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Critical Reasoning 3

Terms in this set (47)

A * (A) The fire department traces all alarm calls made from private telephones and records where they came from.
The commissioner claims that the number of prank calls would be reduced if people could only report fires with private telephones rather than with public fire alarm boxes. But what if people could still make anonymous reports from their private telephones? That would weaken the commissioners argument. Choice (A) assures us that the private calls will, in fact, be traced, likely discouraging people from making prank calls from their private telephones. Thus, (A) supports the commissioner's claim.
B) Maintaining the fire alarm boxes costs Springfield approximately five million dollars annually.
The cost of maintaining the fire alarm boxes has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. Eliminate (B).
(C) A telephone call can provide the fire department with more information about the nature and size of a fire than can an alarm placed from an alarm box.
Choice (C) describes a possible advantage of reporting fires with private telephones instead of fire alarm boxes. However, as with choice (B), this has nothing to do with the effect that removing those boxes would have on the number of prank calls or people's ability to report fires. (C) is out.
(D) Responding to false alarms significantly reduces the fire department's capacity for responding to fires.
Choice (D) explains a negative consequence of prank calls but does give us any reason to believe that removing the fire alarm boxes would reduce the number of prank calls. Eliminate (D).
(E) On any given day, a significant percentage of the public telephones in Springfield are out of service.
Choice (E) might strengthen the commissioner's claim that the "alarm boxes have outlived their usefulness," but it does not support the commissioner's claim that the proposal "will reduce the number of prank calls without hampering people's ability to report a fire." Eliminate (E).
B * A. The effect noted in the studies is not limited to patrons who have credit cards. - Ok. But do people who don't have credit cards tip higher or lower than people with credit cards? The option statement doesn't provide this. Without this information, this statement doesn't have an impact on the hypothesis. If it had stated that people without credit cards tip lower than others when presented with trays with credit card logo, then it would have strengthened the hypothesis.B. Patrons who are under financial pressure from their credit-card obligations tend to tip less when presented with a restaurant bill on a tray with credit-card logo than when the tray has no logo. - This is interesting. This says that guys under credit card obligations tend to tip less when presented with trays with credit card logo. This kind of guy has lesser spending power than his available cash, exactly opposite to the case considered in the argument and this guy tips less, which is also exactly opposite the case in the argument. This kind of behavior is expected if the hypothesis holds. Since the hypothesis says that credit card logo reminds one of his spending power - a guy with good credit limit and low credit card obligations is expected to spend more and a guy with high credit card obligations is expected to spend less. Therefore, the given statement provides an evidence that the hypothesis holds in a different scenario. Therefore, this is the CORRECT option.C. In virtually all of the cases in the studies, the patrons who paid bills in cash did not possess credit cards. - This actually weakens the hypothesis. If a guy doesn't have a credit card, how would a credit card logo remind him of his higher spending power?D. In general, restaurant patrons who pay their bills in cash leave larger tips than do those who pay by credit card. - This is irrelevant comparison. We are not concerned with the payment method here.E. The percentage of restaurant bills paid with given brand of credit card increases when that credit card's logo is displayed on the tray with which the bill is prepared. - Again, we are not concerened how the payment is made.
B * A) What happens as people grow older is an entirely separate subject. This question deals with a group of people in general, so zeroing in on a random sub-set, a specific niche within the overall group about what those people can do to stay sharp as they grow old is irrelevant. It's Out Of Focus.B) Yes. Here we're presented with an entirely separate cause as to the correlation between social interaction and a boost in mental skills. If someone is suffering from a medical condition that impacts mental sharpness and that if the illness impacts the willingness to socialize, of course that would artificially boost the correlation between social interaction - and mental sharpness. It's not fair to say that being more social is the cause of possessing greater mental skills then. This option brutalizes the reasoning in the argument.C) If some people are strong at both, that could appears to be aligned with the argument that we're asked to weaken since it shows the presence of both the cause and effect. However, it's just not clear entirely clear how C either strengthens or weakens.D) It's not at all clear how analyzing data vs gathering and analyzing data from prior studies would weaken or strengthen. By itself, this option does nothing. Flawed data is a sucker choice on the GMAT. The GMAT doesn't question the integrity of data. It questions the integrity of the reasoning interpreting the data.E) This option attacks the wrong end of the causal relationship. We need an option that points to an alternative cause of a boost in mental skills (as in we need an option that shows that it's not social interaction that boosts mental skills). This option just attempts to redefine how mental skill is defined by the study, and the option in NO way addresses the cause of the heightened mental skills. Instead, if this option had attacked the cause rather than the effect, then it would weaken too. For example, if it said: "The tasks defining social interaction compiled by the study were more akin to mathematics problems than to social interaction" then this option would then reveal that there is a totally different cause other than social interaction.
E * 1) Read question stem to determine question type.Which of the following statements, if true, would cast the most doubt on the conclusion drawn above?We have a Weaken the Argument question.2) Read passage and summarize premises and the conclusion.PREMISE: Images from GBTs (ground-based telescopes) distorted by atmospherePREMISE: Space telescopes above atmosphere should make detailed imagesCONCLUSION: GBTs to become obsolete for advanced research3) Check the answer choices while reminding yourself of the CONCLUSION.(A) An orbiting space telescope due to be launched this year is far behind schedule and over budget, whereas the largest ground-based telescope was both within budget and on schedule.Does this weaken the conclusion that GBTs will become obsolete for advanced research?These project-management issues do NOT affect the conclusion.ELIMINATE A(B) Ground-based telescopes located on mountain summits are not subject to the kinds of atmospheric distortion which, at low altitudes, make stars appear to twinkle.In other words, high GBTs are better than low GBTs with regard to one particular phenomenon: the twinkling star effect.Does this weaken the conclusion that GBTs will become obsolete for advanced research?Not really. The reason for the soon-to-be demise of GBTs is that they suffer from atmospheric effects.So, regardless of whether some GBTs are immune to ONE TYPE of atmospheric effect, the space telescopes are immune to ALL atmospheric effects.ELIMINATE B(C) By careful choice of observatory location, it is possible for large-aperture telescopes to avoid most of the kind of wind turbulence that can distort image quality.This is similar to answer choice B.In other words, SOME (well-placed) GBTs are better than other GBTs with regard to ONE particular atmospheric phenomenon: wind turbulence.Does this weaken the conclusion that GBTs will become obsolete for advanced research?ELIMINATE C (see answer choice B for rationale)(D) When large-aperture telescopes are located at high altitudes near the equator, they permit the best Earth-based observations of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, a prime target of astronomical research.This is similar to answer choices B & C.Once again, we're told that SOME GBTs are better than other GBTs for a specific reason.Does this weaken the conclusion that GBTs will become obsolete for advanced research?No.Answer choice D does not suggest that any GBTs are better suited than space telescopes are to study the universe.ELIMINATE D(E) Detailed spectral analyses, upon which astronomers rely for determining the chemical composition and evolutionary history of stars, require telescopes with more light-gathering capacity than space telescopes can provide.Does this weaken the conclusion that GBTs will become obsolete for advanced research?Yes!If space telescopes are too small for certain research, then researches will still need some GBTs to perform the research described above.Answer: E
A A. The human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s. <- Hmmm... we were told reports of alligator sightings have increased. Does that necessarily mean that the population of alligators has increased? The argument seems to conflate increased reports with increased population, but that doesn't have to be true. If there are more people around to see and report alligators, it wouldn't necessarily make sense to use the change in sightings to draw conclusions about the population. (this is a common gap in reasoning we want to be on the lookout for in GMAT CR!)B. The hunting restrictions applied to commercial as well as private hunters. <- Who the hunting restrictions applied to doesn't really matter to us here. This does nothing to tell us why it might not make sense to use the given evidence to draw the cited conclusion.C. The number of sightings of alligators in lakes and swamps increased greatly in Florida during the 1990s. <- Providing additional sources of alligator sightings definitely doesn't weaken the connection between evidence and conclusion. This just provides further evidence that more alligator sightings are taking place. We need something that specifically breaks up the connection between sightings and population.D. Throughout the 1990s, selling alligator products was more strictly regulated than hunting was. <- ....Okay, so what? Even if people are more limited in their ability to sell gator jerky and gator-skin boots, this does nothing to break up the connection between the sightings reported and population.E. Most of the sightings of alligators on golf courses and lawns in the 1990s occurred at times at which few people were present on those golf courses and lawns. <- Well, we only need one person around to "see something and say something" about the alligators, so this definitely doesn't tell us that the reports cannot be used to substantiate an increase in population. If anything, if few people are present when the sightings occur and* the reports of sightings increase, it would be less likely that we have repeat sightings where many people make the same report. So, definitely not a weakener here. Keep in mind, we aren't trying to weaken the evidence... it's already been presented as fact. We have already been told that sightings increased during this time. We want something that tells us increased sightings does not necessarily = increased alligator population.
A * (A) When levels of personal retirement savings increase, consumer borrowing always increase correspondingly.
The government wants to modify the income-tax structure to make people put more of their income into retirement savings accounts. This should increase the amount of money available to borrowers. But will that money go to development loans for business? What if that money goes to other kinds of loans?Choice (A) tells us that consumer borrowing WILL increase if personal retirement savings increases. So more money will become available for borrowing, but consumers will borrow some or all of that money. That leaves less (if any) money for development loans. It's possible that some of that money will be used for development loans and that the government's plan will still succeed, but choice (A) raises a serious doubt. Hang on to this one.
(B) The increased tax revenue the government would receive as a result of business expansion would not offset the loss in revenue from personal income taxes during the first year of the plan.
Choice (B) tells us that the government will suffer a net loss in revenue as a result of this plan. But we are not trying to determine how the plan will impact the government's revenue. We are simply trying to determine whether the plan will succeed in increasing the amount of money available for development loans for businesses. Choice (B) is irrelevant and can be eliminated.
(C) Even with tax incentives, some people will choose not to increase their levels of retirement savings.
It's okay if SOME people chose not to increase their levels of retirement savings. As long as some people DO increase their levels of retirement savings, the government's plan could still work. In other words, we don't need ALL people to increase their savings, only some. Choice (C) does not raise serious doubt and can be eliminated.
(D) Bankers generally will not continue to lend money to businesses whose prospective earnings are insufficient to meet their loan repayment schedules.
This is obviously a problem for those businesses whose prospective earnings are insufficient to meet their loan repayment schedules. But we are not concerned with that situation. We simply want to know whether the modifications to the income-tax structure will increase the amount of moneyavailablefor development loans for business. As long as the amountavailablefor such loans increases, the government's plan will be a success, regardless of whether some businesses can't access that money because they've had problems paying off their loans. Eliminate (D).
(E) The modified tax structure would give all taxpayers, regardless of their incomes, the same tax savings for a given increase in their retirement savings.
A possible misunderstanding of choice (E) is to conclude that taxpayers will get the same tax savings regardless ofhow muchthey deposit in retirement savings accounts. That might give people less incentive to increase their retirement savings (i.e. "Why should I put more into my retirement savings if it won't increase by tax savings?") and thus jeopardize the government's plan.But this is not what choice (E) says. Rather, it says that taxpayers will, regardless of their incomes, get "the same tax savingsfor a given increasein their retirement savings." In other words, if two taxpayers have different incomes but make identical increases in their retirement savings, then both would get the same tax savings. Thus, choice (E) does not affect the government's plan to induce individual taxpayers to put a larger portion of their incomes into retirement savings accounts. Eliminate (E).
√As you deconstruct the argument in this Boldface question, recognize first that the first bolded sentence is a premise, stated as a fact. Further, the beginning of the next sentence states "with that trend...," establishing that the argument will build from that fact. From here you can eliminate choices B and D (each of which says that the first portion is a conclusion). You can also be very skeptical of choice E: even though it correctly says that the first portion is a premise, note that it goes on to say that the argument proves that premise false. As you will see from the rest of the paragraph, the argument is concerned with attacking a conclusion drawn from that premise, but never tries to disprove the fact itself. For this reason, E is also incorrect.
As you look at the second bolded portion, note that the phrase "there has been debate as to whether we can conclude" is also direct cause for eliminating E: the second bolded portion is not the conclusion itself, but rather the introduction of the conclusion. You should see that this language matches choice A perfectly, so choice A is correct.
Similarly C is incorrect, as the second bolded portion introduces a conclusion that could be drawn based on the first premise: it does not, as C says "undermine that evidence." To the contrary, it builds upon it.
Note that the conclusion of this argument is the phrase "the answer is no," which comes right next to the explanation for that conclusion, "since motorists with more fuel-efficient vehicles..." This allows you to eliminate choice D, as the evidence for the argument's conclusion is everything beginning with "since," not the second bolded portion. Choice A is correct.
C. *This Boldface question heavily rewards those who can highlight the difference between premise and conclusion. If you look carefully next to the words "since" and "because" - words that signal a premise upon which a conclusion may be built - you'll see that the argument contains two conclusions. The first portion in boldface is used as evidence for the conclusion "the worry that home values are declining must be false," a conclusion that comes adjacent to "since the largest stakeholders evidently believe..."
The second conclusion is "This may not be sound reasoning," which comes next to the bolded "because the largest stakeholders may simply be protecting their investments." This is important for two reasons:
1) There is a split between whether the second portion is evidence or a conclusion (and the fact that it is prefaced by "because" means that it is being used as evidence)
2) There is a split between whether the first portion is evidence for a conclusion or a circumstance that the argument seeks to explain. If you note that the conclusion of the argument is to criticize the reasoning ("this may not be sound reasoning"), which means that it's countering the earlier conclusion that "the worry must be false," then the correct answer must describe the first portion as evidence. While the argument does explain the circumstance from the first sentence, its conclusion - the stated main point of the argument - is to counter the reasoning.
Because the first bolded portion is evidence that leads to the initial conclusion and the second portion is evidence for the main conclusion, the correct answer must be C.
Recently, since rumors have been confirmed that the most prominent multi-property owners in the condominium complex have been using home equity credit to make renovations, other owners, who feared that the complex's property values were rapidly decreasing, have been greatly relieved. They posit that, since the largest stakeholders in the complex evidently believe in the soundness of their properties, the worry that values are declining must be false. This may not be sound reasoning, however, because the largest stakeholders may simply be protecting their investments by creating the image that the property values will stay high so that other owners do not sell their properties and further perpetuate the decrease.
In the argument above, the two boldfaced portions play which of the following roles?
The first describes evidence that has been taken as supporting a conclusion; the second states a contrary conclusion that is the main conclusion of the argument.
The first provides evidence in support of the main conclusion of the argument; the second states that conclusion.
The first describes evidence that has been taken as supporting a conclusion; the second gives a reason for questioning that support.
The first describes the circumstance that the argument as a whole seeks to explain; the second gives the explanation that the argument seeks to establish.
The first describes the circumstance that the argument as a whole seeks to explain; the second provides evidence in support of the explanation that the argument seeks to establish.
B.√In this question you are told that while the number of full time, tenured professors at the university has increased by 10, average class size has increased despite the fact that the number of students at the university has remained roughly the same. To resolve this apparent paradox, your first step should be to find the gap. Do tenured professors teach enough that an increase in the number of tenured professors would decrease class size? Are they teaching fewer classes?
The only answer choices that begin to address any of these questions are (B), (C) and (D). Choice (B) states that the number of adjunct professors - "who teach the majority of classes" has declined by 25. Even if there was an increase in tenured professors, since adjunct professors teach the majority of classes their dismissal will have an outsized effect on class size and will drive average class size up. Choice (B) is correct.
Choice (C) is close, but you don't know that there has been an increase in the number of tenured professors who don't teach. Perhaps there are two professors who (for whatever reason) only do research and that this number hasn't changed for 20 years. If so, this information would have no effect on class size. Note also that the stimulus states that the average class size increased. Even if all 10 new tenured professors were research-only, their impact (or lack thereof) wouldn't increase the average class would just leave it unchanged. Similarly, choice (D) can be eliminated because even though some classes are led by graduate students you have no information about the relative numbers of graduate students available to teach.
Between the other two answers, (A) can be eliminated because there is no indication that the number of students in these very large classes has increased and choice (E) can be eliminated because there is no indication that not including these classes changes the average class size in any meaningful way.
In reading the stimulus in this difficult problem, you will probably first note the following flaw: the goal is to reduce illegal drug use, but the focus is only on preventing marijuana imports from Gordenia (what about other drugs?). However, there is another major issue: the legislation was implemented two years ago, but the data used is only from the last year. What if the legislation was incredibly successful right after it was implemented, slashing drug use by over 50% in the first year. Then, in the last year, drug use remained constant or even went up slightly. Clearly the legislation was still very successful even though last year's data suggests otherwise. Answer choice (C) shows exactly how the legislation could have been very successful even with last year's data. (A) is tricky because it relates to a flaw you should have noticed, but it does not show how the legislation could have been successful. Rather it shows how it would have been unsuccessful. If most of the drug problems relate to drugs other than marijuana, then a plan focusing only on a major marijuana exporting country would not help. For (B), the goal of the legislation was to reduce use in the major cities, so what takes place outside of the cities is not important. In (D) importation amounts from other countries is not relevant to the argument as the plan focuses on Gordenia. For (E) visits to drug treatment centers could have decreased for any number of reasons so that does not relate to the efficacy of the legislation. Answer is (C).
B.√This is an "Explain the Paradox" question. For this type of question, remember that you must find an answer choice that bridges the gap between the two facts given explains why both can be true. Don't waste time trying to anticipate the correct answer, but instead just identify the gap that needs to be resolved and look for an answer that does so.
In this question, you know that a new program would drastically increase the amount of work new professors would need to do but would not apply to existing professors. However, existing professors are still protesting it. Why would professors protest a policy that seemingly doesn't affect them and may even favor them? The correct answer will bridge this gap, probably by giving some sort of reason that the policy will have a negate effect on them, even if indirectly.
Choice (B) matches this and gives a reason for professors to be against the policy. Although they are not directly affected, their ability to get bonuses (and therefore get paid) is affected since they need to match the output of their colleagues in order to get a bonus. Since this includes the professors who are hired under the new system, that means that they have to match the increased output even if they aren't directly affected by the change. This is the correct answer.
Answer choice (A) gives further support to the idea that professors shouldn't be upset at the new policy, since it does not affect them, and it can be eliminated. Answer choices (C) and (D) have nothing to do with either policy, and therefore don't address the paradox at all. Answer choice (E) similarly does not address any sort of change, so it can be eliminated since it addresses neither policy.
B.√This Weaken problem showcases a common type of Strengthen/Weaken data flaw: when premises include data, you want to make sure that they use the right kind of data. One of the most common ways that an argument will use the "wrong kind" of data is when a premise uses absolute number data (40,000 vs. 10,000 here) when percentage or per-capita data is necessary to draw any kind of conclusion.
Here, consider the total teen driver population in 1975 vs. 2000. Population is known to increase over time: what if there were more than 4x as many teenagers in 2000 as there were in 1975? What if the age limit for driver's licenses was 20 in 1975 but 16 in 2000: that would also mean that there were likely way more drivers in this age group in 2000 than in 1975. This should show - in many cases, absolute number data is not a good metric upon which to draw a conclusion.
If you recognize that, you should anticipate answer choice B. If there are more than 4x as many drivers but only 4x the number of accidents, driving has actually become safer and there is no basis for drawing the conclusion. Choice B is therefore correct.
Among the incorrect answer choices: Answer choice A is incorrect because traffic laws do not necessarily relate to the recklessness of young drivers. Choice C does not relate the differences in driving habits between young drivers in 1975 and those in 2000. Answer choice D actually strengthens the argument. If safety technology were improving, then there should be fewer deaths. E is incorrect because senior citizens are outside the scope of the argument.