Sample Critical Reasoning Questions

Written by Kelly Granson. Posted in GMAT Sample Questions

Question 1.

It is well known by most scientists that mice with low secretion of hormone X, which is responsible for regulating body size, are generally smaller than mice with normal hormone X secretion. A set of studies indicated that a mouse whose body size is below average is likely to have a pancreas that is smaller than the pancreas of a mouse with normal body size. These results led some scientists to hypothesize that low secretion of hormone X not only results in smaller body mass but also contributes to a smaller pancreas.

Which of the following, if true, would most undermine the hypothesis made above?

A) Further research indicated that injections of medicine that inhibits activity of hormone X results in reduction of pancreas size.

B) Mice with low level of hormone X secretion reproduce significantly more slowly than mice with a normal level of hormone X secretion.

C) Further research indicated that reduced pancreas size among laboratory mice contributes to low secretion of hormone X.

D) Additional research indicated that injection of hormone X can stimulate body growth in mice that naturally have low levels of secretion of this hormone but doesn't have any effect on mice that naturally have normal levels of hormone X secretion.

E) Other research indicated that to some extent pancreas size is determined by genetic factors.

Explanation:

The argument above concludes that low secretion of hormone X results in a smaller pancreas, as mice that have small body size because of low hormone X secretion also have a disproportionately small pancreas. To weaken this argument we need information that would prove that low level of hormone X secretion doesn't affect pancreas size.

A) This statement strengthens the argument by showing that lower activity of hormone X results in a smaller pancreas, therefore pancreas size is indeed determined by hormone X secretion.

B) This statement is irrelevant; it has no bearing on the pancreas and whether its size is influenced by hormone X.

C) Correct. This statement totally ruins the argument by showing that the reasoning used by the argument is reversed and that pancreas size is responsible for the level of hormone X secretion and not vice versa. This statement offers a completely different explanation of the evidence presented in the argument: small pancreas causes low levels of hormone X secretion, which results in small body size in mice.

D) This statement strengthens the argument that secretion of hormone X to some extent contributes to the body size of mice but says nothing about pancreas size and is therefore not relevant.

E) This statement, if anything, very slightly weakens the argument by providing an alternative determinant of pancreas size. However, the words to some extent leave open a possibility for other factors, like low secretion of hormone X. Unlike Choice C, which totally ruins the argument, this choice very slightly weakens the argument, if weakens it at all, and therefore Choice C is the better and correct one.

The correct answer is C.

Question 2.

Absorption of domestic companies that are vital to a country's economy by foreign or international companies seriously threatens the economy of the country as it becomes dependent on the decisions of owners of foreign companies. Therefore, if Laconian Steel Company, a major manufacturer of steel in Laconia, currently owned by a Laconian corporation, is absorbed by Steel.inc, a large international steel company, the Laconian economy will be seriously threatened.

The argument above depends on which of the following assumptions?

A) Absorption of domestic companies by foreign ones is the most serious threat to the economy of any country.

B) Laconian Steel Company is vital for the economy of Laconia.

C) There will be no serious threat to Laconian economy if Laconian Steel Company is not absorbed by any foreign company.

D) Companies that are vital to the economy of a country are absorbed mostly by foreign or international companies.

E) Most foreign and international companies neglect economic interests of countries in which their plants are situated.

Explanation:

The assumption must be true in order for the conclusion of the argument to be logical. To check whether you have found an assumption try to negate it. If the conclusion of the argument becomes illogical, then you did find the assumption. The argument above concludes that absorption of Laconian Steel Company by Steel.inc. will seriously threaten the economy of Laconia. As evidence, the author of the argument states that absorption of domestic companies that are vital to a country's economy by foreign or international companies seriously threatens the economy of the country. As stated in the argument, in order for absorption of a company to be a serious threat to the country's economy there are certain requirements:

  • The company absorbed must be domestic. (Laconian Steel Company is currently owned by a Laconian corporation and therefore is a domestic company.)
  • It must be absorbed by a foreign or international company. (Steel.inc is an international company.)
  • The company absorbed must be vital to the economy of the country. (We don't know whether Laconian Steel Company is vital to the economy of the country.)

Therefore, it must be assumed, as stated in Choice B, that Laconian Steel Company is vital to the economy of Laconia. Otherwise absorption of this company would not be a serious threat to the economy of Laconia.

A) Even if there are other more serious threats to the economy of any country, it does not mean that absorption of domestic companies by foreign companies is not a serious threat. Therefore, this does not have to be assumed.

B) Correct. This must be assumed in order for the conclusion of the argument to be logical.

C) Even if there are threats to the Laconian economy other than absorption of Laconian Steel Company by Steel.inc, it does not mean that if Laconian Steel Company were absorbed by Steel.inc, the economy of Laconia would not be threatened.

D) The argument is concerned with absorption of Laconia Steel Company, which is being absorbed by an international company. Whether domestic companies are generally absorbed by foreign companies or domestic companies is not important and doesn't have to be assumed.

E) Even if only some foreign and international companies neglect the economic interests of countries in which their plants are situated, it does not mean that Steel.inc is not among those some companies.

The correct answer is B.

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