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Ways to improve on inferance questions?

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Ways to improve on inferance questions? [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 08:07
GMAT in 6 days and though my verbal, inference questions, both CR and RC, are killing me.

Without inference, my hit rate on OG and OG Verbal Review is above 95% and dips into the mid-80's.

I've reread the OG's verbal review to the point that I can recite it on demand. Is there some idea behind inference that I'm missing?
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 09:01
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Zack,
This is what I was able to find on the net... I'm not sure how helpful this is going to be for you but if anything, this example will be another practice Q for ya :)

For the full list of CR question types, refer to the link below:

http://www.examcram2.com/articles/artic ... Num=3&rl=1

Conclusion (Inference)

An inference is simply a type of conclusion. Although the GMAT often asks conclusion questions that require you to choose the answer that is a summary of the argument, the test makers may take you in unexpected directions and ask you to select a correct answer choice that is based on only some of the information provided. In either case, the validity of the argument is the important factor that leads you to only one answer choice.

Here is a conclusion question similar to those found on the GMAT:

Increases in funding for police patrols often lower the rate of crimes of opportunity such as petty theft and vandalism by providing visual deterrence in high-crime neighborhoods. Levels of funding for police patrols in some communities are increased when federal matching grants are made available.

Which of the following can be correctly inferred from the statements above?

Areas with little vandalism can never benefit from visual deterrence.
Communities that do not increase their police patrols are at higher risk for crimes of opportunity late at night.
Visual deterrence is the most effective means of controlling petty theft.
Federal matching grants for police patrols lower the rate of crimes of opportunity in some communities.
Only federal matching grants are necessary to reduce crime in most neighborhoods.
The correct answer, D, is a summary of the information provided; it is the logical end of a chain of reasoning started in the stimulus argument. A logical map of the chain might look something like this:

Increased funding → Increased visual deterrence → Lower crime

The last statement could be mapped as follows:

Federal grants → Increased patrol funds

Answer choice D makes the chain complete by correctly stating that federal grants can lead to lower crime in some communities. Now the logical chain appears thus:

Federal grants → Increased funding → Increased visual deterrence → Lower crime

The other answer choices may not be correctly inferred because they go beyond the scope of the argument. They may be objectively, factually correct, or they may be statements that you would tend to agree with. However, you are limited to the argument presented when choosing a correct answer.

Following are some other question stems that the GMAT uses to indicate conclusion/inference questions:

If the above statements are true, which of the following must be true?
Which of the following conclusions is best supported by the statements above?
The statements above, if true, best support which of the following conclusions?
The author is arguing that
Which of the following conclusions can most properly be drawn from the information above?

CAUTION

Never say "never." Incorrect choices on Critical Reasoning questions often contain categorical language. Categorical language is language that is absolute, such as: never, always, all, none, only, and so on. Although it is possible that these words might appear in a correct choice, you should avoid them unless you are certain of the correct answer.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 09:44
Great example nervous!

Similar to the "never say never" rule, I often find that the more "vague" an answer is, the more likely it is to be the right answer. For example, in the question listed above, the correct answer has "can reduce crime" and "some communities" in there, so nothing is absolute and everything is left up in the air. GMAT seems like like those answers as the correct inference answers.

Just remember, even if an answer SOUNDS correct, make sure you can support it COMPLETELY with the passage given to you. If you need to make any leaps of faith, then the answer is probably wrong.

The closest correct answer to D would be B, but notice the "definite" statement of "... are at greater risk" instead of "can be at greater risk". If the phrasing were "can be", then B would be a possible answer. Generally GMAT will only have one answer that is "vague" and just summarizes the passage.

Hope that helps!
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 10:27
thank you both! I hadn't heard the "never say never" rule but that is good to know! I'll review the ones I missed and see if I was looking for a "damning" answer choice instead of the vague.
  [#permalink] 04 Sep 2007, 10:27
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