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GMAT Tips – Critical Reasoning Inferences

Today’s GMAT Tip comes to us from Kaplan. In this article, Kaplan GMAT instructor Bret Ruber provides helpful tips for answering inference questions on the Critical Reasoning section of the GMAT:

As you try the practice GMAT problem below, remember that on Critical Reasoning inference questions you should accept all of the information in the stimulus as true.  When you read the answer choices look for an option that must be true based on the stimulus. 

Problem:

Randall: Many of the productions of my plays by amateur theater groups are poorly done, and such interpretations do not provide a true measure of my skills as a dramatist.

Which one of the following can be properly inferred from Randall’s statement?

(A) Some amateur theater groups’ productions of Randall’s plays provide a true measure of his skills as a dramatist.

(B) All amateur theater group productions of Randall’s plays that are not poorly done provide a true measure of his skills as a dramatist.

(C) All of the productions of Randall’s plays by amateur theater groups that do not provide a true measure of his skills as a dramatist are poorly done.

(D) If a production of a dramatist’s play is well done, then it provides a true measure of his or her skills as a dramatist.

(E) At least some amateur theatrical groups’ productions of Randall’s plays fail to provide a true measure of his skills as a dramatist.

Solution:

Since this is an inference question, we do not need to breakdown the stimulus in any way.  We need to accept everything that Randall tells as true, and we need to look for an answer choice that, therefore, also must be true.

Choice (A) certainly could be true, but it does not need to be, so we can eliminate it.  Based on Randall’s statement it is entirely possible that no amateur theater productions reflect his skills as a dramatist.

Choice (B) is an extreme answer choice.  We know this because of the presence of the word “all.”  It is possible that some well-done productions do not reflect Randall’s skill for some other reason, for example low production values.

Choice (C) is also extreme.  It is possible that a well-done production does not reflect Randall’s skill.

Choice (D) is too broad.  We do not know anything about productions other than Randall’s.

Finally, choice (E) must be true.  Many amateur productions are poorly done and poorly done productions do not reflect Randall’s skills as a dramatist.  Therefore, some such productions must not reflect Randall’s skills.  Thus, (E) is the correct answer. 

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Posted in: GMAT - Verbal, GMAT Tips

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