Save Time on GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

GMAT Save Time - image by Magoosh
Learn to handle these questions with swift precision!

Know Your Job

Step one of the general strategy for GMAT Critical Reasoning is: read the question before reading the argument.  Know which type of question you are going to have to answer, and read the argument with that question in mind.  The eight broad categories of GMAT CR questions are

1) weaken the argument/find the flaw

2) strengthen the argument

3) find the assumption (know the Negation Test)

4) draw inference/conclusion

5) structure of the argument, including boldface structure questions and dialogue structure questions

6) paradox

7) evaluate the conclusion

8 ) complete the argument

Types #1-4 account for approximately ¾ of all GMAT CR questions.  You can find out more about each one of these types in the CR video series in the Magoosh product.  The basic idea is: when you know what you need to do, you will be reading the argument with that in mind.


Know What You’re Looking For

In all CR questions, the GMAT gives one correct answer and four tempting and potentially confusing statements for the other choices.  Folks who read the argument & question, and then wander aimlessly into the answer choices without any further thought are asking to be perplexed, and chances are, they spend much longer than necessary on many CR questions.

Go into the question with an idea of what you seek.  For types #1-3, the best thing to do is to find the assumption of the argument —- reaffirming or undercutting the assumption of an argument is the most powerful way to strengthen or weaken it. Finding the assumption may also be helpful in find the flaw of the argument (if the flaw is a faulty assumption).

For the other question types, you will be less able to predict what the answer will be, but still formulating the task in your own words will help you.  In your own words, what is the structure of the argument? What is the paradox that need to be resolved? What kind of information would be required to evaluate the conclusion? etc.  The clearer you can be on what type of information or argument will satisfy the question, the quicker you will be in finding it.

If you can simply integrate these strategies, you will find you are able to crack GMAT Critical Reasoning questions faster and more accurately.


Here’s a chance to practice these GMAT CR strategies: Violent felonies in Dismaston.



  • Mike MᶜGarry

    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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