A lot of people have PM'ed me about CR's so I decided to post a strategy on how to improve your CR hit ratio. I'm no guru at CR's, but I definitely have improved since I first started my preperation for the GMAT.
Hope this thread helps!
I used MGMAT's guide. A lot of people don't like it and I can understand why. MGMAT's approach requires you to write things down while you read and it takes longer than normal. Additionally when you first start this method, completeing a CR can take about 3-4minutes! It just takes practice to learn this method and eventually start solving CR's in 2min or less. (sometimes a little over 2min for harder CR's)
Writing the argument down in my own short words forces me to understand the passage. I may not always get the right answer but I always find the conclusion, the supporting pieces of evidence (premises), and the claims (premises but not always fact/true)
One thing I do like very much about MGMAT's guide is that the writers show you exactly how to attack each question type. In fact for each question type there is very little you have to know. If you live by these following methods for each type, I think you will do just fine!
For assumptions: stay close to the conclusion and find the answer choices that supports, strengthens or validates the conclusion. (Mastering these CR's u must know this and lots of practice.)
For finding the conclusion: stay very close the the premises! Also 99% of the time, you should avoid answer choices that contain extreme words such as "never, always, etc..." With practice you will learn what these are.
For strengthening the conclusion: find that choice that gives a piece of supporting evidence or a choice that will fix a flaw in the conclusion.
For weakining the argument/conclusion: find the choice that gives a piece of evidence that goes against the argument OR something that will expose a faulty assumption--- essentially showing a flaw in the conclusion.
One not for assumptions: these are DIFFERENT than strengthening the conclusion CR's. For assumptions, you have to find the choice that MUST be true. For strengthing it just has to further help the argument, but doesn't have to make the argument true.
For all other mixed CR's, I think practice will help you with these.
Again, many people don't like the CR approach MGMAT suggests. Sometimes, when I'm short on time I can't use the writing method and must read the passage and answer as best as I can. I do get right answers this way, but not as many as when I use MGMAT's approach.
I strongly suggest, if you are at the begining of your preperation for the GMAT, that you at least try this method. (By all means, if your hit rate for CR's is great then I suggest ignoring this post).
Ignore timing for now and concentrate on your hit ratio (how many CR's you get correct). Once you start getting most of your CR's correct, then you can work on timing.
So to sum this long post up:
Know how to attack the various CR questions!
Assess your current approach.
-Does my current approach work well for me?
-Is my hit ratio where I want it to be?
VERY IMPORTANT- How much time do I have before the GMAT?
-Can I really try and learn a new approach before I take the GMAT?
-If you do have time then...
REALIZE THIS APPROACH WILL TAKE TIME TO PERFECT! Your hit ratio may actually decrease for a little while as mine did. This is very common among people who try something completely different. I know this may be out of scope: Tiger Woods once completely dropped his golf swing to learn a new approach. He actually did much worse for quite some time. However, when he began to master the new swing, he saw drastic improvements.
-PRACTICE!!!- regardless of what method you use, you can only learn what method is best if you practice!
Please feel free to add anything and PM me.
Books that may be of interest to you:
MGMATPrep CR book.
Bible (have heard wonderful things about this book)
LSATPrep books (don't know any in particular, but I have LSATPrep books were very helpful to some people).