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Critical Reasoning material comparisons (Veritas Prep too)

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mayonnai5e Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Critical Reasoning material comparisons (Veritas Prep too)

Post Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:03 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Hello,

    I have seen many topics about the different review materials available out there, but very few of the topics compare/contrast the content of the material. Well, I happen to have a lot of the published material that is available commercially (with the exception of the MGMAT books). In particular, I have the Veritas Prep material. This post is a review of the Critical Reasoning material available.

    Books in my possession with CR material:
    OG Verbal Review
    PR 2007 with CD
    PR Verbal Review
    Kaplan Premier 2006
    Kaplan 800
    Kaplan Verbal Review
    Veritas Critical Reasoning book 1

    Booked reviewed thus far:
    PR 2007 with CD
    PR Verbal Review
    Kaplan 800 (partially)
    Veritas Critical Reasoning book 1

    So as you can see I have not completely gone over all the material I have at my disposal, but as I review them I will edit this post and provide more information.

    PR 2007 with CD:
    Very simple and good introduction to critical reasoning. Particularly good is the discussion of scope. This book is not written for people trying to achieve 700 scores I believe, but still discusses important topics. In partiuclar, this book discusses the many problem types in CR. However, I feel PR's categories are too fine-grained which ends up creating too many different problem types.

    PR Verbal review:
    I don't even remember what was included in this book. That should be an indication as to how good this book is for CR. I will look through it again and add more info.

    Veritas Prep:
    With PR material, I found the material generally did not help me. I resorted to simply doing what I did before I learned the material which was to go by my instinct and what I learned about logic and critical reasoning from my college classes (in particular, my computer science classes). Veritas' CR material was the game changer here. Veritas begins the course with a study of arguments and reasoning. This first class does not have a particular focus, but is intended to prepare you for CR. In particular, this course discusses argument topics like deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning and arrow diagrams.

    The CR lesson comes later, but the arguments material really did have a noticeable effect on my understanding of the CR stimulus. The CR lesson and book are both very good. This book, like the PR books, discusses the diferent problem types, but the categories are more coarse-grained meaning there are fewer categories. This is good because less categories means less memorizing how to attack a particular category. The solutions generally include a sentence about the category type for the question stem and why it falls in that category. In addition, the explanation for why a particular answer choice is the correct answer is usually very good; however, the explanations for why the incorrect answer choices are incorrect are strangely worded and confusing to understand.

    This book has a terrible discussion of scope even though I found scope to be very useful for eliminating incorrect answers. The PR books outshine in that area.

    Kaplan 800:
    This book has a very interesting way of dicussing CR. In the other books discussed above, the CR focuses on the problem types (categories) and how each problem can be attacked. However, in the CR section of the Kaplan 800, the focus is not on the problem types and, instead, focuses on the stimulus content in CR questions. In particular, the book describes how to dissect different stimuli and how to critically analyze a particular stimulus type (e.g. how to dissect stimuli containing statistical data). Very good discussion thats adds to your understanding of CR problems.

    Cheers.

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    mayonnai5e Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:48 am
    <reserved for additions>

    GCHall840 Community Manager Default Avatar
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    Post Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:06 pm
    Hi Mayonnai5e,
    I remember the Veritas approach to critical reasoning. It is true that they provided you with the groundwork before they give you a lesson on critical reasoning. Honestly, I did very well in my logic and critical reasoning when I took that in college. But, for whatever reason, I had a hard time with the reasoning principles that Veritas presented in their course. They used something called, "SWIMMER" that was supposed to help you recognize the different CR question types. I am sure that you can recognize what that stands for. It stands for strengthen, weaken, inference, method of reasoning, mimic the argument, explain/resolve. Using that study aid worked well if you knew what all of the elements of each question type was. As usual, the class presentations were so rushed, that it was very easy to get lost. And, the instructor would assign about 50 questions in the CR practice section for the next class meeting. If you didn't really understand something, it was easy to get lost there, too. Obviously, you have found something about their CR material that works well for you.

    You seem like a very resourceful person who uses all of your resource material to your best advantage. You also seem very organized with the way that you are studying, too. It is very good to have a plan like the one that you have because it is one of the most important parts of the GMAT preparation process.

    Greg

    mayonnai5e Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:53 pm
    GCHall840 wrote:
    Hi Mayonnai5e,
    I remember the Veritas approach to critical reasoning. It is true that they provided you with the groundwork before they give you a lesson on critical reasoning. Honestly, I did very well in my logic and critical reasoning when I took that in college. But, for whatever reason, I had a hard time with the reasoning principles that Veritas presented in their course. They used something called, "SWIMMER" that was supposed to help you recognize the different CR question types. I am sure that you can recognize what that stands for. It stands for strengthen, weaken, inference, method of reasoning, mimic the argument, explain/resolve. Using that study aid worked well if you knew what all of the elements of each question type was. As usual, the class presentations were so rushed, that it was very easy to get lost. And, the instructor would assign about 50 questions in the CR practice section for the next class meeting. If you didn't really understand something, it was easy to get lost there, too. Obviously, you have found something about their CR material that works well for you.

    You seem like a very resourceful person who uses all of your resource material to your best advantage. You also seem very organized with the way that you are studying, too. It is very good to have a plan like the one that you have because it is one of the most important parts of the GMAT preparation process.

    Greg
    The CR section of the Veritas course is precisely what you have stated. I took your advice earlier and am taking the class slower than the regular schedule. This is easy to do because I am using the online material.

    I am still struggling with the mountains of material I have, but my basic plan is just to go through all the Veritas material first then supplement my weak areas with the other books I have.

    But thank you for the comments.

    Good luck with your own studying.

    GCHall840 Community Manager Default Avatar
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    Post Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:35 pm
    Now that I have told you about my experience with the Veritas critical reasoning strategy, I can tell you about the Manhattan GMAT critical reasoning strategy. I have their updated critical reasoning strategy guide that came out in May. I think that it has expanded on the reasoning principles behind what you need to know in order to practice questions for critical reasoning.

    Basically, they go over argument structure i.e. premises, assumptions, and conclusions. Then, they present what is called a diagramming technique where you basically break down an argument into a premise or a conclusion. My take on that is that they teach you how to diagram an argument where you arrange the parts of the argument in a logical flow where you mark a P for the premise and a C for the conclusion. By creating a logical flow of the argument, you will be more able to figure out what kind of reasoning is being used. Is it a strengthen or weaken question? Or, maybe, it is an inference question? Maybe it is an explain/resolve question?

    Basically, most GMAT test prep companies have their own "methods" or "strategies" that they use to show you how to answer the questions being asked about a particular argument. But, when it comes down to it, the student has to figure out which one works the best for them. The jury is out on that one as far as I am concerned. I think that really the only way that I am going to know if the argument diagramming technique is the right method or strategy for me, is to practice a lot of CR problems using that method. And, it has to be something that will help me to organize that information quickly so that I can pick the best answer to the question in the shortest amount of time.

    Greg

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:48 pm
    Moved to CR section of this forum. Smile

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