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Strategy for Solving Boldface Questions on GMAT Critical Reasoning


This short video will familiarize you with a strategy for Solving Boldface Questions. Use this video well to understand certain key concepts in solving verbal questions on GMAT.


Strategy for Solving Boldface Questions on GMAT Critical Reasoning


In GMAT boldface questions, a passage will be provided that has one or more portions in boldface. The question will be to determine what role those portions play in the passage. In this short article, we will explain an effective strategy for answering the boldface questions of the GMAT critical reasoning section.

Strategy for Solving Boldface Questions


  • Step 1: Identify the conclusion of the argument.
  • Step 2: Link the bold part(s) with the conclusion.
  • Step 3: Know what you are going to look for in the options.
  • Step 4: Use the grid system to eliminate four answer choices. The remaining, fifth, answer choice will be the answer.

  • Let us illustrate this strategy by applying it to a live question.

    Example 1 - In the given argument, what roles do the boldfaced sections play?

    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, recent opinion polls reflect a steep decline in the popularity of the party owing to its perceived softness on longstanding social, economic, and diplomatic issues. Therefore, the party is unlikely to win another term in the forthcoming elections.

    Mind Map: GDP growth has been great--> party deserves credit-->party has been soft on other issues-->not likely to win elections

    The conclusion of this passage is that the party is not likely to win the forthcoming elections. Now we must determine how the two bolded parts relate to the conclusion. The second bolded part appears to be the conclusion itself, making our job a bit easier. The first bold part is an argument, implication, or fact that the argument tried evaluating the implication of. In the process of doing so, the argument talked about the government's performance on other fronts and concluded that the party was not going to win the elections. Thus, the first boldface section is a statement, fact, or implication, whose implication is being examined by the argument, and the second boldfaced section is the conclusion of the argument.

    With the expectations set, we can now look at the answer choices.

    Option 1 - The first is a circumstance whose implication the argument seeks to evaluate; the second is the main conclusion.
    This is exactly what we expected. This answer choice describes the nature of the two boldfaced sections perfectly; it is the correct answer choice.

    Option 2 - The first is a finding that the argument seeks to evaluate; the second opposes the finding.
    The first part of this answer choice is correct. The first boldfaced section is indeed a finding that the argument evaluates. The second part, however, is inaccurate. If the second boldfaced section opposed the finding, it would say that the GDP has not grown by 15% and the second section does not do so. Thus, this answer choice is incorrect.

    Option 3 - The first is a fact that opposes the main conclusion; the second is the main conclusion.
    In this answer choice, the second half is correct but the first half is not. Suggesting that the GDP has grown by 15% is not suggesting that the party is likely to win, thus opposing the conclusion. While this fact could lead to a slightly different prediction, the role of the first boldfaced section, in the reasoning, is not to oppose the main conclusion; it is simply to mention something positive that the party may have done or had a role in. This is a very close answer choice, a trap. Such answer choices call for serious deliberation.

    Option 4 - The first is a finding that helps derive a conclusion; the second is the conclusion.
    The conclusion mentioned in this answer choice is most likely that the party must be applauded for its role in achieving a 15% growth in GDP, as that is the most logical conclusion to stem from the finding in the first boldfaced section, that the GDP of Xitora has grown by 15% during the tenure of the current governing party. However, this is not the conclusion mentioned in the second boldfaced section; that is the main conclusion of the passage, that the party is unlikely to win another term in the forthcoming elections. Thus, while this is a very interesting answer choice, it is not the correct one.

    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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