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Assumption Negation Test on GMAT Critical Reasoning


This video introduces you to the Assumption Negation Test on GMAT Critical Reasoning. Understand this concept will as it will help in solving problems in the Verbal Section on GMAT.


Assumption Negation Test on GMAT Critical Reasoning


Remember, in GMAT critical reasoning questions, assumptions must fill the missing link between the premise and conclusion, and be necessarily true for an argument to hold. Furthermore, assumptions always strengthen arguments, and when made negative void the argument. Utilizing this property, you can test for valid assumptions on the GMAT. In this short article, we will cover how to employ this assumption negation test. However, this strategy should only be used as a backup, as it is quite time-consuming.

The Assumption Negation Test


Let us explain this test by applying it to a live example:

Example 1 - Consider the following argument:

The GDP of Xitora has grown by 15% during the tenure of the current political party. Hence the political party has done a good job and deserves a second term.

The missing link in this passage is the link between the 15% GDP growth and the performance of the political party, and the conclusion is that the party has done a good job and should stay in power.

Now, take a look at this answer choice:

- GDP growth is an important factor in deciding the performance of a political party.

If you cannot decide whether this qualifies as an assumption, invert this statement and apply it to the argument; if it is an assumption, the argument will be voided. The inverted statement is that GDP growth is not an important factor in deciding the performance of a political party. If this statement is true, the argument is voided, as the conclusion hinges upon the idea that high GDP growth is an important determining factor in the party's performance. Thus, this answer choice is an assumption.

Let us take up another example with the same passage and missing link but a new answer choice.

Example 2 - GDP growth is the most important factor in determining the performance of a political party.

Negating this statement leads to GDP growth is not the most important factor in determining the performance of a political party. This statement does not void the argument because even if GDP growth is not the most important factor, it can still be n important determining factor. Thus, Example 2 is not an assumption.

Now we will take up one, final, example.

Example 3 - During the tenure of no previous government did the GDP grow by more than 10%.

This answer choice suggests that the previous governments did not lead to higher GDP growth. The inversion of this statement would be that some previous government did lead to higher GDP growth. This statement does not invalidate the argument as the 15% rise in GDP being the highest ever is not necessary for the argument to hold. Once again, this answer choice qualifies as a strengthening statement but it is not an assumption.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Critical Reasoning videos.

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