GMAT Verbal Section: Practice with Critical Reasoning

By Sandra Luna McCune, Shannon Reed

The Critical Reasoning section on the GMAT consists of about 12 questions in the Verbal section. In Critical Reasoning, you are shown a passage that presents an argument of some kind (often dealing with a business, government, or education topic).

Some passages have multiple questions. You must choose the answer that best answers the question based on your understanding of the logic in the passage.

Practice questions

Both practice questions are based on the following passage.

Dirk: I can’t believe how long we’ve been waiting for them to bring us our food.

Ellen: It’s very busy in this restaurant, though.

Dirk: Well, it’s Saturday night! At 6:30 PM! Of course it’s busy! They should have two times the number of servers working than what they have now.

Ellen: That’s ridiculous. It’s impossible to predict how many customers will visit a restaurant on any given day for a particular meal.

  1. Which line of dialogue would most strengthen Dirk’s case, if it were true?

    A. Dirk: Saturday night is traditionally a very busy night for restaurants, Ellen.

    B. Dirk: They should at least serve simpler foods, which would take less time to prepare.

    C. Dirk: You know as well as I have that we’ve eaten here every Saturday night for years, and usually there are twice as many employees working.

    D. Dirk: There’s a motorcycle rally in town tonight, too, and that always draws a crowd.

    E. Dirk: If we had ordered the specials, they’d have been served by now.

  2. What line of dialogue, if true, could be added to Ellen’s last statement in order to improve her logic?

    A. You know this, Dirk. You’ve been a bartender.

    B. We’ve eaten here before on a Saturday night at this time and been the only customers!

    C. The motorcycle rally brings a lot of extra people to town.

    D. It’s important to order the correct amount of inventory without wasting much, too.

    E. None of the other customers look as angry as you do.

Answers and explanations

  1. The correct answer is C.

    You want to complete the dialogue in a way that proves Dirk’s point as logically as possible. If he has prior evidence that the restaurant is frequently busy on Saturday nights and usually has more staff at work, his case that they can plan for a particularly busy night is stronger. That’s Choice (C).

  2. The correct answer is B.

    You want to improve Ellen’s logic. Choice (B) does this best, by offering evidence that proves her thesis: that there is no way to predict how many people will visit the restaurant on a given Saturday night.