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Time To Sharpen Your Reading and Listening Skills
Verbal Reasoning Skills
April, 2005, by The Critical Thinking Co.™ Staff

People generally assume that their verbal reasoning skills are relatively sharp because they engage in conversations and engage in at least some light reading regularly. The differentiation between someone with poor verbal reasoning skills and someone with excellent verbal reasoning skills lies in one's ability to read or listen critically and to pick out pertinent information. Pertinent information can include known facts, specific opinions, statistics, sources, fallacies, and the like.

Tests for verbal reasoning skills, especially those on standardized tests, usually take the same form. A written passage is given which you are to assume to be true, regardless of knowledge you may have to the contrary. At the end of the written passage is a series of questions which you are to determine to be true based upon the information given, false based on the information given, or impossible to determine based upon the information given.

Such tests determine one's ability to understand the written passage, to differentiate facts from assumptions, and to think logically. Verbal reasoning tests are often given in tandem with non-verbal reasoning tests which utilize shapes, pictures, numbers, and/or sounds to determine one's reasoning abilities apart from language. Neither type of test determines how smart a person is--only how well he or she utilizes logic.

The Critical Thinking Co. has developed verbal and non-verbal reasoning programs to help the development of logical thought processes in students of all ages. Logic and reasoning represent a higher order of thinking that leads to greater comprehension of learned materials because it is neither random nor short-term. Greater comprehension leads to higher test scores and better grades and The Critical Thinking Co. guarantees it.