Critical Reasoning , an integral component of the entrance exam, can be intriguing and tricky for the aspirants. The solutions depend, to a large extent, on assumptions. The term ‘critical reasoning’ itself refers to the need to think about a problem and reach the solution after employing the skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation to the information at hand and using it along with observation or experience to derive at a reasonably accurate solution. In Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section, in particular, critical reasoning ability is tested by a variety of questions.
1. Importance of Critical Reasoning
In the VARC section, critical reasoning becomes important as a number of questions test an aspirant’s ability to make reasoned conclusion based on the given facts and assumptions. Without this skillset, the aspirant won’t be able to make sense of the given question. The process begins by understanding the needs of the question, critically analysing the information provided in the question, weeding out the information that is not essential and processing the relevant information. This also includes unravelling the hidden assumptions in the question all of which will help you unlock the answer.
2. Essential components of Critical Reasoning
Before you even begin the section of VARC, you must acquaint yourself with terms that are integral to questions based on critical reasoning. Some examples are:
- Premise A premises is a complete statement which can be verified.
- Conclusion A conclusion is the main point of the argument, which is affirmed on the basis of other propositions in the argument.
- Assumption An assumption is an unstated premise that affirms the conclusion. It needs to be deciphered.
- Inference An inference is an unstated conclusion based on the given facts. There can be more than one inference.
Knowledge of these terms will help you apply critical reasoning skills to the questions.
3. Types of Questions
Along with the terms mentioned above, aspirants should make themselves aware of the type of questions in VARC that require critical reasoning skills. Some questions include:
- Strengthen or Weaken the Conclusion
- Identify the assumption
- Conclusion/ Inference
- Resolve the Paradox
- Complete the argument
The aspirants must be familiar with the terms to answer these questions. All these question types require an aspirant to apply critical reasoning skills to process the given information analytically and critically and base their answers on facts, assumptions or inference, as the case may be. For example,
Statement- Messi has been elected as captain of the Argentina Football Team, so he must be a footballer of calibre.
i. Only footballers of calibre can be members of the Argentina football team
ii. Only footballers of calibre can be captain of the Argentina football team
iii. Only members of the Argentina football team can be footballers 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 Argentina football team is to be a footballer of calibre, so only ii is the right choice. Hence, the answer is b.
Critical reasoning is a crucial yet tricky aspect of VARC. You need to read the questions thoroughly and understand the needs of the questions before applying your knowledge of the terms and the critical reasoning process.
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