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Flashcards in Kaplan OG 12 Critical Reasoning Deck (124)
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1. “Life expectancy” is the average age at death of the entire live-born population. In the middle of the nineteenth century; life expectancy in North America was 40 years; whereas now it is nearly 80 years. Thus; in those days; people must have been considered old at an age that we now consider the prime of life. Which of the following; if true; undermines the argument above? (A) In the middle of the nineteenth century; the population of North America was significantly smaller than it is today. (B) Most of the gains in life expectancy in the last 150 years have come from reductions in the number of infants who die in their first year of life. (C) Many of the people who live to an advanced age today do so only because of medical technology that was unknown in the nineteenth century. (D) The proportion of people who die in their seventies is significantly smaller today than is the proportion of people who die in their eighties. (E) More people in the middle of the nineteenth century engaged regularly in vigorous physical activity than do so today.

B

2

2. Scientists propose placing seismic stations on the fl oor of the Pacifi c Ocean to warn threatened coastal communities on the northwestern coast of the United States of approaching tidal waves caused by earthquakes. Since forewarned communities could take steps to evacuate; many of the injuries and deaths that would otherwise occur could be avoided if the government would implement this proposal. The answer to which of the following questions would be most important in determining whether implementing the proposal would be likely to achieve the desired result? (A) When was the last time that the coastal communities were threatened by an approaching tidal wave? (B) How far below sea level would the stations be located? (C) Would there be enough time after receiving warning of an approaching tidal wave for communities to evacuate safely? (D) How soon after a tidal wave hits land is it safe for evacuees to return to their communities? (E) Can the stations be equipped to collect and relay information about phenomena other than tidal waves caused by earthquakes?

C

3

3. Homeowners aged 40 to 50 are more likely to purchase ice cream and are more likely to purchase it in larger amounts than are members of any other demographic group. The popular belief that teenagers eat more ice cream than adults must; therefore; be false. The argument is flawed primarily because the author (A) fails to distinguish between purchasing and consuming (B) does not supply information about homeowners in age groups other than 40 to 50 (C) depends on popular belief rather than on documented research findings (D) does not specify the precise amount of ice cream purchased by any demographic group (E) discusses ice cream rather than more nutritious and healthful foods

A

4

4. According to a prediction of the not-so-distant future published in 1940; electricity would revolutionize agriculture. Electrodes would be inserted into the soil; and the current between them would kill bugs and weeds and make crop plants stronger. Which of the following; if true; most strongly indicates that the logic of the prediction above is fl awed? 8.4 Sample Questions Each of the critical reasoning questions is based on a short argument; a set of statements; or a plan of action. For each question; select the best answer of the choices given. 487 8.4 Critical Reasoning Sample Questions (A) In order for farmers to avoid electric shock while working in the fi elds; the current could be turned off at such times without diminishing the intended effects. (B) If the proposed plan for using electricity were put into practice; farmers would save on chemicals now being added to the soil. (C) It cannot be taken for granted that the use of electricity is always benefi cial. (D) Since weeds are plants; electricity would affect weeds in the same way as it would affect crop plants. (E) Because a planting machine would need to avoid coming into contact with the electrodes; new parts for planting machines would need to be designed.

D

5

5. A company is considering changing its policy concerning daily working hours. Currently; this company requires all employees to arrive at work at 8 a.m. The proposed policy would permit each employee to decide when to arrive—from as early as 6 a.m. to as late as 11 a.m. The adoption of this policy would be most likely to decrease employees’ productivity if the employees’ job functions required them to (A) work without interruption from other employees (B) consult at least once a day with employees from other companies (C) submit their work for a supervisor’s eventual approval (D) interact frequently with each other throughout the entire workday (E) undertake projects that take several days to complete

D

6

6. The amount of time it takes for most of a worker’s occupational knowledge and skills to become obsolete has been declining because of the introduction of advanced manufacturing technology (AMT). Given the rate at which AMT is currently being introduced in manufacturing; the average worker’s old skills become obsolete and new skills are required within as little as five years. Which of the following plans; if feasible; would allow a company to prepare most effectively for the rapid obsolescence of skills described above? (A) The company will develop a program to offer selected employees the opportunity to receive training six years after they were originally hired. (B) The company will increase its investment in AMT every year for a period of at least five years. (C) The company will periodically survey its employees to determine how the introduction of AMT has affected them. (D) Before the introduction of AMT; the company will institute an educational program to inform its employees of the probable consequences of the introduction of AMT. (E) The company will ensure that it can offer its employees any training necessary for meeting their job requirements.

E

7

7. Traverton’s city council wants to minimize the city’s average yearly expenditures on its traffi c signal lights and so is considering replacing the incandescent bulbs currently in use with arrays of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as the incandescent bulbs burn out. Compared to incandescent bulbs; LED arrays consume signifi cantly less energy and cost no more to purchase. Moreover; the costs associated with the conversion of existing fi xtures so as to accept LED arrays would be minimal. Which of the following would it be most useful to know in determining whether switching to LED arrays would be likely to help minimize Traverton’s yearly maintenance costs? (A) Whether the expected service life of LED arrays is at least as long as that of the currently used incandescent bulbs (B) Whether any cities have switched from incandescent lights in their traffi c signals to lighting elements other than LED arrays (C) Whether the company from which Traverton currently buys incandescent bulbs for traffi c signals also sells LED arrays (D) Whether Traverton’s city council plans to increase the number of traffi c signal lights in Traverton (E) Whether the crews that currently replace incandescent bulbs in Traverton’s traffi c signals know how to convert the existing fi xtures so as to accept LED arrays The Offi cial Guide for GMAT® Review 12th Edition 488

A

8

8. A report that many apples contain a cancer-causing preservative called Alar apparently had little effect on consumers. Few consumers planned to change their apple-buying habits as a result of the report. Nonetheless; sales of apples in grocery stores fell sharply in March; a month after the report was issued. Which of the following; if true; best explains the reason for the apparent discrepancy described above? (A) In March; many grocers removed apples from their shelves in order to demonstrate concern about their customers’ health. (B) Because of a growing number of food-safety warnings; consumers in March were indifferent to such warnings. (C) The report was delivered on television and also appeared in newspapers. (D) The report did not mention that any other fruit contains Alar; although the preservative is used on other fruit. (E) Public health officials did not believe that apples posed a health threat because only minute traces of Alar were present in affected apples.

A

9

9. In order to reduce the number of items damaged while in transit to customers; packaging consultants recommended that the TrueSave mail-order company increase the amount of packing material so as to fi ll any empty spaces in its cartons. Accordingly; TrueSave offi cials instructed the company’s packers to use more packing material than before; and the packers zealously acted on these instructions and used as much as they could. Nevertheless; customer reports of damaged items rose somewhat. Which of the following; if true; most helps to explain why acting on the consultants’ recommendation failed to achieve its goal? (A) The change in packing policy led to an increase in expenditure on packing material and labor. (B) When packing material is compressed too densely; it loses some of its capacity to absorb shock. (C) The amount of packing material used in a carton does not signifi cantly infl uence the ease with which a customer can unpack the package. (D) Most of the goods that TrueSave ships are electronic products that are highly vulnerable to being damaged in transit. (E) TrueSave has lost some of its regular customers as a result of the high number of damaged items they received.

B

10

10. Cable-television spokesperson: Subscriptions to cable television are a bargain in comparison to “free” television. Remember that “free” television is not really free. It is consumers; in the end; who pay for the costly advertising that supports “free” television. Which of the following; if true; is most damaging to the position of the cable-television spokesperson? (A) Consumers who do not own television sets are less likely to be influenced in their purchasing decisions by television advertising than are consumers who own television sets. (B) Subscriptions to cable television include access to some public-television channels; which do not accept advertising. (C) For locations with poor television reception; cable television provides picture quality superior to that provided by free television. (D) There is as much advertising on many cabletelevision channels as there is on “free” television channels. (E) Cable-television subscribers can choose which channels they wish to receive.

D

11

11. Wood smoke contains dangerous toxins that cause changes in human cells. Because wood smoke presents such a high health risk; legislation is needed to regulate the use of open-air fires and wood-burning stoves. Which of the following; if true; provides the most support for the argument above? (A) The amount of dangerous toxins contained in wood smoke is much less than the amount contained in an equal volume of automobile exhaust. (B) Within the jurisdiction covered by the proposed legislation; most heating and cooking is done with oil or natural gas. 489 8.4 Critical Reasoning Sample Questions (C) Smoke produced by coal-burning stoves is significantly more toxic than smoke from woodburning stoves. (D) No significant beneficial effect on air quality would result if open-air fires were banned within the jurisdiction covered by the proposed legislation. (E) In valleys where wood is used as the primary heating fuel; the concentration of smoke results in poor air quality.

E

12

12. A certain automaker aims to increase its market share by deeply discounting its vehicles’ prices for the next several months. The discounts will cut into profi ts; but because they will be heavily advertised the manufacturer hopes that they will attract buyers away from rival manufacturers’ cars. In the longer term; the automaker envisions that customers initially attracted by the discounts may become loyal customers. In assessing the plan’s chances of achieving its aim; it would be most useful to know which of the following? (A) Whether the automaker’s competitors are likely to respond by offering deep discounts on their own products (B) Whether the advertisements will be created by the manufacturer’s current advertising agency (C) Whether some of the automaker’s models will be more deeply discounted than others (D) Whether the automaker will be able to cut costs suffi ciently to maintain profi t margins even when the discounts are in effect (E) Whether an alternative strategy might enable the automaker to enhance its profi tability while holding a constant or diminishing share of the market

A

13

13. In Swartkans territory; archaeologists discovered charred bone fragments dating back one million years. Analysis of the fragments; which came from a variety of animals; showed that they had been heated to temperatures no higher than those produced in experimental campfires made from branches of white stinkwood; the most common tree around Swartkans. Which of the following; if true; would; together with the information above; provide the best basis for the claim that the charred bone fragments are evidence of the use of fire by early hominids? (A) The white stinkwood tree is used for building material by the present-day inhabitants of Swartkans. (B) Forest fires can heat wood to a range of temperatures that occur in campfires. (C) The bone fragments were fitted together by the archaeologists to form the complete skeletons of several animals. (D) Apart from the Swartkans discovery; there is reliable evidence that early hominids used fire as many as 500;000 years ago. (E) The bone fragments were found in several distinct layers of limestone that contained primitive cutting tools known to have been used by early hominids.

E

14

14. In Washington County; attendance at the movies is just large enough for the cinema operators to make modest profi ts. The size of the county’s population is stable and is not expected to increase much. Yet there are investors ready to double the number of movie screens in the county within fi ve years; and they are predicting solid profi ts both for themselves and for the established cinema operators. Which of the following; if true about Washington County; most helps to provide a justifi cation for the investors’ prediction? (A) Over the next ten years; people in their teenage years; the prime moviegoing age; will be a rapidly growing proportion of the county’s population. (B) As distinct from the existing cinemas; most of the cinemas being planned would be located in downtown areas; in hopes of stimulating an economic revitalization of those areas. (C) Spending on video purchases; as well as spending on video rentals; has been increasing modestly each year for the past ten years. (D) The average number of screens per cinema is lower among existing cinemas than it is among cinemas still in the planning stages. (E) The sale of snacks and drinks in cinemas accounts for a steadily growing share of most cinema operators’ profi ts. The Offi cial Guide for GMAT® Review 12th Edition 490

A

15

15. A conservation group in the United States is trying to change the long-standing image of bats as frightening creatures. The group contends that bats are feared and persecuted solely because they are shy animals that are active only at night. Which of the following; if true; would cast the most serious doubt on the accuracy of the group’s contention? (A) Bats are steadily losing natural roosting places such as caves and hollow trees and are thus turning to more developed areas for roosting. (B) Bats are the chief consumers of nocturnal insects and thus can help make their hunting territory more pleasant for humans. (C) Bats are regarded as frightening creatures not only in the United States but also in Europe; Africa; and South America. (D) Raccoons and owls are shy and active only at night; yet they are not generally feared and persecuted. (E) People know more about the behavior of other greatly feared animal species; such as lions; alligators; and snakes; than they do about the behavior of bats.

D

16

16. Which of the following best completes the passage below? People buy prestige when they buy a premium product. They want to be associated with something special. Mass-marketing techniques and price-reduction strategies should not be used because . (A) affluent purchasers currently represent a shrinking portion of the population of all purchasers (B) continued sales depend directly on the maintenance of an aura of exclusivity (C) purchasers of premium products are concerned with the quality as well as with the price of the products (D) expansion of the market niche to include a broader spectrum of consumers will increase profits (E) manufacturing a premium brand is not necessarily more costly than manufacturing a standard brand of the same product

B

17

17. Hunter: Many people blame hunters alone for the decline in Greenrock National Forest’s deer population over the past ten years. Yet clearly; black bears have also played an important role in this decline. In the past ten years; the forest’s protected black bear population has risen sharply; and examination of black bears found dead in the forest during the deer hunting season showed that a number of them had recently fed on deer. In the hunter’s argument; the portion in boldface plays which of the following roles? (A) It is the main conclusion of the argument. (B) It is a fi nding that the argument seeks to explain. (C) It is an explanation that the argument concludes is correct. (D) It provides evidence in support of the main conclusion of the argument. (E) It introduces a judgment that the argument opposes.

E

18

18. In Asia; where palm trees are nonnative; the trees’ flowers have traditionally been pollinated by hand; which has kept palm fruit productivity unnaturally low. When weevils known to be efficient pollinators of palm flowers were introduced into Asia in 1980; palm fruit productivity increased—by up to 50 percent in some areas—but then decreased sharply in 1984. Which of the following statements; if true; would best explain the 1984 decrease in productivity? (A) Prices for palm fruit fell between 1980 and 1984 following the rise in production and a concurrent fall in demand. (B) Imported trees are often more productive than native trees because the imported ones have left behind their pests and diseases in their native lands. (C) Rapid increases in productivity tend to deplete trees of nutrients needed for the development of the fruit-producing female flowers. (D) The weevil population in Asia remained at approximately the same level between 1980 and 1984. (E) Prior to 1980 another species of insect pollinated the Asian palm trees; but not as efficiently as the species of weevil that was introduced in 1980. 491 8.4 Critical Reasoning Sample Questions

C

19

19. Physician: The hormone melatonin has shown promise as a medication for sleep disorders when taken in synthesized form. Because the long-term side effects of synthetic melatonin are unknown; however; I cannot recommend its use at this time. Patient: Your position is inconsistent with your usual practice. You prescribe many medications that you know have serious side effects; so concern about side effects cannot be the real reason you will not prescribe melatonin. The patient’s argument is fl awed because it fails to consider that (A) the side effects of synthetic melatonin might be different from those of naturally produced melatonin (B) it is possible that the physician does not believe that melatonin has been conclusively shown to be effective (C) sleep disorders; if left untreated; might lead to serious medical complications (D) the side effects of a medication can take some time to manifest themselves (E) known risks can be weighed against known benefi ts; but unknown risks cannot

E

20

20. In recent years; many cabinetmakers have been winning acclaim as artists. But since furniture must be useful; cabinetmakers must exercise their craft with an eye to the practical utility of their product. For this reason; cabinetmaking is not art. Which of the following is an assumption that supports drawing the conclusion above from the reason given for that conclusion? (A) Some furniture is made to be placed in museums; where it will not be used by anyone. (B) Some cabinetmakers are more concerned than others with the practical utility of the products they produce. (C) Cabinetmakers should be more concerned with the practical utility of their products than they currently are. (D) An object is not an art object if its maker pays attention to the object’s practical utility. (E) Artists are not concerned with the monetary value of their products.

D

21

21. Male bowerbirds construct elaborately decorated nests; or bowers. Basing their judgment on the fact that different local populations of bowerbirds of the same species build bowers that exhibit different building and decorative styles; researchers have concluded that the bowerbirds’ building styles are a culturally acquired; rather than a genetically transmitted; trait. Which of the following; if true; would most strengthen the conclusion drawn by the researchers? (A) There are more common characteristics than there are differences among the bower-building styles of the local bowerbird population that has been studied most extensively. (B) Young male bowerbirds are inept at bowerbuilding and apparently spend years watching their elders before becoming accomplished in the local bower style. (C) The bowers of one species of bowerbird lack the towers and ornamentation characteristic of the bowers of most other species of bowerbird. (D) Bowerbirds are found only in New Guinea and Australia; where local populations of the birds apparently seldom have contact with one another. (E) It is well known that the song dialects of some songbirds are learned rather than transmitted genetically. The Offi cial Guide for GMAT® Review 12th Edition 492

B

22

22. Plan: Concerned about the welfare of its senior citizens; the government of Runagia decided two years ago to increase by 20 percent the governmentprovided pension paid to all Runagians age sixty-fi ve and older. Result: Many Runagian senior citizens are no better off fi nancially now than they were before the increase. Further information: The annual rate of infl ation since the pension increase has been below 5 percent; and the increased pension has been duly received by all eligible Runagians. In light of the further information; which of the following; if true; does most to explain the result that followed implementation of the plan? (A) The majority of senior citizens whose fi nancial position has not improved rely entirely on the government pension for their income. (B) The Runagian banking system is so ineffi cient that cashing a pension check can take as much as three weeks. (C) The prices of goods and services that meet the special needs of many senior citizens have increased at a rate much higher than the rate of infl ation. (D) The pension increase occurred at a time when the number of Runagians age sixty-fi ve and older who were living below the poverty level was at an all-time high. (E) The most recent pension increase was only the second such increase in the last ten years.

C

23

23. A drug that is highly effective in treating many types of infection can; at present; be obtained only from the bark of the ibora; a tree that is quite rare in the wild. It takes the bark of 5;000 trees to make one kilogram of the drug. It follows; therefore; that continued production of the drug must inevitably lead to the ibora’s extinction. Which of the following; if true; most seriously weakens the argument above? (A) The drug made from ibora bark is dispensed to doctors from a central authority. (B) The drug made from ibora bark is expensive to produce. (C) The leaves of the ibora are used in a number of medical products. (D) The ibora can be propagated from cuttings and grown under cultivation. (E) The ibora generally grows in largely inaccessible places.

D

24

24. The Plexis Corporation; a leading computer chip manufacturer; is currently developing a new chip; which is faster and more effi cient than any computer chip currently in use. The new chip will be released for sale in twelve months. Plexis’ market research has shown that initial sales of the new chip would be maximized by starting to advertise it now; but the company has decided to wait another six months before doing so. Which of the following; if true; provides the Plexis Corporation with the best reason for postponing advertising its new chip? (A) Some computer users are reluctant to purchase new computer products when they are fi rst released. (B) The cost of an advertising campaign capable of maximizing initial sales of the new chip would be no greater than campaigns previously undertaken by Plexis. (C) Advertising the new chip now will signifi cantly decrease sales of Plexis’ current line of computer chips. (D) Plexis’ major rivals in the computer chip manufacturing business are developing a chip with capabilities that are comparable to those of Plexis’ new chip. (E) Taking full advantage of the capacities of the new chip will require substantial adjustments in other segments of the computer industry.

C

25

25. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin supplements. Some of these cereals provide 100 percent of the recommended daily requirement of vitamins. Nevertheless; a well-balanced breakfast; including a variety of foods; is a better source of those vitamins than are such fortified breakfast cereals alone. Which of the following; if true; would most strongly support the position above? 493 8.4 Critical Reasoning Sample Questions (A) In many foods; the natural combination of vitamins with other nutrients makes those vitamins more usable by the body than are vitamins added in vitamin supplements. (B) People who regularly eat cereals fortified with vitamin supplements sometimes neglect to eat the foods in which the vitamins occur naturally. (C) Foods often must be fortified with vitamin supplements because naturally occurring vitamins are removed during processing. (D) Unprocessed cereals are naturally high in several of the vitamins that are usually added to fortified breakfast cereals. (E) Cereals containing vitamin supplements are no harder to digest than similar cereals without added vitamins.

A

26

26. When a polygraph test is judged inconclusive; this is no reflection on the examinee. Rather; such a judgment means that the test has failed to show whether the examinee was truthful or untruthful. Nevertheless; employers will sometimes refuse to hire a job applicant because of an inconclusive polygraph test result. Which of the following conclusions can most properly be drawn from the information above? (A) Most examinees with inconclusive polygraph test results are in fact untruthful. (B) Polygraph tests should not be used by employers in the consideration of job applicants. (C) An inconclusive polygraph test result is sometimes unfairly held against the examinee. (D) A polygraph test indicating that an examinee is untruthful can sometimes be mistaken. (E) Some employers have refused to consider the results of polygraph tests when evaluating job applicants.

C

27

27. For similar cars and comparable drivers; automobile insurance for collision damage has always cost more in Greatport than in Fairmont. Police studies; however; show that cars owned by Greatport residents are; on average; slightly less likely to be involved in a collision than cars in Fairmont. Clearly; therefore; insurance companies are making a greater profi t on collisiondamage insurance in Greatport than in Fairmont. In evaluating the argument; it would be most useful to compare (A) the level of traffi c congestion in Greatport with the level of traffi c congestion in Fairmont (B) the cost of repairing collision damage in Greatport with the cost of repairing collision damage in Fairmont (C) the rates Greatport residents pay for other forms of insurance with the rates paid for similar insurance by residents of Fairmont (D) the condition of Greatport’s roads and streets with the condition of Fairmont’s roads and streets (E) the cost of collision-damage insurance in Greatport and Fairmont with that in other cities

B

28

28. The technological conservatism of bicycle manufacturers is a reflection of the kinds of demand they are trying to meet. The only cyclists seriously interested in innovation and willing to pay for it are bicycle racers. Therefore; innovation in bicycle technology is limited by what authorities will accept as standard for purposes of competition in bicycle races. Which of the following is an assumption made in drawing the conclusion above? (A) The market for cheap; traditional bicycles cannot expand unless the market for highperformance competition bicycles expands. (B) High-performance bicycles are likely to be improved more as a result of technological innovations developed in small workshops than as a result of technological innovations developed in major manufacturing concerns. (C) Bicycle racers do not generate a strong demand for innovations that fall outside what is officially recognized as standard for purposes of competition. (D) The technological conservatism of bicycle manufacturers results primarily from their desire to manufacture a product that can be sold without being altered to suit different national markets. (E) The authorities who set standards for highperformance bicycle racing do not keep informed about innovative bicycle design. The Offi cial Guide for GMAT® Review 12th Edition 494

C

29

29. Last year a record number of new manufacturing jobs were created. Will this year bring another record? Well; a new manufacturing job is created either within an existing company or by the start-up of a new company. Within existing fi rms; new jobs have been created this year at well below last year’s record pace. At the same time; there is considerable evidence that the number of new companies starting up will be no higher this year than it was last year; and surely the new companies starting up this year will create no more jobs per company than did last year’s start-ups. Clearly; it can be concluded that the number of new jobs created this year will fall short of last year’s record. In the argument given; the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles? (A) The fi rst is a prediction that; if accurate; would provide support for the main conclusion of the argument; the second is that main conclusion. (B) The fi rst is a prediction that; if accurate; would provide support for the main conclusion of the argument; the second is a conclusion drawn in order to support that main conclusion. (C) The fi rst is an objection that the argument rejects; the second is the main conclusion of the argument. (D) The fi rst is an objection that the argument rejects; the second presents a conclusion that could be drawn if that objection were allowed to stand. (E) The fi rst is a claim that has been advanced in support of a position that the argument opposes; the second is a claim advanced in support of the main conclusion of the argument.

A

30

30. Robot satellites relay important communications and identify weather patterns. Because the satellites can be repaired only in orbit; astronauts are needed to repair them. Without repairs; the satellites would eventually malfunction. Therefore; space flights carrying astronauts must continue. Which of the following; if true; would most seriously weaken the argument above? (A) Satellites falling from orbit because of malfunctions burn up in the atmosphere. (B) Although satellites are indispensable in the identification of weather patterns; weather forecasters also make some use of computer projections to identify weather patterns. (C) The government; responding to public pressure; has decided to cut the budget for space flights and put more money into social welfare programs. (D) Repair of satellites requires heavy equipment; which adds to the amount of fuel needed to lift a spaceship carrying astronauts into orbit. (E) Technical obsolescence of robot satellites makes repairing them more costly and less practical than sending new; improved satellites into orbit.

E