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GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Questions Practice
The Assumption Questions in GMAT's Critical Reasoning section tell you what the conclusion is and then ask you to go back in the argument and see what must have been true for the argument to be true. Premise (P) + Assumption (A) = Conclusion (C). The tempting wrong answers in the answer choices are another conclusion statement. That is definitely a wrong answer. Below are some sample questions from the GMAC's paper Test Code 25 and various other sources including Manhattan Elite Prep Verbal Study Workbook for illustrative teaching purposes.
GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Practice Question 1
Bank depositors in the United States are all financially protected against bank failure because the government insures all individuals' bank deposits. An economist argues that this insurance is partly responsible for the high rate of bank failures, since it removes from depositors any financial incentive to find out whether the bank that holds their money is secure against failure. If depositors were more selective, then banks would need to be financially stable in order to compete for depositors' money.
The economist's argument makes which of the following assumptions?
(A) Bank failures are caused when big borrowers default on loan repayments.
(B) A significant proportion of depositors maintain accounts at several different banks.
(C) The more a depositor has to deposit, the more careful he or she tends to be in selecting a bank.
(D) The difference in the interest rates paid to depositors by different banks is not a significant factor in bank failures.
(E) Potential depositors are able to determine which banks are financially secure against failure.
Solutions: *This is an assumption question.
The correct answer is (E). It is a fairly straightforward question and the wrong answers are easy to eliminate.
GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Practice Question 1 - Part 2
Bank depositaries in the US are all financially protected against bank failure because the government insures all individual's bank deposits. An economist argues that this insurance is partly responsibly for the high rate of bank failures, since it removes from depositors any financial incentive to find out where the bank that holds heir money is secure against failure. If depositors were more selective, then banks would need to be financially secure in order to compete for depositor's money.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the economist's argument?
(A) Before the government started to insure depositors against bank failure, there was a lower rate of bank failure than there is now.
(B) When the government did not insure deposits, frequent banks failures occurred as result of depositor's fears or losing money in bank failures.
(C) Surveys show that a significant proportion of depositors are aware that their deposits are insured by the government.
(D) There is an upper limit on the amount of an individual's deposit that the government will insure, but very few individuals' deposits exceed this limit.
(E) The financial security of a bank against failure depends on the percentage of its assets that are loaned out and also on how much risk its loan involve.
Solutions: *(E) is a tempting answer because it suggests that insurance is not the main factor in the fight against bank failure. The correct answer is (B); when there were no deposits insured then there were no bank failures.
GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Practice Question 2
The Flerenchian government deicded to limit the import of chocolate from the four countries which export the greatest amount of chocolate to Flerenchia. An analyst hired by the government maintains that in the near future this will cause a large increase in domestic sales of chocolate produced in Flerenchia.
Which of the following, if true, would most likely renders this prediction inaccurate?
(A) A new tax bill that would discourage foreign investment in the chocolate industry is being debated by the Flerenchian government.
(B) Flerenchian companies' orders for milk chocolates, which account for 60% of sales by chocolate companies, rose faster than for other types of chocolates during the past year.
(C) Worldwide order for chocolate made in Flerenchia rose more than 15% during the past year.
(D) Substantial inventories of foreign-made chocolates were stockpiled in Flerenchia during the past year.
(E) Companies in the chocolate industries of many countries showed significantly increased demand for chocolate during the past year.
Solutions: *This falls into a special assumptions: predictions questions.
What the analyst is predicting is that there will be a large increase in domestic sales in the future. (B) is incorrect because it is out of the scope of the question. (A) is the most tempting wrong answer. There are two problems with (A): the tax bill is a 'maybe' and (A) talks about the medium term and we're looking to see what will happen over the long term. (D) is the correct answer. (E) is not true because it's a strengthener questions.
GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Practice Question 3
Because postage rates are rising, Home Decorator magazine plans to maximize its profits by reducing by one half the number of issues it publishes each year. The quality of articles, the number of articles published per year, and the subscription price will not change. Market research shows that neither subscribers nor advertisers will be lost if the magazine's plan is instituted.
Which of the following, if true, proved the strongest evidence that the magazine's profits are likely to decline if the plan is instituted?
(A) with the new postage rates, a typical issue under the proposed plan would cost about one-third more to mail than a typical current issue would.
(B) The majority of the magazine's subscribers are less concerned about a possible reduction in the quantity of the magazine's articles than about a possible loss of the current high quality of it's articles.
(C) Many of them magazine's long-time subscribers would continue their subscriptions even if the subscription price were increase.
(D) Most of the advertisers that purchase advertising space in the magazine will continue to spend the same amount on advertising per issue as they have in the past.
(E) Production costs for the magazine are expected to remain stable.
Solutions: *This is a weakening question. It talks about a plan and we are looking for an answer that will assume that the plan will not work. (A) is not correct because it will not make the magazine's profits decline. (C) is a strengthener answer. The correct answer is (D) because it will cause the profits to decline.
GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Practice Question 4
A study of marital relationships in which one partner's sleeping and waking cycles differ from those of the other partner reveals that such couples share fewer activities with each other and have more violent arguments than do couples in a relationship in which both partners follow the same sleeping and waking patterns. Thus, mismatched sleeping and waking cycles can seriously jeopardize a marriage.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?
(A) married couples in which both spouses follow the same sleeping and waking patterns also occasionally have arguments that can jeopardize the couple's marriage.
(B) The sleeping and waking cycles of individuals tend to vary from season to season.
(C) The individuals who have sleeping and waking cycles that differ significantly from those of their spouses tend to argue little with colleagues at work.
(D) People in unhappy marriages have been found to express hostility by adopting a different sleeping and waking cycle that from that of their spouses.
(E) According to a recent study,. Most people's sleeping and waking cycles can be controlled and modified easily.
Solutions: *We are looking for a weakener to the argument. The correct answer is (D) since it argues that the reasons for having different sleeping and waking cycles for a couple could be their unhappiness to begin with, which is the opposite of what the statement in the questions.
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How to Tackle Critical Reading Assumption Questions
Assumption questions ask you to find the unstated link between a question’s premise and its conclusion. Assumptions are crucial in understanding and refuting arguments, so they play a large role in two major Critical Reasoning question types . In this post, we’ll cover GMAT Critical Reasoning tips and practice questions to help you tackle assumption questions.
How to Tackle Critical Reasoning Assumption Questions
Luckily, arguments on GMAT Critical Reasoning questions are relatively formulaic, so let’s go over the basics first:
- A premise is the starting point of the argument.
- The conclusion is what the author wants you to believe by the end of the argument.
- The assumption is the missing link between the premise and conclusion. Think of it like the linchpin holding the whole thing together. You can strengthen an argument by validating its assumption, or weaken the argument by denying the assumption.
Assumption questions will usually ask you, “Which would most strengthen the argument?” or “Which of the following would most weaken the argument?” (the latter is one of the most common on Critical Reasoning).
Make Your Assumption a General Statement
This is a crucial point to remember: assumptions are most often general statements , not specific statements. When you identify the assumption, you can omit any specific people, places, or items mentioned.
If my premise is “Fred has quality A,” and my conclusion is “Therefore, Fred has quality B,” Fred is a specific person that we can omit (sorry, Fred). The assumption would be something like “most/all folks who have quality A also have quality B.”
Identify the Assumption
Isolating an assumption is an important skill and one of our favorite GMAT Critical Reasoning tips. Let’s try it with this argument:
- The premise is “Hawaii is a place with beautiful scenery.” (We can safely assume that at least 99 out of a hundred people would agree with that!) Hawaii is the specific, so you can omit that—the final premise has to do with a “place with beautiful scenery.”
- The conclusion is “trouble concentrating.”
- The assumption must provide a link. If we put those together with a strong logical connection, we get this assumption: “People in places with beautiful scenery generally have trouble concentrating.” Even though it’s a little absurd, that’s a possible way to state the assumption!
It would most strengthen this argument if one could somehow provide data or evidence supporting this assumption. This argument would be weakened if we could cite data or evidence that directly contradicts the assumption.
Now, consider an argument you’re more likely to see on the GMAT:
- If we drop the specifics, the premise is about increasing spending on advertising, and the conclusion is: more new customers. An assumption would link these.
- A very broad assumption: “Companies that increase what they spend on advertising generally see an increase in new customers.”
- A slightly more specific assumption: “When companies in the steel industry increase advertising, this generally results in more new customers.”
This is a relatively poor argument, and if we were asked for a statement to weaken it, the best choice would be something that zeroed in on the assumption. For example, something like Studies of companies in the steel industry show little correlation between advertising dollars and new customers strikes right at the center of the argument.
Use the Negation Test to Verify the Assumption
If you want to verify that your assumption is really the correct one, you can use the Negation Test —put simply, try negating the statement and seeing if the conclusion is still true. If you haven’t tried the Negation Test yet (another of our key GMAT Critical Reasoning tips!), then I would definitely recommend checking out our post and studying this powerful technique for isolating assumptions of arguments.
Practice Questions and Explanations
1. Which of the following is an assumption that supports drawing the conclusion above from the reasons given for that conclusion?
Click here for the answer and video explanation!
2. Which of the following is an assumption that supports drawing the conclusion above from the reasons given for that conclusion?
3. Which one of the following is an assumption on which the conclusion depends?
If folks with Laestrygonian Disease cannot assimilate the Vitamin C in the rice, then it won’t help them, and eating the fortified rice will not provide them any particular benefit. If we negate this option, it shatters the argument. This is a true assumption.
(A) This may be true, although I am skeptical that any human-made improved food would be better than the fruits designed by Nature! Regardless, whether this is true or not does not have any bearing on how helpful the fortified rice will be for the folks with Laestrygonian Disease. This option is incorrect.
(B) This is intriguing. Let’s negate this. Suppose it were the exact same problem, say, the exact same missing enzyme, that made it impossible to digest both fruit and vitamin supplements. Then what? Would that mean they also couldn’t digest the fortified rice, or get the vitamin C they need from it? We cannot say. It’s conceivable that the argument could still work, so negating this does not destroy the argument. This is not an assumption.
(D) Let’s negate this. Suppose the fortified rice benefits everyone—even the no-carbs fanatic who hasn’t touched carbs in a decade: even when this person breaks his carb-fast and has the fortified rice, he has benefit from it. What then? Whether these other people benefit or not from the fortified rice has no bearing on whether it helps the folks with Laestrygonian Disease. This choice is incorrect.
(E) Let’s negate this. Suppose we can infused dozens of other vitamins and minerals into the rice, all with high nutritional yield. That would only be good for the folks with Laestrygonian Disease—the more vitamins, the better! It certainly would not impact whether these folks derived any benefit from the vitamin C in the rice. This choice is incorrect.
Assumption questions will require you to read closely, but with practice you can identify the missing link. For more GMAT Critical Reasoning tips, check out our introduction to the CR section , then test your knowledge further with a GMAT Verbal diagnostic test .
Mike served as a GMAT Expert at Magoosh, helping create hundreds of lesson videos and practice questions to help guide GMAT students to success. He was also featured as “member of the month” for over two years at GMAT Club . Mike holds an A.B. in Physics (graduating magna cum laude ) and an M.T.S. in Religions of the World, both from Harvard. Beyond standardized testing, Mike has over 20 years of both private and public high school teaching experience specializing in math and physics. In his free time, Mike likes smashing foosballs into orbit, and despite having no obvious cranial deficiency, he insists on rooting for the NY Mets. Learn more about the GMAT through Mike’s Youtube video explanations and resources like What is a Good GMAT Score? and the GMAT Diagnostic Test .
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GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption Questions
GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR) assumption questions ask you to identify the underlying assumptions that support an argument. The assumptions are unstated or implicit premises that need to be true for the conclusion to be valid. Here is a quick guide on how to answer GMAT CR assumption questions effectively.
GMAT critical reasoning assumption questions – the standard approach
- Identify the conclusion: Before you can identify the assumption, you need to understand the conclusion of the argument. The conclusion is the main point that the argument is trying to make.
- Identify the premise(s): Look for the evidence or reasons that support the conclusion. These are the premises of the argument.
- Identify any gaps in the argument: Consider whether there are any missing pieces of information that would strengthen or weaken the argument. These gaps can be clues to the underlying assumption(s).
- Predict the assumption: Based on the conclusion, premises, and any gaps in the argument, predict what assumptions are needed for the argument to be valid.
- Evaluate each answer choice: Consider how each answer choice relates to the predicted assumption. If the answer choice is not necessary to the argument, eliminate it. If it strengthens the assumption, keep it.
- Confirm your answer: Once you have selected an answer choice, read the argument again to confirm that your answer is relevant and supported by the argument.
Here are some examples of GMAT CR assumption questions and how to answer them:
- Which of the following is an assumption made in the argument below?
Argument: “All of the top-performing employees in our company have advanced degrees. Therefore, we should require all new hires to have an advanced degree.”
- A) The company has a sufficient number of top-performing employees to make a statistically significant conclusion.
- B) All employees who have advanced degrees are top-performing employees.
- C) Advanced degrees are necessary for top-performing employees.
- D) The cost of requiring an advanced degree for new hires is justified by the benefits.
- E) Advanced degrees are widely available and accessible to potential hires.
Answer: B) All employees who have advanced degrees are top-performing employees.
Explanation: The argument assumes that all employees who have advanced degrees are top-performing employees, which is not necessarily true. This assumption is needed to support the conclusion that requiring an advanced degree for new hires will result in top-performing employees.
- Which of the following is an assumption that the argument relies on?
Argument: “A recent survey found that 90% of people who switched to our brand of laundry detergent reported cleaner and brighter clothes. Therefore, our detergent is better than all other brands.”
- A) The survey was conducted by a reputable and unbiased organization.
- B) The survey included a statistically significant number of participants.
- C) The survey participants used the detergent as directed.
- D) The survey participants did not receive any compensation for their participation.
- E) The survey was conducted using a double-blind methodology.
Answer: C) The survey participants used the detergent as directed.
Explanation: The argument assumes that the survey participants used the detergent as directed, which is needed to support the conclusion that the detergent is better than all other brands. If the participants did not use the detergent as directed, the survey results may not accurately reflect the effectiveness of the detergent.
The unconventional approach to solve GMAT CR questions
GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR) assumption questions can be tricky, and the standard approach of identifying the unstated premise may not always be the most effective way to arrive at the correct answer. Here are some unconventional ways to solve GMAT CR assumption questions:
- Look for Contradictions: Look for answer choices that contradict the argument or the conclusion. Often, the correct answer choice will point out a potential flaw in the argument, such as a missing piece of information or a logical fallacy. By identifying the contradiction, you can narrow down the answer choices and arrive at the correct assumption.
- Use Logical Reasoning: Instead of relying solely on the content of the argument, use logical reasoning to determine the underlying assumption. For example, you could use the process of elimination to eliminate answer choices that are clearly irrelevant or illogical. You could also use deductive reasoning to eliminate answer choices that are not necessary for the argument to be valid.
- Consider the Opposite: Consider the opposite of the conclusion and ask yourself what assumptions would be necessary for that to be true. For example, if the argument concludes that a new product will be successful, consider what assumptions would need to be true for the product to fail. This approach can help you identify the unstated premises that underlie the argument.
- Use Real-World Knowledge: Sometimes, real-world knowledge can help you identify the underlying assumption of the argument. For example, if the argument is about the effects of a new medical treatment, your knowledge of medicine and biology could help you identify the necessary assumptions. Similarly, if the argument is about a company’s financial performance, your knowledge of business and economics could be useful.
- Think Outside the Box: Don’t limit yourself to the standard types of assumptions, such as cause-and-effect or correlation. Consider other types of assumptions, such as assumptions about the audience, the context, or the intent of the argument. By thinking creatively, you may be able to arrive at the correct answer even if it is not the most obvious one.
Here is an example of how to use an unconventional approach to solve a GMAT CR assumption question:
Argument: “Studies have shown that people who eat more vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease. Therefore, everyone should eat more vegetables.”
- A) The studies were conducted over a long enough period to be statistically significant. B) The studies were conducted on a diverse group of people. C) The studies accounted for other factors that could affect heart disease risk, such as exercise and smoking. D) The studies were conducted by reputable and unbiased researchers. E) The studies controlled for the fact that people who eat more vegetables may be more health-conscious overall.
Standard Approach : The standard approach would be to identify the missing premise that links the evidence to the conclusion. In this case, the missing premise is that eating more vegetables causes a lower risk of heart disease. The correct answer choice would be the one that makes this assumption.
Unconventional Approach : Instead of focusing on the cause-and-effect relationship, consider the opposite of the conclusion. If the argument is not true, what assumptions would need to be false? In this case, if everyone ate more vegetables and the risk of heart disease did not decrease, what assumptions would need to be false? Answer choice E) is the correct answer because it points out that people who eat more vegetables may be more health-conscious overall, which could confound the results of the studies. This assumption is necessary for the argument to be valid, but it is not a standard cause-and-effect assumption.
Some more examples of solving GMAT Critical Reasoning Assumption questions
Argument: “Our company’s new marketing campaign has been a success because we have seen an increase in sales since it launched. Therefore, our marketing team must be doing a great job.”
Which of the following is an assumption upon which the argument depends?
- A) There are no external factors that could have contributed to the increase in sales.
- B) The increase in sales is solely attributable to the new marketing campaign.
- C) Customers who bought the product during the marketing campaign were not influenced by other factors, such as discounts or promotions.
- D) The increase in sales is sustainable over the long-term.
- E) The company has never experienced an increase in sales before.
Answer: The correct answer is B) The increase in sales is solely attributable to the new marketing campaign.
Explanation: In this argument, the conclusion is that the company’s new marketing campaign has been a success because there has been an increase in sales since it launched. To reach this conclusion, the argument assumes that the increase in sales is solely attributable to the new marketing campaign. Without this assumption, other factors such as external events or the company’s reputation could be responsible for the increase in sales, and the argument would not necessarily be valid.
Answer choice A is a possible assumption, but it is not necessary for the argument to be valid. Answer choice C is irrelevant to the argument because the argument does not address the impact of discounts or promotions on sales. Answer choice D is not an assumption, but rather a separate issue that the argument does not address. Answer choice E is a possible inference, but it is not an assumption upon which the argument depends.
Therefore, the correct answer is B) The increase in sales is solely attributable to the new marketing campaign.
Argument: “The new housing development will create jobs and generate tax revenue, making it a positive addition to the community. Therefore, the city council should approve the development.”
- A) The housing development will not negatively impact the environment.
- B) The jobs created by the housing development will benefit the local community.
- C) The tax revenue generated by the housing development will outweigh any costs associated with increased demand for public services.
- D) The city council has the legal authority to approve the housing development.
- E) There are no other feasible alternatives for creating jobs and generating tax revenue in the community.
Answer: The correct answer is C) The tax revenue generated by the housing development will outweigh any costs associated with increased demand for public services.
Explanation: In this argument, the conclusion is that the new housing development will be a positive addition to the community because it will create jobs and generate tax revenue. To reach this conclusion, the argument assumes that the tax revenue generated by the housing development will outweigh any costs associated with increased demand for public services. Without this assumption, the city council cannot be certain that approving the housing development will be financially beneficial to the community, and the argument would not necessarily be valid.
Answer choice A is a possible assumption, but it is not necessary for the argument to be valid. Answer choice B is a possible inference, but it is not an assumption upon which the argument depends. Answer choice D is also not an assumption, but rather a separate issue related to the city council’s authority. Answer choice E is irrelevant to the argument because it does not address the financial impact of the housing development.
Therefore, the correct answer is C) The tax revenue generated by the housing development will outweigh any costs associated with increased demand for public services.
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How to solve assumption based critical reasoning questions for cat.
- August 4, 2021
Critical reasoning questions for CAT Exam form a regular part of the Verbal Ability section. In these questions, an argument is presented and the candidates are asked to select the correct choice for a statement, related to the assumption/ true statement/ strengthening/ weakening/ plausible explanation pertaining to that argument, from the given answer choices. These types of questions examine a candidate’s logical skills and the ability to identify reason and rationale.
Though Critical Reasoning questions are not seen in past year CAT Exams but having a command over Critical Reasoning Questions will help in solving Reading Comprehension Questions for CAT and Verbal Ability Questions for CAT. In this article, we will be learning some tips and tricks to Solve Critical Reasoning questions for CAT and how to solve Assumption Based CR Questions for CAT Exam.
What are Premise, Conclusion, and Assumption?
Critical reasoning questions for CAT Exam comprise of a passage with several facts and an argument is given which will further comprise of a premise and a conclusion. The premise is a fact or proof related to the subject matter of the passage and usually, they are stated clearly by the author. In other cases, they are not explicitly stated but assumed and so they form the “Assumptions”. The questions related to this are “Assumption Based Questions on Critical Reasoning for CAT Exam”. A conclusion is an assertion or a point of view that the author wants to convey through the passage. This conclusion is an important part in the sense that most of the questions are linked to it. Whether it is the ‘strengthen/ weaken the argument’ or ‘inference-based questions’, all these imply the identification of the conclusion of the passage.
With reference to the Assumption-based questions, the Critical Reasoning section consists of a lot of questions related to it. They are used to test your ability to recognize the assumptions of an argument. An assumption, unlike a premise, is true only in respect of the argument as it might not be true per se. You have to assume what the author believes to be true.
Assumptions of any argument in a passage are mostly explicit. However, the questions asked in the exam are more of nature where the assumptions are not stated rather the candidates have to identify them on their own. This is because the passage in itself is left incomplete. Some facts remain unstated which makes it the job of the reader to identify its assumptions and its conclusion. There is a missing of some facts or there is a notable gap present in the argument.
There are two types of assumptions used to fill in that gap in the argument:
- A Sufficient Assumption: This assumption is one if inserted in the premises of the argument at the right place would complete the argument and make it meaningful. It gives a conclusive meaning to the argument with no gaps. For these type of assumptions, the questions can be asked in the following ways:
Which one of the following, if assumed, enables the conclusion of the argument to be properly drawn?
The conclusion follows logically from the premises if which one of the following is assumed?
- A Necessary Assumption: This type of assumption must be true in respect of the argument so that it can have a standing and not be refuted by counter arguments.
EXAMPLE | Assumption based Critical Reasoning Questions for CAT:
Argument: John comes to college in a Mercedes. He, therefore, must be rich.
The question that is asked about this argument is:
The conclusion follows logically if which one of the following is assumed?
To solve this question, you have to first identify the conclusion and the premises that support it. The conclusion in the above argument is “He, therefore, must be rich”, as is evident by the use of the word “therefore”. There is only one statement available in support of this conclusion, “John comes to college in a Mercedes”. This premise tells us only that John comes to college in a Mercedes car but in no way it points out that he is rich. Therefore, there is a gap between the conclusion and the above-stated premise. This gap must be fulfilled by an assumption that will render meaning to the whole argument. This assumption is the bridge. It will direct the flow of the argument logically from the premise to the conclusion.
John comes to college in a Mercedes. John, therefore, must be rich.
Assumption: Mercedes can be owned only by rich people.
The above assumption completes the argument logically.
Strategy for Assumption based Critical Reasoning questions for CAT
1. identify the premise:.
To solve any assumption-based question, firstly, you have to identify the premise given in the argument. The premise holds the key to understand what the argument is about or what the author is trying to convey. Note that the premise will be something that the author believes to be true. Do not let your personal beliefs let you think that something else is true which would cause you to choose the incorrect answer. Search for indicator words like owing to, for example, because, since, for, as indicated by, for the reason that, given that, we know this by , etc. to find the premise statement.
2. Identify the conclusion:
The next step after finding the premise is recognizing the conclusion of the argument. It can be identified by words or phrases like accordingly, hence, follows that, clearly, as a result, must be that, consequently, shows that, thus, so, etc.
3. Identify the Assumption:
An assumption is an unstated fact or assertion in an argument. It is stated implicitly which connects the premise and the conclusion. Once the premise and the conclusion have been identified, it is relatively easy to identify the assumption as well.
- Check the answer options first: We have to skip our personal beliefs in order to find the assumption which is based on what the author thinks to be true. So we should always first check the answer options given and not think of the assumption on our own.
- Method of negation: We should try to rule out or eliminate a given answer option after perusal to find out whether it can lead us to the conclusion or not.
Tips to solve the Assumption based Critical Reasoning questions for CAT
1. assumptions must be true for the given argument:.
The assumption should be true according to the author for a given argument and so read the statement with this approach only. The direction of the flow is that the assumption must be true for the conclusion to be true.
2. Do not be too logical with the arguments:
Read the information given and restrict your logic for identifying the assumption to the information provided in the argument itself and not beyond that.
3. Assumption cannot be deduced from the given information:
Unlike ‘inference’, the assumptions are new information and should not be deduced from the given information.
4. Do not align the argument with general knowledge:
The given argument may or may not be according to the facts known generally and so the same goes for identifying the assumption which must not be based on some general knowledge.
5. Use the elimination method:
When nothing works out, go through the given answer choices and eliminate them one by one. The assumption which connects the premise and the conclusion completely is the correct choice.
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Search catalog, critical thinking and academic research: assumptions.
- Point of View
An assumption is an unexamined belief: what we think without realizing we think it. Our inferences (also called conclusions) are often based on assumptions that we haven't thought about critically. A critical thinker, however, is attentive to these assumptions because they are sometimes incorrect or misguided. Just because we assume something is true doesn't mean it is.
Think carefully about your assumptions when finding and analyzing information but also think carefully about the assumptions of others. Whether you're looking at a website or a scholarly article, you should always consider the author's assumptions. Are the author's conclusions based on assumptions that she or he hasn't thought about logically?
- What am I taking for granted?
- Am I assuming something I shouldn't?
- How can I determine whether this assumption is accurate?
- What is this author assuming?
- How can I determine if this author's assumptions are accurate?
Consider the following situations, then respond to these questions:
- Do you agree or disagree with the inference/conclusion? Why or why not?
- What assumption(s) may have led to the inference/conclusion?
- What are some alternative ways of thinking about this situation?
Bill needs six scholarly articles for his paper on the psychological effects of domestic violence. He searches Google for "psychological effects of domestic violence," looks through the first few hits, and finds six sources, including some articles on the websites of legitimate organizations. A few of these articles include bibliographies.
- Bill's Inference/Conclusion: I'm going to stop researching because I have my six sources.
Christie is researching representations of gender in popular music. She decides to search Google and, within a few minutes, locates more sources that she could possibly incorporate into her final paper.
- Christie's Inference/Conclusion: I can just use Google for my research.
Jennifer has decided to write her literary analysis paper on drug use in David Foster Wallace's novel, Infinite Jest (1996). She tries a few Google searches for Infinite Jest, drugs, and drug use, but she has trouble finding scholarly sources. She gives up on Google and moves on to EBSCO Academic Search Premier, one of the databases she heard about in a library instruction class. She runs a search for Infinite Jest and drug use, but she still can't find much.
- Jennifer's Inference/Conclusion: I need to change my topic.
- << Previous: Inferences
- Next: Implications >>
- Last Updated: Jul 10, 2023 11:50 AM
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Home » 800score Free GMAT Prep Course » FREE GMAT PREP COURSE » Assumption Questions
In the previous chapter, we discussed argument structures and the relations among premises and conclusions. On the other hand, this chapter explores assumptions or ‘implicit premises’ that are not explicitly stated but assumed to be true .
Identifying the ‘ flaws ’ in an argument involves determining what is wrong in an argument, which mainly involves logical fallacies. This is one of the most difficult types of question to master, but this is certainly achievable through practice.
Solving ‘flaw’ questions
- Identify and understand the idea of the conclusion and premises.
- Identify assumptions because, from them, you can more easily identify flaws in arguments.
- Keep an eye out for extreme statements since these statements are harder to defend or prove and therefore, are more susceptible to flaws or fallacies.
- Read all the answer choices carefully to find the one closest to your understanding of the flaw.
III. Ad Hominem Flaws
Ad hominem flaws are logical fallacies that involve personal attacks intended to discredit the person making a certain argument. Arguments of this kind are fallacious because instead of attacking the argument of the person, the attack is shifted to the person himself.
· Argumentum ad populum
Argumentum ad populum is a kind of logical fallacy wherein the truth of a statement becomes based on how popular it is or how many people believe it.
· Genetic fallacy
This fallacy means dismissing an argument based on its source or where it came from.
· Appeal to authority
The appeal to authority is a fallacy that bases the validity of a statement on whether it came from an authority. In other words, it is taking the word of an authority on a subject as absolute truth.
· No true Scotsman
This fallacy is dismissing the argument of a person by saying that they are not really a member of your group.
IV. Argumentative Flaws
Previously, we have discussed fallacies or reasoning flaws involving the relation between an argument and its source or the person saying it. In this part, we discuss flaws involving argumentative techniques.
- Fallacy of faulty analogy
This fallacy is making an analogy between two things that are not similar or irrelevant to the argument.
- Straw man fallacy
The straw man fallacy involves giving the impression that one is refuting the opponent’s argument, even though it is not really the argument the opponent presented.
- Slippery slope
The slippery slope fallacy assumes that if one thing happens, another thing would follow even though in reality, the thing that supposedly would follow does not necessarily have to.
- Begging the question
Also known as circular reasoning, this fallacy ‘begs the question’ by presenting the conclusion as the premise.
- Fallacy of equivocation
This fallacy occurs when a word or phrase with more than one meaning is used differently throughout an argument.
- Either/Or thinking
Also known as ‘black or white’ fallacy, this thinking assumes that there are only two possible ways for something. It assumes that something is either black or white and that there are no other options.
- “All things are equal” fallacy
The ‘all things are equal’ fallacy assumes that background conditions are equal in all situations.
- Non sequitur
Arguments that are non sequitur claim that a statement follows from another statement, even though they do not necessarily follow from one another. It presents conclusions as following from a premise or premises when in fact, it does not necessarily have to.
- Special pleading
Special pleading is making an exception for an argument when it is proven to be false. It is saying that if something refutes an argument, that something is an exception to the rule.
The part-to-whole fallacy incorrectly assumes that the part of something or quality of something automatically applies to the whole.
- Fallacy of fallacies
This fallacy involves saying that because an argument is fallaciously argued, it is already incorrect. There are cases wherein an argument is completely valid but the person arguing for it commits a fallacy, which does not mean that the argument then becomes invalid.
Now that you’ve wrapped up the Assumptions chapter, we’re going to move on to some trap question types.
Trap Answers: BEWARE OF TWINS
If two answers are the same, then both are likely wrong.
Beware: Scope Trap
If you’ve found the main point, you must also identify what is in the range of the argument. Scope is related to more than just the general topic being discussed: it is the narrowing of the topic. Is the article about graduate-school admissions, law school admissions, or helping literature students get into the law school program of their choice? Each step represents a narrowing of the scope.
Let’s look at this critical reasoning question to examine scope.
Apartment building owners argue that rent control should be abolished. Although they acknowledge that, in the short term, rents would increase, they argue that the long-term effect would be a reduction in rents. This is because rent increases would lead to greater profitability. Higher profits would lead to increased apartment construction. Increased apartment construction would then lead to a greater supply of residences, and lower prices would result because potential apartment residents would have a better selection. Thus, abolishing rent control would ultimately reduce prices.
Name an assumption made by the owners: (Hint: this is a difficult question, but you can eliminate four of the five answers as outside the scope of the argument.)
- Current residents of rent-controlled apartments would be able to find new apartments once their rents increased.
- The fundamental value of any society is to house its citizens.
- Only current apartment owners would profit significantly from market deregulation.
- New apartment construction will generate a great number of jobs.
- The increase in the number of apartments available would exceed the number of new potential apartment residents.
Which possible answers are outside of the scope? The scope is the argument that deregulation will increase supply and lower prices. “Name an assumption” means find a direct assumption of the supply/demand argument.
(E) is the only choice that isn’t outside the scope of the argument: price of rents. So, we can choose it without even seeing a question stem. The argument revolves around a supply/demand dynamic in housing, so the answer should as well.
(A) is incorrect because current residents aren’t related to the issue in the argument. (B) and (C) go afield into areas that aren’t related, such as societal ethics. The issue of jobs isn’t mentioned either, which rules out (D). (E) is the only choice directly germane to the paragraph.
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Assumption questions in critical reasoning .
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Framework approach to problems
Gmat assumption questions.
Apparently, GMAT critical reasoning accounts for ~30% of questions on the GMAT Exam Verbal Section. So, expect anywhere between 10-12 questions pertaining to critical reasoning. The GMAT assumption questions are a significant part of the critical reasoning section. It helps indirectly answer strengthen, weaken and evaluate questions. GMAT assumption questions blog tries to demystify this specific concept.
An argument is a combination of facts and a conclusion. The assumption is the piece of information that’s not necessarily mentioned within the question paragraph/statements but must be true for the conclusion.
e.g. The government of Delhi has imposed strict mask-wearing requirements. The covid’s spread is expected to fall drastically.
Here, the author is able to conclude that wearing masks will help reduce covid spread drastically. The assumption made here is that wearing masks reduces covid spread. Because most of the spread happens from person to person . This assumption is the missing link between the premise and the conclusion.
The assumption is the missing piece of information for the conclusion to be true. Moreover, we can even have multiple assumptions leading up to the conclusion.
Tackling GMAT Assumption Questions
Given that, we know the definition of the assumption, we will get to the problem-solving part of the assumption questions. There are broadly 3 steps to getting to an assumption problem.
- Identifying the right premise and conclusion: This is necessary since we will need to figure out the missing link between the two. A wrong conclusion will result in choosing the wrong statement as an assumption.
- New Information: The assumption must be the missing information thereby should be new or additional information to that in the question.
- Scope of argument: Post the identification of the conclusion, the right answer should lie within the scope of the argument . Furthermore, it should affect the conclusion as well.
- Affects the argument: The assumption must be true for the conclusion, new information and within the scope of the argument .
Post-reading the paragraph/question, it is recommended to get some basic pre-thinking done before getting to the answer choices. This pre-emptive intuition helps narrow down the right choice better. More so, there are broadly four types of questions:
- What happened during the planning stage and execution?
- The connection between the two?
- Nothing else affected the cause
- The reverse causal is not true
- Profitability: Profit = (Selling Price – Cost)*Units . Furthermore, the cost can further be split into a fixed and variable costs.
- Percentages: The primary factor in the questions is if the base matters or not.
The GMAT Assumption questions have several categories of questions around strengthing, weakening and evaluating.
The right answer choice that strengthens the argument will have new information and support/aid the overall conclusion of the argument.
The assumption still needs to meet the 3 basic requirements of having new information , affecting the conclusion in a positive way and being within the scope of the argument.
The main difference between a generic assumption and a strengthener is that a strengthener strengthens the conclusion but is not absolutely necessary for the conclusion to exist. This is not the case for the assumptions discussed above.
The weakener is a type of answer choice that does not necessarily negate or oppose the conclusion completely but does cast doubt on it.
To be continued …
The assumption still needs to meet the 3 basic requirements of having new information , affecting the conclusion in a negative way and being within the scope of the argument.
These questions will use terms such as an attack, refute, challenge, argue against, challenge, damage and counter. All such questions are weakener questions.
By default, evaluation questions pertain to making a calculation or a judgement about the quality, importance, quantity or performance of something. Evaluate questions asks one to evaluate the argument.
e.g. One should invest in high growth stocks to make a lot of money. One needs to evaluate the argument to make the call about this advice or assertion.
- Is past history of high growth an indication of future growth?
- Will the future trend of high growth continue?
- Has the person advising, done the same?
The answer choices will either increase or decrease the validity of the argument. The approach to solving these questions follows the same pattern as the other questions.
- Identify the premise and conclusion.
- Use Pre-Thinking to understand the filling assumption.
- Eliminate the answer choices out of scope, of limited scope etc.
These questions typically use the terms like which answer most contributes, most important, most useful etc in the wordings of the questions. Even terms like a judge, and assess are all good indicators of evaluation questions
The final way to choose between the eliminated answers is to use the test of extremes.
The paradox questions or paragraph has two contradictory points within the passage. This makes them seem off or an impossible situation to have since, how can one have two contradictory points. This is where the questions, try to gauge an output, where the goal is to resolve the paradox.
e.g. It’s curious that drinking a lot of water can make someone more thirsty. The paradox is how can drinking water make someone more thirsty instead of quenching it.
The right answer will not disapprove, of one side of the argument but rather will allow both aspects of the argument to coexist. The right explanation will resolve the paradox.
For e.g. In order to increase the yield of the crops, farmers used genetically modified seeds and could not increase the yield of the crops.
Wrong answers would be
- Out of scope: The cost of genetically modified seeds is higher than normal seeds. New information that does not solve the paradox.
- Opposite: The earlier version of the seeds had yielded double the crop production.