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Characteristics of an Explanation Statement on GMAT Critical Reasoning


This video explains the characteristics of an Explanation Statement on GMAT Critical Reasoning. The concepts in this video will prove valuable in solving question in the verbal section on GMAT.


Characteristics of an Explanation 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 explanation statements, one of the functions that act upon the missing link.

The Explanation Statement


In GMAT Explanation Questions, one generally sees a discrepancy between the premise and the conclusion, a paradox of sorts. A correct explanation statement should clarify the absurdity/paradox and fill the missing link, the gap in logical reasoning between the premise and the conclusion. The missing link approach is an excellent one to apply to these questions.

Let us now apply this concept to some live examples.

Example 1 - Which of the following will resolve the paradox in the reasoning?

The GDP of Xitora has grown by 15% during the tenure of the current political party. This growth is highest among all tenures over the last 50 years. However, the party has not done a good job and must not get another tenure.

The missing link here is between the GDP growth and the conclusion that the did a bad job and does not deserve another tenure.

If, as the passage states, the GDP growth is the highest it has been in 50 years, the natural conclusion would be that the current party has done a good job. The correct explanation statement, in this case, must explain why the party is considered to have done a bad job, despite having achieved high GDP growth.

Let us consider the following answer choice as a potential explanation statement.

- The growth in GDP was primarily due to the growth in the private sector and the government had an insignificant role in it. Moreover, the crime rate was at its all-time peak.

This explanation quite clearly, and simply, shifts the credit for the GDP growth away from the government, and brings in additional relevant information that calls the government's performance into question. Therefore, this answer choice fills in the missing link very well and is an excellent explanation statement.

Let us take up another example of an answer choice, with the same passage and missing link.

Example 2 - During the same tenure, the GDP of other similar economies grew by more than 20%.

These type of answer choices, those that can be accused of extrapolation, are usually not correct on the GMAT. However, in this case, an analogy has been drawn by grouping similar economies together. Thus, if the GDPs of other, similar, economies grew at a much higher rate, the government cannot be said to have done a good job. In simple terms, this answer choice suggests that 15% is not an impressive growth rate for such an economy and the government should have done a better job, meaning that this answer choice has successfully resolved the paradox.

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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