Critical Reasoning: Para Completion on GMAT

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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 a Para-completion Statement

As the name suggests, answering a GMAT para-completion . To do so, you must pick the most appropriate completing statement, from among the options presented. Here, we will cover how to best determine the appropriateness of para-completion answer choices.

The Para-Completion Statement

There are two requirements that an answer choice must fulfil, in order to be considered correct. A correct para-completion statement must effectively finish the paragraph and logically flow from the whole paragraph, not just the last sentence, doing justice to the whole passage or conversation. For such questions, the mind map strategy is the best approach. Unlike most critical reasoning questions, the missing link is not needed here. All that is required is that the mind map has a logical train of thought; even if the argument presents the facts in a haphazard manner, they must be arranged logically, in your mind map. Please go through the following example to understand this concept, fully. Example 1 -Which of the following best completes the passage?

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. The government's role in this growth has been vastly applauded by multiple sections of society. However, the party is unlikely to win another term in the upcoming elections. However, the government has been accused of being soft on various social, political, and diplomatic issues. The elections are due in three months and therefore...

Mind Map: High GDP growth--> party deserves credit--> party's stand on social, political, and diplomatic issues has been criticized--> ...

Before we begin analysing the question choices, proper, it would be prudent to understand what exactly the passage is doing. To put it very simply, the first half of the passage praises the current governing part of Xitora, while the second half criticises it. Remember, it is always important to be clear on the meaning of a question, before you begin analysing answer choices.

Option 1 - The party is not likely to win another term in office.
Option 1 is not very well thought out. This answer choice only does justice to the second half of the passage, the part criticizing the party, not the whole thing. Therefore, it is not correct.

Option 2 - The party's economic policies must be lauded.
Option 2 stands as an inversion of option 1. It only talks about the first half of the paragraph, where the party is praised but does not address the second half. Therefore, this is also not a good answer choice.

Option 3 - The voter's must analyze the party's performance.
Option 3 carries an overly emotional tone. Such answer choices are rarely correct.

Option 4 - The public must demand greater government action on social, political, and diplomatic issues.
As is the case with option 1, option 4 only refers to the information presents in the second half of the paragraph. It does not cover the election. If you take a close look at the final sentence, you will see that it begins by mentioning elections, thus, the correct option must also be related to elections.

Option 5 - It is difficult to predict whether the party will win another term in office.
The first half of the paragraph talks about one of the government's strong points, the second half talks about one of its weak points, and the final sentence talks about elections. Since the author's opinion seems to be that the government has both strong and weak points, the idea that the election results will be difficult to predict is a fine conclusion to the passage.


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