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How to Attempt Statements & Assumptions

A typical question involves stating a statement which is followed by 2 or more assumptions and we are supposed to answer which assumption follows.

Like this example below:

Statement: The State Government has unilaterally increased, by 5 percent, octroi on all commodities entering into the state without seeking the approval of the Central Government.
Assumptions:

I. The state government may be able to solve the decision.

II. The Central Government may agree to support the State Government’s decision.

III. The state Government may be able to earn considerable amount through the additional Octroi.

These are the questions that either make you or break you. ‘Make you’ because they don’t require calculations, charts etc. and can be answered in just a glance, if done with mastery.

‘Break you’ because when Reasoning comes tough and those 2-3 seating and floors puzzle don’t give answers in even 2 repeated attempts then candidate tries Verbal Reasoning to leverage the score but without knowledge of techniques and sufficient practice these questions have higher chances of getting wrong.

What exactly goes wrong?

Now, when we try to solve these questions, the question might look difficult because our brain is so good at understanding un-stated assumptions that we don’t even notice them. So, if we think like we normally do then there’s risk of missing the assumption actually made, making it even harder to quickly identify them.

Also, in these assumption questions, we have to identify passage author’s assumption and not our own. We’ve got to remember that in those 40 or so minutes we allot to solve 50 questions from reasoning.

Caution to be taken:

Now coming to solving the question, Remember that:

(i) Leaving aside your logic about how things work helps.

(ii) While you can make common sense assumptions (the sun is visible only during the day, water makes things wet, etc.), do not bring in your own assumptions about things that are not necessarily common knowledge or may not always be true.

(iii) ‘Assumption’ in the questions is something that author believes to be true.

Procedure to solve the question:

Negating Method: This method is really effective when it comes to solving assumption questions. It’s a tested method that can turn the dreaded questions into scoring one. All you have to do is negate the assumptions after reading them. The passage author gives statement only after assuming some things. These ‘some things’ are dimensions of the questions. That means some basic assumptions are what author, definitely, believes in. And, if some assumption contradicts that basic belief of author then that assumption can never follow.

For example, see this:

Statement: In the recently held all India Commerce conference, the session on ‘Management of Service Sector in India’ surprisingly attracted large number of participants and also received a very good media coverage.

Assumptions:

I. Media is always very positive towards Service sector.

II. Service sector is managed properly in India.

III. People weren’t expecting such an encouraging response for the service sector conference.

Now, Statement talks about this session on Service Sector Managementwhich got many participants which was surprising for the author. Also, it also got good media cover which was not as usual as per the author.

Let’s see different assumptions:

1. Media is always very positive towards Service sector. ⇒ this option is tempting to select as an answer because Media gave Session on Service Sector a good coverage so it’s obvious to think that Media is ALWAYS positive towards it.

But that’s not true as there is an element of surprise in author’s word regarding media’s coverage. And, we don’t get surprise for something which happens usually. That means this behavior is new as per the author.

2. Service sector is managed properly in India. ⇒ This option seems to be correct as a session on ‘Management’ of ‘Service Sector’ is organized. And, if a session is organized then things must have been well taken care of.

But that’s not correct. As it’s not stated anywhere in the sentence so this is, definitely, not author’s assumption.

Moreover, we’ve got to keep our general knowledge that ‘Service sector in actual world is managed properly in India as it contributes maximum to GDP’ aside as we are moving through author’s assumption.

3. People weren’t expecting such an encouraging response for the service sector conference. ⇒ this assumption is, indeed, true as since author wasn’t expecting such response (Public participation plus media coverage) then other people too must not have been expecting such ‘encouraging’ response.

We just saw how to solve such assumption questions while following author’s path and avoiding the knowledge that we have.

This method might look a bit time consuming. You might think “It’s better to solve those puzzles then going through such lengthy 4-5 questions”.But wait, we can make these questions solving easy too:

Step I: Gather all the questions you can on the topic of Statements-assumption. Be it R.S.Aggrawal book or any other book or questions from blogs like Gradestack. Just gather all the questions from all the credible sources. Mind it, credible, because many sites/books give wrong answer to these questions and that can hamper your logical thinking.

Step II: After having selected bulk of questions, start slowly practicing the questions. Read the statement, try answering without timing yourself. Check the answer, understand the logic. Start gradually and continue the practice.

Step III: After you’ve solved, 50-100 questions, you’ll start getting comfortable with the kind of assumptions they make. You’ll be able to tell in one-fourth time if assumption is truly author’s or not or how foolish the assumption is. After reaching this stage, just keep practicing and increase the level, if you’d like.

Step IV: When you’ve done hundreds of questions with the techniques described above, you’ll be able to attempt one statement-assumption question in hardly a minute. That too flawlessly. This is the mastery stage where you can solve any difficulty of statement-assumption, and verbal reasoning becomes scoring section for you.

Sample Questions:

1. Statement: ‘You are expected to be frank and objective while writing your self-appraisal report’. – An instruction for writing self-appraisal report.

Assumptions:

1. Unless cautioned, people may tend to be little shy and less objective while writing their self-appraisal report.

2. Every self-appraisal report helps the person in his further development.

Solution:

In statement, the author advises, while writing Self Appraisal report to be expected frank & objective.
I. Unless cautioned, people may tend to be little shy and less objective while writing their self-appraisal report. ⇒ this could be the assumption because if people aren’t less objective and shy then why would author tell them that explicitly that they are expected to be objective.

II. Every self-appraisal report helps the person in his further development. ⇒ This cannot be the assumption as it’s nowhere mentioned in the statement that such report helps development. Here, we don’t have to use our real-world-logic which states otherwise.

2. Statement: The higher authorities of any organization are expected to be models of observation & learning and should not be considered as merely sources of reward and punishments.

Assumptions:

1. Employees are likely to be sensitive enough to learn by observing the behavior of their seniors.

4. Normally bosses are considered as sources of reward and punishment.

Solution: In the statement, the author tells what higher authority should be model of: Observation & Learning; And not just: reward & Punishment.

I. Employees are likely to be sensitive enough to learn by observing the behavior of their seniors ⇒ The author hasn’t mentioned anything about employees learning so this assumption just can’t be correct.

II. Normally bosses are considered as sources of reward and punishment. ⇒ This assumption is implicit because author said, “Higher authorities…….Not just source of reward & Punishment”. Here, author has tried to highlight some additional feature of Higher Authority, which gets diminished due to its ‘Reward & Punishment’ feature.

3. Statement: ‘But, out of X, Y, B and D products, you buy ‘Y’ which alone is based on the latest technology’ –A shop owner tells a customer.

Assumptions:

1. The customers normally accept the recommendation of the shop owner.

2. Use of latest technology is supposed to ensure better quality standards.

Solution: Here, the passage author has described the scene where a shopkeeper is telling the customer to buy ‘Y’ out four other products due to its superior technology.
I. The customers normally accept the recommendation of the shop owner. ⇒ If customer did never accept the recommendation of shopkeeper then why would shopkeeper recommend something. Here, shopkeeper is recommending that means customers normally accept that. Hence, it follows.

II. Use of latest technology is supposed to ensure better quality standards ⇒ A customer buys a product because it’s quality is good over others. And, technology if latest is superior over others in doing a specified task more efficiently than one with obsolete technology. So, this assumption also follow.

All the best ~

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