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Characteristics of a Strengthening Statement on GMAT Critical Reasoning


Use this video to understand the characteristics of a Strengthening Statement on GMAT Critical Reasoning. This concept is important to solve verbal problems on GMAT.


Characteristics of a Strengthening Statement on GMAT Critical Reasoning


In GMAT critical reasoning questions, you will be provided with a passage that will have a premise and conclusion; between this premise and conclusion, there will be a logical gap that is known as the missing link. Identifying the missing link is very important, as working upon it is the core of most critical reasoning questions. In this short article, we will cover the characteristics of strengthening statements, one of the functions that act upon the missing link.

The Strengthening Statement


A strengthening statement should address the inherent weakness in the argument's reasoning and eliminate it, or provide additional information supporting the conclusion. Let us look at some live examples to further understand this concept.

Example 1 - Which of the following statements, if true, would most significantly strengthen the statement?

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.

By suggesting that GDP growth is an important metric for determining the performance of a political party, this statement fills the missing link between GDP growth and the performance of the party. Thus, this answer choice is a fine strengthening statement because it addresses an inherent weakness in the argument.

Now, let us take up another example, using the same passage and missing link:

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

Once again, this statement fills the missing link between the premise that the GDP has grown and the conclusion that this growth proves that the political party has done a good job and deserves a second term.

Please do not get into evaluating the answer choices. As the language of the question includes the caveat, "if true" you must assume that the information presented in the answer choice is accurate. Simply judge whether the answer choice forms a strong link between the premise and conclusion, as this one does.

Let us take up two additional examples:

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

Please do not think that this answer choice is irrelevant. By mentioning that the 15% GDP growth rate is the highest ever, this answer choice also strengthens the argument by bringing in the additional relevant information.

Example 4 - None of the other similar economies experienced a GDP growth rate that exceeded 12% in that same tenure.

Extrapolators are generally incorrect, on the GMAT; answer choices that suggest that something that happened over there should happen here are typically not appropriate. However, in this case, the answer choice is not an extrapolator because, before drawing the comparison between the GDP growths, the argument has drawn an analogy by suggesting similar economies. Thus, this answer choice is also strengthening the conclusion, by bringing in additional, relevant, information.

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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