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A Complete Guide to Understanding GMAT Critical Reasoning

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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GMAT Critical Reasoning is an important part of the examination. Critical thinking is one of the essential attributes evaluated in the examination since it is necessary for future business leaders and managers. Critical Reasoning is included in the GMAT Verbal section. 

The Verbal Reasoning section has a total of 36 questions with a score range of 6-51. The time limit for the section is 65 minutes. This section has three question types: Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning. 

The GMAT critical reasoning questions test a wide range of skills, including the following: 

  • Understanding and analysis of arguments. 
  • Assessing reasoning and evidence. 
  • Identifying assumptions and evaluating their validity. 
  • Identifying logical fallacies and reasoning flaws. 
  • Drawing well-supported conclusions. 

It's worth noting that the GMAT exam is constantly updated, and the format and structure of the test may change over time. Check the official GMAT website for the most updated and accurate information.

GMAT Critical Reasoning Format 

The GMAT Critical Reasoning has a small passage accompanied with a question. The candidate has to choose the right option amongst five given choices with regard to either weakening or strengthening an argument, damaging or strongly backing the same, or even indicating why the argument in question is flawed. GMAT Critical Reasoning requires aspirants to swiftly read and understand passages before coming up with solutions. 

There are three broad types of questions. One is where the aspirant has to take down any given argument and discover the right solution which makes its flaw visible or rectifies it. Another type is where the candidate should carefully assess and describe the logical reasoning standpoint used. The last type is where candidates have to provide logical conclusions based on available information. 

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5 Tips for GMAT Critical Reasoning Preparation 

  1. Learn to identify assumptions: Assumptions are contained in several GMAT Critical Reasoning questions, making swift identification hugely necessary for aspirants. 
  2. Go through the question stem at the outset- First read the question stem with care in order to work out the question types. This will help you outline your key objectives and goals. Categorization of the questions is also important to get it right. 
  3. Argument Deconstruction matters- The GMAT is all about testing how well you can deal with abstract data and arguments of a complex nature. You should avoid making the common mistake of answering before you fully deconstruct or break down the argument and understand what is required. Mastery over deconstruction is a necessary skill for cracking these questions. 
  4. Learning how to attack arguments and expecting flaws- Some questions will have arguments or plans provided, which you need to tear down or find flaws within the line of thought. The best option is to tap into all choices for answers and then use them in an active manner, although there may be wrong data that entices candidates with various conflicting ideas. When you attack an argument, you will naturally have the responsibility to find and eliminate these incorrect answers. You should also anticipate or expect flaws instead of relating your answer option to the same. Just find the core aspect of the argument that has to be addressed with the answer choices. For other questions, you will be using elimination and comparison for finding answers which accurately describe the given part or statement. For questions relating to conclusions or inferences, you cannot forecast the conclusion and the same process applies. 
  5. Avoiding Common Errors- Some of the most typical errors made by aspirants include issues with numbers and other data/statistics, generalizing arguments, wrongly perceiving causation for correlation, and also making erroneous assumptions. Remember that future trends are not guaranteed by trends in the past. This is another mistake that many aspirants make. These are flaws that you should identify and avoid. 

Resources that would help you prepare for the GMAT Critical Reasoning section

Here are some additional resources and study materials that you can use to prepare better: 

  • GMAT Official Guide: The GMAT Official Guide is published by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and includes actual GMAT questions from past exams.
  • GMAT Prep software: GMAT Prep software is available for free on the official GMAT website.
  • GMAT Critical Reasoning study guides: There are a number of study guides available that focus specifically on the GMAT Critical Reasoning section, such as "Cracking the GMAT" by Princeton Review or "The GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible" by Manhattan Prep.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is GMAT critical reasoning difficult?

The GMAT Critical Reasoning section can be challenging for some test takers. Argument evaluation could be slightly tougher for some than others. However, it's worth noting that difficulty varies from person to person. Practice and preparation are necessary to successfully crack this section. 

How does GMAT club critical reasoning benefit test takers?

GMAT Club is a popular online community for aspirants, providing diverse resources to help them prepare more effectively for the test. It is one of many such online communities and groups that candidates can check out. 

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There are no specific PTE exam eligibility criteria set by Pearson VUE – the organizers of the test.

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PTE syllabus includes various sections such as Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening.

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The PTE exam pattern is designed to test whether candidates can study at international institutions that have English as the main language for instructions.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.