Critical Reasoning: Inference on GMAT

Here is a set of free short videos for stepwise preparation of Critical Reasoning: Inference 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

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 an Inference Statement

Here, we will cover cover the characteristics of inference statements, one of the functions that act upon the missing link. We will begin by discussing what exactly an inference is and what its role in GMAT critical reasoning is.

The Inference Statement

AN inference is a conclusion, reached on the basis of certain information provided. While working on GMAT critical reasoning questions, please keep in mind that the correct answer choice should be based entirely on the information provided. It should not include any form of extrapolation or assumption. Please go through the following examples, carefully, to understand this concept.

Example 1 - Which of the following statements can be directly inferred from the following passage?
The GDP of Xitora has grown by 15% during the tenure of the current political party. This is the highest growth during any tenure of the previous 100 years.

The mind map here is: 15% GDP growth---> Highest growth in 100 years

Now we will consider several, different answer choices.

1. The political party deserves another term.
This statement is too broad to be a good inference. The party’s suitability for remaining in power is dependent on many factors, other than GDP growth. Whether the party should retain power depends on their overall performance, of which fostering GDP growth is just one part.

2. The political party has done a great job at governance.
Again, in the second answer choice, the term used is too broad. The quality of a political party’s governance depends on many factors, besides GDP growth. It is quite clear that the information provided in this answer choice is simpl not enough to draw this inference.

3. If it were not for the current political party, the GDP growth would have been less than 15%.
The supposed consequences of this particular party not having governed simply cannot be inferred from the information provided. Thus, this is a poor example of an inference statement.

4. No other similar economy witnessed greater than 15% GDP growth during the same tenure.
Example 4 is a poor inference statement, as it introduces completely new information. The provided information is not enough to infer what happened to other, similar economies.

5. The GDP growth during the current party's tenure has been extraordinary.
Something that is the highest of its kind in 50 years can, indeed, be described as extraordinary. Therefore, this answer choice is a good inference statement.


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