Word-Matching Is an Ineffective Strategy in CR and RC Questions

Knowledge base for the new GMAT Focus Edition
This topic has expert replies

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
GMAT Instructor
Posts: 7320
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:56 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Thanked: 43 times
Followed by:29 members
Image

Word-Matching Is an Ineffective Strategy in CR and RC Questions

 GMAT Focus Verbal question writers do their darndest to make incorrect answers attractive to test-takers and correct answers not so obvious.

One way they can accomplish this feat is by using wording in incorrect Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension choices that matches the passage wording and switching up the wording in the correct choice.

Naturally, when answer choices look, on the surface, as if they say something the passage says, we’re drawn to them. We may even assume that a choice that isn’t related at all to what the passage says, or possibly what the question asks, must be related because it uses passage wording. And when a choice uses wording that doesn’t exactly match the wording in the passage, we may be less drawn to that choice.

Of course, the GMAT Focus writers aren’t going to make things so easy for us that we can simply play a word-matching game to ace Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. Think about it: would your reasoning or comprehension skills really be tested by such a game?

The truth is, you will not perform well in CR or RC by selecting answer choices on the basis of whether they include words that appear in the passage. In fact, you’re likely to fall for many trap choices.

So, how do we avoid taking the bait? Engage in deeper-level analysis.

We have to dig below the surface of CR and RC answer choices. We can’t stop atthe words used. Rather, we must focus on the logic and meaning of what they say. For instance, an incorrect choice could mirror language from the passage but actually contradict what the passage says is true. If we stay at the surface level in evaluating such a choice, rather than think more deeply about what the choice actually says and how it logically relates to the passage, we won’t catch that error.

Additionally, we might not notice a choice that is correctly in line with what the passage says simply because that choice phrases the information differently.

However, if we make logic and meaning, instead of wording, the primary criteria for our evaluation of answer choices, we engage in the deeper-level analysis that is necessary for finding correct answers to CR and RC questions and avoiding traps.

Warmest regards,

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder & CEO, Target Test Prep