GMAT Hacks: Critical Reasoning–Don’t Take a Flying Leap

The key concept, always, in CR questions is that of “scope.” If an answer choice is too general or too specific, it is usually easy to spot as such. It’s trickier when the scope is wrong, but not because it’s too local or too global”“it’s just subtly shifted from the scope of the question.

An example: The scope might shift from the effect of rainfall on the health of a certain species to the effect of rainfall on the growth of a certain plant that the species feeds on.

When the scope shifts, it’s perfectly natural to fill in the gaps for yourself. In the example above, you might think, “of course, if rainfall means that there’s a more ample supply of this plant, then the species will have more food and be healthier.”

Depending on the question, though, that’s the kind of rationale that gets you in trouble. Your job on CR questions isn’t to devise justifications, it’s to recognize them.

The difference is slight, but it’s crucial.

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

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