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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.



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.



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.



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.



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



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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11 Responses to Types of Critical Reasoning Questions on the Revised GRE

  1. Anu July 28, 2016 at 2:28 am #

    Hey Chris,
    I have a doubt… are the critical reasoning questions of Gre.. same as those of Gmat? Or is there any major difference between the two. Actually I have GMAT book.. which has lot of practice questions on critical ressoning. Can I use this book as a referfence to prepare for critical reasoning questions for GRE? please reply soon

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

      Hi Anu,

      The GMAT critical reasoning and GRE paragraph argument questions are very similar, so you can definitely use the GMAT book to practice for the GRE!

  2. Sumanth Mehatha June 20, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    I am a bit confused between two kinds you have mentioned here. What is the difference between ‘ strengthen’ and ‘evaluate’ type of critical reasoning questions . From your explanation , they both seemingly are same to me.

    Please, can you, clarify my ambiguity

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 29, 2016 at 2:01 am #

      Hi Sumanth!

      Excellent question 🙂 These types of questions are similar, as both require you to first figure out the premises and the conclusions of the argument. However, for “strengthen” questions, the conclusion can be drawn from the premises without further information. There are no obvious gaps in the argument; the correct answer choice provides additional information that makes the argument even stronger. On the other hand, for “evaluate the argument” questions, the conclusion cannot be properly drawn without an additional piece of information. This missing information is the assumption. There is a gap in the argument will be filled by the correct answer choice so that the conclusion is valid.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      Assumption questions require you to identify the premises and the conclusions. Once you’ve done so, keep in mind that

  3. November 3, 2015 at 2:36 am #

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  4. prajakta August 30, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    How many Critical Reasoning questions do we get in actual GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 30, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Great question! My experience is it differs slight per verbal section, but on average you will probably see two Critical Reasoning questions per section.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Khalid May 11, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    Does the this material, which you are offered ,valid for GRE revised computer based test 2012?
    If so, why the ETS doesn’t recommend that?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi Khalid,

      Do you mean Magoosh’s GRE product itself? If so, yes ALL are material is for the Revised GRE computer-based exam. Basically you get over 700 Revised GRE practice questions. Is that what you are referring to, or are you referring to Critical Reasoning questions, of which we offer plenty of practice questions on too!

  6. Ram May 5, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    I have always had some issues with “Bold-Faced” questions. Could you please illustrate the same with a somewhat complex example in your next post? Thanks!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 7, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Ram,

      Yes bold-faced is coming soon. I do want to go through the other types first, as they tend to be much easier for students. By the time we get to the bold-faced, I’ll have a toughie waiting!

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