The Verbal section of the GMAT has several “subsections”. One of them is Critical Reasoning. It is often the most challenging part of the Verbal section for many test takers.
The academic director of The Economist’s GMAT Tutor provides tips about how to find the core – the conclusion – of the passages in the CR part, so that you can improve your performance.
Today we will focus on how to identify a conclusion in an argument.
A conclusion is a position, opinion or judgment reached after consideration of evidence or facts.
Example: If John beats Jane at a single chess game, one possible conclusion is that he is a better chess player.
Let’s start with the most useful techniques to locate a conclusion. Quite commonly, a conclusion is often preceded by words that describe a judgment, opinion, prediction or conclusion, such as: conclude that, contend that, believe that, hypothesize that or clearly. Such wording allows you to identify the conclusion in no time.
The second commonly used way in which a conclusion can be stated is via a recommendation given by the author of an argument:
- The company lost money last year. The company should do so and so.
- The company lost money last year. It is recommended that the company do so and so.
The conclusion can be introduced in yet a third way: with the use of conjunctions. Conclusion conjunctions help us identify the conclusion, which normally appears AFTER such words as therefore, thus, consequently, hence, so, which means that, it follows that, etc.
Example: Jane is hungry. Therefore, she will be making herself a sandwich soon.
Reason conjunctions also help identify the conclusion, which appears BEFORE these words. Reason words include words such as because, since and as.
Structure: [conclusion] because [premise].
Example: Jane will be making herself a sandwich soon because she is hungry.
Naturally, this means reason conjunctions can also help us identify the premise, which will appear immediately AFTER these words, as can be seen in the example above.