Sunday, 21 February 2016

CRITICAL REASONING

CR Article


CR
The biggest folly that we, the students make when we are attempting this type of questions can be highlighted under the following bullets:-

· Think that by mere impulse we can solve :3

· Jump to marking the particular option just when we have agreed to a particular option which is say B, and not even bothering to read the other options :v

· Think that Critical Reasoning questions cannot be solved by logic but mere gut instincts. LOLWA

Well, I am sorry to inform you but aise nahi hoga beta :P

Lets begin:-

These are the frequently asked questions or rather the possible questions that came to my mind that a person can ask while tackling CR

1. How do we approach the questions?


Ans:-    First of all read the paragraph well. Have patience. I cannot stress how important this is when you are attempting CAT having under performed in my first attempt itself. Try and understand what the author is trying to tell. Make short notes. Perform scratch work. We will discuss on this as we proceed.

2. How many types of Critical Reasoning questions are there?


Ans:-    Well many, in a single word.  Jokes apart, you have to get these four words drilled in your head.

a) Conclusion= hence, thus, must, therefore etc

b) Premise= tree of reason for the conclusion part. ( body stem )

c) Assumptions= The basic connection that must be made. ( Read detective novels. Or watch the good old hercule poirot series . Stimulate the senses  )

d) Argument= premise and conclusion

 Eg:- I am sick. Maybe it is because I  got wet in the rain yesterday.

A basic assumption that one gets sick due to the event of getting wet must be made.

But the major types ( more or less to give you an idea ) are as follows:-

· Assumption based questions

· Conclusion based questions

· Inference based questions

· Strengthening an argument based questions

· Weakening an argument based questions

· Evaluating argument based questions

· possible completing sentence after a paragraph.

· Finding the flaw type questions

3. So how shall I proceed or go about answering the questions?


Ans:-         Keep the following points in mind

    1)  Identify assumption / strengthen / weaken the conclusion type nature of the question and paragraph

    2)  Identify the conclusion

    3)  Deduce the conclusion / get the inference

    4) Mimic the reasoning. Depending on question type you will need to use one of the following 3 METHODS

· METHOD 1: Use Venn diagrams

· METHOD 2: Use x, y, z to simply questions

· METHOD 3: Use logical operators; In questions which involve straight forward negation or conditional analysis

    5)  Resolve the paradox- Perform regular elimination checks. Write down the option A, B, C , D and E. Weigh each one against the other. Don't hurry

    6)  Identify the flaw

    7)  Repeat in your mind- There is a definite answer and I must not solve it without considering the parts of the argument and I WILL NOT let my gut instincts play a major role in choosing an option. ( This works for me. You can try it out )

Now we shall deal with each problem pattern and how to go about solving them. I have tried to pick up solutions from here and there to aid you in the thinking pattern that must be replicated each time you solve CR questions.

I) Assumption example


Q1) credits:- MBACRYSTALL

The median age in developed countries is around 42 years, meaning that half the population is below and half the population is above 42 years old. Reports provided by psychologists indicate that 63% of those who seek psychological help in developed countries are below 42 years old. Such evidence clearly indicates that in developed countries psychological problems are more common among people who are younger than 42 years.

The argument above assumes that...

A) The percentage of the population with psychological problems is not significantly higher for developed countries than for other states.

B) Among those with psychological problems in developed countries, the percentage who seek psychological help is not significantly lower for those older than 42 than it is for those younger than 42.

C) One of the primary factors contributing to the development of psychological disorders is inability to cope with excessive stress resulting from professional activity.

D) The severity of psychological disorders in developed countries among those who have not yet turned 42 is generally lower than it is among those who are 42 or older.

E) A significant proportion of those 42 or older in developed countries are retired and no longer subject to the stress associated with educational or occupational activities.

This question requires you to notice that the subject of the evidence is those who seek professional psychological help whereas the subject of the conclusion is those with psychological problems. Even though the two categories certainly overlap, it could be quite true that many of those who have problems don't seek help, and in that case, statistics about those who visit psychologists would not lead to valid conclusions about all those who need help. Look at these answer choices and see which ones help validate the argument.

A) The percentage of the population with psychological problems is not significantly higher for developed countries than for other states. The whole argument deals with developed countries, so there is no need to consider how these statistics relate to those in less developed countries-Irrelevant.  

B) Among those with psychological problems in developed countries, the percentage who seek psychological help is not significantly lower for those older than 42 than it is for those younger than 42. Correct. If a lot more of those who are 42+ and troubled simply don't go to see a psychologist, then it could be that an equal or higher percentage of 42+ citizens have problems but just don't seek help. Choice B must be assumed if the conclusion is to be valid.  

C) One of the primary factors contributing to the development of psychological disorders is inability to cope with excessive stress resulting from professional activity. This choice is irrelevant to the conclusion and therefore cannot support its validity.

D) The severity of psychological disorders in developed countries among those who have not yet turned 42 is generally lower than it is among those who are 42 or older. The argument is concerned with psychological disorders in general, so the relative severity of such disorders is out of scope.

E) A significant proportion of those 42 or older in developed countries are retired and no longer subject to the stress associated with educational or occupational activities. Irrelevant-true or not, this assumption does not affect the conclusion of the argument.

The correct answer is B.

II) Strengthening Example


Q2) credits:- GMATCLUB

The postal service is badly mismanaged. Thirty years ago, first-class letter delivery cost only three cents. Since then, the price has increased sevenfold, with an actual decrease in the speed and reliability of service.

All of the following would tend to weaken the conclusion of the argument above EXCEPT:

a.The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last thirty years.

b.Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.

c.Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery services.

d.The average delivery time for a first-class letter three decades ago was slightly longer than it is today.

e.The average level of consumer prices overall has increased fourfold over the last thirty years.

Reviewing Answer Choices

a. The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last thirty years.

This would seem to excuse the poor service/price because the service has had to overcome a massive increase in volume.

b. Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.

This would seem to excuse the poor service/price because costs have increased dramatically.

c. Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery services.

This would seem to excuse the poor service/price because other services are not as efficient.

d. The average delivery time for a first-class letter three decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.

This shows they have made improvements in service, suggesting that the postal service isn't all that bad after all.

e. The average level of consumer prices overall has increased fourfold over the last thirty years.

Since the price of postage has increased seven times over, this suggests that postal prices have increased at a rate much quicker than inflation. Thus, choice E does support the original argument, making this the correct answer.

III) weakening examples


Q3)
credits :- 800SCORE

In many pre-schools, children tend to commonly get colds before their resistance develops and the colds become much less frequent. It is clear that a child requires several colds before white blood cell concentrations rise high enough to effectively deal with colds.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens this theory?

A. Children commonly spread viruses and bacteria in a small closed environment.

B. The use of Vitamin C increases resistance to the common cold and decreases its frequency.

C. Parents stock up on cold medicine after a child gets sick that alleviate the symptoms of a cold.

D. There are many strains of the cold virus and children develop resistance to individual strains.

E. White blood cells fight infection and their production levels are stimulated by high infection levels.

Reviewing Answer Choices

A. Children commonly spread viruses and bacteria in a small closed environment.

Not Relevant

B. The use of Vitamin C increases resistance to the common cold and decreases its frequency.

Not Relevant

C. Parents stock up on cold medicine after a child gets sick that alleviate the symptoms of a cold.

This choice presents another possible reason to undermine the argument, but the medicine deals with symptoms, not the cold per se. So it is not reducing an instance of a cold, simply decreasing their symptoms (no more runny noses!).

D. There are many strains of the cold virus and children develop resistance to individual strains.

This choice suggests an alternative explanation for the apparent improvement in a child's ability to fight colds: the child simply becomes immune to individual viruses per se. So, the theory that a child's immune system needs high white blood cell concentrations isn't the case, it is an issue of exposure to certain strains. By suggesting a different causal process to explain the reduction in colds, it weakens the argument.

E. White blood cells fight infection and their production levels are stimulated by high infection levels.

This choice supports this statement, but the question asks for what weakens it.

IV) Conclusion examples


Q4) credits:- MAGOOSH

Diamond Enterprises is a store in Apisville that sells specialty luxury items.  For several years, Diamond reaped substantial profits and was considering building branch stores in nearby counties.   Stibium Industries, for several years the single largest employer in Apisville and the surrounding region, abruptly closed its plant last year, causing widespread unemployment.  Only a fraction of the former Stibium workers have found new jobs, and many of these at much lower wages.  Early this year, Diamond Enterprises has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the closure of Stibium as one of the primary causes.

Which of the following inferences is best supported by the passage?

A. Diamond Enterprises would have avoided bankruptcy if it had followed through with the plan to build branch stores during its more prosperous years.

B. Stibium's management team had a corporate account with Diamond Enterprises, and ordered several luxury items used in business meetings and to entertain prospective clients.

C. Diamond's direct competitors, in Apisville and in the surrounding region, are much larger than Diamond, and therefore benefitted substantially from the conditions that arose after Stibium closed.

D. The closure of Stibium resulted in a loss of revenue for Diamond Enterprises.

E. After Stibium Industry closed, Diamond Enterprises was the single largest employer in Apisville.

1) The credited answer is (D).  We know Diamond had high profits before Stibium closed, and we know it was close to bankruptcy after Stibium closed, citing Stibum's closure as one of the primary causes.   There, in some way, as a result of Stibium closing, Diamond lost revenue.  Consider the opposite of (D): If Stibium closed, and that caused no revenue loss for Diamond, then how on earth could Diamond cite the closure of Stibium as one of the causes of its plummet from high profits to bankruptcy?  The opposite of (D) is a scenario that makes no sense, so (D) is an unavoidable inference, very well supported.

Choice (A) is a tempting answer.  Would branches of other Diamond stores in other towns have reaped profits, enough to avoid the bankruptcy mentioned?  Perhaps.  That's certainly a plausible possibility, but we don't know for sure.  If we don't know for sure, it's not a good inference.  (A) is incorrect.

Choice (B) is way too specific in the kind of assumptions it makes.  It seems that Diamond was getting some kind of revenue from Stibium, but was it the management buying perks? or rank-and-file workers buying treats for themselves?  We don't know.  Anything that spins a highly specific story is too much to infer strictly from the information in the prompt.    (B) is incorrect.

Choice (C) makes too many assumptions - does this specialty store Diamond have direct competitors in the region? if so, are these competitors larger?  was "being larger" an advantage in the economic conditions that resulted from Stibium's closure?  There are too many things we don't know, so we can draw a clear inference.  (C) is incorrect.

Choice (E) is entirely unfounded.  We have no idea how big Diamond is, and we have no idea what other employers Apisville might have.

  (E) is incorrect.

(D) is by far the best answer.

V) Evaluate the argument examples


Q5) credits:-VERITAS

"In the past the country of Malvernia has relied heavily on imported oil. Malvernia recently implemented a program to convert heating systems from oil to natural gas. Malvernia currently produces more natural gas each year than it uses, and oil production in Malvernian oil fields is increasing at a steady pace. If these trends in fuel production and usage continue, therefore, Malvernian reliance on foreign sources [of] fuel is likely to decline soon."

Which of the following would be most useful to establish in evaluating the argument?

(A) When, if ever, will production of oil in Malvernia outstrip production of natural gas?

 (B) Is Malvernia among the countries that rely most on imported oil?

(C) What proportion of Malvernia's total energy needs is met by hydroelectric, solar, and nuclear power?

(D) Is the amount of oil used each year in Malvernia for generating electricity and fuel for transportation increasing?

 (E) Have any existing oil-burning heating systems in Malvernia already been converted to natural-gas-burning heating systems?"

The conclusion to this argument is, "Malvernian reliance on foreign sources for fuel is likely to decline soon," and the evidence is that Malvernia has plenty of natural gas and will be using natural gas for heating. Additionally, Malvernia is increasing oil production.

The correct answer to this question is the one that, when answered one way, will strengthen the argument and, when answered the other way, will weaken it. That answer choice is D, "Is the amount of oil used each year in Malvernia for generating electricity and fuel for transportation increasing?"

If the answer is "no," the conclusion is definitely strengthened. With more domestic oil production and with natural gas used for heat, if the oil used for electricity and transportation is not increasing, Malvernia's reliance on foreign sources of fuel is likely to decrease. And if the answer is "yes," more oil will be required in the future, and even with more domestic oil production, it is unlikely that the reliance on foreign oil will decrease. This is the answer that is balanced between strengthening and weakening. None of the other answer choices asks questions that could either strengthen or weaken the conclusion.

If you want to master "evaluate" questions and maximize your critical reasoning score, look for that answer choice that does not strengthen or weaken but is balanced between the two.

VI) Finding flaw examples.


1. if true type question- not hypothetical

2. Attack the assumptions.

3. Look at statistics

Q6) credits:- BEATTHEGMAT

A city plans to attract new citizens with new housing and new facilities such as parks, recreation centers and libraries. One component of the city's plans is to require that development seeking permission is to build this new housing to provide these additional facilities at no cost to the city.

Which of the following, if true, would point to a possible flaw in the city's plan?

(A) Developers would pass along their costs to the buyer; thereby raising the cost of housing units beyond the ability of likely purchasers to afford them.

(B) Light, nonpolluting industries have located in the area, offering more jobs and better-paying jobs than do the more established industries in the area.

(C) Other towns and cities nearby have yet to embark on comparable plans to attract new citizens

(D) Most developers see the extra expense of providing municipal facilities as simply one of the many costs of doing business.

(E) Studies show that purchasers of new houses, especially first-time buyers, rank recreational resources as an important factor in deciding to buy a particular house.

A. weakening and flaw. Talks about the price. ( OA )

B. No weakening or flaw

C. Irrelevant

D. No weakening or flaw

E. No weakening .

VII) Inferences examples


1. Information not given directly.

2.. Don't go on randomly guessing

3. Must be 100% true

4. Reader's point of view given impetus.

5. Eliminate options out of scope.

Q7) credits:-LSAT
Although Locke has been hailed as a giant figure in European intellectual history, his ideas were largely borrowed from his predecessors, who are now unfairly neglected by historians. Furthermore, Locke never wrote a truly great book; his most widely known works are muddy in style, awkwardly constructed, and often self-contradictory.

With which of the following would the author most likely agree?

A. Locke made use of ideas without acknowledging his predecessors as the sources of those ideas.

B. Current historians are re-evaluating the work of Locke in the light of present-day knowledge.

C. Locke's contributions to the development of European thought have been greatly exaggerated.

D. Historians should reexamine Locke's place in European intellectual history.

E.Although Locke's ideas were important, his way of expressing them in writing was sadly inadequate.

Explanation: The author makes two assertions about Locke: that his ideas were not original and that his books were not very good. On the basis of these assertions, the author concludes that Locke's reputation as an intellectual giant is undeserved. Choice (C) accurately summarizes this conclusion.

focuses on a subsidiary point, not the main idea; moreover, it makes an assumption unsupported by the passage namely, that Locke did not acknowledge the sources of his ideas.

Is wrong because although the passage clearly indicates that the author is "re-evaluating" Locke's work, it does not suggest that "current historians" in general are doing so.

This choice best expresses the point, that Locke's contributions were not original.

Is tricky because it is a good answer, but it is not the best answer. (D) implies that the author recommends that other historians re-examine Locke. Since no recommendation exists in the argument, Choice (C) is the only option.

Not addressed.

VIII) Completion type examples


Remember these words when you are solving such question:-

1. assertation

2. prediction

3. total clarity.

4. recognise the pattern. maintain the flow

Q8) credits:- GMATCLUB

Davison River farmers are currently deciding between planting winter wheat this fall or spring wheat next spring. Winter wheat and spring wheat are usually about equally profitable. Because of new government restrictions on the use of Davison River water for irrigation, per acre yields for winter wheat, though not for spring wheat, would be much lower than average. Therefore, planting spring wheat will be more profitable than planting winter wheat, since‗‗‗‗‗‗.

A. the smaller-than-average size of a winter wheat harvest this year would not be compensated for by higher winter wheat prices

B.  new crops of spring wheat must be planted earlier than the time at which standing crops of winter wheat are ready to be harvested

C.  the spring wheat that farmers in the Davison River region plant is well adapted to the soil of the region

D. spring wheat has uses that are different from those of winter wheat

E.  planting spring wheat is more profitable than planting certain other crops, such as rye

A. the smaller-than-average size of a winter wheat harvest this year would not be compensated for by higher winter wheat prices

If size of the winter harvest would not be compensated by the winter wheat prices, then farmers would incur losses. Hence the answer.

B. new crops of spring wheat must be planted earlier than the time at which standing crops of winter wheat are ready to be harvested

The choice is not explaining why planting spring wheat is more profitable than planting winter wheat. Hence the choice is incorrect.

C. the spring wheat that farmers in the Davison River region plant is well adapted to the soil of the region

-out of scope

D. spring wheat has uses that are different from those of winter wheat

-out of scope

E. planting spring wheat is more profitable than planting certain other crops, such as rye

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