Unlike the other two types of questions in the Verbal section (reading comprehension and sentence correction), critical reasoning questions test participants’ reason and judgment. In this section, test-takers are graded on their ability to understand a written argument, evaluate it, and form their own opinion on the, often unfamiliar subject.
Critical reasoning questions are made up of a short passage of text, with a question and a choice of five multiple choice answers.
The best advice in tackling the Verbal section’s critical reasoning questions is to first read the question before reading the text, and then reading the multiple choice answers.
This method allows test-takers to keep the question in mind while reading the text, whereas refraining from reading the multiple choice answers ensures that test-takers understand the whole argument.
The sample passages of text are often designed to be confusing for the reader, so that the GMAT truly tests participant’s competency and understanding of the English language.
As a result, it can prove difficult to absorb the whole argument. In these situations, it can be beneficial to locate the argument’s conclusion, which should summarize the argument.
The critical reasoning questions of the GMAT’s Verbal section are difficult to prepare for. This is because, rather than a simple ‘one-size fits all’ approach to answering the questions, participants are required to use their judgment, by first analyzing the sample text, and then selecting the answer that they feel best fits the question.
As a result, all preparation for critical reasoning questions should involve the development of skills, rather than simple revision. Here, by far the best starting point is to test yourself with critical reasoning practice questions, such as with TopMBA.com’s free GMAT sample questions.
After practicing with these tests, you should be able to ascertain where any weaknesses lie, and be able to select the best course of action to take in order to improve.
For those who need much improvement in the critical reasoning question type of the GMAT’s Verbal section, the most effective method is to enroll in a designated GMAT Verbal preparation course.
However, for those who feel they at a more advanced stage in their understanding of the critical reasoning question type, dedicated GMAT Verbal preparation workbooks should suffice.