Read the Question First â€“ this is something I keep forgetting to do in practice because within the MGMAT course, you do the same type of problems in sets.Â Therefore, I usually already know what type of question is coming.Â Reading the question first can save you a ton of time, sometimes giving you the conclusion of the argument right away.
Diagram and Take Notes â€“ I never read my notes for Critical Reasoning, but the act of paraphrasing, summarizing, and jotting something down related to the passage really helps me retain what I read.Â I used to think it was a waste of time, but Iâ€™ve found that since I started diagramming, I definitely re-read the passage fewer times and my accuracy rate is much higher.Â One thing I do differently than MGMAT â€“ I only draw the top horizontal line for my CR diagram.Â I donâ€™t finish off the â€œTâ€ with a vertical line because questions usually donâ€™t have counterpoints and the additional line can screw up my note-taking.
Read Every Word in the Answer Choices â€“ for some of the harder questions, it only takes a single word to make an answer choice correct or incorrect.Â Itâ€™s good to read and take into account every single word. Speeding through this process can cause you to gloss over important keywords.
Rank the Answer Choices with an â€œABCDEâ€ Grid â€“ when youâ€™re testing at the 700 level, it can become really difficult to toss out that many answer choices.Â SometimesÂ youâ€™ll only be able to narrow down to three.Â The obvious ones that are completely out of scope or in the wrong direction should still be immediately thrown out.Â However, I need to be more careful about tossing out answers that sound strange but, after logic and reasoning, fulfill the question asked.Â I just need to make sure to go through the process of writing an â€œABCDEâ€ grid and picking the best answer.
Avoid Extreme Answers â€“ many times the answer to a Critical Reasoning question is the one that is the least extreme.Â Words like â€œalwaysâ€ and â€œneverâ€ are much less applicable than words like â€œsometimesâ€ or â€œpossibly.â€
2 thoughts on “My New Critical Reasoning Strategy”
I especially like your tip about reading every single word. It’s related to your last tip – very often the “extreme” words are the important ones for deciding on the best answer choice.