The Negation Test

In our last Article, GMAT CR Assumption was defined as the missing link between the premise and the conclusion. Not only the assumption connects the premise to the conclusion but also it acts as a sound basis on which the author of the argument erects the building known as its conclusion.

Now imagine a scenario in which you have somehow exploded the foundation of a building, what do you think will happen to the building that is standing upon it. Obviously, it will collapse. Negation test, when applied to the correct answer choice of an Assumption question, has a similar effect upon the conclusion of the argument in question.

What is Negation test?

Let’s  start our discussion of this topic by delving upon the structure of a GMAT Critical Reasoning Question. Typically, a GMAT CR Assumption question has an Argument followed by a question stem asking the test taker to find out the assumption hidden in the given Argument. The question stem is, in turn, followed by five answer choices. Your job is to identify the one option that verily bridges the gap between the premise and the conclusion of the argument.

Now let’s imagine you are tackling a CR assumption question. You have easily knocked off a few options on account of one reason or the other. And then you are eventually stuck with two (at max three) answer choices. You are not able to make up your mind to go with anyone of those options. Each one of them seems equally likely to be the correct answer for that question. At this point of time, you can negate anyone of the answer choices you are stuck with and then read the conclusion to see what kind of effect the negation of that answer choice has at the conclusion of the argument. You can repeat the process with the remaining answer choices as well. Whichever answer choice the moment it is negated makes the conclusion of the argument sound irrelevant is the correct answer. In a way, what you have done is you have detonated the assumption of the argument thereby bombing the conclusion the author had reached.

Let us understand this with the help of an example:

Rajan had applied for an extension of his term as SCI Manager, but his application was declined by the VP of the company. This is highly unfortunate because this will deprive him of his livelihood for the rest of his life.

The assumption of this argument is, “Rajan is capable of earning a livelihood only as a SCI  Manager.” Now if you negate this assumption the resultant statement will be Rajan is capable of earning a livelihood not only as a SCI  Manager. And now if you read the conclusion which is stated as,” This is highly unfortunate because this will deprive him of his livelihood for the rest of his life.” It doesn’t make much of sense anymore.

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