## Critical Reasoning

### Critical Reasoning

An assumption is a premise on which the given information rests or is founded. Usually,the assumption is never stated directly in the passage, i.e. it is implicit, although on rare occasions,it may be mentioned partially or completely. In such questions, the conclusion of the premise is provided to the student,and he/she is asked to identify the premise or  assumption on which the conclusion rests.

Keep in mind that the assumption is a piece of information which MUST be true in order to arrive at the conclusion that has been given. To illustrate what an assumption actually is, let's take a look at an easy example, before we proceed to more difficult ones.

The man told the students, 'Do not go for an MBA. More than 70% of MBA degree holders are unemployable.' There are two assumptions in the aforementioned sentence: 1. The first and the most obvious one - The man assumes that all the students will go for an MBA, or are thinking of going for an MBA at the very least. 2. The second, and more difficult one - The man assumes that each of the students whom he is addressing will fall among the 70% of MBA degree holders who are unemployable, should they go onto complete their MBA. Types of Questions 1. The student may be asked for an implicit assumption that underlies the passage.This is the most common type of assumption question.The question stem looks somewhat like this: 'Which of the following is an assumption that, if true, would support the conclusion of the passage?' 'Which of the following is an implicit assumption underlying the passage?' 2. The student may be asked to identify the answer choice that is NOT an assumption underlying the passage. In this type, all but one options are assumptions of the given information. That option may be an inference,a conclusion,or any other irrelevant data. The question stem looks somewhat like this: 'Which of the following is NOT an assumption underlying the passage?'

Tips for Solving :

Step 1: Read the given paragraph carefully and try to ascertain the conclusion or the main argument that the author makes. Separate it from other irrelevant data provided in the paragraph. Such data is usually given to confuse the student.

Step 2: Once you have identified the argument conclusion, ask yourself the following questions: Why is the conclusion true? What has the author not mentioned but considers to be a given, in order to arrive at the conclusion?

Step 3: Look for missing links between the premise and the conclusion. Do not look at the answer choices straightaway. Instead try to ascertain the piece of information that is necessary in order to arrive at the conclusion.

Step 4: If you have a fair idea of what this information should comprise, proceed to read the answer choices, and choose the option closest to what you have in mind.

Step 5: Should you fail into develop an idea regarding the possible assumption of the passage, look at each answer choice, and try to connect each statement to the main passage. Ask yourself the following question: Can the conclusion of the passage be derived.should this statement be false? If yes. then you can eliminate that option. If not, then that is your correct answer.

Step 6: Be wary of trap answers. Such answers may have the following characteristics:

6a: It may provide new and/or more specific information distantly related to the topic being discussed, but go outside the scope of what is being discussed.

6b: It may provide an inference of the passage, rather than an assumption. This has proven very tricky for students to identify. We will discuss inferences in a separate topic later.

6c: It may be deliberately designed in a way to tempt the student into choosing it, by making it overly complicated and loaded with statistical data.

6d: It may speak in absolute terms,e.g. 'It can never be..' or 'It always happens..' Such statements are less likely to be the assumption of the passage.

Strengthening Statements Now that we have seen what assumptions are and what they look like, we can proceed towards solving a question type that may at times employ the understanding of assumptions.

In this question type, a small paragraph is given,and the student has to identify the argument made in the passage, and choose the answer choice that most effectively strengthens it. Such questions can be difficult because very often the student is given answer choices all of which strengthen the argument to some extent,but the student has to find the one which strengthens it the most.

This requires comprehension on the student's part, and the ability to understand the main point that the author is trying to make. To see what a strengthening statement actually is, take a look at the following example: