When dealing with Critical Reasoning questions, you can often come across a Conclusion question. You can also Download Critical-Reasoning PPT.
The following are some of the possible question stems of Conclusion questions.
Which of the following conclusions is best supported by the passage above?
Which of the following can be properly concluded based on the information above?
Information above, if true, best supports which of the following conclusions?
Arguments accompanying Conclusion questions do not, as a rule, have a conclusion and are just a list of premises or factual information.
To properly answer a Conclusion question you have to find an answer choice that must be true based on the information provided in the argument and represents the general idea of the argument, somehow summarizes everything stated in the argument. Correct answers to these questions never provide any new information or change the logic of an argument; they are concluded from the argument itself. When dealing with these questions, do not make any assumptions of your own; the conclusion is drawn based solely on the information provided in the argument. Eliminate answer choices that may or may not be true based on the evidence provided in the argument. Answer choices that restate premises are usually not correct.
Traps in Conclusion questions
When dealing with Conclusion questions pay attention to:
“Extreme words” If the evidence is about “some” you cannot conclude about “all” or “most”.
Evidence: Some students of Eastlake High have cars. Jason is a student of Eastlake High.
Wrong Conclusion: Jason “has” a car.
Correct Conclusion: It “is possible” that Jason has a car.
The wrong conclusion uses an extreme word “has” a car, while from the evidence we know that only “some” students of Eastlake High have cars and it is possible that Jason is among those students who don’t have cars. This conclusion may (but does not have to) be true, and therefore is incorrect.
The correct conclusion says that “it is possible” that Jason has a car and thus considers both possibilities:
1. Jason is among those Eastlake students who have cars.
2. Jason is among those Eastlake students who don’t have cars.
Necessary vs. Sufficient
Remember not to confuse what is necessary for something to be true with what is sufficient for something to be true.
Evidence: All adults have certain responsibilities. Jason has certain responsibilities. Therefore…
Wrong Conclusion: Jason “is” an adult.
Correct : It is possible that Jason is an adult.
The wrong conclusion confuses what is necessary to be an adult with what is sufficient to be an adult. The evidence that all adults have responsibilities does not eliminate the possibility that other people, for example children, have responsibilities. Therefore, having responsibilities is necessary but not sufficient to be an adult. And it is possible that Jason is a child.
The correct conclusion “It is possible that Jason is an adult” is true, since Jason meets a necessary condition stated in the evidence, it is possible that he is an adult.
Tips for Conclusion Questions:
1. Choose an answer choice that must be true based on the evidence presented.
2. A correct answer to a Conclusion question does not present any “outside” information; it is based solely on the information provided in the argument.
3. Be careful with answer choices that use extreme language. When you see “extreme” words make sure their use is logical.