What is GMAT Critical Reasoning?


Questions of GMAT critical reasoning are indirectly related to your ability to defend your arguments and find flaws in the arguments of others. Remember that an argument is a reasoning that proves or refutes something, generating conclusions based on two or more premises. Hence, the main theme of these problems is the adequate reading and understanding of premises and conclusions, identifying the roles that statements play in an argumentative text. Hence, it will test your critical thinking, a fundamental skill for MBAs. About 10 questions are of this type. There are 8 categories for these questions:

  1. Following an argument, identify among the options which one of them weakens it
  2. Based on an argument, recognize which option strengthens you
  3. The argument will have a premise and a conclusion. Since logical syllogisms require at least two premises, your job will be to find the missing one in the options
  4. The argument will have no conclusion. The test is to find which is the one that best suits the premises among the options.
  5. Some sentences will be underlined in the argumentative text. Knowing what function they fulfill is the objective of this question, since you will choose the option that answers this.
  6. This type of question is not very common. Two statements will come that seem contradictory, despite both being true. Among the options, you will choose the sentence that works as a synthesis, so that the reason for the paradox is understood.
  7. From the argument, you will identify the option that contains valuable information to evaluate if the argument has true or false premises.
  8. These options will normally be longer, and will tend to be paragraphs of two or more lines.
  9. The passage will have a blank space. You will choose the option that best fits in the space, so that the argument makes sense.

Unlike reading comprehension, notice how these types of questions do not ask for information from the text, the objective of the text, or infer. You will have to go further and reason if what is said is true or false, based on the robustness of its premises and conclusions. Examples are the following, obtained from GMAT Official Guide , 2016:

What is GMAT Critical Reasoning

§ Question 1: Weaken the argument

Vasquez – Morrell Assurance specializes in insuring manufacturers. Whenever a policyholder makes a claim, a claims adjuster determines the amount Vasquez-Morrel is obligated to pay. Vasquez-Morrel is cutting its staff of claims adjusters by 15 percent. To ensure that the company’s ability to handle claims promptly is affected as little as possible by the staff cuts, consultants recommend that Vasquez – Morrel lay off those adjusters who now take longest, on average, to complete work on claims assigned to them. Which of the following, its true, most seriously calls into question the consultant’s criterion for selecting the staff to be laid off?

  1. If the time that Vasquez – Morrell takes to settle claims increases significantly, it could lose business to other insurers
  2. Supervisors at Vasquez – Morrell tend to assign the most complex claims to the most capable adjusters
  3. At Vasquez-Morrell, no insurance payments are made until a claims adjuster has reached a final determination on the claim
  4. There are no positions at Vasquez-Morrell to which staff currently employed as claims adjusters could be reassigned
  5. The premiums that Vasquez – Morrell currently charges are no higher than those charged for similar coverage by competitors.

§ Question 2: Conclusion

The percentage of households with an annual income of more than $ 40,000 is higher in Merton County than in any other county. However, the percentage of households with an annual income of $ 60,000 or more is higher in Sommer County. If the statements above are true, which of the following must also be true?

  1. The percentage of households with an annual income of $ 80,000 is higher in Sommer County than in Merton County
  2. Merton County has the second-highest percentage of households with an annual income of $ 60,000 or more
  3. Some households in Merton County have an annual income between $ 40,000 and $ 60,000
  4. The number of households with an annual income of more than $ 40,000 is greater in Merton County than in Sommer County
  5. Average annual household income is higher in Sommer County than in Merton County

§ Question 3: Paradox

During the 1980s and 1990s, the annual number of people who visited the Sordellian mountains increased continually, and many new ski resorts were built. Over the same period, however, the number of visitors to ski resorts who were caught in avalanches decreased, even though there was no reduction in the annual number of avalanches in the Sordellian Mountains. Which of the following, if true in the Sordellian Mountains during the 1980s and 1990s, most helps to explain the decrease?

  1. Avalanches were most likely to happen when a large new snowfall covered an old layer of snow
  2. Avalanches destroyed at least some buildings in the Sordellian Mountains in every year
  3. People planning new ski slopes and other resort facilities used increasingly accurate information about which locations are likely to be in the path of avalanches
  4. The average length of stay for people visiting the Sordellian Mountains increased slightly
  5. Construction of new ski resorts often led to the clearing of wooded areas that had helped to prevent avalanches