Published: Friday, 17 June, 2016 10:00 AM
Premises + Assumptions = Conclusions
Logical Reasoning and Critical Reasoning questions in an MBA entrance exam, invariably, have the following structure:
b. Question Stem
c. Answer Choices
Premise, Assumption and Conclusion, together form a part of a typical argument.
A premise is a stated reason or evidence that supports the conclusion. An assumption is an unstated premise that supports the conclusion. Both premise and assumption are unquestionable facts but the assumption, unlike the premise, is not explicitly stated and needs to be deciphered.A conclusion is the claim, the main point of the argument. It is the proposition that is affirmed on the basis of the other propositions of the argument. Thus, the conclusion is drawn based on the stated premise and the unstated assumptions, in other words, Premises+Assumptions= Conclusion.
After reading the argument, the first step is to identify the conclusion. It is not necessary for conclusion to come at the end of the argument, it may even precede the premise. For instance, ‘Amazon.com is the largest online bookstore with over 3,00,000 titles available. Hence, you will be able to find the book you want,’ can be written as, ‘You will find the book you want at Amazon.com. It is the largest online bookstore with over 3,00,000 titles.’ Some of the indicators through which a conclusion can be identified are, ‘therefore,’ ‘hence,’ ‘thus,’ ‘so,’ ‘accordingly,’ ‘consequently,’ ‘as a result’ and so on. Some of the indicators through which a premise can be identified are, ‘since,’ ‘because,’ ‘for,’ ‘as,’ ‘follows from’ and so on. After identifying the conclusion, identify the premises and assumptions, if any. The premises and the assumptions must provide enough evidence for the conclusion.
3. Types of questions
Critical reasoning questions can be of the following types:
-Identify the assumption
-Strengthen/Weaken the argument/conclusion
-Complete the argument
To tackle all these type of questions, the candidate must know what is a premise, assumption and conclusion because it is these three components that make up an argument.
Let’s look at the following:
-Statement- Virat has been elected as captain of the Indian cricket team, so he must be a cricketer of calibre.
Assumptions- i. Only cricketers of calibre can be members of the Indian cricket team
ii. Only cricketers of calibre can be captain of the Indian cricket team
iii. Only members of the Indian cricket team can be cricketers of calibre
In the above question, identify the assumption of the given argument. Mark the best answer out of the choices: a. i only, b. ii only, c. iii only, d. i and iii only, e. i, ii and iii
In this question, since the prerequisite of becoming captain of the Indian cricket team is to be a cricketer of calibre, so only ii is the right choice. Hence, the answer is b.
-All children are happy when they get new clothes. Therefore, Amar will be thrilled when he gets the new leather jacket.
In this argument, the premise is about children and the conclusion is about Amar. The hidden premise (or assumption) here is that Amar is a child. Without this assumption, the argument will make no sense.
Thus, in critical and logical reasoning, it is imperative that the candidate understands the three parts of the argument, which will help solve the question.
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