conclusion.
Objective4: Read closely and know precisely what author said. Do not generalize.
Quantity Indicators: all, every, most, many some, several, few, sole, only, not all, none.
Probability Indicators: Must, will, always, not always, probably, likely, would, not necessarily, could, rarely, never
Objective5: Carefully read and identify the question stem. Do not assume that certain words are automatically associated with certain question types.
Objective#6: Prephrase: after reading the question stem.
Objective#8: Separate the answer choices into contenders and losers. After completing the process, review the contenders and choose the one which is correct. (must refer this in the book – Page 69)
If you have any questions
New!
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21 Nov 2012, 16:24
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Part at the Start of the arrow is accepted AS-IS and no additional information needed
Part at the end of the arrow is what is affected or determined.
Family 1: PROVE Stimulus Answer choices
1. Must be true
2. Main Point
3. Method of reasoning
4. Flow in the reasoning
5. Parallel reasoning
 You must accept the stimulus information – even if it contains an error of reasoning and use it to prove that one of the answer choices must be true
 Any information in answer choice that does not appear in the stimulus -> will be incorrect.
Family 2: HELP Stimulus Answer choices
1. Assumption
2. Strengthen/Support
 The stimulus is under suspicion. Often reasoning errors are present. Help shore of the argument.
 Answer choices are accepted as given, even if they include “new” information.
Family 3: HURT Stimulus Answer choices
1. Weaken
 The stimulus is under suspicion. Often reasoning errors are present. You’ll further weaken the argument.
 Answer choices are accepted as given, even if they include “new” information. Find choice which most attacks the argument.

“Except” in Question Stem:
Effect of “EXCEPT” is to logically negate the question stem.
o Which of the following, if true, strengthens the argument above?
Four incorrect answers: Does NOT strengthen OR Does weaken OR has no effect
o Which of the following, if true, strengthens the argument above, EXCEPT?
One correct answer: Does not strengthen OR does Weaken OR has no effect
“Least” in Question Stem:
Effect of “LEAST” is similar to “EXCEPT” i.e. logically negate the question stem only if it appears in question stem.
o Which of the following, if true, would help resolve the discrepancy above?
Four incorrect answers: Does not resolve the Paradox OR has no effect
o Which of the following, if true, helps LEAST to resolve the discrepancy above?
One correct answer: Does not resolve the Paradox OR has no effect

Last edited by GMATSavy on 21 Nov 2012, 16:25, edited 1 time in total.
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21 Nov 2012, 16:25
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MUST BE TRUE QUESTIONS:

 The correct answer to a MUST BE TRUE question can always be proven by referring to the facts stated in the stimulus.
 Avoid the incorrect answer choices that could possibly occur, but are not certain to occur.
 Do not bring information from outside the stimulus (except common sense assumptions)
 “Infer” means -> “Must be true”
o Information in the stimulus should be taken as true:
“The statements above, if true”
o Stem asks to identify a single answer choices that is proven or supported
“…Which of the following must also be true?”
“…Which of the following conclusions can be drawn on the basis of it?”
“…Most strongly support which of the following?”
“Which of the following can be properly inferred…”
 Stimulus of Most of Must be true questions does not include conclusion.
 Paraphrased answers that restate the portion of the stimulus (sometimes in different language/text) are correct answer choices.
 Answers with combination of multiple statements from stimulus

 Could be true OR likely to be true
 Exaggerated answers – replaced more with most, likely -> must be, Many <> Most.
 New information – may sound logical but out of scope or cant be directly supported by stimulus
 Shell games – Answer choice with “similar” idea as stimulus – attractive choice but just enough to be incorrect.
o (Stimulus) Many people have some type of security at their home
o (Incorrect Answer) Some people have many type of security at their home
Sufficient and Necessary Conditions
Sufficient: an event/circumstance which indicates a NECESSARY condition MUST occur
Necessary: an event/circumstance which is required for a SUFFICIENT condition to occur
 Sufficient MUST  Necessary Necessary  MAY or MAYNOT  Sufficient
 A+  MUST  Study Study  MAY or MAYNOT  A+
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21 Nov 2012, 16:26
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WEAKEN QUESTIONS:
 Rules for approaching Weaken Questions:
o You must identify, isolate, and assess the premises and the conclusion of the argument.
o Almost all correct answer choices impacts/attacks the conclusion.
o The information in stimulus is suspect with often reasoning errors present.
o The answer choices are accepted as given even if they bring in “new” information.
o Commonly used words
- “Which of the following, if true …”
 Weaken - Call into Question
 Attack - Cast doubt
 Undermine - Challenge
 Refute - Damage
 Argue against - Counter
o Ask yourself – Would this answer choice make the author reconsider his or her position or force the author to respond?
o Personalize, Paraphrase and then criticize the argument. Paraphrasing is often easier with weaken questions than others.
o Answer choice (E) is great place for GMAC to place attractive Wrong answer.
o Answer choice (A) is great place for GMAC to place attractive Correct answer (for Tough problems)
 Common Weakening Scenarios:
o Incomplete Information: The author fails to consider all possibilities or relies upon the evidence that is incomplete. This flaw can be attacked by bringing up new possibilities or information from answer choices
o Improper comparison: The author attempts to compare two or more items that are essentially different.
o Unqualified conclusion: Limits/qualifies the conclusion Leaving argument open to attack.
o Opposite Answers (Usually strengthens the argument)
o Shell game answers (similar idea just enough to be incorrect, but still attractive)
o Out of Scope answers (Often misses the point or tangential to the argument)
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21 Nov 2012, 16:26
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CAUSE AND EFFECT

 Causality: Cause -> Effect
o Caused by Promoted by
o Because of Determined by
o Responsible for Produced by
o Reason For Product Of
o Leads to Played a role in
o Induced by Was a factor in
o Is an effect of

 When a C->E effect statement appears as the conclusion, then the conclusion & reasoning is flawed.
 When a C->E effect statement appears as the premise, then the argument may be flawed, but not because of the causal statement.

 Situations that can lead to errors of Causality:
o One event occurs before another – doesn’t mean first even caused -> second event
o Two (or more) events occur at the same time
- Doesn’t mean one caused the other.
- The two events could be result of third event
- The two events could be simply correlated without one causing the other

 How to Attack the Causal conclusion:
o Understand the Causal assumption – GMAT speaker assumes stated cause is the ONLY possible cause of the effect and will ALWAYS produce the effect.
o Find an alternate cause of the stated effect
o Show that although the Cause occurs, the effect does not occur (Answer with counter-examples)
o Show that although the effect occurs, the cause did not occur (Answer with counter-example)
o Show that the stated relationship is Reversed.
o Show that a statistical problem exists with the data used for Causal statement.
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21 Nov 2012, 16:27
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Strengthen
 Keywords: Strengthen most supports, helps, most justifies, etc.
 Primary objectives
o Identify, isolate and assess the premises and the conclusion of the argument.
o Focus on conclusion – Information in the stimulus is suspect.
o Personalize the argument.
o Look for weakness in the argument.
o Argument that contains analogies or surveys – answer choices that strengthen the analogy or survey are usually correct.
o Answer choice that strengthens the argument whether by 1% or 100% is correct.
o Answer choices are accepted as given, even if they include “new” information.
o Shell game answers: similar idea/concept that is just enough to be incorrect but attractive.
 Causality and Strengthen questions:
o Eliminate any alternate causes of the effect
o Show that when cause occurs, the effect occurs
o Show that when the cause does NOT occur, the effect does NOT occur.
o Eliminate the possibility that the relationship is reversed.
o Show that the data used to make the causal statement are accurate.
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21 Nov 2012, 16:27
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Assumptions:
 Assumptions are the foundation of the argument (on which premises/conclusion rest upon_
 Assumption answers are the statements the author must believe in order for the conclusion to be drawn.
o E.g. “The conclusion of the argument above cannot be true unless which of the following is true”
 Supporter Assumption: These assumptions link together new elements or fill logical gaps.
 Defender Assumption: Eliminates ideas, assertions, attacks that would undermine the conclusion.

Assumption Negation Technique (only perform on shortlisted 2-3 choices):
 Logically negate the answer choice under consideration.
 The negated answer choice that attacks the argument will be the correct answer.
o All – Not all, Some – None, All – not all, Always – Not Always, Sometimes – Never

Three Quirks of Assumption Answer choices:
 Watch for answers starting with “At least one” or “ At least some”
High chances of this choice to be correct, however try the “negation” technique to validate.
 Avoid answers that claim the idea was the most important consideration for the author.
 Watch the use of “NOT” or “negative”: in the answer choices.

Assumptions and Causality
 Eliminates an alternate cause of the stated effect
 Shows that when the cause occurs, the effect occurs
 Shows that when the cause does not occur, the effect does not occur.
 Eliminates the possibility that the stated relationship is reversed.
 Shows that the data used to make the causal statement are accurate or eliminates the possible problems with the data.

Assumption – Fill in the blank questions:
 Questions ending with a blank space with premise indicator
o …Because, …is the fact that, …is that, …since,

Main Point – Fill in the blank questions:
 Questions ending with a blank space with conclusion indicator
o …Therefore, …Hence, …Thus,
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21 Nov 2012, 16:27
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 Stimulus presents the situation with two ideas two ideas contradicting each other.
 Usually -> No conclusion & includes language of contradiction.
 Correct Answer will allow both sides to be factually correct, connect the dots & show how both ideas can coexist.
 Understand the contrast -> Unless you know fully understand the contradiction, you will not be able to solve the question.

 Explains only one side of the paradox
 Similarities & Differences
o Sides are similar -> But answer choice shows differences between the two
o Similarity cannot explain difference & vice versa.
 Answer choice with reasonable solution but does not meet the stated facts.
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21 Nov 2012, 16:27
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METHOD OF REASONING:

 Stems refers to method, technique, strategy or process used b the author
o The method of the argument is to
o The argument proceeds by
o The argument derives its conclusion by
o Which of the following describes the technique of reasoning used above?
o Which of the following is an argumentative strategy employed in the argument?
o The argument employs which of the following reasoning techniques?
 You must Prephrase the structure of the argument

Flaw in the Reasoning Questions
 If an answer choice describes an event that did not occur in the stimulus, then that answer is incorrect. All parts of the answer must be identifiable in the stimulus.

 Half Right, Half Wrong answers
Re: Critical Reasoning Notes (Topic Wise)   [#permalink] 21 Nov 2012, 16:27
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