How to ace GMAT critical reasoning: A step-by-step guide

GMAT Critical Reasoning: What You Need to Know

Critical reasoning is one of the most important sections on the GMAT. It tests your ability to understand and use logic. The GMAT critical reasoning section includes several different question types, including argument analysis questions, data sufficiency questions, and assumption questions.

In this guide, we’ll walk through each type of question so you can ace them all! We’ll also provide tips on how to practice with this section, answer some frequently asked questions about critical reasoning and more!

Step 1: Understand the GMAT CR structure

The GMAT Critical Reasoning section is a test of your ability to analyze arguments. It comprises two types of questions: those that ask you to identify the conclusion and those that ask you to pick the best argument from a given set of four answer choices. There are no correct answers in this section–the best way to do well on it is by understanding how it’s structured and what kind of skills are tested in each question type.

  • The first thing you should know about critical reasoning is that it’s not like anything else on the GMAT! You won’t be asked for any specific information about yourself or anything else in your life. Instead, all questions will focus exclusively on understanding the written material presented before them.

(Read More: How to solve GMAT reading Comprehension?)

Step 2: Get familiar with the format of the question.

The GMAT Critical Reasoning section is made up of four types of questions:

  • Assumption questions: These are the most common type. They test your ability to identify the assumption that underlies an argument.
  • Strengthen/weaken questions: These require you to decide whether a given premise would strengthen or weaken an argument if added as evidence for it, respectively.
  • Inference questions ask you to choose which statement best supports the conclusion of a given argument–in other words, inferring what’s implied by an argument based on its premises and conclusions, rather than directly stating it yourself.

Finally, there are two types of logical reasoning problems: conditional reasoning and linear reasoning. Conditional reasoning involves analyzing whether certain conditions are true or false given certain facts.  

Linear reasoning has two parts–one part where you must figure out which option(s) cannot be true based on the information given in two statements; another part where you must determine whether each possible combination makes sense together based upon certain rules or principles.

                                                    (Read More: How to ace the GMAT verbal reasoning?)

Step 3: Know what you’re looking for in GMAT Critical Reasoning.

You should also be aware of the answer choices GMAT Critical Reasoning section. If a question asks you to find an answer choice that is consistent with the passage, then there will be four other choices that are inconsistent with it. You want to eliminate these and find an answer choice that both makes sense in context and has not been disproved by another answer choice.

Step 4: Take a few seconds to process the question.

Before you start to answer, take a few seconds to process the question. This can be done by simply reading it through again or asking yourself if the question makes sense. If there are multiple parts of the sentence that seem confusing, reread those sentences in isolation until they make sense.

When you’re ready to begin answering, focus on understanding exactly what is being asked and how much information is provided in order to answer correctly. At this stage, it’s important not even consider any potential options–you don’t want your mind wandering down roads that may lead nowhere!

Step 5: Look for clues in the passage.

You are now ready to start tackling each question in the passage. As you read through the argument, you should look for clues as to what the correct answer is. There are three main areas that will help you determine which answer choice is most likely true:

  • The author’s tone and bias
  • Their use of evidence
  • Their conclusion

Step 6: Read and understand the argument, but don’t spend too long on it.

The next step is to read and understand the argument, but don’t spend too long on it.

While you should read through each question carefully, you also shouldn’t spend too much time trying to figure out what exactly “question 2” means or why answer choice A is correct (or not). Instead, you should focus on understanding the structure of each argument. You can do this by highlighting key phrases or sentences in different colors so that they stand out when reviewing your notes later on.

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Step 7: Work through your answer choices one by one.

When you’re working through the answer choices, start with the ones that are clearly wrong. If you still aren’t sure about any of your answers, go back and re-read the relevant part of the passage again–you should be able to pick up on something new this time around. If not, then try eliminating one of your remaining options; if two or three answers seem equally likely but one seems less likely than another, go with that one!

Step 8: Develop a strategy for tackling GMAT critical reasoning questions.

Now that you know how to read a critical reasoning question, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Here are some guidelines for developing an effective strategy:

  • Look for the conclusion and premises: You should be able to tell what the author thinks by reading his or her conclusion and then looking at how he or she supports it with evidence.
  • If you can’t figure out what the author is trying to say, go back through your notes on each part of the argument until you find where things start getting fuzzy–it’s likely that this will be where there are gaps in reasoning or logical fallacies being used.
  • Consider their tone as well as content when evaluating arguments from sources such as books and articles online; sometimes these sources have a different tone than we might expect from someone who disagrees with us!

Step 9: Be Confident in your choice

If you are still unsure about an answer, ask yourself if the answer could be true. If it could be true then it is not necessarily a bad answer; however, if there is no way for this statement to be true then it would be better to select another choice over this one. Make sure to reach the GMAT cut-off score to get into the top universities abroad.

Step 10: GMAT Critical reasoning questions require careful reading!

GMAT Critical reasoning questions require careful reading, but once you know what to look for, you can ace them with practice!

  • Understand the question: Critical reasoning questions are often phrased in broad terms that don’t give away much information about the passage or argument. The first step is always to read through each question stem carefully and make sure that you understand exactly what it’s asking. This will help ensure that your answers are relevant and specific to what has been asked by the test maker.
  • Understand the passage(s): After reading through the question stem, it’s time to read through whatever passage(s) have been provided for context on this topic area.
  • Make sure not only that these passages are relevant but also how they relate specifically back to answering given questions correctly; this means knowing how each argument relates back to one another so as not to confuse yourself later down the line when trying to solve multiple problems at once!


You can ace GMAT critical reasoning if you have the right strategy, and it all starts with knowing what types of questions you’ll be faced with. Strategic GMAT coaching would help you out. Once you know this information, it’s much easier to identify which type of question is being asked in any given scenario so that your approach remains consistent throughout the test-taking process.