Although nothing beats hard work, keep these tips in mind while solving questions from Critical Reasoning. They make 10-12 % of the Verbal Ability section.
Read the question carefully.
Sometimes the answer is in front of your eyes and there is no critical thinking required. Not reading the question properly can cost you time as well as marks.
Look for the overall flow.
Arguments have a tendency to follow one of two shapes: a triangle or an inverted triangle. Does the author start by making a specific conclusion and then provide more general evidence, or does he begin with observations and then get to a thesis? This will help you get comfortable with the question. It helps in feeling confident about the answer, which is as important as marking the correct answer.
Pick variables to describe the structure.
“A leads to B which leads to C” is different from “B turns into C unless A is prevented.” Be on the lookout for “If A, then B” relationships. Each sentence has a purpose that builds that structure.
Put the argument in your own words.
Dumb down the complexity of the argument as you read, as if you were explaining it to a child. You may want to write down a few short notes to help you. The idea is to ignore the petty details and see through to the author’s main point and to the evidence he provides to support his point.
Pay attention to transition words.
Transition words and phrases are like signposts pointing your way through the logic of the argument. They tell you what is coming next. “Specifically…” means a more detailed example will follow. “Thus,” means a summation is to be expected. “While this may be true…” is a phrase that shows a concession is about to be made. Keep a study sheet of transition words and divide them into categories: Examples, Adding, Contrasting, Emphasis, Resulting In, etc. It’s an ongoing process to familiarize yourself with these, but a worthwhile one.
Identify – Premise, Conclusion and Assumptions.
This advice is complete in itself. While solving questions, you will know why. 🙂
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