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GMAT Verbal: Does that Word Mean What You Think?

August 6, 2012 by

As anyone who has spent any time on GMAT Sentence Correction can tell you, the English language is complex. SC problems will frequently test idioms and tricky verb tenses, among other things. But despite a few exceptions (do you know the difference between economic and economical?), subtle shifts in the meanings of similar words aren’t usually tested in GMAT sentences. They are, however, tested on Critical Reasoning and Analytical Writing prompts.

Assumptions on the GMAT occur when the scope of discussion shifts between the evidence and the conclusion. In an earlier article, I discussed a stimulus involving burgers. One such “scope shift” in that article was that the evidence discussed cholesterol, while the conclusion discussed health in general; another involved evidence about a price reduction and a conclusion about increased consumption of burgers. Some of these are easier to spot than others, but all of them involve looking for … Read full post

GMAT Critical Reasoning: The Denial Test

July 7, 2012 by

In your GMAT preparation you have probably learned to tackle critical reasoning assumption questions by identifying the conclusion of the argument, followed by the evidence and then looking for the missing link between these, which will be the central assumption.  However, you have also probably encountered GMAT problems in which you either cannot figure out what the assumption is before you go to the answer choices or the assumption you found is not listed as an option.  When this happens you want to be ready with a backup strategy.

The standard backup strategy for assumption questions – and do keep in mind this should not be used as a primary strategy, since it is more time consuming than the usual approach – is the denial test.

The denial test is based on the idea that the assumption is something that must be true in order to link the evidence … Read full post

Choosing the Right Assumption on the GMAT

March 4, 2012 by

The GMAT tests your ability to focus on detail. And the GMAT frequently provides trap answer choices and distorted version of the text to mislead testers who aren’t paying attention. But as a general rule, assumptions on the Critical Reasoning section aren’t going to be traps; if the testmaker offers you a clear assumption, they want you to take it, not nitpick your way to a different answer. Consider the following prompt. Once you’ve done so, try to predict an answer before reading on.

A group of nutritionists have expressed alarm at a recent marketing campaign for the Big and Beefy, a hamburger notorious for it’s high cholesterol. The steeply reduced price of the Big and Beefy, they claim, will harm the nation’s health.

Which of the following is an assumption made by the nutritionists’ argument?

In a very subtle way, the authors shift the scope of the argument. They … Read full post

Assumptions: GMAT and Otherwise

February 27, 2012 by

Sometimes you stumble upon something that is too full of coincidence to pass up.  Inc. recently published an online article that seems written with the GMAT in mind: Have you checked your assumptions lately?

I have concluded that you’ll find this editorial particularly interesting because of two pieces of evidence: (1) you are reading a GMAT blog, and (2) the GMAT verbal section contains Critical Reasoning questions.  Of course, now I have to ask why, based on those two pieces of evidence, have I come to the conclusion that you will find this Inc. e-snippet interesting?  Well, the only way that this evidence will lead to this conclusion is because of my underlying assumptions.  Can you tease out those assumptions?  If so, then you are looking good for assumption family CR questions come Test Day.  If not, let me help you…

For all Critical Reasoning arguments presented on … Read full post

Types of Critical Reasoning Questions

September 5, 2011 by

GMAT critical reasoning questions fall into a number of specific categories and knowing which type of problem is confronting you will be key to answering these questions correctly.  Below, you will find a roster of the question types that will appear on the GMAT.

Assumption Questions

Assumption questions will ask you to identify the unstated piece of information that must be true for the author’s evidence to lead to their conclusion.  Remember, that the right answer will be information, that if it were not true, would cause the author’s argument to no longer make sense.

Strenghten Questions

 Strengthen questions require an answer choice that makes the argument more likely to be true.  You want to find a new piece of evidence that provides support for the argument’s main point.

Weaken Questions

Weaken questions are the exact opposite of strengthen questions – you need to find an answer that makes … Read full post

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