Master Tip for GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

hello this is Brett Everage founder of dominate the GMAT here with your GMAT tip of the week I'd like to share with you a really useful GMAT tip and specifically a tip the concerns GMAT critical reasoning questions and I'm going to share that with you in a second but I'd actually like you to try your hand at this question first this is the question that will apply the tip to so I'd like you to familiarize yourself with it and I'd actually like you to try to solve it so go ahead and press pause see how you do and then we're going to come back and talk about it together go ahead and press pause all right how'd you do well let me start by telling you the tip the tip on GMAT critical reasoning questions is always to try to boil down the statement into very very simple summary sentences and you can use your scratch paper for that in other words I want you to take the text that can sometimes be a little bit convoluted and I want you to break it down into the bare bones absolute simplest terms in terms of summarizing the three most crucial parts of any argument and I always teach my students that you always want to start first with the conclusion can you clearly identify what the conclusion is and then what is that conclusion based on well it's based on one or several premises and then eventually you're going to want to figure out and put in your own words what the assumption is and we know that usually the correct answer lies in your ability to identify the assumption but when we look at this statement or when we look at this argument rather what's the conclusion well it says what it says if we can all decrease our body fat to that level so winning time you see kind of an if-then type of a statement the then portion of it is usually going to be the conclusion right if such and such and such and such that by definition is going to be a premise then what well then the conclusion then we could all be world class cyclists all right so the conclusion is going to be something like that well based on what based on what premises based on the fact that we see this going on right between 4 and 11 percent body-fat okay hold that thought what we want to do and the tip is let's bring all those down into very very simple statements because it's kind of hard to get your mind around what's going on to be able to answer the question if you don't first understand in the simplest terms what actually the conclusion is and here's what I mean by that as a reminder now if you haven't gone through my course yet or you haven't gone through my lesson on GMAT Rick critical reasoning I encourage you to but let's let's take a look at kind of this summary of how to tackle these types of questions you know the first thing to notice is that we are dealing with a causal argument now there are a number of different argument patterns I'm just going to be talking about causal arguments for a second because that's the type of question we're looking at certainly you're going to want to fill know your eyes yourself with all of the other argument patterns but the pattern in general is as follows we see two things happening together a and B and we're concluding that a causes B and then they're going to be some assumptions that flow from that well let's go back to our argument that is exactly how on your scratch paper you want to synthesize this right what's the premise well the premise of any conclusion argument or causal type of an argument is that we see two things happening together and in this case what do we have we see body fat so low body fat I'm just going to kind of draw it like this this is probably how you did on your scratch paper low body fat and world class w-c-c right world class cyclists those things are happening together right we're seeing those things kind of happening at the same time right and that's exactly what the causal argument pattern looks like right back here what do we see a and B occur together and that's what we are saying so I'm just synthesizing that on my scratch paper we have touring cyclists and they have low body fat okay so that's the premise now what are we concluding from that it's a causal conclusion isn't it it says that world we would all be world class cyclists if we could decrease our body fat well what is that mean what does that mean put that in your own words the author's conclusion that a causes B right and specifically that low body fat low body fat causes with an arrow causes you to be a professional cyclist isn't that what it's implying by saying that you can by reducing your body fat you're going to become a professional cyclist it's saying that a causes B it's putting the cart before the horse now that may or may not be okay but there's clearly something being assumed right does it stand a reason that that's going to be the case I mean what if you go on the craziest diet in the whole world you exercise like crazy but you have some sort of disease where you have dizziness and you can't even ride a bicycle well just because you have low body fat doesn't mean you're going to be a professional cyclist right so what am i assuming well now we go back to our pattern we're assuming one of two things either that we have the directionality correct and that a actually causes B and it's not the other way around that B doesn't cause a right or that there's not something else entirely going on some confounding factor we're talking about that's actually causing it because remember the rule in statistics correlation does not equal causation so let's go back to our argument just because we see these two things together the flaw and the argument is that two things that are correlated don't actually necessarily have a causal effect does that make sense and so that's what's going on so that again is our assumption and we might want to write that out on our paper that B doesn't cause a how do we know that it's not being a professional cyclist that's actually causing the low body-fat right well that stands to reason because if you're bicycling you know five hours a day of course you're going to have low body fat right so how do we know we have the directionality quick correct or how do we know that there's not something else going on that these guys have unbelievable lung capacity or extra-large hearts or a different type of work ethic than the average person or great teamwork or right there could be a thousand other thing that in addition to body fat percentage could be going on here okay all of that to say this is the tip you want to boil it down into the simplest possible terms on your scratch paper because it helps illustrate what you need to determine to be able to answer the question and hopefully now that we've done that you'll see when we look at these statements statement number one is it a flaw to assume that a causal relationship between it's assuming a causal relationship between two highly correlated events absolutely what did we say what we said there's a rule correlation does not necessarily equal causation and that's exactly what it's doing so that would be an accurate description of a flaw number two it suggests that low body fat is a sufficient condition in other words that alone it certainly might be helpful to have low body fat but there's other things going on right but this is assuming that that alone is enough because it's saying that if you get your body fat low enough you will be a world-class cyclist how do we know that that's the conclusion because we summarized that on our scratch paper that low body fat produces causes alone causes ie is sufficient to cause you to be a professional cyclist cyclist again that's the benefit of having summarised it broken it down into its bare bones essential components and that proves to us again that statement number two is a flaw number three that it's conclusion is based on evidence okay well that's true the conclusion is based on two things that we see right the evidence the premise that we see those things together which in turn is based on a conclusion that's where it falls apart right the two things kind of being correlated isn't based on this conclusion so statement number three actually doesn't make any sense so when we look at the answer choices only statement only the answer choice C is correct that statement number one and statement number two are correct so I hope this is helpful again the tip is to take sometimes the convoluted type of wording in an argument and break it down use letters if you need to a causes B B causes a a is correlated with B you know learn the other patterns of argument that I teach in my critical reasoning lesson but make sure that you're able to synthesize the arguments and it really helps to use your scratch paper to put it in the very basic sentences clearly summarizing what's going on and it will help to illustrate exactly what's going on in the argument to find the correct answer so I hope you have found this tip valuable for more great gmap tips and visit our blog at dominate the GMAT comm and go out and dominate the Gina

6 thoughts on “Master Tip for GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions”

  1. Something cool to consider. I knew for 100% that 1 and 3 we're right. Notice though that there isn't an option for those combos, so it would have to be all of them

  2. Great! But the real building block is the time rather than understanding. I can solve accurately almost every CR , if given four minutes. But within two min, I am just half way to complete. Pl. give me suggestion how to be quick enough.

  3. Hi, How come the second is right?
    If it were written "It suggests that low body fat is sufficient to become a WWC" I´d agree with you. But in the way it´s written, who said that it is a necessary condition? How can you assume that?

  4. So an assumption is pretty much an alternative explanation that connects the premise to the conclusion?? =/

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