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Inference/Assumption questions

This topic has 2 expert replies and 2 member replies
shmoowalker Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Posted:
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Inference/Assumption questions

Post Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:01 pm
Any tips on how to improve on inference/assumption questions? I find myself making inferences that, although they seem correct, are not the ones the test is looking for. Same goes for questions asking you to assume something. How do you know which inference is the one the test is looking for. Am I overthinking these questions?

Example questions:

The passage implies that:
The conclusion above depends in which of the following assumptions?

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VivianKerr GMAT Instructor
Joined
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Post Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:00 pm
Remember, with Inferences:

• Accept each piece of evidence as true.
• Don’t worry if there’s no conclusion in the passage.
• Pre-phrase your own answer BEFORE looking at the answer choices.


Keep in mind that an "inference" on the GMAT is not like an "inference" in real life. You have to PROVE something beyond reasonable doubt on the GMAT, so don't allow your own outside "ideas" to lead you to an answer choice that "seems reasonable" but is not supported by the info in the passage. If anything in the premise contradicts an answer choice, it cannot be a logical inference. And beware of "extreme" language!

Let's check out a practice question:

Of the archaeologists working in major digs in Africa and Asia Minor, approximately 12% are women, according to statistics published in an anthropological periodical recently. But there were less than half that number of women working archaeological digs twenty years ago, even though the number of total archaeologists working in Africa and Asia Minor has doubled in that time. With more women joining the archaeological professions than ever before, and an increasing number of aging archaeologists retiring, it’s likely the total number of archaeologists working in Africa and Asia Minor will remain constant over the next five years.

Which of the following can be properly inferred given the above statements?

(A) Baby boomers are retiring at the exact same rate as female archaeologists are entering their field of study.
(B) There is a growing proportion of women studying archaeology in higher education.
(C) A higher proportion of women work in archaeology today than did twenty years ago.
(D) There are no female aging archaeologists expected to retire in the next five years.
(E) In four years, there will be a higher percentage of female archaeologists working in major digs in Africa and Asia Minor.

(A) and (B) may be tempting, but the passage only mentions women “joining the archaeological professions.” It could be true that women joining the profession are not necessarily graduating from archaeological programs at an increasing rate. They could be moving laterally towards archaeology. (C) is also incorrect: if the percent doubled and the total doubled, then the proportion of women stayed the same. If you chose (D), be wary of words like “no” in CR - extreme answer choices are often incorrect! (E) must be correct. If the total number remains constant, but more women are joining than “ever before,” it’s reasonable to infer the demographic will shift towards a higher total percentage of women in the field.

Hope this gives you some ideas of what to look out for!

Best,
Vivian

_________________
Vivian Kerr
GMAT Rockstar, Tutor
http://www.GMATrockstar.com
http://www.yelp.com/biz/gmat-rockstar-los-angeles

Former Kaplan and Grockit instructor, freelance GMAT content creator, now offering affordable, effective, Skype-tutoring for the GMAT at $150/hr. Contact: GMATrockstar@gmail.com

Thank you for all the "thanks" and "follows"! Smile

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Post Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:36 am
Inference questions and assumption questions are actually quite different in CR.

With inference questions, you want to ask yourself: given the information in the argument, what else must be true?

When answering inference questions:
- don't add any outside information
- don't jump to any conclusions beyond what is explicitly stated
- eliminate any answer choices that don't have to be true

For more, see:http://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2012/03/22/tackling-a-gmatprep-critical-reasoning-inference-problem/

Assumption questions, on the other hand, are about finding what information is missing from the argument that would be needed for the conclusion to hold.

When answering assumption questions:
- find the conclusion of the argument, and the premises used to support it
- figure out what information is missing that would be necessary for the conclusion to hold
- eliminate any answer choices that aren't necessary for the conclusion

For more, see: http://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2011/11/11/tackling-find-the-assumption-cr-problems/

Good luck!

_________________


Ceilidh Erickson
Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


Manhattan Prep instructors all have 99th+ percentile scores and expert teaching experience.
Sign up for a FREE TRIAL, and learn why we have the highest ratings in the GMAT industry!

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VivianKerr GMAT Instructor
Joined
17 Dec 2010
Posted:
1035 messages
Followed by:
364 members
Upvotes:
474
Post Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:00 pm
Remember, with Inferences:

• Accept each piece of evidence as true.
• Don’t worry if there’s no conclusion in the passage.
• Pre-phrase your own answer BEFORE looking at the answer choices.


Keep in mind that an "inference" on the GMAT is not like an "inference" in real life. You have to PROVE something beyond reasonable doubt on the GMAT, so don't allow your own outside "ideas" to lead you to an answer choice that "seems reasonable" but is not supported by the info in the passage. If anything in the premise contradicts an answer choice, it cannot be a logical inference. And beware of "extreme" language!

Let's check out a practice question:

Of the archaeologists working in major digs in Africa and Asia Minor, approximately 12% are women, according to statistics published in an anthropological periodical recently. But there were less than half that number of women working archaeological digs twenty years ago, even though the number of total archaeologists working in Africa and Asia Minor has doubled in that time. With more women joining the archaeological professions than ever before, and an increasing number of aging archaeologists retiring, it’s likely the total number of archaeologists working in Africa and Asia Minor will remain constant over the next five years.

Which of the following can be properly inferred given the above statements?

(A) Baby boomers are retiring at the exact same rate as female archaeologists are entering their field of study.
(B) There is a growing proportion of women studying archaeology in higher education.
(C) A higher proportion of women work in archaeology today than did twenty years ago.
(D) There are no female aging archaeologists expected to retire in the next five years.
(E) In four years, there will be a higher percentage of female archaeologists working in major digs in Africa and Asia Minor.

(A) and (B) may be tempting, but the passage only mentions women “joining the archaeological professions.” It could be true that women joining the profession are not necessarily graduating from archaeological programs at an increasing rate. They could be moving laterally towards archaeology. (C) is also incorrect: if the percent doubled and the total doubled, then the proportion of women stayed the same. If you chose (D), be wary of words like “no” in CR - extreme answer choices are often incorrect! (E) must be correct. If the total number remains constant, but more women are joining than “ever before,” it’s reasonable to infer the demographic will shift towards a higher total percentage of women in the field.

Hope this gives you some ideas of what to look out for!

Best,
Vivian

_________________
Vivian Kerr
GMAT Rockstar, Tutor
http://www.GMATrockstar.com
http://www.yelp.com/biz/gmat-rockstar-los-angeles

Former Kaplan and Grockit instructor, freelance GMAT content creator, now offering affordable, effective, Skype-tutoring for the GMAT at $150/hr. Contact: GMATrockstar@gmail.com

Thank you for all the "thanks" and "follows"! Smile

  • +1 Upvote Post
  • Quote
  • Flag
Post Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:36 am
Inference questions and assumption questions are actually quite different in CR.

With inference questions, you want to ask yourself: given the information in the argument, what else must be true?

When answering inference questions:
- don't add any outside information
- don't jump to any conclusions beyond what is explicitly stated
- eliminate any answer choices that don't have to be true

For more, see:http://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2012/03/22/tackling-a-gmatprep-critical-reasoning-inference-problem/

Assumption questions, on the other hand, are about finding what information is missing from the argument that would be needed for the conclusion to hold.

When answering assumption questions:
- find the conclusion of the argument, and the premises used to support it
- figure out what information is missing that would be necessary for the conclusion to hold
- eliminate any answer choices that aren't necessary for the conclusion

For more, see: http://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2011/11/11/tackling-find-the-assumption-cr-problems/

Good luck!

_________________


Ceilidh Erickson
Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


Manhattan Prep instructors all have 99th+ percentile scores and expert teaching experience.
Sign up for a FREE TRIAL, and learn why we have the highest ratings in the GMAT industry!

  • +1 Upvote Post
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Thanked by: gmatdestroyer1
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