Inference Answers – Go Vague. Or Go Home.

Boring. So vague, it can’t be wrong. You know, the answer that is so watered down and wishy-washy, it’s basically saying nothing at all? THAT’S YOUR ANSWER!!! The GMAC wants to stay out of legal trouble. For this reason, any answer that is put forth as “true” must be totally indisputable. This means, incidentally, that it needs to be indisputably VAGUE as well. Vague statements are generally more likely to be “true” than specific statements. This strategy is especially helpful when you are looking at two similar answer choices. One of them is clear, detailed and specific, while the other, stating the obvious, dialed-back, to which you might respond, “duh!” Example. If I said you had black hair, there’s a good chance it’s true. But if I said you had black hair, blue eyes and freckles, the chances of that statement being true plummet dramatically. Additional details make the statement less likely to be true. They impose more conditions – and GMAT answers work very similarly. If you are drawn to smart-sounding, specific answers, listen up, you. The analogy I like to use is the Pyramid of Truth. Draw a pyramid on your paper.  On the top of the pyramid, write words such as, “only,” “never,” “always,” “most, “cannot,” …you get the idea. NARROW. Restrictive. Av  oid choosing answers that contain these words. Why? Only, never and always are highly disputable. They are unlikely to be true.


For example, If I said I always get GMAT answers correct, that’s unlikely (even for me.) On the bottom of the pyramid, write down words such as, “may, could, might, some, one.” BROAD. May or may not. Could or could not. Might or might not. Lean towards answers that contain these words. They claim very little, in fact, they claim nothing at all really, and must be true. The GMAC is off the hook. If I said I may get some particular GMAT question correct, that is indisputable. I may or may not. Either way, I’m telling the truth. Again, choose answers that are so vague, and claim so little, they can’t be wrong. Bottom of the pyramid. When you are faced with two different answers and one says, “most,” and the other says, “some,” choose the the latter. Just this one tip will clear up major problems with inference questions in Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. One exception, by the way – if the questions states, “which of the following MUST be false.” In such cases, extreme-sounding answers are a good contender.


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