GMAT Verbal Section : GMAT Sample Critical Reasoning Questions

1. Stock analyst: “We believe Company A’s stock will appreciate at 35% a year for the next 5 to 7 years. Company A just became the leader in its industry and we expect its sales to grow at 8% a year.”
Commentator: “But how can the stock’s price be expected to grow more quickly than the company’s underlying sales?”

Which of the following facts would best support the stock analyst?
1. The company’s expenses will be declining over the next 5 to 10 years.
2. The company just won a patent on a new product.
3. Company A’s stock is currently overvalued by a significant amount.
4. The 5 to 7 year time frame is too long for anyone to accurately forecast.
5. Company A’s industry peer group is expected to experience stock appreciation rates of 30% over the same time horizon.

Answer : A
2. Acme brand aspirin claims to be the best headache relief available on the market today. To prove this claim, Acme called 10 people and asked them their thoughts on headache relief products. All 10 of them stated that they unequivocally use Acme brand aspirin on a regular basis and that they believe it to be the best headache relief available on the market today.

Which of the following would most weaken this argument?
1. Acme brand aspirin is highly addictive.
2. The 10 people called were married to the company’s top 10 executives, and they were coached on what to say.
3. Most people choose to suffer silently through their headaches and take no medicines whatsoever.
4. This survey was conducted by an independent company.
5. The 10 people were selected at random.

Answer : B
3. My neighbor’s dogs bark and howl every time their owner lets them outside. My CPA told me that dogs tend to bark and howl when they see birds resting in the top branches of their favorite trees. I personally believe they bark and howl because they enjoy disrupting my meditations.

Which of the following can be inferred from the preceding passage?
1. The dogs must be abused by their owners.
2. The dogs’ owners do not care how they are viewed by their neighbors.
3. There are many pedestrians who walk by this neighbor’s house, and the dogs are starving for attention.
4. The dogs enjoy being outside.
5. The dogs will bark and howl at 3 a.m. if they are outside at that time.

Answer : D
4. Most citizens are very conscientious about observing a law when they can see the reason behind it. For instance, there has been very little need to actively enforce the recently-implemented law that increased the penalty for motorists caught leaving a gas station without paying for gas they had pumped into their vehicles. This is because citizens are very conscientious of the high cost of gasoline and they know that stealing gas will only further increase the price of gasoline for everyone.

Which of the following statements would the author of this passage be most likely to believe?
1. The increased penalty alone is a significant motivation for most citizens to obey the law.
2. There are still too many inconsiderate citizens in the local community.
3. High gasoline prices can be brought down if everyone does his or her part and pays for the gasoline they use at the pumps.
4. Society should make an effort to teach citizens the reasons for its laws. People would be more likely to speed on a stretch of deserted highway than to not pay for gasoline.

Answer : D
5. Nearly one in three subscribers to Financial Forecaster is a millionaire, and over half are in top management.
Shouldn’t you subscribe to Financial Forecaster now?

A reader who is neither a millionaire nor in top management would be most likely to act in accordance with the advertisement’s suggestion if he or she drew which of the following questionable conclusions invited by the advertisement?
1. Among finance-related periodicals. Financial Forecaster provides the most detailed financial information.
2. Top managers cannot do their jobs properly without reading Financial Forecaster.
3. The advertisement is placed where those who will be likely to read it are millionaires.
4. The subscribers mentioned were helped to become millionaires or join top management by reading Financial Forecaster.
5. Only those who will in fact become millionaires, or at least top managers, will read the advertisement.

Answer : D
Questions 21-22 are based on the following.

Contrary to the charges made by some of its opponents, the provisions of the new deficit-reduction law for indiscriminate cuts in the federal budget are justified. Opponents should remember that the New Deal pulled this country out of great economic troubles even though some of its programs were later found to be unconstitutional.

1. The author’s method of attacking the charges of certain opponents of the new deficit-reduction law is to
1. attack the character of the opponents rather than their claim
2. imply an analogy between the law and some New Deal programs
3. point out that the opponents’ claims imply a dilemma
4. show that the opponents’ reasoning leads to an absurd conclusion
5. show that the New Deal also called for indiscriminate cuts in the federal budget

Answer : B
2. The opponents could effectively defend their position against the author’s strategy by pointing out that
1. the expertise of those opposing the law is outstanding
2. the lack of justification for the new law does not imply that those who drew it up were either inept or immoral
3. the practical application of the new law will not entail indiscriminate budget cuts
4. economic troubles present at the time of the New Deal were equal in severity to those that have led to the present law
5. the fact that certain flawed programs or laws have improved the economy does not prove that every such program can do so

Answer : E
3. In Millington, a city of 50,000 people, Mercedes Pedrosa, a realtor, calculated that a family with Millington’s median family income, $28,000 a year, could afford to buy Millington’s median-priced $77,000 house. This calculation was based on an 11.2 percent mortgage interest rate and on the realtor’s assumption that a family could only afford to pay up to 25 percent of its income for housing.

Which of the following corrections of a figure appearing in the passage above, if it were the only correction that needed to be made, would yield a new calculation showing that even incomes below the median family income would enable families in Millington to afford Millington’s median-priced house?
1. Millington’s total population was 45,000 people.
2. Millington’s median annual family income was $27,000
3. Millington’s median-priced house cost $80,000
4. The rate at which people in Millington had to pay mortgage interest was only 10 percent.
5. Families in Millington could only afford to pay up to 22 percent of their annual income for housing

Answer : D
4. Psychological research indicates that college hockey and football players are more quickly moved to hostility and aggression than are college athletes in noncontact sports such as swimming. But the researchers’ conclusion-that contact sports encourage and teach participants to be hostile and aggressive-is untenable. The football and hockey players were probably more hostile and aggressive to start with than the swimmers.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the conclusion drawn by the psychological researchers?
1. The football and hockey players became more hostile and aggressive during the season and remained so during the off-season, whereas there was no increase in aggressiveness among the swimmers.
2. The football and hockey players, but not the swimmers, were aware at the start of the experiment that they were being tested for aggressiveness.
3. The same psychological research indicated that the football and hockey players had a great respect for cooperation and team play, whereas the swimmers were most concerned with excelling as individual competitors.
4. The research studies were designed to include no college athletes who participated in both contact and noncontact sports.
5. Throughout the United States, more incidents of fan violence occur at baseball games than occur at hockey or football games.

Answer : A
5. Ross: The profitability of Company X, restored to private ownership five years ago, is clear evidence that businesses will always fare better under private than under public ownership.
Julia: Wrong. A close look at the records shows that X has been profitable since the appointment of a first-class manager, which happened while X was still in the pubic sector.

Which of the following best describes the weak point in Ross’s claim on which Julia’s response focuses?
1. The evidence Ross cites comes from only a single observed case, that of Company X.
2. The profitability of Company X might be only temporary.
3. Ross’s statement leaves open the possibility that the cause he cites came after the effect he attributes to it.
4. No mention is made of companies that are partly government owned and partly privately owned.
5. No exact figures are given for the current profits of Company X.

Answer : C
1. Stronger patent laws are needed to protect inventions from being pirated. With that protection, manufacturers would be encouraged to invest in the development of new products and technologies. Such investment frequently results in an increase in a manufacturer’s productivity.

Which of the following conclusions can most properly be drawn from the information above?
1. Stronger patent laws tend to benefit financial institutions as well as manufacturers.
2. Increased productivity in manufacturing is likely to be accompanied by the creation of more manufacturing jobs.
3. Manufacturers will decrease investment in the development of new products and technologies unless there are stronger patent laws.
4. The weakness of current patent laws has been a cause of economic recession.
5. Stronger patent laws would stimulate improvements in productivity for many manufacturers.

Answer : E
2. Which of the following best completes the passage below?

At large amusement parks, live shows are used very deliberately to influence crowd movements. Lunchtime performances relieve the pressure on a park’s restaurants. Evening performances have a rather different purpose: to encourage visitors to stay for supper. Behind this surface divergence in immediate purpose there is the unified underlying goal of
1. keeping the lines at the various rides short by drawing off part of the crowd
2. enhancing revenue by attracting people who come only for the live shows and then leave the park
3. avoiding as far as possible traffic jams caused by visitors entering or leaving the park
4. encouraging as many people as possible to come to the park in order to eat at the restaurants
5. utilizing the restaurants at optimal levels for as much of the day as possible

Answer : E
* James weighs more than Kelly.
* Luis weighs more than Mark.
* Mark weighs less than Ned.
* Kelly and Ned are exactly the same weight.

If the information above is true, which of the following must also be true?
1. Luis weighs more than Ned.
2. Luis weighs more than James.
3. Kelly weighs less than Luis
4. James weighs more than Mark
5. Kelly weighs less than Mark.

Answer : D

Questions 29-30 are based on the following.

Partly because of bad weather, but also partly because some major pepper growers have switched to high-priced cocoa, world production of pepper has been running well below worldwide sales for three years. Pepper is consequently in relatively short supply. The price of pepper has soared in response: it now equals that of cocoa.
4. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
1. Pepper is a profitable crop only if it is grown on a large scale.
2. World consumption of pepper has been unusually high for three years.
3. World production of pepper will return to previous levels once normal weather returns
4. Surplus stocks of pepper have been reduced in the past three years.
5. The profits that the growers of pepper have made in the past three years have been unprecedented.

Answer : D
5. Some observers have concluded that the rise in the price of pepper means that the switch by some growers from pepper to cocoa left those growers no better off than if none of them had switched; this conclusion, however, is unwarranted because it can be inferred to be likely that
1. those growers could not have foreseen how high the price of pepper would go
2. the initial cost involved in switching from pepper to cocoa is substantial
3. supplies of pepper would not be as low as they are if those growers had not switched crops
4. cocoa crops are as susceptible to being reduced by bad weather as are pepper crops
5. as more growers turn to growing cocoa, cocoa supplies will increase and the price of cocoa will fall precipitously.

Answer : C

1. Using computer techniques, researchers analyze layers of paint that lie buried beneath the surface layers of old paintings. They claim, for example, that additional mountainous scenery once appeared in Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which was later painted over. Skeptics reply to these claims, however, that X-ray examinations of the Mona Lisa do not show hidden mountains.

Which of the following, if true, would tend most to weaken the force of the skeptics’ objections?
1. There is no written or anecdotal record that Leonardo da Vinci ever painted over major areas of his Mona Lisa.
2. Painters of da Vinci’s time commonly created images of mountainous scenery in the backgrounds of portraits like the Mona Lisa
3. No one knows for certain what parts of the Mona Lisa may have been painted by da Vinci’s assistants rather than by da Vinci himself.
4. Infrared photography of the Mona Lisa has revealed no trace of hidden mountainous scenery.
5. Analysis relying on X-rays only has the capacity to detect lead-based white pigments in layers of paint beneath a painting’s surface layers.

Answer : E
2. While Governor Verdant has been in office, the state’s budget has increased by an average of 6 percent each year. While the previous governor was in office, the state’s budget increased by an average of 11.5 percent each year. Obviously, the austere budgets during Governor Verdant’s term have caused the slowdown in the growth in state spending.

Which of the following, if true, would most seriously weaken the conclusion drawn above?
1. The rate of inflation in the state averaged 10 percent each year during the previous governor’s term in office and 3 percent each year during Verdant’s term.
2. Both federal and state income tax rates have been lowered considerably during Verdant’s term in office.
3. In each year of Verdant’s term in office, the state’s budget has shown some increase in spending over the previous year.
4. During Verdant’s term in office, the state has either discontinued or begun to charge private citizens for numerous services that the state offered free to citizens during the previous governor’s term.
5. During the previous governor’s term in office, the state introduced several so-called “austerity” budgets intended to reduce the growth in state spending.

Answer : A
3. Technological education is worsening. People between eighteen and twenty-four, who are just emerging from their formal education, are more likely to be technologically illiterate than somewhat older adults. And yet, issues for public referenda will increasingly involve aspects of technology.

Which of the following conclusions can be properly drawn from the statements above?
1. If all young people are to make informed decisions on public referenda, many of them must learn more about technology.
2. Thorough studies of technological issues and innovations should be made a required part of the public and private school curriculum.
3. It should be suggested that prospective voters attend applied science courses in order to acquire a minimal competency in technical matters.
4. If young people are not to be overly influenced by famous technocrats, they must increase their knowledge of pure science.
5. On public referenda issues, young people tend to confuse real or probable technologies with impossible ideals.

Answer : A
4. In a political system with only two major parties, the entrance of a third-party candidate into an election race damages the chances of only one of the two major candidates. The third-party candidate always attracts some of the voters who might otherwise have voted for one of the two major candidates, but not voters who support the other candidate. Since a third-party candidacy affects the two major candidates unequally, for reasons neither of them has any control over, the practice is unfair and should not be allowed.

If the factual information in the passage above is true, which of the following can be most reliably inferred from it?
1. If the political platform of the third party is a compromise position between that of the two major parties, the third party will draw its voters equally from the two major parties.
2. If, before the emergence of a third party, voters were divided equally between the two major parties, neither of the major parties is likely to capture much more than one-half of the vote.
3. A third-party candidate will not capture the votes of new voters who have never voted for candidates of either of the two major parties.
4. The political stance of a third party will be more radical than that of either of the two major parties.
5. The founders of a third party are likely to be a coalition consisting of former leaders of the two major parties.

Answer : B
5. Companies considering new cost-cutting manufacturing processes often compare the projected results of making the investment against the alternative of not making the investment with costs, selling prices, and share of market remaining constant.

Which of the following, assuming that each is a realistic possibility, constitutes the most serious disadvantage for companies of using the method above for evaluating the financial benefit of new manufacturing processes?
1. The costs of materials required by the new process might not be known with certainty.
2. In several years interest rates might go down, reducing the interest costs of borrowing money to pay for the investment.
3. Some cost-cutting processes might require such expensive investments that there would be no net gain for many years, until the investment was paid for by savings in the manufacturing process.
4. Competitors that do invest in a new process might reduce their selling prices and thus take market share away from companies that do not.
5. The period of year chosen for averaging out the cost of the investment might be somewhat longer or shorter, thus affecting the result.

Answer : D

1. There are far fewer children available for adoption than there are people who want to adopt. Two million couples are currently waiting to adopt, but in 1982, the last year for which figures exist, there were only some 50,000 adoptions.

Which of the following statements, if true, most strengthens the author’s claim that there are far fewer children available for adoption than there are people who want to adopt?
1. The number of couples waiting to adopt has increased significantly in the last decade.
2. The number of adoptions in the current year is greater than the number of adoptions in any preceding year.
3. The number of adoptions in a year is approximately equal to the number of children available for adoption in that period.
4. People who seek to adopt children often go through a long process of interviews and investigation by adoption agencies.
5. People who seek to adopt children generally make very good parents.

Answer : C

Questions 37-38 are based on the following

Archaeologists seeking the location of a legendary siege and destruction of a city are excavating in several possible places, including a middle and a lower layer of a large mound. The bottom of the middle layer contains some pieces of pottery of type 3, known to be from a later period than the time of the destruction of the city, but the lower layer does not.
2. Which of the following hypotheses is best supported by the evidence above?
1. The lower layer contains the remains of the city where the siege took place.
2. The legend confuses stories from two different historical periods.
3. The middle layer does not represent the period of the siege.
4. The siege lasted for a long time before the city was destroyed.
5. The pottery of type 3 was imported to the city by traders.

Answer : C
3. The force of the evidence cited above is most seriously weakened if which of the following is true?
1. Gerbils, small animals long native to the area, dig large burrows into which objects can fall when the burrows collapse.
2. Pottery of types 1 and 2, found in the lower level, was used in the cities from which, according to the legend, the besieging forces came.
3. Several pieces of stone from a lower-layer wall have been found incorporated into the remains of a building in the middle layer.
4. Both the middle and the lower layer show evidence of large-scale destruction of habitations by fire.
5. Bronze axheads of a type used at the time of the siege were found in the lower level of excavation.

Answer : A
4. After the national speed limit of 55 miles per hour was imposed in 1974, the number of deaths per mile driven on a highway fell abruptly as a result. Since then, however, the average speed of vehicles on highways has risen, but the number of deaths per mile driven on a highway has continued to fall.

Which of the following conclusions can be properly drawn from the statements above?
1. The speed limit alone is probably not responsible for the continued reduction in highway deaths in the years after 1974.
2. People have been driving less since 1974.
3. Driver-education courses have been more effective since 1974 in teaching drivers to drive safely.
4. In recent years highway patrols have been less effective in catching drivers who speed.
5. The change in the speed limit cannot be responsible for the abrupt decline in highway deaths in 1974.

Answer : A
5. Neighboring landholders: Air pollution from the giant aluminum refinery that has been built next to our land is killing our plants.
Company spokesperson: The refinery is not to blame, since our study shows that the damage is due to insects and fungi.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the conclusion drawn by the company spokesperson?
1. The study did not measure the quantity of pollutants emitted into the surrounding air by the aluminum refinery.
2. The neighboring landholders have made no change in the way they take care of their plants.
3. Air pollution from the refinery has changed the chemical balance in the plants’ environment, allowing the harmful insects and fungi to thrive.
4. Pollutants that are invisible and odorless are emitted into the surrounding air by the refinery.
5. The various species of insects and fungi mentioned in the study have been occasionally found in the locality during the past hundred years.

Answer : B

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