Demystifying CR Assumption

Critical Reasoning Assumption

Critical Reasoning in GMAT Verbal Content is quite interesting even to someone who is not writing the GMAT. And among the CR questions, there are several assumption questions.

What is an assumption?

You are given a premise and a conclusion. Facts are thrown in. There is a distinct conclusion in the argument. Assumptions form the missing link between premises and the conclusion. It is not stated explicitly but the assumption must hold true for the conclusion to be true. So, people think of assumption as the invisible link between premise and conclusion. Look at this particular argument:

It has been raining in Chennai for a week now and hence, the meeting that was scheduled to take place in Chennai 15 days later has been shifted to Mumbai.

The assumption here is that the rain is expected to continue until when the meeting has been scheduled and that the ill effects of the rain can pose a threat to the meeting schedule. It is not explicitly stated in the argument but with the premise and conclusion stated, we can understand the assumption.

Do not bother of what you already know about specifics stated in the passage. For example, do not think of your prior knowledge of rainfall patterns in Chennai and add that to the mix when you decide on the answer. That’s not an assumption even if you can vouch for its veracity in the real world.

Tips to handle CR assumption questions:

  • If an option repeats something that is already stated in the argument, that is NOT the answer to ‘Which of these statements is a valid assumption in the given argument?. That’s what you eliminate in the first round of looking at the options.
  • Let go of any prior real world facts that you know about the premise and the argument even if it is true. Be unbiased on information and use just plain logic to tackle not just assumption questions but any CR questions in the GMAT.
  • Try making a mental map with the premises in the beginning to the conclusion in the end. The assumption should fall in between premise and conclusion. And it should be a valid link between premise and argument. If it makes sense in the truthfulness of the flowchart but falls after the conclusion, it is an inference from the given argument but not an assumption.

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