GMAT Arguments – Finding Assumptions Key to GMAT Critical Reasoning



hello this is Brett Athens founder of dominate the GMAT here with your GMAT tip of the week the tip for this week has to do with GMAT critical reasoning questions and specifically identifying assumptions and the tip is simply this on almost all GMAT critical reasoning questions your best approach is to identify the underlying assumption because with the exception of a few question types most questions having to do with the arguments in the critical reasoning passage is going to have to do with the underlying assumption and so if you can identify that assumption you can strengthen an argument you can weaken an argument you can flat-out identify the assumption which is sometimes what they ask you to do you can identify a flaw in the reasoning you know there are lots of different question variations that all come back to were you able to accurately identify the underlying assumption let me give you an example let's say I give you the argument that goes something like this I have noticed that every time it rains there are clouds in the sky therefore clouds cause rain what am i assuming to make that conclusion right obviously we identify the conclusion as clouds cause rain why based on what well based on the premise that I told you every time it rains their clouds in the sky and so we don't want to attack that that's the premise that we take that as gospel truth it is the case that when we have rain we have clouds right the two go together we see that but what must I be assuming to draw my specific conclusion the clouds actually cause the rain think about it what's my assumption is it logical the logical that the clouds cause the rain yeah I mean kind of makes sense right the rain falls from the clouds but I'm no meteorologist or whatever but but is it as simple as that right what must by I be assuming I must be assuming that something else isn't causing the rain and this is a traditional pattern of arguments called a called a causal argument where I'm claiming something is causing something else and by definition I must be assuming that there's not something else causing that thing like if I'm saying clouds cause raining I must be assuming that it's not something else where is it very reasonably could be again I'm no meteorologist but it could be barometric pressure it could be gravity it could be dew point it could be I don't know I don't know enough about clouds and rain but it could be any number of other things that's actually causing the rain not the clouds does that make sense and once I identify that assumption now I can answer all sorts of questions about it pretty much no matter what the gmat throws at me I'm in a position to answer the question accurately or to identify a right answer because I have accurately identified the underlying assumption which is really the meat and potatoes kind of the heart of what we're trying to do on most not all but most GMAC critical reasoning questions so hopefully this changes your thinking a little bit if you've been struggling with GMAC critical reasoning focus a little bit more time and attention on identifying assumptions we have a whole training lesson a whole video lesson all about this and how to do it in patterns of arguments but get good at it learn what you need to learn it will serve you well and enable you to go out and dominate the GMAT

5 thoughts on “GMAT Arguments – Finding Assumptions Key to GMAT Critical Reasoning”

  1. Rasul, the clouds may or may not cause the rain. That is irrelevant. For the sake of the GMAT, all you need to do is identify what the author is ASSUMING to make his/her conclusion that clouds cause rain. One possible such assumption is that something ELSE isn't causing the rain. Make sense?

  2. I did not get the point. I am totally lost after watching this. So do the clouds cause the rain or not?

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