2022-05-18 23:39:36


  The Value of Knowing Common Errors of Reasoning

  In logic there are many more recognized forms of invalid argumentation than there are forms of valid argumentation. The test makers, being human (yes, it’s true), tend to repeat certain forms when creating stimuli and answer choices, and you can gain a demonstrable advantage by learning the forms most often used by the test makers. Applying the knowledge you acquire in this section will take two avenues:

  1. Identifying errors of reasoning made in the stimulus

  If you learn the mistakes that are often made by authors, then you will be able to quickly identify the error in the argument and accelerate through the answer choices to find the correct answer. Students without this knowledge will be forced to work more slowly and with less confidence. 2. Identifying answer choices that describe a common error of reasoning

  In Flaw in the Reasoning questions, the test makers tend to use certain types of answers again and again. Depending on the reasoning used in the stimulus, these answers can describe the correct answer, but more often than not they are used as “stock” wrong answers. Familiarizing yourself with these answer choices will give you an advantage when you encounter similar answer choices in the future. For example, “attacking the source of an argument, not the argument itself” has appeared as the correct answer in several questions. But, it has appeared in many more questions as a wrong answer choice. If you are familiar with a “source” argument, you can then make an immediate determination as to whether that answer is correct or incorrect. The paragraphs above help explain why test preparation works: the more you know about the exam before you walk in to take the test, the less time you have to waste during the exam thinking about these issues. Given the immense advantage you get by knowing the flawed

  reasoning that appears most frequently on the GMAT, the following section will detail a variety of errors of reasoning and provide examples of answer choices that describe the error under

  discussion. We strongly recommend that you spend a considerable amount of time learning these forms of flawed argumentation. It will definitely help you on the GMAT!

  Please note that this discussion is not designed to include every possible error of reasoning, only those used most frequently by the makers of the GMAT.

  Common Errors of Reasoning Explained

  The following classic errors of reasoning appear with some frequency. The review is given in layman’s, not philosophical, terms: Uncertain Use of a Term or Concept

  As an argument progresses, the author must use each term in a constant, coherent fashion. Using a term in different ways is inherently confusing and undermines the integrity of the argument. Here is an example:

  “Some people claim that the values that this country was built on are now being ignored by

  modern-day corporations. But this is incorrect. Corporations are purely profit-driven enterprises, beholden only to their shareholders, and as such they can only assess objects based on their value.”