Here is a set of free short videos for stepwise preparation of Critical Reasoning: Conclusion on GMAT. For a more detailed treatment of the topic, you may want to opt for our GMAT online course or our GMAT test series of 15 mock tests.
How to Attempt Critical Reasoning- The "Missing-link" Approach
Many previous GMAT aspirants have reported that critical reasoning is an especially complex portion of the exam. The key to overcoming this complexity and tackling these questions is to approach them in a systematic manner. It is especially important to handle critical reasoning questions, systematically, as a failure to do so will not only lead to a lower score, in this section, but also take up much of your valuable time. Here, we will cover the best approach for you to take on the GMAT critical reasoning questions.
The Missing Link Approach
At Experts’ Global, we call this strategy the missing link approach. To understand this highly organized approach, you must begin by understanding the the nature of the GMAT critical reasoning passages. Each passage will include a "premise" and a "conclusion"; however, the “conclusion” will not logically follow the “premise”. They key to solving these questions is to identify the gap between the "premise" and "conclusion", which we call the “missing link”.
Although, you should note that there is no need for you to fill in the missing link. You only need to identify it, so that you can use it to identify the correct answer choice. Please go through the step-by-step guide, provided below, to understand this approach.
1. Read the question, before reading the passage. Doing so will allow you to understand exactly what type of question it is, strengthening, weakening, etc., and approach the passage, accordingly.
2. Read the passage very carefully and make a mind-map rather than taking note, to save time.
3. Identify the missing link by seeing where the gap in the passage's reasoning is. The missing link is whatever information is needed to connect the premise of the passage to its conclusion that is not provided.
4. Have an idea of what you are going to search for in the answer choices. This step is quite important.
5. Finally, use the "grid" to eliminate four answer choices. Remember, it is not about finding the one correct answer choice; it's about finding the best among the five answer choices. When you eliminate four answer choices, the one that is left is the correct answer choice.
Characteristics of a Conclusion Statement
On the GMAT, each critical reasoning question has a central point. A statement that summarizes this point is known as a conclusion statement. Here, we will cover the defining characteristics of such statements and how to identify them on GMAT critical reasoning questions.
The Conclusion Statement
The conclusion of a passage is, essentially, the main reason that it was written. It can also be understood as the main reasoning behind the argument. As such a statement can be seen as somewhat subjective, we feel that it would be prudent to clarify that the meaning of the argument is to be considered, from the author’s point of view. Please go through the following question to understand this concept.
The Author’s Main Point is That…
Typically, a GMAT conclusion statement question takes the form of "The author's main point is that..." with the answer choices being potential conclusion statements. Let us illustrate, through the following examples.
The GDP of Xitora has grown by 15% during the tenure of the current political party. This is the highest growth since any tenure over the previous 100 years. Since the GDP growth is a fine indication of the economic growth of a party, the party has been applauded for its role in the achievement. However, the party is unlikely to win another term in the upcoming elections. Certain socio-political moves by the incumbent government have led to severe public outcry. As a result, recent opinion polls reflect a steep decline in the popularity of the party.
Mind Map: High GDP growth--> party deserves credit--> party's socio-political moves have been criticized--> polls show a decline in popularity--> the party is not likely to win again.
We will now go through the potential answer choices to see how to eliminate inappropriate options in a conclusion statement question.
Option 1 - The party's efforts need to be applauded.
While the information presented in option 1 is mentioned in the passage, it is not part of the conclusion. This information is included in the premise. Therefore, this choice is incorrect.
Option 2 - The party has failed on socio-political fronts.
The passage, merely, states that the party's socio-political moves have led to public outcry. This information is not enough to conclude that it has failed on these fronts, meaning that it cannot even be an inference, much less a conclusion.
Option 3 - The party's actions on socio-political issues have led to severe public outcry.
This information is stated, outright, in the passage. However, it is not the conclusion, as it is not what the argument was written to say.
The argument here has not been written to suggest that there was an outcry, it seems to have been written to suggest that the party will not win another term.
Option 4 - The popularity of the party has declined in recent times.
This is close, but it is not the conclusion.
Option 5 - The opinion polls reflect a decline in the popularity of the party.
Much like option 3, option 5 is information stated in the passage that is, nonetheless, not the conclusion. Option 5, is a supporting statement.
Option 6 - The party will lose the upcoming elections.
Option 6 may seem like a good answer choice, but it is actually a trap. This answer choice is too strong, given the language used in the passage. The passage only states that "the party is unlikely to win", which is not the same as saying that it will certainly lose.
Option 7 - The party will take serious corrective socio-political measure before the election.
Option 7 is, entirely speculative. It can neither be inferred nor concluded.
Option 8 - The party is likely to lose the upcoming elections.
This is the main point of the passage, a very fine conclusion statement.