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Strategy and Tips for Bold Face [The Final Frontier]

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Strategy and Tips for Bold Face [The Final Frontier] [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2008, 10:47
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Got hold of this one from Charu's notes. I thought this could be useful -

Bold Face Questions:

The fine folks at ETS (“Creating Access to Graduate Business Education”) bring you the final frontier in verbal testing: the GMAT bold-faced critical reasoning question—the last hurdle between you and the 700+ score you so richly deserve. But these questions seem to cause a lot of anxiety among test-takers and test-takers-to-be. Why? I think that it is because these questions are strange and uncharted. Approaching the BF question is a bit like trying to read Dostoevsky, in Russian, while stumbling around in the dark, in a room full of holes. It’s disorienting and confusing and generally unpleasant. There are no clear references and no decent guides. We fear the unknown. We try to avoid what we do not understand. But given our common goal, let’s get to know the BF question. Let’s come to understand it. If we know it and understand it, then we can kill it.

When you see one of these questions in your actual GMAT, the first thing you should do is congratulate yourself on having done well enough to have brought the BF challenge upon yourself in the first place. In the final analysis NOT getting a BF question or two during the exam is definitely WORSE than getting them. So, you’re already doing something right. The key is to use what you know to split the answer choices. Here’s my approach:

(1) Read the argument. Read it quickly, as you ask yourself, “What’s the point here?”

(2) Identify the Main Conclusion. You’ve got to identify the main conclusion to proceed—the main conclusion is your “port of entry” into the BF question. So, find main conclusion as quickly as possible and note whether it is one of the bolded phrases.

(3) Go directly to the answer choices. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, spend any time trying to figure out what roles the bolded phrases play within the argument without some idea of the terms that are being offered in the answer choices. It’s a waste of precious time.

IF the main conclusion IS one of the bolded phrases, then find the answer choices that offer that option for the respective bolded phrase (first or second). A significant number of BF questions can be answered correctly with this information ALONE. If there is only one choice that matches up with the bolded main conclusion then you’re done. Mark it and move on.


-Have a quick look through the choices to discover what the terms in play (see below).

(4) Return to the argument and determine the relationship between each bolded phrase and the argument’s main conclusion. Do they basically agree with the conclusion of the argument? Does one but not the other? Neither? What other relationships occur to you?

(5) Return to the answer choices and use these relationships to discard at least two and probably three choices. Let’s have a review of key terms:

* Main Conclusion—a summary of the argument’s primary position;
* Intermediate Conclusion—a position utilized by the argument as a stepping stone in order to advance toward the main conclusion;
* Premise—a theory or proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn;
* Fact—information generally believed to be true OR known to be true—usually advanced as evidence to support a premise;
* Evidence—specific type of fact offered in support of a theory or premise;
* Context—a frame of reference of value in the interpretation of aspects of an argument or the argument’s components;
* Consideration—a factor (fact) to be taken into account in forming a judgment or decision;
* Position—a point of view or attitude about an issue or question;
* Assumption—a position or belief that is taken to be true, without proof;
* Principle—a basic or essential truth (stronger and broader than a fact).
* Judgment—an opinion formed from a consideration of the facts.

(6) Now, take each of the remaining choices one by one, matching similar parts of each answer choice to their respective BF phrase, then discriminate between the dissimilar parts of each answer choice and their respective BF phrase. That should take you the rest of the way home.

Lets’s face a typical BF CR question:
Environmental organizations want to preserve the land surrounding the Wilgrinn Wilderness Area from residential development. They plan to do this by purchasing that land from the farmers who own it. That plan is ill-conceived: if the farmers did sell their land, they would sell it to the highest bidder, and developers would outbid any other bidders. On the other hand, these farmers will never actually sell any of the land, provided that farming it remains viable. But farming will not remain viable if the farms are left unmodernized, and most of the farmers lack the financial resources modernization requires. And that is exactly why a more sensible preservation strategy would be to assist the farmers to modernize their farms to the extent needed to maintain viability.”

In the argument as a whole, the two boldface proportions play which of the following roles?

A. The first presents a goal that the argument rejects as ill-conceived; the second is evidence that is presented as grounds for that rejection.
B. The first presents a goal that the argument concludes cannot be attained; the second is a reason offered in support of that conclusion.
C. The first presents a goal that the argument concludes can be attained; the second is a judgment disputing that conclusion.
D. The first presents a goal, strategies for achieving which are being evaluated in the argument; the second is a judgment providing a basis for the argument’s advocacy of a particular strategy.
E. The first presents a goal that the argument endorses; the second presents a situation that the argument contends must be changed if that goal is to be met in the foreseeable future.

Main Conclusion: “A more sensible preservation strategy would be to assist the farmers to modernize their farms to the extent needed to maintain viability.” So, we didn’t luck out and get the answer just by having identified the main conclusion. No problem.

Terms in play:

A. (1) A goal (that the argument rejects)
(2) Evidence (as grounds for the rejection)
B. (1) A goal (that the argument judges as unattainable)
(2) Grounds (support for that judgment)
C. (1) A goal (that the argument judges as attainable)
(2) A refutation (of that judgment)
D. (1) A goal (with the strategies for attainment in question in the argument)
(2) Reasoning (for supporting ONE of the noted strategies)
E. (1) A goal (endorsed by the argument)
(2) A factor (effecting the timely attainment of that goal)

Back to the Bold-Faced phrases to determine their relationship to the main conclusion:

BF 1: Preservation of the Wilgrinn land (that’s a goal) => The plan is ill-conceived (not the goal, but the plan) => So, the goal is preservation of the land (First BF) and that’s also part of the main conclusion => First BF is a goal with which the argument basically agrees => A and B are gone.

BF 2: Doesn’t really relate to the main conclusion, so

Return to the answer choices and consider second BF description in remaining choices—C, D, and E => E implies that the argument suggests changing the approach to a goal; it says nothing about changing a situation of any sort => E is gone. That leaves us with C and D.

Read Choice C in its entirety:

(1) Says the first BF presents a goal that the argument concludes can be attanined. Not exactly—the argument actually concludes that a different strategy is needed to attain the goal, not simply that the goal is attainable (so this part of this choice doesn’t match the argument).

(2) Says the second BF in the argument is a judgment disputing whether the goal can be attained. NO, definitely not—the second BF in the argument suggests a reason why one strategy won’t succeed, but has nothing to do with whether the goal can be attained (this part of this choice doesn’t match the argument, at all) => C is gone.

Now look at the remaining choice, to make sure it fits:

(1) Goal, strategies for achieving under consideration (YES).

(2) basis (judgement) for supporting an alternative to the earlier plan aimed at achieving the same goal—preservation of Wilgrinn land (YES).

Done—mark it and move on. That’s it.

Let’ know some basic terms to ace the BF CRs of GMAT:

Principle: something fundamental that we do not question. This would be somewhat stronger than a fact because it is not specific to a limited number of cases but instead, apply to a broader range of scenarios (and often deeper in meaning). For instance, you will not talk about the principle that crime is increasing in large cities. Instead, it is a fact which applies to large cities. However, you will talk about the principles of Physics or the fundamental principles of Human Rights. Principles convey a stronger connotation than mere facts.

Fact: something taken as true at face value (stats, historical events)

Evidence: what is used to support a conclusion (examples, stats, historical events). Although these may include facts, it is usually stronger than facts because they are direct elements needed for the conclusion to stand whereas facts are not necessary for the latter to stand

Pre-evidence: This is a bit of a stretch. It will not often be on the test but it seems very similar to "background" information as described below.

Elements needed to put the evidence into context but which, as stand alone pieces of information, might not constitute what is called an evidence necessary to arrive at a conclusion. For instance, blood tests performed on one thousand persons may reveal that 35% of those persons were HIV infected. However, the background information could be that the test was performed in more under-informed regions of the world where AIDS knowledge is at a minimum. As you can see, the fact that the test was performed in more under-informed regions is not in and of itself an evidence because it does not allow us to come to a conclusion. Instead, the 35% stats, as a stand-alone piece of info, is what will lead us to the conclusion we want. However, the background info is also crucial and cannot be omitted; it is required background info.

Consideration: Something which was taken into account or given some thought before arriving at the conclusion.

Premise: For GMAT purpose, Premise and Evidence are the same.
Assumption: Unstated information which will link the argument to a logical conclusion. Without this, the argument falls apart.

Something that might not be explicitly stated or proved. For instance, you may say that 95% of GMAT test-takers have over 340. We can reasonably infer that Anthony will get more than 340 on his GMAT based on the fact given.

Argument: Central to every CR question is the argument. An argument is an ordered line of reasoning composed of premises, assumptions, and a conclusion. Understanding the elements of an argument is essential to performing well in this section.

The conclusion is the endpoint of the line of reasoning of an argument. Think of it as the result of the argument. The line of reasoning leading to a conclusion is often where errors in logic are made. Conclusion can be defined as the last deduction or claim

One of the new question types in GMAT CAT is the bolded question in Critical Reasoning Section. In such argument, one or two sentences in stimulus are bolded. A sample question looks like this.
The question following requires you to identify the logical relationship between the boldfaced sentences, or how it relates to a particular position (the author agree or disagree).
Boldface question is totally new on computer-based test, but is easy to tackle. All you have to do is to understand the argument: identify the conclusion, evidence, and the reasoning from evidence to conclusion. Sometime, you are required to critique the validity of the argument.

BF CRs Wrap-Up:
1. Identify the conclusion. Ask yourself what the conclusion is, what the author trying to prove, or what the author’s main point is.
2. Look for the evidence that the author uses to support or argue against a position.
3. Search for argument indicator to determine the relationship between evidence and conclusion.

Conclusion Indicators
So thus therefore as a result
consequently accordingly hence imply
conclude that follows that means that infer that

Premise Indicators
because since for as
If assume suppose evidence
on the basis of the reason is that may be derived from in that

Counter-evidence Indicators
actually despite admittedly except
even though nonetheless nevertheless although
however In spite of do may


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Re: Strategy and Tips for Bold Face [The Final Frontier] [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2010, 23:48
Bringing this thread to life. This is a great post to tackle bold face CR.

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Kudos [?]: 1199 [0], given: 157

Re: Strategy and Tips for Bold Face [The Final Frontier]   [#permalink] 04 Sep 2010, 23:48
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Strategy and Tips for Bold Face [The Final Frontier]

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