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Types of Critical Reasoning Questions on the Revised GRE

A subset of the Reading Comprehension on the GRE is called Critical Reasoning. At least that is what I refer to it as, and anybody who has prepped for the GMAT or LSAT is familiar with the description. ETS, in revising the GRE, has been far more mum about it, slipping the question type in under the radar. Nevertheless, I shall refer to any short paragraph as a Critical Reasoning question.

Critical Reasoning questions contain a short to medium length paragraph, called the argument. The argument is followed by a question and five answer choices. In this post I am going to cover the various questions you can expect to see on the Revised GRE. Knowing these question types can help you navigate both the argument and the answer choices, and, ideally, home in on the correct answer.

 

Weaken/Strengthen

This question type asks you to choose an answer choice that would either strengthen or weaken the argument. The incorrect answer choices, that is the other four answers, will either be irrelevant to the argument or do the opposite to the argument. That is, if you want to strengthen the argument an answer choice may weaken the argument, and vice versa.

 

Evaluate Argument

In this question type there is a gap in the argument. You must pick an answer choice that will help you fill this gap in the argument so that the argument can be effectively evaluated.

 

Paradox

The paradox question type (sometimes called Discrepancy) is found in an argument that presents a counterintuitive finding (the paradox). Your job is to find an answer choice that best explains the discrepancy.

 

Assumption

Oftentimes there is a major gap in the argument. That is for the argument to make sense it has to address the gap. Assumption questions are similar to ‘Evaluate the Argument’ questions, but instead of choosing an answer that helps determine whether the argument is valid, Assumption questions require that you simply identify the logical gap in the argument.

 

Bold-Faced

One of the more difficult question types on Critical Reasoning requires that you identify what function in the argument two bold-faced sentences play.

 

Fill-in-the-blank

A rare question type, fill-in-the-blank is just what you’d expect. An argument is about to state its conclusion, but instead there is a big blank. Your job is to choose the answer that best completes the argument.

 

If all of this seems a bit abstract, I will be posting an example of each of the different questions types. Stay tuned for these posts!

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