Beware When you see Numbers in GMAT Critical Reasoning

In this video, you will learn how to react when you see numbers in GMAT Critical Reasoning. The content of this video will prove helpful in solving verbal questions on GMAT.

Beware when you see Numbers in GMAT Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning questions that include numerical values tend to pose a unique set of challenges, on the GMAT. As numbers tend to lend a more concrete quality to the information presented, it is easy to get confused by them and miss the core point of the passage. In this short article, we will cover how to avoid being tricked by numbers in GMAT critical reasoning questions.

Numbers in GMAT Critical Reasoning

Remember to pay very close attention to the argument, when the GMAT passage contains numbers; especially, numbers that can make an impression. It is important to consider these numbers carefully, as quite often, the "catch" or "trap" of the CR question is somehow related to the number. Let us illustrate this concept through the following example.

Example 1 - Which of the following, if true, weakens the conclusion?

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 should stay in power for 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.

The issue in this question, and others like it, is that the numbers mentioned can skew the reader's perception of the information presented. 15% GDP growth is a seemingly high number and 50 years is a significant amount of time, in this context, and they can lead the reader to form a certain impression of the information presented. You need to be highly critical about these numbers.

Consider the following answer choice.

- During the same tenure, the GDP of similar economies grew by more than 20%.

This answer choice suggests that other similar economies experienced GDP growth of more than 20%, during that same period. This new information undermines the conclusion that the party has done a good job by suggesting that a higher rate of GDP growth is the norm, for such economies. Thus, this answer choice functions as a weakening statement.

Another important point to keep in mind is that the information presented in this answer choice is not irrelevant, and the answer choice is not an extrapolator. This statement draws an analogy between economies of similar types, whose GDPs grew by 20%; therefore, suggesting that a 15% growth, while impressive, is not exceptional and is not an indicator that the ruling party has done a particularly fine job.

There are many GMAT weakening, strengthening, and especially explanation questions centered around the numbers presented in the passage. While attempting the GMAT CR questions, take care to critically and carefully examine the numbers involved.

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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