Verbal Reasoning - Online Article

Verbal Reasoning

Logical Reasoning

Cracking logical reasoning-based questions are not at all difficult to tackle if one has a basic understanding of the types of questions asked. The accuracy is highest in such questions, and the time spent solving them can be quite less if one has done a good amount of practice.

The questions that are asked in logical reasoning require one to find out whether the given conclusion is valid or not. For example:

1. All drunken drivers meet with an accident.  Salman is a drunken driver.

Conclusion – Salman will meet with an accident. This one is pretty straightforward. Since Salman belongs to a group, all members of which meet with an accident, he would meet with an accident.

2. Most males are intelligent. Mr. X is a male

Conclusion – Mr. X may or may not be intelligent. Here there are two possibilities. Either Mr. X is a part of the group of intelligent males or he is not. Hence, it follows that he may or may not be intelligent.

In the exam the questions that are asked have two statements followed by two conclusions and you have to determine which conclusion is correct. Obviously the questions are not so easy as the above examples and may require one to draw venn diagrams to solve the questions. E.g.

1. Statements – Some students are smart. All students are hardworking

Conclusions – (i) some hardworking students are smart
  (ii) some smart students are hardworking
Solution – Both the conclusions are correct, as some students are definitely both smart and hardworking.

2. Statement – Tennis players get married only to models.

Conclusions – (i) Madhu is married to a tennis player
  (ii) Madhu is not married to a tennis player
  Solution – Here either Madhu can be married to a tennis player or to someone who is not a tennis player. So either conclusion (i) or (ii) follow but not both.

3. Statements – Some roses are red. Some red are black.

Conclusions – (i) no black is a rose.
  (ii) no rose is a black

Solution – Here both the statements are possibilities. It may be that some roses are black or no roses are black. Hence neither of the conclusions follows.

Logical Consistency

Logical Consistency questions have a main statement followed by four answer alternatives. One of these is logically correct and consistent with the main statement. Again, speed is a crucial factor here. For example,

Main Statement: If you are in the IIMs, you have cleared the CAT.

It is very evident that if I am in the IIMs, I have cleared CAT. Can we also conclude that if I am not in the IIMs, I have not cleared CAT? No. Is it possible for one to have cleared CAT and not be in the IIMs – YES. The statement says that if you are in the IIMs, you have definitely cleared the CAT. But one can clear CAT and choose not to be in the IIMs.

Thus the only conclusions possible are: you are in the IIMs implies you have cleared CAT.
  you have not cleared CAT implies you are not in the IIMs.

The main statement may have any of the following variants:

  1. if
  3. if and only if
  5. whenever
  7. either….or
  9. only when

Let us understand the difference between the "if" and "if and only if" as well as the "when" and "only when" type of questions.

Statement : If it rains, the ground is wet.
  Meaning : Here the ground can be wet otherwise also, i.e. when it does not rain. But if it rains the ground is surely wet.

Statement : If and only if it rains, the ground is wet.
  Meaning : Here the ground cannot be wet otherwise i.e. if the ground is wet, it must have rained. Also, it goes without saying that if it rained, the ground is wet.

Statement : When Raj studies, he gets a headache.
  Meaning : Here he can get a headache otherwise also.

Statement : Only when Raj studies, he gets a headache.
  Meaning : Here Raj cannot get a headache due to any reason other than studying.

The "either-or" type of question is as simple as the name suggests – either this or that e.g.
  Statement : Either Sushmita or Aishwarya is beautiful
Here the conclusions can be:

1. Sushmita is beautiful implies Aishwarya is not beautiful
  2.Aishwarya is beautiful implies Sushmita is not beautiful

Critical Reasoning

The Critical Reasoning section is designed to test one's ability to understand and evaluate arguments. The section consists of questions, each of which is based on arguments presented in short paragraphs. The Critical Reasoning section is meant to measure one's ability to think logically and to evaluate the reasoning of others. One will be asked to evaluate an argument and its strength and validity.

The questions in Critical Reasoning consist of three parts.

  1. The initial statement/s: These will be in the form of a short passage and shall contain an argument or a line of reasoning.
  3. A question: This asks you to evaluate the argument, for example by finding the main point of the passage, by finding a flaw in the argument or by spotting a premise that would strengthen or weaken the given argument.
  5. Four answer choices: Each question is followed by four answer choices and one has to choose the best option, based solely on the information presented in the given passages. One should not impose the judgments on the argument while choosing the answer. One should go strictly by the facts presented in the passage.

Important terms

An Argument is a line of reasoning adopted by an author to prove his point. The point or the central idea that is being proved by the argument is called the Conclusion. An argument tries to prove the conclusion on the basis of certain statements or facts which are called Premises. It is any statement that the author uses to support the conclusion.

Look at the following sentence:

There was not much traffic on the roads this morning so it must be a holiday.

The main point that the author is trying to make here is that today must be a holiday. That is the conclusion of the sentence. To make this point he has used a reasoning that there is not much traffic on the roads in the morning, which implies that today must be a holiday. So the premise is that there was not much traffic on the roads in the morning.

Strategies to tackle Critical Reasoning

  1. Don’t treat critical reasoning passages like reading comprehension passages. This means one should never skim over the passage — each word is important.
  3. It usually helps to read the question first as one will know what to look in the passage.
  5. Don’t consider any information that is outside the scope of the passage.
  7. Use only the information given in the passage.
  9. Try to locate the conclusion and the premises before one attempt the questions.
  11. Never rule out seemingly obvious or simple choices. They might be the correct ones.
  13. Read all the choices even if one feels one have spotted the correct choice.

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