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KNEWTON KNOTES

GMAT Quantitative

 
STRATEGIES AND APPROACHES First steps Timing strategies Always be doing something! Once you’ve read the
STRATEGIES AND APPROACHES
First steps
Timing strategies
Always be doing something! Once you’ve read the problem (20-25 seconds),
choose an approach and dive in! Some rst steps that open up many questions are:
• Aim to spend 2 minutes per question—less on easier questions, a little more
on harder ones.
• If you’ve spent 3 minutes on a question, re-evaluate: Are you within 30 seconds
- Set up an equation
- Factor/FOIL
of a solution?
- Set up a system and solve
with substitution
- Apply exponent rules
- If you are, continue and solve quickly.
- Apply angle properties and look
- If you aren’t, use the work you’ve done to make an educated guess and move on.
- Test Cases
for right triangles
• NEVER leave questions unanswered at the end of the exam.
Data Sufficiency
Problem Solving
Strategies
Approaches
Strategies
Testing Cases – On any Number
• Testing Cases – This strategy is esp-
ecially useful on number properties/
inequalities/absolute value questions.
• Always know what you need to
determine before turning to the
statements.
PIN – If you see variables in the answer
choices and “in terms of” in the prompt,
you can use PIN.
Properties question, you can Test Cases.
• Test any number that fits the conditions
in the prompt!
• Procedure:
• Look for clue phrases:
- When Testing Cases on Data
Suf ciency, use the constraints
to try to nd con icting answers
to the question in the prompt.
• Always consider the statements
separately before combining.
1. Choose number(s).
- “could be true”
2. Solve problem with chosen number(s).
- “must be true”
• Remember that “No” can be sufficient:
Find numerical answer.
- “could be false”
If you have enough information to
- “must be false”
- Only test numbers that satisfy
the constraints in the prompt.
answer “No” to the question in the
prompt, that is sufficient information,
and the answer cannot be E.
3. Test all ve answer choices. If multiple
answer choices return same value as
prompt, plug in new number(s) and repeat.
• Don’t Solve – Don’t solve equations
or do calculations if you don’t have to!
Plugging in the Answer Choices – If the
• Memorize the answer choices!
answer choices are numbers that can be
Choice-driven questions – If you must
look at the answer choices to solve
(“Which of the following”-type questions),
start with E and work upwards.
- Statement 1 alone
- A single-variable linear equation
is enough to nd the value of the
variable.
substituted for a value in the question, and
- Statement 2 alone
are steadily increasing or decreasing round
Approaches
- Both statements combined
numbers, you can plug them into
- Each statement alone
the prompt.
• Always be sure you know what you
are solving for (don’t solve for x when
- A system of independent linear
equations with as many equations
as variables is enough to nd the
value of any variable.
- Not even both combined
• Start with B or D, then try the other—
this method can allow you to solve by
testing only two answer choices instead
of all five.
the answer is 3x).
• Note that there is no extra information in
Problem Solving questions—you will need
to use every piece of information provided!
ALGEBRA Inequalities Exponents and roots Roots: If -1 < x < 1, x is farther
ALGEBRA
Inequalities
Exponents and roots
Roots: If -1 < x < 1, x is farther from 0
Polynomials:
1
Exponent rules:
than x 2 is, and closer to 0 than x
2 is.
• you multiply or divide an inequality by
If
• (ab) n = (a n )(b n )
a
negative number, you must flip the sign.
Even powers have both positive and
• (a m )(a n ) = a (m+n)
negative solutions (x 2 = 4
x = ±2),
• Factoring: x 2 + Cx + D = (x + a)(x + b)
means ab = D and (a + b) = C
• FOIL: First, Outside, Inside, Last
• NEVER multiply or divide an inequality
by a variable if you don’t know its sign.
• (a m ) n = a (mn)
but √ x is de ned to be positive ( √ 4 = 2).
• + y)(x + y) = x 2 + 2xy + y 2
(x
• – y)(x – y) = x 2 – 2xy + y 2
(x
• (a b ) = (a c )
b = c
xy-plane
a b
• Difference of squares:
= a (b–c)
• c
Operation words
a
Distance formula: d = √ (x 2 − x 1 ) 2 + (y 2 − y 1 ) 2
1
(x + y)(x – y) = x 2 – y 2
Negative exponents: a –n =
Lines
a n
• “sum” is result of adding numbers
Systems with too few equations
• Slope formula:
Roots:
• “difference” is result of subtracting numbers
Negative bases: Negative numbers raised
to odd powers stay negative ((-3) 3 = -27),
• Perpendicular lines have negative
reciprocal slopes.
• Look for ways to solve for the value of
an expression, or of a single variable.
• “product” is result of multiplying numbers
but negative numbers raised to even
• Parallel lines have the same slope.
• Keep an eye out for dependent equa-
powers are positive ((-3) 4 = 81).
• “quotient” is result of dividing numbers
• Equation of a line: y = mx + b, where
tions, especially on word problems.
1
Fractional exponents: a n =
n m is slope and b is y-intercept.
COMMON HIGHER DECIMAL/PERCENTAGE/FRACTION POWERS EQUIVALENCIES: Common Powers of 2 Squares = 0.5 = 50% =
COMMON HIGHER
DECIMAL/PERCENTAGE/FRACTION
POWERS
EQUIVALENCIES:
Common
Powers of 2
Squares
= 0.5 = 50%
= 0.2 = 20%
1 2 = 1
2 1 = 2
2 2 = 4
2 2 = 4
≈ 0.33 ≈ 33.3%
= 0.4 = 40%
3 2 = 9
2 3 = 8
4 2 = 16
2 4 = 16
≈ 0.66 ≈ 66.6%
= 0.6 = 60%
5 2 = 25
2 5 = 32
6 2 = 36
2 6 = 64
≈ 0.16 ≈ 16.6%
= 0.8 = 80%
7 2 = 49
2 7 = 128
8 2 = 64
2 8 = 256
≈ 0.33 ≈ 33.3%
= 0.125 = 12.5%
9 2 = 81
2 9 = 512
10 2 = 100
2 10 = 1,024
= 0.5 = 50%
= 0.25 = 25%
11 2 = 121
Powers of 3
12 2 = 144
3 1 = 3
≈ 0.66 ≈ 66.6%
= 0.375 = 37.5%
13 2 = 169
3 2 = 9
14 2 = 196
3 3 = 27
≈ 0.83 ≈ 83.3%
= 0.5 = 50%
15 2 = 225
3 4 = 81
16 2 = 256
Common
= 0.25 = 25%
= 0.625 = 62.5%
17 2 = 289
Cubes
18 2 = 324
1 3 = 1
= 0.5 = 50%
= 0.75 = 75%
19 2 = 361
2 3 = 8
20 2 = 400
3 3 = 27
= 0.75 = 75%
= 0.875 = 87.5%
25 2 = 625
4 3 = 64
30 2 = 900
5 3 = 125

STATISTICS AND FORMULAS

MEAN: Average = • Weighted averages:
MEAN: Average =
• Weighted averages:

- using # of terms in each set:

- using % of total in each set:

# of terms in each set: - using % of total in each set: MEDIAN :
# of terms in each set: - using % of total in each set: MEDIAN :

MEDIAN: The number in the middle of a set, when the terms are put

in order. If there is an even number of terms in the set, the median is the average of the two middle terms.

MODE: The number that appears most often in a set.

RANGE: The difference between the largest and smallest numbers in a set.

STANDARD DEVIATION: Measures how “spread out” the elements

in a set are. {51, 50, 51, 51, 52} has a lower standard deviation than

{2, 6, 24, 25, 34}.

INTEREST FORMULAS: For initial investment of P dollars at an annual

interest rate of r percent.

• Simple interest: Amount of money in an account making simple

interest after t years: P + Prt

• Compound interest: Amount of money in an account where interest

is compounded n times per year, after t years: P (1 +

Common formulas

r

n

) nt

• Distance = speed × time

• Work = work rate × time

• Profit = revenue – cost

• Revenue = volume × unit cost

NUMBERS AND ARITHMETIC

“Percent of” translations:

• 10% of x: (

• n% of x: (

10

100

) x

n

100

)x

Combinatorics:

• General method: Draw blanks, fill in # of possibilities, multiply together.

• Always begin with the blank with the most restrictions.

• Combinations (order doesn’t matter):

- Number of ways to choose k items

from a set of n:

n! k!(n k)!

- Number of ways to choose 2 items

from a set of n:

n( n 1)

2

- Number of ways to choose 1 item

from a set of n: n

• Permutations (order matters):

- Number of ways to arrange k items

from a set of n:

n! (n k)!

Factorials: n! = n × (n – 1) × (n – 2) ×

× 3 × 2 × 1

Common factorials

- 0! = 1! = 1

- 2! = 2

- 3! = 6

- 4! = 24

- 5! = 120

- 6! = 720

KNEWTON KNOTES

GMAT Quantitative

 
NUMBER PROPERTIES Properties of 0: • Multiplication/division: Factors, multiples, divisibility: Prime numbers: -
NUMBER PROPERTIES
Properties of 0:
• Multiplication/division:
Factors, multiples, divisibility:
Prime numbers:
- Pos (÷/ × ) Neg = Neg (÷/ × ) Pos = Neg
In a list of n consecutive integers, exactly
0
= 0 × n = 0
n
(different signs gives a negative result)
one will be a multiple of n.
• A prime number is any number that
only has 2 factors: itself and 1.
• n + 0 = n – 0 = n
- Pos (÷/ × ) Pos = Pos (same sign gives
The sum or difference of two multiples of
• 1 is not prime.
• n 0 = 1
a
positive result)
a number is also a multiple of that number.
• 2 is the only even prime.
• 0 is even.
- Neg (÷/ × ) Neg = Pos (same sign gives
All of the following phrases are equivalent:
• Prime numbers to know: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11,
• 0 is neither positive nor negative.
a
positive result)
- a is evenly divisible by b
13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47.
- b evenly divides a
Properties of 1:
Integers:
Absolute value:
n
- b divides a with no remainder
• Integers are whole numbers, including
• = n 1 = n
n × 1 =
• Absolute value of a number is always
1
- b is a factor of a
negative whole numbers.
• 1 n = 1
greater than or equal to zero.
- a is a multiple of b
• 0 is an integer.
Odd and even integers:
• Equation with absolute value is really
Divisibility rules:
Use Venn diagrams to organize information
two equations: |x| = n
x = n or x = – n.
• Addition/subtraction:
- 3: digits add to a multiple of
in sets problems.
- Odd + Even = Odd
• Inequalities with absolute value:
3
(87 is divisible by 3 because
A
B
- Even + Even = Even
|x| < n
− n < x < n
8
+ 7 = 15 and 15 = 5 × 3)
- Odd + Odd = Even
A B = x + y + z
|x| > n
x < − n OR n < x
x
y
z
• Multiplication:
A B = y
Place value: Know the names of thousands
- Odd × Even = Even
through thousandths place.
- 4: last 2 digits alone are divisible
by 4 (24 ÷ 4 = 6, so 124 and 3,524
are divisible by 4)
- Even × Even = Even
- 5: last digit is 5 or 0
- Odd × Odd = Odd
The ratio of a to b can be written as
tenths
- 6: divisible by 2 AND 3
hundredths
or a : b.
Positive and negative integers:
- 9: digits add to a multiple of 9
thousandths
60 Direct and inverse proportions:
• Addition/subtraction:
- 12: divisible by 3 AND 4
1,234.567
- Pos + Pos = Pos
Use factor trees to find all the
prime factors of a number.
12
5
thousands
• If x and y are directly proportional,
then x = cy, where c is a constant.
- Neg + Neg = Neg
hundreds
2
6
- Pos − Neg = Pos
tens
ones
• If x and y are inversely proportional,
then xy = c, where c is a constant.
- Neg − Pos = Neg
2
3
GEOMETRY Geometry shortcuts Quadrilaterals s • On xy-plane problems, if you have any one of
GEOMETRY
Geometry shortcuts
Quadrilaterals
s
• On xy-plane problems, if you have any one of these,
you can find any of the other 4:
Squares:
w
• All sides equal
s
s
- Any linear equation containing both x and y
• All angles 90°
• Area of a square = s 2
- Slope-intercept form of a line
- 2 points on a line
Rectangles:
s
• Opposite sides equal
w
- The intercepts of a line
RECTANGLE
• All angles 90°
- The slope and one point on a line
• Area of a rectangle = ℓ w
• On rectangle/right triangle geometry problems, if you
have any 2 of these, you can find any of the other 3:
Combined figures are always combinations of familiar shapes. Find their areas
and perimeters by combining the areas and perimeters of these familiar shapes.
- Length of rectangle (a)
- Width of rectangle (b)
Circles
c
CIRCLE
a
- Length of diagonal (c)
A tangent and a radius make a 90° angle.
- Area of rectangle
Full angle of a circle is 360°.
b
sector
- Perimeter of rectangle
r
Triangles
Radius: any line from the center
to the edge of the circle
base × height
Diameter = 2r
• Area of a triangle =
60 ˚
2
Circumference = 2 π r
• Angles in any triangle add to 180°.
Area of a circle = π r 2
INSCRIBED and CENTRAL ANGLES
arc length
sector area
central angle
Equilateral triangle: All sides equal,
all angles equal to 60°.
Sector and arc:
=
=
circumference
circle area
360°
60 ˚
60 ˚
x ˚
x ˚
x
°
EQUILATERAL
ISOSCELES
Isosceles triangles: Two equal angles,
with sides opposite those angles also equal.
Inscribed angle has half the measure
of central angle with same endpoints.
y
°
Angles
x
Similar triangles: If two triangles have all the
same angles, their side lengths will all be in
the same ratio to one another, and vice versa.
y =
2
x
y
• Angles that make a full rotation around a point add to 360°.
• Supplementary angles add to 180º.
FULL ROTATION
PARALLEL LINES with TRANSVERSALS
a°+b°+c°+d°+e° = 360°
Triangle Inequality: Any side must be shorter
than the sum of the other two sides, and longer
than the difference of the other two sides.
• Complementary angles add to 90°.
z
y
˚
x
˚
|x − y| < z < (x + y)
c
• Parallel lines with transversals:
x
˚
y
˚
a
y
˚
x
˚
- Big angles (y) all equal
TRIANGLE INEQUALITY
x y
˚
˚
CYLINDER
- Small angles (x) all equal
e ° a °
Right triangle: One 90° angle, across from
the longest side (hypotenuse).
b °
- Big + Small = 180°
d °
b
c
°
RIGHT TRIANGLE
3D shapes
• Pythagorean theorem: a 2 + b 2 = c 2
h
Cylinder: volume of cylinder = π r 2 h
• Special right triangles:
45
˚
r
• surface area of cylinder = Bases + Lateral Area = 2 π r 2 + 2 π rh .
- 45-45-90 (with side lengths x, x, x√ 2 )
x
60 ˚
x
2x
Rectangular solid: volume of box = ℓ wh
- 30-60-90 (with side lengths x,
, 2x)
x
CUBE
BOX
• surface area of box = 2 ℓ w + 2wh + 2 ℓ h.
- Pythagorean triples: 3-4-5, 6-8-10, 9-12-15,
30-40-50, 5-12-13, 10-24-26, 8-15-17
45 ˚
30 ˚
s
h
Cube: volume of cube = s 3
x
• surface area of cube = 6s 2
s
w
SPECIAL RIGHT TRIANGLES
s

Knewton Knotes

GMAT Sentence Correction

 
SC APPROACH - MOST/ALL OF SENTENCE UNDERLINED If most or all of the sentence is
SC APPROACH - MOST/ALL OF SENTENCE UNDERLINED
If most or all of the sentence is underlined, there are probably several errors among the answer
choices. Likely, at least one answer choice contains a modifier or structure error.
1) Read through the entire sentence for meaning.
2) Use clues to determine which rule(s) may
have been violated. If you find an error in
the original, eliminate A.
Note : awkwardness alone is NOT ENOUGH
to eliminate an answer choice. The choice
must violate a grammatical rule.
3) Read through choice B, and, by using the
clues you have already found and by noting
the differences between A and B, determine
the type of error you’re looking for. If you
spot an error, eliminate B.
4) Repeat the process for choices C-E.
Continue to use differences between options
to spot potential errors.
5) If more than one choice still remains, plug
each underlined portion back into the original
sentence; choose the option that clearly and
unambiguously expresses the intended
meaning of the sentence.
6) In a 50/50 guessing situation, favor the
more concise option - the one without
extra pronouns or prepositional phrases.

SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

RULE: Clauses must each contain a subject-verb pair. A verb must agree with its subject in number.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which the main subject-verb pair does not agree.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which a subject-verb pair in an adjective clause or other depend- ent clause does not agree.

RULE: The GMAT injects filler between a subject-verb pair. Ignore this filler.

• The subject of a sentence will never be inside of a prepositional phrase.

- If the subject is plural, the GMAT often puts a singular noun next to the verb to make the error more difficult to identify. With singular subjects, the GMAT often puts a plural noun next to the verb.

prep. phrase

adjective clause

“trick” plural noun

8

WRONG: The start of the races that will be run by the best athletes are at 6 pm.

9

RIGHT: The start of the races that will be run by the best athletes is at 6 pm.

RULE: The GMAT uses particularly tricky nouns as subjects. Unusual nouns rules:

Collective nouns refer to a group as a unit, and, on the GMAT, they are almost always singular. Ex: Team, jury, committee, company, cluster, group

• Indefinite Pronouns fall into three categories:

- Singular: each, every, anyone, everyone, nobody

- Plural: both, few

- Depends on the noun to which it refers: all, some, most, majority

Compound Subjects connected by “and” are almost always plural.

Noun Clauses beginning with “what” (“what the doctors have found is startling”) are usually singular.

Gerunds, nouns that end in –ing (“collecting cards is my favorite hobby”), are singular.

Inverted Sentences disguise agreement by placing the verb after the subject. When a verb is preceded only by modifiers (prepositional phrase, participial phrase, etc.), the subject must come after the verb, and the verb must agree with its subject.

 

prep. phrase

relative clause

8

WRONG: In my closet, which is in the front hall, is all of my toys.

9

RIGHT: In my closet, which is in the front hall, are all of my toys.

SUMMARY: When you see THESE CLUES, check for S-V agreement:

• Answer choices differ by the use of singular/plural verb.

• Sentences are full of adjective clauses and prepositional phrases.

• “Unusual nouns” are used as subjects.

PRONOUNS

RULE: Every pronoun must have a specific antecedent. The GMAT doesn’t often use gendered pronouns, so look specifically for it/its/they/them/their.

RULE: Every pronoun must agree in number with its antecedent.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that contain a pronoun but do not contain a noun that agrees in number for the pronoun to logically replace.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that do not CLEARLY use a pronoun to refer to one, specific noun.

RULE: When the subject of a dependent clause is a pronoun, this pronoun’s antecedent should be the subject of the main clause. When a sentence contains two independent clauses and the subject of the second clause is a pronoun, this pronoun’s antecedent should be the subject of the first clause.

8 WRONG: Because it was robbed last month, the door to the house is locked. (“it” is the subject of the dependent clause, so it must be illogically referring to “door.”)

SUMMARY: When you see THESE CLUES, look for pronoun-antecedent agreement:

• EVERY TIME you see a pronoun, find its antecedent

• Unusual nouns (especially collective nouns): the GMAT uses the same unusual nouns to test S-V and P-A agreement

Check us out at www.knewton.com/gmat
Check us out at www.knewton.com/gmat
SC APPROACH - ONLY A FEW WORDS UNDERLINED If only a few words are underlined,
SC APPROACH - ONLY A FEW WORDS UNDERLINED
If only a few words are underlined, the question is likely testing one very specific rule.
1. Read the entire sentence to determine what
role the underlined portion plays. The under-
lined portion may connect two clauses, be
part of an idiomatic expression, etc. Use
clues to determine what the error may be.
if one choice uses “as” but another uses “than,”
look for a correctly formed comparison.
3. Choose the option that uses the correct word
or phrase in the context of the sentence.
4. If you’re down to two options and one contains
2. If you’re having trouble figuring out what is
being tested, use the differences between the
answer choices to guide you; for example,
an extra pronoun or awkward prepositional
phrase, opt for concision and clarity.

MODIFIERS

RULE: An adjective or a phrase or clause that acts as an adjective must describe a noun. Adjectival modifiers follow strict placement rules.

RULE: An adverb or a phrase or clause that acts as an adverb can describe a verb, adjec- tive, or another adverb. The placement of adverbial modifiers is often somewhat flexible.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which adjectival modifiers DO NOT describe a specific noun.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which the placement of the modifier is incorrect. Adjective Clauses begin with relative pronouns: “which,” “that,” “who,” “whose,” “whom.”

RULE: An adjective clause must describe the noun or noun idea immediately before it. When no new subject is introduced, the verb in the clause must agree with the noun described by the clause. If a “noun + prepositional phrase” makes up a “noun idea,” the clause can describe either the noun before the prepositional phrase or the object of the preopositional phrase. The verb in the clause must agree with the logically modified noun.

9

RIGHT: The books on the desk, which was the most expensive item in the furniture store, are open. (“which” logically refers to the noun “desk.”)

9

RIGHT: The books on the desk, which include a history textbook and a fiction novel, are open. (“which” logically refers to the noun idea “the books on the desk.”)

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which the adjective clause refers to an abstract idea.

8 WRONG: Taylor broke her leg, which kept her from competing in the race.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which the adjective clause does not describe the noun or noun idea immediately before it.

Participial Phrases begin with present participles (-ing words) or past participles (usually –ed)

words. They must describe a logical noun.

RULE: A participial phrases at the beginning of a sentence must modify the first noun after the comma.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which the first noun after the comma is not the noun described by the phrase.

8

WRONG: Wanting to finish its project by Monday, the team’s meetings were on Saturday and Sunday. (The team wanted to finish the “project,” not the “meetings.”)

9

RIGHT: Wanting to finish its project by Monday, the team held meetings on Saturday and Sunday. (The “team” is correctly modified by the participial phrase.)

Note: A pronoun inside of a modifying phrase (seen above) must refer to the noun being modified.

RULE: A participial phrase that is set off by a comma, but is not at the beginning of a sen- tence, is more flexible with its placement, as long as it is clear what is being modified. If the participial phrase is not set off by a comma, it must describe the noun before it.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS in which the participial phrase within the sentence does not clearly describe the specific noun it should logically describe.

8

WRONG: The manager hired the new employee, excited for the future of the company. (Unclear as to who is excited, the “manager” or the “employee.”)

9

RIGHT: The manager hired the new employee, who was excited for the future of the company. (Relative clause clarifies that the “employee” is being modified.)

9

RIGHT: The manager hired the new employee, believing that the candidate’s prior work

experiences were valuable. (Logically, the participle must describe the “manager.”) Summative modifiers begin with “a” or “an” and a noun that re-names or summarizes the gist of the previous clause. Summative modifiers often fix other modifier errors because they don’t need to describe a specific noun.

8

WRONG: The researchers hypothesized that the old method is flawed, which is likely to cause a great deal of controversy.

9

RIGHT: The researchers hypothesized that the old method is flawed, a proposal that

is likely to cause a great deal of controversy. Prepositional Phrases begin with a preposition (of, to, for, in, with, etc.) and end with a noun. They can be adjectival or adverbial.

RULE: A prepositional phrase that describes a noun follows the same rules as a participial phrase (see above).

RULE: When a prepositional phrase describes actions, its placement in the sentence is flexible, as long it is clear what it describes.

9

RIGHT: Until last week, the professor had never missed a day of work.

9

RIGHT: The professor had never missed a day of work until last week.

9

RIGHT: The professor had, until last week, never missed a day of work.

SUMMARY: When you see THESE CLUES, look for logical modification:

• The words “which” and “that” are at the beginnings of clauses

• A describing phrase is at the beginning of a sentence

• Sentences that have a lot underlined and jumble the order of phrases and clauses

Knewton Knotes

GMAT Sentence Correction

 
PARALLELISM/COMPARISONS RULE: Ideas within the same clause must be connected correctly. Connected items include those
PARALLELISM/COMPARISONS
RULE: Ideas within the same clause must be connected correctly. Connected items
include those in lists, those linked by correlative conjunctions, and those in comparisons.
9
RIGHT: The exam testing natural intelligence and work ethic will be given tomorrow.
8
ELIMINATE OPTIONS that do not form correlative conjunctions correctly. When items are
linked by correlative conjunctions, eliminate options that do not pair the first word in the
construction with the correct FANBOYS conjunction.
WRONG: The television program neither impressed viewers nor critics.
(“impressed” and “critics” are not the same part of speech)
9
RIGHT: The television program impressed neither viewers nor critics.
MEMORIZE THE CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS:
ELIMINATE OPTIONS that do not form comparisons correctly. Commonly used comp-
arison terms are:
MEMORIZE THE COMPARISON FORMATIONS:
Either…or
Between…and
Not only…but also
Neither…nor
At once…and
Just as…so
Both…and
Not…but
Whether…or
as…as
more/less/greater/higher…than
like/unlike (must compare two nouns)
8
WRONG: In the final round, the judges had to choose between the smartest compet-
itor or the most attractive one.
8
WRONG: The new SUV uses gas more quickly as the small sedan does.
9
RIGHT: The new SUV uses gas more quickly than the small sedan does.
9
RIGHT: In the final round the judges had to choose between the smartest competitor
and the most attractive one.
ELIMINATE OPTIONS that do not form logical comparisons.
ELIMINATE OPTIONS that do not properly separate items in a list using a conjunction.
8
WRONG: The new employee impressed the boss, a man named Jim, made an
impression on the CEO.
RULE: In comparisons, “that” can be used to replace a singular item compared, and
“those”can replace a plural item. A possessive can be used if the item belonging to the
possessive is the other item compared.
8
9
RIGHT: The new employee impressed the boss, a man named Jim, and made an
impression on the CEO.
WRONG: The couches in the living room are smaller than that in the den. (“that” is
singular, but it refers to the plural noun “couches”)
9
RIGHT: The couches in the living room are smaller than those in the den.
RULE: Items connected by “and” must be the same part of speech. The word “and” is a
8
huge clue that items are in a list. Look to the word or phrase after the “and,” and match
it to an earlier word or phrase that is the same part of speech. If no such word or phrase
WRONG: Unlike the head chef, whose dishes are always healthy, the assistant chef’s
are quite unhealthy. (the implied “assistant chef’s dishes” are being compared to the
“head chef”)
exists, then the option does not contain a parallel list. Make sure the list does in fact con-
nect items that play the same role in the sentence.
9
RIGHT: Unlike the head chef’s dishes, which are always healthy, the assistant chef’s
are quite unhealthy.
ELIMINATE OPTIONS that do not link items that are the same part of speech when
SUMMARY: When you see THESE CLUES, check for parallelism:
a sentence contains a list, a pair of correlative conjunctions, or a comparison.
• The word “and”
8 WRONG: The exam testing natural intelligence and that one has work ethic will be
given tomorrow. (The item after “and” is a “that clause” – there must be another
“that clause” earlier)
• Any correlative conjunction pair
• Comparison words: “as,” “than,” unlike,” “like”

SENTENCE STRUCTURE

RULE: An independent clause contains the main subject-verb pair; a sentence is incom- plete without at least one independent clause.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that are fragments because all clauses are dependent or because they contain a clause in which a subject’s verb is “stolen” by an adjective clause.

8

WRONG: The company’s business proposal is not ready because the manager, who has not yet edited it.

9

RIGHT: The company’s business proposal is not ready because the manager has not yet edited it.

RULE: Clauses must be connected correctly. Two independent clauses must be connected using a semicolon or using a “comma + coordinating conjunction” (coordinating conjunc- tions are FANBOYS words: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So).

Ways to correctly connect clauses:

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + COMMA + FANBOYS + INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + SEMICOLON + INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

DEPENDENT CLAUSE + COMMA + INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE + COMMA + DEPENDENT CLAUSE

(Sometimes there is no comma when the dependent clause comes second)

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that use a comma only or a coordinating conjunction only to con- nect clauses that are independent.

8

WRONG: This winter has been unusually cold and last summer was unusually hot.

9

RIGHT: This winter has been unusually cold, and last summer was unusually hot.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that contain an incomplete clause on one side of a semicolon or a “comma + FANBOYS” construction.

8

WRONG: New computers have been purchased for the entire office; although most employees can use only the old system.

9

RIGHT: New computers have been purchased for the entire office; however, most employees can use only the old system.

SUMMARY: When you see THESE CLUES, make sure that clauses are connected correctly:

“Comma + FANBOYS” or (;) • Some options contain adjective clauses while others do not

Check us out at www.knewton.com/gmat
Check us out at www.knewton.com/gmat

VERB TENSE

RULE: Events that take place at the same time should be in the same verb tense. When there is a time shift in a sentence, the verb tenses used should correctly reflect this shift.

RULE: Use the past perfect and present perfect tenses correctly; the GMAT commonly tests these tenses. The Past Perfect tense, or “had + past participle,” can only be used when the verb in this tense took place in the far past, before another event in the more recent past. The Present Perfect tense, or “has/have + past participle,” describes an event that began at a point in the past and may continue. The word “since” is a great clue that a sentence may need the present perfect.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that use different verb tenses to describe two events that take place during the same time period. The word “when” links events that take place at the same time, and verbs that are linked in lists or by correlative conjunctions must typically be in the same tense.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that use the past perfect when the event in this tense did not come before another past tense event.

8

WRONG: By the time the movie had started, we were waiting in line for an hour. (Logically, we waited before the movie started.)

9

RIGHT: By the time the movie started, we had been waiting in line for an hour.

ELIMINATE OPTIONS that use the present perfect to describe an event that took place at a specific point in time; events in the present perfect span a non-specific period of time that began in the past.

8

WRONG: In 1960, the family has moved to Canada. (The action happened at a specific point in history.)

9

RIGHT: In 1960, the family moved to Canada.

SUMMARY: When you see THESE CLUES, look for tense agreement:

• Prepositional phrases that describe a time: “since 1960,” or “in 1960” for example.

• “Had/Has/Have + past participle

WORDY AND AWkWARD CONSTRUCTIONS

RULE: When you’re choosing between options that do not contain concrete violations of grammatical rules, choose options that do not contain the following:

being

“preposition + the + -ing of”

having been

extra or unnecessary pronouns

8

Awkward: With the finishing of the construction of the building, the architects went out to celebrate it.

9

Better: Because they finished the construction of the building, the architects went out to celebrate.

Knewton Knotes GMAT Reading Comprehension RC BASICS KNEWTON STRATEGIES • Spend 2-3 minutes actively reading
Knewton Knotes
GMAT Reading Comprehension
RC BASICS
KNEWTON STRATEGIES
• Spend 2-3 minutes actively reading and
1. RC tests your ability to locate, under-
stand and paraphrase ideas in a passage.
3. Four passages appear on every test,
each with 3-4 questions.
MAPping the passage, and 4 to 5 minutes
answering the questions. An entire passage
should take 6-8 minutes.
• Don’t spend time re-reading a complex
idea or sentence; most details in a pas-
sage will not be tested, and if a confus-
ing detail is tested, revisit and decipher
2. Passages: 250-400 words. The passage
appears on the left; questions, one at
a time, on the right.
4. Bring no prior knowledge to this section;
all the information that is needed to
answer the questions is contained in
or implied by the passage.
as needed.
• Read the entire passage only once, and
then re-visit sections of the passage as
the questions dictate.
• Passages often include lists, long
sentences, complex and convoluted
• Read actively: focus on the main idea
and structure, not on complex details.
phrasing, or scientific or academic
jargon. Take note of where these

Passage Categories/Additional Reading

BUSINESS: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Economist, Businessweek, US News and World Report

SCIENCE: New Scientist, Science, Popular Science, Wired

HUMANITIES: New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic

Use MAPS to Understand the Passage

MAIN IDEA: What is being said. Often called the “primary concern” ATTITUDE: How it is said. The feeling or opinion of the author, often called the “tone”

PURPOSE: Why it’s being said. Purpose is usually expressed as a verb on the GMAT, • “defend,” “compare,” or “illustrate”

STRUCTURE: How the passage is organized. Briefly note a description of each paragraph. • Write down as much or as little as is needed in order to understand the main ideas and structure of the passage.

Points of View

• Passages with more than one POV: keep track of who agrees with which theory.

• Keep in mind: the author may have a differ- ent POV than do the sources in the passage.

• Passages rarely use the first-person; POV must be spotted through context.

Use TONE words:

- Negative Words: unfortunately, prob- lematic, failure, complicating, short- comings, unrealistic, unresolved, etc.

- Positive Words: practical, fortunately, thoughtful, clever, set a new standard, useful, effective, successful, etc.

- Words of Emphasis: Important, Signifi- cant, Best, etc.

- Words of Continuity or Causation:

Moreover, Because, Therefore, Thus, etc.

- Words of Contrast: However, Although, Despite, etc.

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTION TYPES Global Purpose Questions • Some ask why the author included a
READING COMPREHENSION QUESTION TYPES
Global Purpose Questions
• Some ask why the author included
a certain detail; these questions are
• Refer to the entire passage; info should
come from your MAPS.
almost always used either to exemplify
one of the author’s points or to provide
• Main Idea Questions: Choose the answer
that describes the entire passage. Avoid
choices that refer to one detail of the
passage and neglect bigger issues.
a counterargument.
• Re-read the entire paragraph in which
the detail is included.
• Difficult inference questions combine
• Primary Purpose Questions: Use the lead
verb in the answer choices to eliminate
incorrect answer choices.
- e.g.: if purpose is positive, eliminate
answers that say “dispute” or “recom-
mend against.”
several details; you may need to re-
read all relevant sections that refer to
the topic at hand.
Argument/Application Questions
• Ask you to understand an argument
and to strengthen, weaken, or apply
Detail Questions
it to a specific case.
• Ask you to locate, understand and para-
phrase a specific detail from the passage.
• Ask you to apply passage ideas to
hypothetical situations not described
• Use your MAPS to locate the relevant
section, and then re-read.
in the passage.
• Do not overextend the analogy; the
• Take the time to understand context
when answering detail questions; read
the sentence before and after the sen-
tence referred to in the question.
correct answer will not require a large
logical leap.
• Often require you to determine a rule,
restriction or category described in the
• Avoid answer choices that distort details
from the passage or create paraphrases
that exaggerate claims from the passage.
passage.
Inference Questions
- e.g. If a passage states that “Sung’s
1972 study claims that when invest-
ments surpass personal savings, eco-
• Ask you to determine which answer
choice is most strongly implied, but
is not explicitly stated, by the passage.
nomic recessions are likely,” a question
might ask for a situation most likely to
engender an economic recession; the
correct answer would provide these
• Do not stray from passage logic; an
inference must be true according to
the passage.
exact required conditions.
Note : On EXCEPT questions, begin with the
answer choices and find the corresponding
• Avoid extreme answer choices or answer
choices that could be true according to
the passage but are not definitely true.
section of the passage, one by one, eliminating
them as you go. Watch out for distorted details
and extreme answer choices.

The Ideas That Matter:

Take note of the “conventional wisdom” (“Many say…,” “most agree”). Note comparisons or similarities between two ideas (“Unlike,” “Alternatively,” “Another proposed solution”).

PAY ATTENTION TO:

DON’T WORRY ABOUT:

Relative numbers or dates (“before 1920…”)

Specific numbers or dates (“On July 14, 1882…”)

Unknown words or terms that are

Unknown words or terms that appear only once

repeated or defined in the passage

Conflicting opinions, and why they conflict

Determining which opinion is “right” or which provides better reasoning

Problems and their proposed solutions

Whether a given solution seems effective or logical

Divisions between entities (“While all corporations must… only industries

Lists of entities (“Corporations, public utilities, consumer agencies and politi- cal organizations all…”)

with strict hierarchies will profit from…”)

Policies, theories or processes and

Complex details of an economic policy, theory, or scientific process

the author’s opinion about them

Any proper names and what they believe (“According to Harris,…”)

Committing names or theories to memory.

READING IN REGULAR LIFE READING ON THE GMAT Every sentence is important. Many sentences are
READING IN REGULAR LIFE
READING ON THE GMAT
Every sentence is important.
Many sentences are unimportant.
We stop to look up unknown words.
Gather the meaning of words through
context.
We compare what we’re learning while
reading to what we already know.
Bring NO outside information to bear on
the passage.
We take time to stop, reread, and
unravel complex details.
Skim complex details and descriptions,
and only return to them if they are asked
about.
We know who wrote what we’re reading
and can take that into account while
reading.
Determine the author’s purpose, tone
and perspective without knowing who
he or she is.
We trust the author to present points
clearly, because it is his or her respon-
sibility to be understood.
Actively MAP the purpose and structure
of the passage to understand the overall
ideas.
WRONG ANSWER CHOICES

Some types of incorrect answer choices appear many times on the Reading Comprehension section:

STANDARD WACs

DIFFICULT WACs

Too Broad

Goes beyond subject of passage

Incorrect

Erroneously compares

in Scope

Comparisons

two entities

Too Narrow

Addresses overly

Distorted Detail

Uses passage

in Scope

specific subject

wording incorrectly

Opposite

States reversal of correct fact

Could be True

Possibly true but not inferable

Extreme

Overshoots answer/

extreme language

Many answer choices pull eye-catching details from the wrong section of the pas- sage; use your MAPS to eliminate these answers immediately.

Irrelevant Topic

Addresses new

subject erroneously

Knewton Knotes

GMAT Reading Comprehension

Knewton Knotes GMAT Reading Comprehension Common wisdom in finance for the last three decades states that
Common wisdom in finance for the last three decades states that small commercial banks have
Common wisdom in finance for the last three decades states that small commercial banks have little
It can be inferred
1 from the passage that proponents of the “alternative view” about small
influence on the status of a national economy.
1 Fiscal policy is usually written to favor large com-
commercial banks
2 would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements?
mercial banks, based on the assumption that large banks play a critical role in most aspects of national
economic health, including consumer lending rates, government interest rates, home mortgage rates,
and the extension of credit.
2 However, evidence has recently emerged suggesting that some small
The conflicting definitions of “small bank” disguise the limited economic role played by
such institutions.
3
commercial banks outperform their larger counterparts, especially during unusual economic periods.
3
Perhaps the best example of this is
4
during recessions, when some small commercial banks,
Small, local banks are more likely than are large commercial banks to support legislation
that offers aid to small businesses.
4
which have limited assets and thus more stringent credit requirements, incur a far smaller debt burden
than do dangerously over-leveraged large banks. Although no research has proven definitively that
small commercial banks are more active providers of loans and credit during recessions than are large
Some geographic and financial limitations on small commercial banks become advantageous
during economic recessions.
5
commercial banks, some economists
5 are claiming that small banks step into leading roles when
Fiscal policy should be overhauled to favor
6 the economic needs of small commercial banks.
necessary to keep national economies afloat.
Thus, an alternative view has emerged, claiming that small commercial banks are a necessary hedge
Economic recessions would be avoided
employees knew their clientele personally
7
if only a larger number of commercial bank
8 .
against depressions.
6
First,
7
small banks tend to be restricted to a single locale; bankers are more
likely to know their clientele personally and to provide emergency small-business assistance without
bureaucratic delays. Small banks also pump money back into local communities at times when their
residents face high levels of unemployment and malaise. Lastly, small banks must always ensure ad-
equate reserves of capital in preparation for a bank run, which inherently limits their ability to acquire
heavy risk.
However,
8 such claims about the role played by small banks are based primarily on economic
theory sometimes lacking solid empirical support. The issue is complicated by the fact that
makers utilize conflicting definitions of a “small bank.” The US Federal Reserve, for example,
9 policy
10 states
that any domestically chartered bank not among the 25 largest nationwide can be considered a “small
bank”- this group includes federal banks that are far larger than the local, personal banks cited by
economists.
MENTAL NOTES
PHYSICAL NOTES
(Inner monologue while reading the passage)
(Sample scratch work of notes about the passage)
1
The “common wisdom” is almost always going to be contradicted at some point
in the passage.
2
Lists of entities are rarely important on their own; skim them and go back only if asked.
M: Small banks- important for an
economy?
3
The word of contrast at the beginning of this sentence indicates a reversal of
the conventional wisdom.
A: Even-handed, sees both sides
4
Take note of examples that support certain points in the passage. Some will be
explicitly highlighted with the word “example” or “exemplify.”
5
This sentence starts with a contrast word, and states the notable point of view
of “some economists.” This sentence plays the role of the “thesis” of this passage.
P: Present “alternative view”
about small c. banks
6
The word of continuity in this sentence indicates that the second paragraph is
a continuation and extension of the first.
7
The words “first” and “lastly” indicate an enumerated list of reasons; thus, the second
paragraph provides evidentiary examples to illustrate and expand upon claim made in
the first sentence.
8
The third paragraph has a final reversal, indicated by a word of contrast.
S: P 1-Big banks more important?
Maybe not
P2-Small banks might be
better, esp. in recession
9
A “complication” is likely to introduce a new fact not yet described.
10
This is an implicit comparison, as opposed to many explicit comparisons made in this
passage (small vs. big banks, common wisdom vs. new theory). The Federal Reserve
uses one definition, and those that subscribe to the “alternative view” use another.
P3-Not enough evidence,
definition problems

HOW TO READ A QUESTION

(Question stems and wrong answer choices contain valuable clues)

1
1

The word “inferred” means that the correct answer will not be explicitly stated, but must be true according to the passage.

2
2

The proponents of the “alternative view” are discussed in the second paragraph, as per the MAP.

3
3

This choice states the opposite of what the proponents of the “alternative view” believe: that the economic role played by small banks is large, not “limited.”

4
4

“Legislation that offers aid to small businesses” is an irrelevant topic. It is similar, but not equivalent to emergency small-business assistance without bureaucratic delays.

5
5

This choice paraphrases the second paragraph and is correct. Small banks are “local” (a geographical limitation) and “must keep adequate reserves” (a financial limitation) and these qualities help in a recession economy .

6
6

This choice is extreme; the words “overhauled” and “favor” are unsupported by the passage.

7
7

The word “avoided” is extreme here; although small banks may be a necessary hedge against depression, the personal connection may not, in itself, help economies avoid recessions.

8
8

This use of direct passage wording is intended to trap test-takers. Notice that the correct answer primarily paraphrases the passage and does not quote directly.

Knewton Knotes

GMAT Critical Reasoning

Knewton Knotes GMAT Critical Reasoning CRITICAL REASONING APPROACH 1. Read the question stem to determine question
CRITICAL REASONING APPROACH 1. Read the question stem to determine question type. Doing so tells
CRITICAL REASONING APPROACH
1. Read the question stem to determine
question type. Doing so tells you what
you’ll be asked to do.
2. Identify the conclusion of the argument
and the evidence presented in the
argument.
3. Identify any assumptions clearly present
in the argument.
4. Make a categorical pre-phrase to deter-
mine the qualities of a correct answer.
DEFINITION OF TERM Argument – Two to five sentences that lay out a set of
DEFINITION OF TERM
Argument – Two to five sentences that
lay out a set of logical premises and
usually draw a conclusion based on
these premises.
Assumption – Unstated, but necessary,
premises of an argument. Assumptions
often bridge a gap in reasoning between
evidence and conclusions. Every GMAT
argument contains multiple assumptions.
Entity – A noun used in an argument; a
person, place, group, rate, rise in profit, etc.
Premises – The claims upon which a
conclusion is based; these con sist of
evidence and assumptions.
Inference – A logical conclusion that
must be true based on the premises of
an argument but is not explicitly stated
in an argument.
Conclusions – Opinions, predictions,
recommendations, or general principles
that are drawn based on the premises of
an argument. Conclusions can be found
anywhere in an argument. Conclusion key -
words: thus, therefore, so, due to this,
for this reason, will result in, should, this
change will/would, apparently, clearly.
Evidence – Statements that are explicitly
stated in an argument. Evidence is used
to draw a conclusion in an argument.
Evidence keywords: because, given that,
since, due to the fact that, in the past
year, last month.

CRITICAL REASONING QuESTION TyPES

The three most common CR question types (constituting over 60% of all test questions, on average) require test-takers to identify the evidence, conclusion, and assumptions provided in an argument.

WEAkEN (~30% of all CR questions) Many CR questions ask test-takers to weaken an argument, or to find evidence that undermines a prediction or recommendation made in the argument. Weaken questions are the most common CR question type. Test-takers can weaken an argument by:

- Invalidating an assumption on which the conclusion depends.

- Identifying an additional piece of evidence that makes the conclusion itself less likely to be valid.

- Remembering that the correct answer does not have to invalidate or disprove the argument to be an effective weakener.

- Keeping in mind that there are several ways to weaken a causal argument (an argument which concludes that a certain cause has a certain effect. (X Y):

• Identify an alternative cause for the observed effect (Z Y)

• Suggest reverse causation; that the effect in fact caused the proposed

cause (Y

X)

• Strengthen the chance that the cause and effect are correlated but not causally

related (X and Y, not X Y)

• Negate the existence of the cause or effect (~X, ~Y)

STRENGTHEN (~20%) Many CR questions ask test-takers to strengthen an argument, or to find evidence that supports a prediction or recommendation made in the argument. A strengthener does not have to prove the argument; it simply must make the conclusion more likely to be valid. A strengthener may provide a detail that is directly relevant to the situation described in the argument or a general principle that applies to the argument.

ASSuMPTION (~15%) Some CR questions ask test-takers to identify an assumption upon which an argu- ment depends. Assumptions either:

1. Fill a logical gap in the argument: If you have trouble coming up with assumptions, try creating a sentence that links the evidence with the conclusion.

2. Negate a potential argument weakener: An answer choice may introduce and immediately refute a piece of additional evidence that, if true, would weaken the argument. Refuting a weakener shows that the original argument continues to be valid.

The Negation Test can be used to identify or check the answer on Assumption questions (see next page for Negation Test strategy).

INFERENCE (~10%)

- Some CR questions ask test-takers to infer a statement based on a series of pieces of evidence in an argument.

- On Inference questions, the correct answer must be true. Wrong answers are either entirely false or could be, but are not necessarily, true according to the argument.

- There are two ways to form a valid inference:

• Paraphrase: In a long, complicated inference question, the correct answer will often paraphrase one idea in the prompt.

Logical Bridge: Most inference questions ask test-takers to connect two pieces of evidence in the argument.

• DETERMINING RELEVANT INFORMATION (~8%)

- Some questions ask test-takers to determine which answer choice provides relevant information with which to evaluate the conclusion of an argument.

- The answer choices in this question type sometimes assume unusual forms; for example, they may be questions or may begin with the word “whether,” as in “Whether the new strategy will cost more than the previous one did.”

- Locate the key feature that connects the evidence and the conclusion of an argument to locate the correct answer.

• EXPLAINING OBSERVED EVENTS/PARADOX (~8%)

Some CR questions present an observation and then ask test-takers to identify the piece of evidence that would best explain it. In a Paradox question, the observed event seems to conflict with the evidence. That is, the evidence leads away from the conclusion. To resolve a paradox, the answer will be either a connecting piece of evidence or

a piece of evidence that explains both evidence and conclusion.

ROLE OF STATEMENT (~5%) At times, a CR question will include two boldfaced statements and ask test-takers to

identify the role that the statements play in the argument. I dentify the conclusion of the argument and any evidence provided to support it, as well as any counterarguments.

In most cases, the statements are either evidence or conclusions.

FLAW (<5%)

Flaw questions ask test-takers to identify a logical flaw. Common Flaws include:

- Unrepresentative samples

- Confusing correlation and causation

- Overlooked possibilities

- Confusing sets and their members

- Confusing necessity and sufficiency

METHOD OF REASONING/PARALLEL REASONING (<5%) On rare occasions, test-takers will be asked to explicitly describe how an argument is constructed, or to find an analogous situation that uses the same logical construction as the original.

IF yOu GET STuCk

1) Take Your Time Critical Reasoning prompts contain logical traps and demand close reading. CR ques- tions often take far longer than SC or RC questions do - two and half minutes or more is not too long for a tough CR question.

2) Draw a Diagram Some students find it helpful to draw diagrams of the argument, using letters or pictures to represent entities and their relationships. Doing so can help untangle comp licated argument s .

3) Eliminate Wrong Answers for a Reason When stuck between two answer choices, identify the exact reason why either answer choice is incorrect. Look for distortions and shifts in terms, irrelevant comparisons, extreme language, and other common traps.

Knewton Knotes

GMAT Critical Reasoning

Knewton Knotes GMAT Critical Reasoning kNEWTON CR STRATEGIES Use the Negation Test Paraphrase Create a Categorical
kNEWTON CR STRATEGIES Use the Negation Test Paraphrase Create a Categorical Prephrase Notice Multiple Points
kNEWTON CR STRATEGIES
Use the Negation Test
Paraphrase
Create a Categorical Prephrase
Notice Multiple Points of View
• Negating a valid assumption will
invalidate an argument. Negate
each answer choice in turn: if
negating an answer choice invali-
dates the argument, that answer
choice is correct.
• Critical reasoning questions often use
overly complex or convoluted language
just to confuse test-takers.
• A categorical prephrase is a general
expectation of the logical features a
correct answer must contain.
• Some CR arguments express a point
of view other than that of the author.
Take notice of who is citing each piece
• Translate complicated arguments into
simpler language as much as possible,
and make mental abbreviations of long
• The Negation Test can be used on
Assumption questions, but not on
Strengthen questions.
entities.
• Some prephrases can be specific (“If the
alarm didn’t deter criminals, it would not
make the neighborhood safer.”) but most
are abstract definitions of the missing
of evidence or drawing the conclusion
in an argument.
• Role of Statement questions often
express two opposing arguments
simultaneously in one CR stem.
• Many arguments and answer choices
contain double and triple negatives.
Translate these into simpler sentences.
piece of the argument (“I need something
that would lead to a safer neighborhood.”)
• Categorical prephrases are useful for
weaken, strengthen and assumption
question types.
 

WRONG ANSWER CHOICES

 

COMMON CR LOGICAL PATTERNS

Opposite - Answer choices that have the opposite effect of the correct answer, including “strengthen” answers on “weaken” questions and vice versa.

Distorted Details - Answer choices

Comparisons

-

In

these cases, never assume that

that repeat argument wording, but introduce errors, including false or irrelevant comparisons, chronological

- Many critical reasoning arguments and answer choices use complex comparisons.

the similar conditions necessarily imply similar results; the correct

answer often explains how the sit-

-

if one answer is the opposite of another,

errors, or references to the wrong

- Make sure that both the entities and the criterion on which the entities

are being compared are clear and consistent.

uations are less similar than is implied

chances are good that one of them is correct.

Scope Errors - Answer choices that are too specific or too broad to address the issue at hand, or that slightly shift the focus of the question away from what is being asked

group or idea

Could be true - Answer choices that

could possibly be true according to the argument but, that cannot be inferred as definitely true.

-

in

The citation of a similar situation in an answer choice is usually incorrect.

the argument.

Causation or Correlation

Absolute vs. Relative Quantities/

- CR arguments often cite one or two

Groups vs. Members of Groups

-

Some wrong answer choices are factually accurate, but if an answer

 

pieces of correlated factual evidence and draw a causal conclusion.

- Some arguments confuse absolute and relative quantities, or confuse

Extreme Errors - Answer choices that overstate claims, often through the use of extreme language (only, never, must, cannot, all) when there are no matching claims in the argument.

choice is not directly supported by

- Test-takers are often asked to either strengthen or weaken this causal

 

percentages with real numbers.

the prompt, it is wrong.

- Arguments may state that because

Irrelevant Topic - Answer choices that refer to subjects that are tangentially related to the topic of the argument but

 

conclusion with additional evidence.

a

number of groups is rising, the

 

number of total members within those

Similar Conditions do not imply Similar Results

 

groups is also rising. This is not nec-

-

are irrelevant to the question at hand.

 

essarily true, and the correct answer

 

Extreme answer choices are almost never correct on Assumption Ques- tions, but extreme terms can be found in the correct answer of many “Which ”

of the following, if true

questions.

Irrelevant Comparisons and Distinctions -

Answer choices that compare entities in

-

Many CR arguments draw conclusions

may point out the fact that this only occurs if the num ber of members per group decreases.

about one situation based on the results of another situation.

way that does not address the argument

a

correctly. (this includes comparing a quantity

to “the average” when such a comparison does not have an effect on the argument.)

 
 

SAMPLE QuESTION STEMS

• WEAkEN ‘Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens (undermines, calls into question) the argument presented above?

• STRENGTHEN Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for (strengthen, provides the strongest grounds for, etc.) the lawmaker’s prediction?

• INFER CONCLuSION Which of the following must be true on the basis of the statements presented above?

Which of the following can properly be inferred regarding tax rates from the statement above?

• DETERMINING RELEVANT INFO In evaluating the argument, it would be most useful to determine (or “most important to know”)

• ASSuMPTION Which of the following is an assumption made in drawing the conclusion above?

• EXPLAINING OBSERVED EVENTS Which of the following hypotheses best accounts for the finding of the experiment?

• PARADOX Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain this surprising finding?

• ROLE OF STATEMENT In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

• FLAW The economist’s argument is flawed because it fails to consider

This argument is most vulnerable to the objection that it fails to

• METHOD OF ARGuMENT The researcher replies to the CEO’s argument by

• BLANk STEMS (~5%) Some arguments have no question stem, but end with a blank. These tend to be either

explain events/paradox” questions (“However, these facts do not prove that the virus

causes infection, because

expected that

” ) or “infer conclusion” questions (“Thus, it can be

”).

• EXCEPT STEMS Any of the following, if true, would strengthen the manager’s conclusion EXCEPT