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How to tackle Verbal Reasoning

WHAT IS VERBAL REASONING:

Verbal reasoning is a combination of words and logic. It is also sometimes referred to as critical reasoning. The questions on verbal reasoning test our decision making ability. These questions are quite baffling because we need to not only read, understand, analyze, decide and then select the right answer choice but do all of this without any set rules, formulae, mnemonics etc.

To ace this section, the focus should be on the key words used and then to identify the type of sentences given in the question.

A little investment of time and effort to get a handle on the various statement – types and question-types will pay rich dividends, mainly in terms of marks during exams.

TYPES OF STATEMENTS:

  1. FACT:
  • It is a statement that is known to have occurred or has been proven correct.
  • It can be heardseen, or verified by sensory perception.
  • Trends also count as facts.

Examples:

a) The earth rotates about its own axis.

(This is known to be true to all and has been proven by scientific tools.)

b) The truth is that we have more red tape – we take eighty-nine days to start a small business, Australians take two.

(Here, red tape refers to the complicated official rules and processes required to start a business which increase the time taken for official. Clearly, India takes 89 days which means it has more red tape than Australia. Hence it is a fact backed by data.)

c) Facebook is more popular among the youth than Orkut ever was.

(Here, though the word ‘popular’ is a subjective term, the validity of this statement can be establishedthrough a variety of factors. These kinds of trends can therefore be considered facts).

  1. JUDGEMENT:
  • It is a statement indicating an opinion or a decision about someone or something.
  • A fact will not vary whereas a judgment may vary. A judgment is an observation made by a person based on certain values, beliefs and prejudices.

Example: The girl in pink dress is prettier than the other girls.

(This is a judgment as it cannot be measured or estimated. Generally, statements involving qualities like joy, sorrow, beauty etc. are judgments)

  1. INFERENCE:
  • This statement is a conclusion drawn about an unknown, on the basis of the known. In other words, a conclusion drawn from a fact is an inference.
  • It is never stated anywhere and is logically
  • It is the reader’s understanding of what the author is trying to say, not what the author explicitly states or concludes.
  • It is not an assumption, but a conclusion.

Example:
Statement: Every red tape procedure is a point of contact with an official, and such contacts have the potential to become opportunities for money to change hands.
Inference: People bribe officials to expedite the procedures.

(It is known that red tape procedure requires contact with an official. Now, people bribe such officials to expedite the process. This is the unknown which is also given in the statement. Inference is the processof arriving at a conclusion from the known)

  1. CONCLUSION:
  • It is the unknown which is derived or obtained from the known fact.
  • Unlike an inference, a conclusion is stated.
  • In a statement, the fact is followed by a conclusion, with some hidden assumptions that help derive the conclusion.
  1. ASSUMPTION:
  • It is a hidden something that is required to arrive at the conclusion from a given set of facts.
  • There can be multiple assumptions in any statement.

Example:

Statement: Every red tape procedure is a point of contact with an official and such contacts have the potential to become opportunities for money to change hands.
Fact: Every red tape procedure is a point of contact with an official.
Assumption 1: Red tape procedures are controlled by officials.
Assumption 2: Officials who handle red tape procedures are corrupt.
Conclusion: Such contacts have the potential to become opportunities for money to change hands.

Conclusion = Fact + Assumption

TYPES OF QUESTIONS:

Now that we know all about the markers which indicate the nature of a statement, let’s understand how to solve the questions asked in banking exams:

A. STATEMENT – ARGUMENT:

An argument is the reasoning which enables us to validate or justify the given statement.

In the statement -argument questions, we have to select the strong argument from among the options. The remaining ones will correspond to the weak argument for the given statement.

NOTE: You need to take only the statement as a fact and not use any prior general knowledge in answering the questions.

An argument is strong when it involves:

  • a universal fact.
  • the security, education, development , infrastructure and health related concerns of a nation.
  • common sense notions
  • statistics or research and the like.
  • no invalid or extreme opinions

An argument is weak when it involves:

  • irrelevant material.
  • comparison of distinct entities.
  • incomplete information.

Example:

Statement: Should there be a world government?

Arguments:

(I) It will help in eliminating tensions among the nations.

(II) Then only the developed countries will dominate in the government.

1) I is strong

2) II is strong

3) Both I and II are strong

4) Either I or II is strong

5) None of the two is strong

Solution:

Statement I is weak because there are international organizations like UN Security Council for eliminating tensions among the nations. The function of government is to legislate, administer and execute policies through institutions and laws.
Statement II is strong because government is formed by representatives of the people. The developed nations have more financial muscle to tilt the decisions in their favor overlooking the interests of the developing economies. Hence, the developed countries will dominate in the government.

Hence, the correct answer choice is (2).

B. STATEMENT – ASSUMPTION:

An  assumption is the basis which enables to follow the course of action given in the statement.

In the statement -assumption questions, we have to choose the assumption which must have been thought of to arrive at the given statement. The remaining options are not implicit assumptions for the given statement.

To identify the implicit assumption, the following points can be considered:

  • Assumption is never irrelevant to the given statement.
  • Assumption should not contrast with the statement.
  • The words like ‘only’ etc. which point out specificity are indicative of statements which are not implicit assumptions.
  • Assumption should focus only on the present context.
  • Paraphrasing the statement will not make it an assumption.

Example:

Directions:-In the question below is given a statement followed by two assumptions numbered I and II. An assumption is something supposed or taken for granted. You have to find out from the following assumptions, which one is implicit in the statement.

Give Answer-

1) if only assumption I is implicit.

2) if only assumption II is implicit.

3) if either I or II is implicit.

4) if neither I nor II is implicit.

5) if both I and II are implicit.

Statement:

Opening a library in the village will be a waste.

Assumptions:

I. Inhabitants of the village are illiterate.

II. Inhabitants of the village are not interested in reading.

Solution:

Assumption I is not implicit as illiterate population cannot be a reason for not opening a library. A library can serve as a medium for literacy.

Assumption II is not implicit. This is only a wild guess. Opening a library in the village may be a waste either due to sparse population or due to a pre-existing library.

Hence, neither I nor II is implicit. The correct answer choice is (4).

 C. STATEMENT – CONCLUSION:

A conclusion is the piece of information obtained from the given facts.

In the statement – conclusion questions, we have to choose the conclusion which logically follows from the given statement. The remaining options are not logically followed conclusions.

Example:

Give answer:

(1) If only conclusion I follows

(2) If only conclusion II follows

(3) If either I or II follows

(4) If neither I nor II follows and

(5) If both I and II follow

Statement:

Population increase coupled with depleting resources is going to be the scenario for many developing countries in days to come.

Conclusion:

I. The population of developing countries will not continue to increase in future.

II. It will be very difficult for the governments of developing countries to provide its people decent quality of life.

Solution:

Conclusion I does not follow because the population of developing countries is expected to increase as is given in the statement.

Conclusion II follows because population explosion coupled with resource depletion puts a strain on availability, accessibility and affordability of products and services. Hence, it is difficult for the governments of developing countries to provide its people decent quality of life.

Hence, only conclusion II follows. The correct answer choice is (2).

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