Test Your Critical Reasoning – Solutions
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1. A is the best answer. If applicants who are in fact dishonest claimed, to be honest, the survey results would show a smaller proportion of dishonest applicants than actually exists. Therefore, this choice is the best answer. B is inappropriate because generally honest applicants who claimed to be dishonest could contribute to the overestimation, but not to the underestimation, of dishonest applicants. D is inappropriate because applicants who admitted their dishonesty would not contribute to an underestimation of the proportion of dishonest applicants.C and E are inappropriate because the argument is concerned neither with degrees of dishonesty nor with the honesty of non-applicants.
2. C is the best answer. This choice suggests that a significant proportion of Hawaii’s population is genetically predisposed to be long-lived. Since Louisianans are not necessarily so predisposed, and since the Louisianans’ children will acquire their genetic characteristics from their parents, not from their birthplace, this choice presents a reason to doubt that Hawaiian born children of native Louisianans will have an increased life expectancy. Therefore, this choice is the best answer. Because the conclusion concerns people born in Hawaii, not the average Louisianan, A does not weaken the conclusion. Because the governor’s allegation is false, it cannot affect the conclusion. D fails to weaken the conclusion because it is consistent with the information given and the conclusion about life expectancy. By suggesting that Hawaii’s environment is in one respect particularly healthy, E supports the conclusion.
3. If B is true, the greater abundance of longevity-promoting environmental factors it mentions is probably at least partly responsible for the higher life expectancy in Hawaii. Children born in Hawaii benefit from these factors from birth, and thus Louisianans who have children in Hawaii increase their children’s chances of living longer. Therefore, B is the best answer. If life expectancy in Hawaii is likely to be falling, as A says, the argument is weakened rather than strengthened. C and E, in the absence of other relevant information, have no bearing on the conclusion; thus, they are inappropriate. D is irrelevant because the information it mentions about rates would already have been incorporated into the statistics cited in the passage.
4. Insurance companies can improve the ratio of revenues to claims paid, thus minimizing losses, if they insure as many people belonging to low-risk groups as they can. Because the strategy described in A adds a low-risk group to the pool of policyholders, this choice is the best answer. B is irrelevant since no link is established between childhood diseases and diseases affecting the elderly. C is inappropriate, since increasing the number of services covered is unlikely to minimize losses. D is inappropriate since it would increase the likelihood that claims against the policy will be made. Because policyholders will file claims against the policy for services covered rather than pay for the cost of the services themselves, E is irrelevant.
5. The passage recommends that parents participate in a tuition prepayment program as a means of decreasing the cost of their children’s future college education. If B is true, placing the funds in an interest-bearing account would be more cost-effective than participating in the prepayment program. Therefore, B would be a reason for NOT participating and is the best answer. A is not clearly relevant to deciding whether to participate since the program applies to whatever public college the child might attend. C and D, by stating that tuition will increase, provide support for participating in the program. E is not clearly relevant to deciding whether to participate since the expenses mentioned fall outside the scope of the program.
6. Restricting use of the coupons to the immediate families of those awarded them, as B suggests, would make the coupons valueless for anyone else, so that marketing the coupons would no longer be possible. The coupons, however, would still allow the people to whom Bravo gives them to enjoy free travel. Thus, awarding coupons would remain a strong incentive to frequent travel on Bravo. Therefore, B is the best answer. A would do nothing to reduce the resale value of the coupons. C, D and E all not only fail to prevent Alpha’s coupon sales from competing with Bravo’s own ticket sales, but also potentially reduce the usefulness of the coupons to the people to whom they are awarded.
7. The speed with which the ice on the windshield melted is attributed to the air blowing full force from the defrosting vent onto the front windshield. This explanation of B is undermined if, as B states, no attempt was made to defrost the back window and the ice on the back window melted as quickly as did the ice on the windshield. Therefore, B is the best answer. In the absence of other information, the lack of ice condensation on the side windows that is mentioned in A is irrelevant to the validity of the explanation. C might support the explanation since the air from the defrosting vent was warm. Neither of D and E gives a reason to doubt that air from the vent caused the ice’s melting, and thus neither jeopardizes the explanation’s validity.
8. The official argues that prohibiting high-level government officials from accepting positions as lobbyists for three years would prevent the officials from earning a livelihood for that period. The reasoning tacitly excludes the possibility of such officials earning a living through work other than lobbying. Therefore, D, which expresses this tacit assumption, is the best answer. The official’s argument does not depend on the assumption in A, since the argument would not be invalidated if some restrictions on the behavior of government officials were desirable. The official’s argument does not depend on the assumption in B, since the argument would not be invalidated if lobbyists were not typically former high-level government officials. The official’s argument does not depend on the assumption in C, since the argument would not be invalidated if former low-level government officials did often become lobbyists. The official’s argument does not depend on the assumption in E, since the argument would not be invalidated if former high-level government officials could act as lobbyists indefinitely.
9. The group’s contention suggests that animals that are shy and active at night are feared and persecute for that reason. D establishes that raccoons and owls are shy and active at night, but that they are neither feared nor persecuted. Therefore, D is the best answer. Although an increasing prevalence of bats might explain the importance of addressing people’s fear of bats, A does not address the original causes of that fear. B and E, while relevant to the
rationality of people’s fear of bats, do not affect the assessment of the accuracy of the group’s contention. That bats are feared outside the United States, as C states, does not conflict with the group’s explanation for fear of bats in the United States.
10. If the defense system designers did not plan for the contingency of large meteorite explosions, such explosions would, from the system’s perspective, be unexpected. The system’s response to such explosions is consequently unpredictable. E expresses this inference and is thus the best answer. A cannot be inferred since it is consistent with the stated information that no meteorite explosion will occur within a century. B cannot be inferred since there is no information to suggest that meteorite explosions in the atmosphere would destroy the system. C cannot be inferred since it is consistent with the stated information that an appropriately designed nuclear defense system might be able to distinguish nuclear from meteorite explosions. D cannot be inferred since there is no information to suggest that the location of blasts would determine the appropriateness of defense system’s response.
11. The supposition in c involves reducing by one the number of restrictions on the advertising of legal services. Any such reduction will, if the stated correlation exists, be accompanied by an increase in the number of lawyers advertising their services, as C predicts. Therefore, C is the best answer. A does not follow from the stated information since it is still possible that no lawyers would raise their fees. B does not follow from the stated information since it is still possible that there would be no increase in the number of consumers using legal services. D does not follow the stated information since it is still possible that none of the lawyers who do not advertise would decide to lower their prices. E does not follow the stated information since it is still possible that few lawyers would advertise their legal services.
12. If E is true, the lawyers who begin advertising when the restriction is removed might all be among those who do not lower their fees on beginning to advertise, in which case no decrease in consumer legal costs will occur. Therefore, E weakens the argument and is the best answer. Since A does not relate the recent removal of restrictions to changes in consumer legal costs, it alone does not weaken the argument. Since the argument is unconcerned with whatever restrictions remain in effect but focuses only on those that will be removed, B does not weaken the argument. C and D are irrelevant to an evaluation of the argument, which is concerned with cost considerations, not with the quality of legal services or the content of lawyers’ advertisements.
13. Since the size of the machine-tool manufacturing base presumably has implications in area beyond national security, one might find it surprising that the industry raised the security issue in its petition. C, the best answer, explains that the industry turned to this issue because others tended to be ineffective in efforts to obtain governmental protection. A explains why the industry might NOT raise the security issue, since it suggests that it might have raised the issue of jobs instead. B explains why the industry might NOT raise the security issue about import quotas, since it suggests that the Defense Department had no interest in import quotas whatsoever. Neither of D and E is relevant to the industry’s choice of strategy for securing import quotas.
14. The principle that people are entitled to risk injury provided they do not thereby harm others fails to justify the individual’s right to decide not to wear seat belts if it can be shown, as B shows, that that decision does harm others. Therefore, B is the best answer. A suggests that the law may be irrelevant in some cases, but it does not address the issue of the law’s legitimacy. C cites a requirement analogous to the one at issue, but its existence alone does not bear on the legitimacy of the one at issue. The argument implicitly concedes that individuals take risks by not wearing seat belts; therefore, D and E, which simply confirm this concession, do not weaken the conclusion.
15. If the tariff on importing radios from Country Q to Country Y were as high as ten percent or more of the cost of producing radios in Y, then, contrary to what the passage says, the cost of importing radios from Q to Y would be equal to or more than the cost of producing radios in Y. thus, the tariff cannot be that high, and C is the best answer. A and E give possible partial explanations for the cost difference, but neither is supported by the passage because the cost
advantage in Q might be attributable to other factors. B and D are both consistent with the information in the passage, but the passage provides no evidence to support them.
16. Concluding from the similar numbers of deaths in two groups that the relative danger of death was similar for both groups is absurd if, as here, one group was far smaller. D exposes this absurdity by pointing out the need to compare death rates of the two groups, which would reveal the higher death rate for the smaller group. Therefore, D is the best answer. Since the conclusion acknowledges the difference between the number of civilian and armed forces deaths, expressing this difference as a percentage, as suggested by B, is beside the point. A is inappropriate because it simply adds a third group to the two being compared. Because the cause of death in not at issue, C and E are irrelevant.
17. The passage rejects one explanation of the shortage of teachers-that it results from toughened hiring standards-and advances an alternative-that it results from deficiencies in pay and wording conditions. D provides corroborative evidence for the latter explanation by suggesting that, for many former teachers, poor pay and working conditions were reasons for their quitting the profession. Therefore, D is the best answer. A, C and E provide evidence that tends to implicate new hiring standards in the staffing shortage, and thus support the explanation that the passage rejects. B describes what may be a result of the new hiring standards, but it provides no evidence favoring one explanation of the staffing shortage over the other.
18. The home builder reasons from evidence about most residential fires to a conclusion about the effectiveness of sprinklers in preventing property damage. But this reasoning is faulty because of the possibility that most of the property damage results from the minority of fires excluded from the builder’s evidence. That possibility is realized if E is true. Thus, E is the best answer. Because the builder’s argument concerns neither the cost of installing sprinklers not a comparison with fire department performance in other locations, C and D are irrelevant. The evidence the home builder cites suggests that formal training is not needed in order to extinguish fires. So A is not the correct answer. B supports the builder’s view that requiring sprinklers would have a limited effect.
19. The passage concludes that, where royalty retention of faculty members’ works is concerned, software should be treated as books and articles are, not as inventions are. The conclusion requires an additional premise establishing that software is, in relevant respects, more comparable to books and articles than to inventions. E provides this kind of premise and is therefore the best answer. A, B,C and D each describe some difference between software and inventions, or between inventions and books and articles, or between software and books and articles. However, none establishes the required relationship among inventions, software, and books and articles.
20. If increased HDL levels cause reduced cholesterol levels and if a certain program increases HDL levels in some individuals, it follows that some individuals who undertake that program achieve reduced cholesterol levels. D is thus correctly inferable and the best answer. A cannot be correctly inferred because the statements do not establish any connection between being underweight and levels of cholesterol. Neither of B and E is inferable, since there is no indication that exercise alone is either necessary or sufficient to increase HDL levels or to decrease cholesterol levels. C is inappropriate because other methods of cholesterol reduction are not addressed.
21. On the basis of an observed correlation between arms testing and people’s tendency to save money, the argument concludes that there is a causal connection between a perception of threat and the tendency not to save. That connection cannot be made unless C, linking the perception of threat to the amount of testing being done, is assumed to be true. Therefore, C is the best answer. The conclusion does not depend on there having been an increase in the perceived threat over time or on how many people supported the development of nuclear arms. Hence, neither of A and B is assumed. The argument does not deal with those who supported arms limitations or with the availability of consumer goods. Thus, D and E are not assumed.
22. The incomplete passage calls for an explanation of why price-reduction and mass-marketing methods should not be used for premium products. B, which states that sales of these products require that they appear specials, provides such an explanation. Therefore, B is the best answer. No other choice offers an appropriate explanation. The diminishing proportion of affluent buyers cited in A argues for using price reductions to attract buyers of lesser means. C suggests that purchasers of premium products find reduced prices attractive, and it has not been established that the methods affect quality or perception of quality. D argues for, rather than against, using mass marketing. E is inappropriate, since there is no indication that manufacturing costs are relevant.
23. The plan proposes that high-speed ground transportation would be a less expensive solution to airport congestion than would airport expansion. B indicates that between the cities to be served by the plan there is substantial air travel to which ground transportation would represent an alternative. Therefore, B is the best answer. No other choice could be cited appropriately. A and D both provide some evidence against the plan. A by emphasizing the likely costs of providing high-speed ground transportation is not by itself a solution to airport congestion. D by indicating that such an alternative is not by itself a solution to airport congestion. C and E say that there are many travelers for whom the proposed system would actually provide no alternative.
24. If the statement about oil-supply disruption is true, domestic oil prices in an open-market country will rise when an oil-supply disruption causes increased international oil prices. A reduction in the amount of oil an open-market country consumes could reduce the economic impact of these increases. D gives a way to reduce oil consumption and is thus the best answer. A and E describe policies that could actually increase the long-term impact of increases in international oil prices, so neither of these choices is appropriate. No relationship is established between the economic impact and either the number of oil tankers or diplomatic relations in B and C, so neither of these choices is appropriate.
25. If the oil market in an open-market country were independent, fluctuations in international oil prices would not affect domestic oil prices. However, if the statement about oil-supply disruption is true, it is evidence that domestic oil prices are dependent on the international market and hence that the domestic oil market is a part of the international oil market. Therefore, C is the best answer. B and D are not supported, since each contradicts the claim that an international oil-supply disruption will lead to rising oil prices in an open-market nation. Nor are A and E supported, since the statement provides information only about the effect of disruption on oil prices, not domestic producers or distributors.
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