Critical Reasoning: Concepts & Tricks

Critical Reasoning forms a crucial part of a number of competitive exams. Go through the essential concepts and tips to improve your score and accuracy in critical reasoning questions.
Common Terms used in Critical Reasoning:
Argument: An argument is a set of statements, out of which, one is conclusion, another is facts and third is assumptions and the facts support the conclusion. In order to strengthen or weaken the argument, one has to support or go against the unstated assumption related to the question given.
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Conclusion: Conclusion is the main point of an argument, and it is based on facts.
Facts or premises: a premise or fact is a stated evidence that supports the conclusion.
Assumption: an unstated / hidden fact which supports the conclusion.
Inference: An inference is something which we get or interpret from the given statement.
In order to find conclusion or inference, we need to take out keywords from the statement given and can fetch those keywords in the answer options.
Strategy to handle CR questions:
1. Break the CR passage into parts
If you are having difficulty in understanding the passage, break the passage into various parts. Identify the conclusion, facts, and assumptions. This will help in understanding of the passage using the structural approach for solving the passage.
2. Beware of answer choices, which are contradictory to the main idea given in the question
Always read the question carefully, and be careful of what it is asking. For example, if the question asks which of the following weakens the argument, then definitely there will be one option which will be strengthening the argument. Beware of such answers, these are specially written to confuse the students. If you are careful about this trick, you will be able to save yourself from a lot of incorrect answers, and thereby increasing your score.
3. Re-phrase passages into simpler words
The language given in critical reasoning passages is always tough and confusing. Hence for your own benefit it is better to simplify the language. That ways you will understand the question better and will also be able to break the question and get rid of the irrelevant data, which might hinder the process of finding the correct answer.
4. Understand what is being asked
A lot of times, the students get really confused about what is being asked in the question, thus it is imperative to understand the question, because of the lack of understanding, we tend to mark the wrong answer.
Let's discuss a few examples to understand the concept better.
Critical Reasoning Questions
1. Statement/Conclusion: Chandigarh is a pleasant city.
Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the above conclusion?”
I. There are many great galleries in Chandigarh.
II. Patiala has many great restaurants.
Solution: Sometimes people are confused as to whether they have to consider if the options are true or not. You don’t have to do this. You can assume all the options are true. You don’t have to ask yourself whether it is actually true that Patiala has many great restaurants. It’s clear that Option I would be the right answer, because it's the only answer that actually applies to Chandigarh.
2. Statement: The serious accident in which a person was run down by a car yesterday has again focused attention on the most unsatisfactory state of roads.
Conclusions/Inference:
I. The accident that occurred was fatal
II. Several accidents have so far taken place because of unsatisfactory state of roads.
Solution: The answer should be both I and II as both can be concluded or driven from the given statement. For the first conclusion the key words are ‘run down’ and for the second conclusion the key words are ‘unsatisfactory state of roads’.
3. Statement: Jade plant has thick leaves and it requires little water.
Conclusions/Inference:
I. all plants, with thick leaves, require little water.
II. Jade plant may be grown in places where water is not in abundance.
Solution: The answer should be II only as I talks about all the plants whereas in the given statement only Jade plant is being talked about.
4. Statement:  The best evidence of India’s glorious past is the growing popularity of Ayurvedic medicines in the west.
Conclusions/Inference:
I. Ayurvedic medicines are not popular in India.
II. Allopathic medicines are more popular in India.
Solution: The answer option in this case will be ‘none of the conclusion can be drawn’ as both I and II cannot be driven out of the given statement. Statement I  goes against the statement given and II is going out of context.
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When the questions become more difficult, you can save time by remembering that it is not your job to consider whether the options are true or not when the question is written this way. The answer to ‘why are you saying this ’will be justified if the ‘why’ is based on relevant and logical statements.
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