5 Common Mistakes in GMAT Critical Reasoning



so now on the GMAT we have seen how critical reasoning assumption based questions are tested we will look at some common traps that GMAT may set for you on Jim on critical reasoning assumption questions there are five specific traps that we have seen that gets repeated in majority of the questions so let's see what these five traps are the five common traps in GMAT C are causality versus correlation comparison statistics harm benefit and language shift let's take a look at the first one causality versus correlation these are questions where you have a pause and effect pattern shown in the question so X will cause Y or X is caused by Y let's take an example over here the example is the belt goes off whenever the teacher comes into the class what would be the cause over here the cause would be the teacher coming in and the effect would be the bell going off so if I were to create this into a x and y format I would essentially have this I would say the teacher came in the teacher comes in and Y would be the bell goes off sounds simple one thing on the GMAT is that you notice this causality you notice what is causing what to happen once you are able to establish the pattern here is a very crucial thing as far as assumptions are concerned on the GMAT the lack of a negative is constituted as a positive or we are looking at building the bond anything that breaks the bond is something that will be a flaw any assumption would tell you how that bond will not be broken sounds a little confusing let me give an example and show it to you now let's say that there is another example there is another reason why the bell could go off and let's say that reason is electronic let us say alarm system so the moment you have an electronic alarm system what you're really saying is that it's not the teacher who comes in which is causing the Bell to go off but an electronic alarm system that is causing the Bell to go off what do I do I say this does not happen what is this this is nothing but an alternate cause so an alternate cause does not happen is enough to strengthen my bond that it is indeed X which causes Y to happen if you think about it we have been doing it right from childhood right so you did not do the homework on time so what you what you did was you went and you gave an excuse so what does the excuse excuse is nothing but an alternate reason so the actual reason that the teacher would assume to be true would be that you are lazy or that you are not serious about studies but the alternate reason that you want to present her is well the power went off or the cat ate the homework or whatever else excuse that you could think of creatively at that point right so anything that is an alternate reason will break my bond what I'm saying is that alternate reason does not happen that is good enough for me to have a valid assumption because alternate cause not happening will actually end up strengthening my original cause-and-effect pattern let's take another reason or another way by which we could actually have an assumption what if I were to tell you that the bell going off is what actually causes the teacher to come into the class so it is not that the teacher comes in because the bell goes off but the bell goes off hence the teacher comes in both of them are happening simultaneously giving you the impact or the illusion that X causes Y but it's actually Y causes X what it would do it it would weaken this bond hence what we need to say we need to say this part of a reverse cause does not happen this again would help strengthen your bond so if I say this does not happen it again strengthens my bond that indeed X is what is causing Y to happen one example that I can think of is a a G question where the question said married people with different sleeping cycles ended up arguing more right so on X or the cause is different sleeping cycles and why the result was arguments and the question said which of the following is an assumption the right answer choice was because they are arguing more they are not having different sleeping patterns right so what you are doing is you are giving a reverse causation if they had arguments and that is why they chose different sleeping patterns wouldn't it break my argument that it's sleeping pattern that is causing their arguments it would so the correct answer option correctly negated it it said because they are arguing they are not having different sleeping cycles which means it is different sleeping cycles which caused them to argue more so that's an example of a reverse causation let's look at the third way in which this association between x and y could potentially be broken this would be correlation correlation is that one event right I am going to call it Z which causes both x and y to happen in such a way that it gives you an illusion that x and y are actually caused by each other but it's actually an external factor Z that is causing them for example let's say what if I were to tell you that exactly at one o'clock the teacher comes in because he is very punctual he always comes in at one o'clock and because it's one o'clock the bell goes off hence it is not the teacher coming in that girl that causes the bell to go off nor is it the bell going off that is causing the teacher to come in it is actually one o'clock which is making both of them happen together right so in some sense if you think about it there are a lot of causation and correlation patterns that work in real life as well right so on the GMAT whenever you see X causing Y to happen you just need to step back and you need to ask yourselves what else could work here right remember we are challenging the link but when you are challenging the link we are looking at what could break the link so that we can negate it and have our correct assumption that's really how we need to look at the causation type questions let's take one question and let's try solving that question to understand how this really works on the GMAT so take the next question so look at this question and you can hit the pause screen and then we will get on to solving this question at the end of when you are done you can hit the play button so now let's try to see what could be the main conclusion over here so if you say indicate that was on average considerably slacker in enforcing between 86 and 90 then it was before so you are saying that the decrease indicates the decrease in the violations or the decrease in citations correct so what you are saying is decrease in citation okay is actually caused by the enforcement official becoming slacker right what if I were to give you an alternate and what if I were to say that what if there was an actual decrease in the total number of violations then what would happen for example if I were to say that the traffic pullers collected you know less money and find this year does it mean that the traffic police has become slacker or could it mean that people have actually become more law-abiding probably the second also right so now in order for me to say that no it is the traffic pullers which have become more slow I will have to say people are not more law-abiding same thing works over here as well so what I'm going to do is I'm going to say well it is not because of fewer violations but it is because they have become more slack because I am rejecting any answer option that causes fewer violations if you see anther option see for charlie becomes our right answer choice because it says the decrease in the number of citations was not caused by a decrease in company's violations if it were to be caused and what will happen then you would end up having an alternate reason which would weaken our original cause and effect what are the problems with the other answer options answer option he talks about minor violations which we cannot comment on answer option B says why it was changed and it says it was changed with in response to political pressure doesn't matter if it was changed in response to political pressure or change in GMAT patterns for all that you know doesn't matter the other thing over here is what is the meaning of the word changed become more strict become more relaxed we do not know right just the word changed by itself does not tell us anything so a goes off B goes off anther option D says federal office should not issue it is almost like they are being given a mandate that they should not ink issue more than an average of eight violations not because they are becoming more slack so in some sense it weakens it so anther option D goes off an answer option he talks about before 1981 that also goes off so you saw how we got to our right answer option C merely by noticing what is the cause and effect pattern that is exactly what you need to remember when you look at cause and effect questions on the GMAT we will look at some more examples we look at some more terms that are used in cause-and-effect questions so let's consider a few more options so what if we are given X causes Y to happen let's look at all the various forms so if X has happened Y will definitely happen so if I were to give you an example let us say that if X were to be it will eat eat drain today and Y years let us say rains caused traffic jumps all right so what we are saying here is that if it rained if it rains there will be a traffic jam you are given information that it has rained what will I know has definitely happened definitely there is a traffic jam today correct this is very clear now let us look at one more option or one more scenario what if I were to say that traffic jam has happened today X may or may not have happened or in other words because there is a traffic jam not necessary that it is rained so essentially rains can cause traffic jams but not necessary that is its traffic jam it has to be called only by rain what if it had been caused by let's say VIP movement or let's say it is caused by some Civic work happening on the road right so those are other reasons why traffic jam could have happened so if there is traffic jam that has happened I cannot necessarily say that it is rained today but if I am told that the traffic jam has not happened then definitely it is not rained think about it if there is no traffic jam correct that means 100% there has been no rain just think about it and you will realize that it's really no other way that you can say this 100% there has been no rains if there are no traffic jams here are some terms that we will use in order to understand this question better so in case X or a causes B is the cause and effect it can be written in following this right so you can just have a look at it just be a little careful about the passive construction B is caused by a or B is produced by a or B is determined by a many a times G Matt uses this also as a trick to test you so that was pretty much the first trap that gmat sets for you and I hope you have a very clear understanding of how it works we also looked at it in one question we will be seeing the same thing getting repeated in multiple questions so as you solve more and more questions you will get more confident so don't worry about it right let's take the second thing which is what happens when there is two things and they are being compared just because two things are similar does not mean they will act in the same way let me give you an example Bangalore like Mumbai is growing as a metropolis partly due to the influx of immigrants from outside hence just as it happened in Mumbai in the 1950s and 60s public hygiene will be landlords biggest challenge in years to come so what do you think do you think that this this argument is logical do you think this argument is valid do you think there are some issues I want you to just think about it you realize that well not really right I mean you cannot compare two CDs you cannot say Bombay is similar to Bangalore you cannot say 50s you know similar to 2014 you cannot say things such as even the kind of workers who came in the 50s and 60s very different from the knowledge workers who probably come to Bangalore correct so these are the differences so because of these differences you really cannot say that both these situations are the same so really the trigger is similar is not equal to same and on the GMAT what happens you will have questions where it says like the neighboring country Burland right or the neighboring city of Virgo Nia the moment you look at neighboring City a neighboring country you are tricked into assuming that well because it's a neighboring country or a city it is going to act the same way not true right I'll give another example of a official question where the question had something about how there was a legislation that was passed which kept smoking in restaurants and because of this legislation people did not stop going to restaurants patrons still visited restaurant and there was no loss in business this year there is another legislation that's going to ban cigarette smoking in restaurants and the health authorities are kind of telling the restaurant owners that don't worry there is going to be no loss in revenue because similar to the previous legislation even this legislation will not have any impact you heard it it sounds very similar now first thing that you are probably thinking is well last year this year think about it city population is going to remain the same restaurants are not going to really change or two years what else could be the difference you if you notice what I said and I said it only one so maybe you want to go back rewind and just check what I said I said the first legislation curbed smoking providing restrictions on smoking is very different then the second one that I said banned smoking ban smoking means you cannot smoke inside period-correct providing restrictions could be you know maybe there's a separate smoker zone so what you should have said is well wait a second is are these two registrations the same or is there a difference and that is usually what GMAT will do play with those words try to sneak in something trying to say it similar but trying to say it same but actually it's similar and hence not the same let's look at the third type now the third type would be statistics and this is one of GMAT favorite topics whenever you see numbers whenever you see percentages and data of any type like a sample of poll or a survey you know pretty much the GMAT is testing you on statistics correct now typically what happens is GMAT will kind of give you numbers which are similar to this let's have a look at the example people in urban areas are eating more junk food classified as burgers coline pizza these days because from 2001 to to the average household spend on such junk food has increased from 5% to 12% so the average spend on junk food correct has gone up from 5% to 12% first question that you need to ask yourself how could this number go up is it because they are eating more food or is it something else the moment you realize that you get this number 5 percent 12 percent there are two things at play here one we are assuming that the costs remain constant and it is just that they are consuming more but is it necessary the costs remain constant not because the cost could have gone up and my consumption could have gone down still the overall percentage spent towards junk food could still have increased problem number one problem number two my overall spend right it mentions about my house holtzman my overall household spend would have gone down so instead of spending hundred rupees earlier I am spending only 50 rupees now which means if there is 12 rupees that I was spending it was 12% earlier but now it becomes 24 percent so the percentage spent has gone up without me really consuming more what it really took you to understand this is the numbers at play as long as you are able to figure out that part the rest of statistics questions will be very easy so the tip over here is remember that increasing or decreasing percentages does not necessarily mean increasing or decreasing numbers or vice-versa which means that I could have 5 percent to 12 percent but not necessary that the numbers could you know go went up or if the numbers went up not necessary that the percentage went up just to kind of underline the second point that we have mentioned over here which is you know about total figure and all that so you know this is the way you look at it X percentage of Y is equal to Z Y is the total Z is the number from this total X is the percentage X could go up Z could go down Y because it depends on Y correct so just take some time to think about it so it is very much possible that X goes down but because Y has increased so much my eventual Z could also go up eventually GMAT is going to test you only with this X Y Z the number of words or proportion majority most whenever you see these words you have to be a little careful on the GMAT the fourth one is Harman benefit this is clearly you know the type which will give a situation where there is a greater harm happening but it ignores the good or it tells only the good thing that a new thing provides but ignores a greater harm okay so let's look at these kind of questions these are the harm benefit questions where you will be the the whole strategy for these questions would be to focus on the apparent benefits okay or the harm of a particular strategy right so we need to make sure that we are not looking at only the harm or the benefits and we are also looking at something else an example over here would be a new wonder drug has been discovered which has been proven to increase the heart functioning by more than 150 percent hence the new drug should be recommended by doctors to patients suffering from heart diseases what do you think about it if you are a doctor would you actually suggest this drug well not really because you know what happens to the heart but what happens on the longer term what happens to other you know organs what about the kidney what about the liver so you probably want to worry about the side effects as well hence you would not just blindly recommend this we see a lot of harm benefit scenarios being played out one example is you know where the government or there is a new service that comes and the new service is touted as the one that is going to take the market and that is going to be the new Google or Facebook or whatever else it is right so what you're doing is you're focusing only on the benefit right so you need to take a step back and look at answer options which could possibly talk about how it will not cause a greater harm so that's really what you need to keep in mind let's look at the last part which is language shift what happens in language shift is gmat uses words terms something and it just kind of confuses you by using a different foot let's look at this example these fans are certainly the best in class because they are tested by the highest fan certifying authority in the world International Institute of fans the problem with this if you understand is we speak about the highest fan certifying authority in the world but remember the certificate will be provided only if the tests are positive if they have passed the test so if you ended up assuming that just because they are tested they are certified then each GMAT probably took you on the wrong path now that you know what are the five common types I just want you to be more aware of these and I want you to use these in the questions and the answer options whenever you encounter a question

5 thoughts on “5 Common Mistakes in GMAT Critical Reasoning”

  1. Hai sir, the way you are teaching is really awesome…that is the main reason I chosen crack verbal … best institute in Bangalore…

  2. Hi ..I have really found your videos so useful ..can you provide more videos(questions and solutions)on questions where we can find all these applications 😊

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