Overview of GMAT Verbal Section: Critical Reasoning

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-adaptive test conducted throughout the year as a pre-requisite for applying to Management courses across the world. The test duration is 3 hour and 30 mins. The GMAT is divided into 4 sections:

1. Verbal Section

2. Quantitative Section

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3. Integrated Reasoning section

4. Analytical Writing Assessment section

The verbal sections is further divided into: Reading Comprehension (RC), Sentence Correction(SC) and Critical Reasoning (CR). The verbal section will have a total of 41 questions which must be answered in 75 minutes.

Critical Reasoning will have about 14-15 questions. A typical CR argument will be composed of one-two short paragraphs followed by one question. The argument will not be more than 100 words long. Each CR argument will have only one question to be answered. There will be five answer choices given for each CR question.

CR tests your ability to understand the meaning of the argument and its structure; draw inference and conclusions. More than your reading skills, your thinking skills are very critical to answering CR questions.

There are various question types that you will come across in CR. These include:

  1. Find the assumption
  2. Strengthen the argument
  3. Weaken the argument
  4. Find the flaw
  5. Structure based (boldface and describe the argument)
  6. Evaluate the argument
  7. Draw Inference/conclusion
  8. Paradox (explain the discrepancy)

The key to answering CR questions is to read the passage carefully and understand what is the role of each sentence in the passage. And then get down to answering the question.

A typical CR question will look like this:

A large number of drivers routinely violate highway speed limits. Since driving at speeds that exceed posted limits is a significant factor in most accidents, installing devices in all cars that prevent those cars from traveling faster than the speed limit would prevent most accidents.

Q. Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

A. A person need not be a trained mechanic to install the device properly.

B. Most accidents are caused by inexperienced drivers.

C. A driver seldom needs to exceed the speed limit to avoid an accident when none of the other drivers involved are violating the speed limit.

D. Most drivers who exceed the speed limit do so unintentionally.

E. Even if the fines for speed-limit violations were increased, the number of such violations would still not be reduced.

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