Attacking Bolded Statement Questions in Critical Reasoning
Most Critical Reasoning questions hinge on assumptions. Most of those that do not hinge on assumptions, hinge on an understanding of the logic of the author’s argument. However, one type of Critical Reasoning question is significantly different in form, and thus requires a very different strategy: bolded statement questions.
Unlike other question types, bolded statement questions do not ask the test-taker to analyze the point the author is making. Rather, bolded statement questions ask test-takers to take a step back and analyze the roles that the statements are playing in the argument.
In order to do this, test-takers must alter their approach to the stimulus. Instead of thinking about what the author is stating, test-takers must focus on WHY the author is stating a particular piece of information.
This means that a reversal of the usual strategy is needed. Instead of asking oneself, “what is the conclusion?” and “what is the evidence?” and then identifying the answers in the authors statements, test-takers must start with the statements and ask themselves “what role is this statement playing in the argument?” The answer could be an opinion the author holds, support for a previous statement, or any other role.
Additionally, test-takers must keep in mind that in many cases, two portions of the sentence will be in boldface. For the first boldface portion, test-takers should follow the strategy described above. But, for the second statement test-takers must ask themselves an additional question: “how does this statement relate to the first?” For example, it could support it, refute it or be additional evidence supporting a third assertion.
After answering these questions, you should predict an answer and then look for an answer choice that matches this prediction. By following these steps you will be well on your way to consistently answering bolded statements questions correctly on test day.