Implicit Assumptions, Conclusions and Inferences (Critical Reasoning)
These questions used to be a nightmare for candidates before last year. In CET 2010 however, the questions were easy to comprehend and option elimination would get them to the right answers pretty quickly. This might be one of the reasons for the rise in CET cut-offs last year.
The questions can be a single stand-alone question or a short passage followed by a set of 2-3 questions asking to identify the assumptions, conclusions and inferences.
Understanding an assumption is easier as compared to the other two. An assumption is something which is at the root of an argument. It is the basis of an argument, something which is understood or is supposed to be understood by the reader. To spot the assumption, one has to understand what the crux of the paragraph is and what is the main point of the entire paragraph. The crux of the paragraph takes into account some bit of knowledge which is the assumption. Easy to spot, the answers to these kind of questions can be found by eliminating options.
The problem comes when the question asks for an inference and a conclusion. While, broadly speaking, the terms mean the same and the options would not be similar, there is a subtle difference between the two. While there has been plenty of literature written about both the terms, in CET, both the terms can be used interchangeably if the options are different. In case, the options are same with only the terms conclusion and inference being changed in the question, one can go with the fact that an inference is a partial conclusion and not the central conclusion of the paragraph. It is something which can be derived from the information given and has not been mentioned in the paragraph.
Probably True/Probably False Questions:
Another of the confusing type of questions, these type consists of a paragraph followed by five statement questions. One has to ascertain if the statements are definitely true, probably true, irrelevant, probably false or definitely false in the context of the paragraph. The explanation is very simple for this but then, the statements are such that, it is difficult to say if the statement is probably true/false.
A definitely true statement is one which is there in the paragraph and/or can be deduced without any application of dense logic.
A definitely false statement is one, which is contradicted explicitly in the passage. Again, like a definitely true statement, a no brainer.
The probably true/probably false statements are the most difficult to differentiate between and here, you need a bit more application of logic to get through. The probably true statements are those, which are definitely not false and could have been true for sure if there were some more information given. Similarly, the probably false statements are those, which are definitely not true but the passage lacks that additional bit of information to classify them as outright false statements.
The irrelevant statements are easy to spot and go on a tangent to what is there in the passage. They might have a keyword from the passage but, the idea which they convey is totally different from what the purpose of the keyword in the passage is.
But then, these are rigid rules and what is expected from the candidate by the CET paper setters might be different from what we think. It"s not the questions which are difficult but the fact that, they are open to multiple interpretations that makes them the nightmare they are.
As, CET focuses primarily on speed and the ability to leave a dubious question and going for the easier ones, it is better to leave these questions in the first round of attempting. At the end of the day, in CET 2009, one had to score around 135-145 marks to get a sure-shot entry into the top 5 colleges and last year, one had to get around 150 for the same in 150 minutes. That amounts to scoring a mark per minute on an average. Attempting a set from these areas doesn"t guarantee marks and eats into a candidate"s time. So, if you encounter a set of such questions right at the start of the paper, it would not be a bad idea to skip the set of questions and come back later in case one has time left.
Coming up will be an article on how to tackle Visual Reasoning. Any specific areas you want me to touch up on, you can drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org