GMAT OG Verbal Review, 2nd Ed: Critical Reasoning
Like the other verbal questions, Critical Reasoning hardly changed from the 1st edition to the 2nd edition.
The biggest change is that the number of Strengthen the Conclusion questions increased from 15 to 26. This increase was offset by decreases in the number of Draw a Conclusion questions, Weaken the Conclusion questions, and questions of various minor types. The implication of this change is not clear, however. Strengthen questions will not necessarily be any more prevalent on the GMAT than before; they were already a major question category.
The 1st edition of the Verbal Review had 82 Critical Reasoning problems. In the changeover to the 2nd edition, 22 problems were removed, leaving 60 repeated problems. Next, 23 problems were added, bringing the total to 83 questions in the 2nd edition—just slightly more than before.
* Truly Minor Types include Mimic the Argument, Provide an Example, Resolve a Problem, and Restate the Conclusion.
The proportion of problems in various categories has shifted somewhat. As noted above, Strengthen the Conclusion questions increased significantly in number. This trend is more pronounced here (in the changeover from the 1st to the 2nd edition) than in the transition from the 11th edition to the 12th edition of the main Official Guide. In fact, a majority of added questions were Strengthen the Conclusion.
At the same time, the number of Weaken the Conclusion questions has fallen from 29 to 23, making Strengthen questions a little more prevalent in the 2nd edition than Weaken questions, which had been much more common in the 1st edition.
Again, the implications of these changes are difficult to determine. Are the GMAT folks correcting a previous imbalance? Are they signaling a slight shift in question proportions? Or is there no particular meaning—are they just adding in a fairly random batch of recently retired questions, which happen to be skewed toward Strengthen questions? Despite the relatively large percent increase in the number of Strengthen questions, this move should not be over-interpreted.
Other shifts in question types generally mirror the changes we observed in the transition from the 11th to the 12th edition. The number of Analyze the Argument Structure questions did grow, but not as dramatically as in the 12th edition. Evaluate the Conclusion questions increased in number from 2 to 6, a large percent growth but a small absolute change.
Problems were removed from the 1st edition at all levels of difficulty. As in the changeover to the 12th edition, every instance in which more than one question was asked about 1 argument was eliminated. Problems were also added at all levels of difficulty in roughly equal proportions.
As for the difficulty of various question types, the average difficulty of Analyze the Argument and Evaluate the Conclusion fell the most; since these types are infrequent, the addition and removal of just a few questions at different difficulty levels swung the average difficulty a great deal. Strengthen fell a little as well, with the addition of many new questions. The other types only changed slightly in difficulty.