GMAT Critical Reasoning
Read first, identify your boundaries second, and only then reason!
Remember our discussion of subject "boundaries" in the AWA section
above? Both Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension constantly ask
test-takers to locate and respect the boundaries set by a text. In a
Critical Reasoning question, the very first boundary is the question
Memorize this - an Assumption is the unstated but necessary
logical link between an author's conclusion and evidence.
Now, let's look at a sample question:
The pharmaceutical industry argues that because new drugs will not be
developed unless heavy development costs can be recouped in later sales,
the current 20 years of protection provided by patents should be
extended in the case of newly developed drugs. However, in other
industries new-product development continues despite high development
costs, a fact that indicates that the extension is unnecessary.
Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the
pharmaceutical industry's argument against the challenge made above?
(A) No industries other than the pharmaceutical industry have asked for
an extension of the 20-year limit on patent protection.
(B) Clinical trials of new drugs, which occur after the patent is
granted and before the new drug can be marketed, often now take as long
as 10 years to complete.
(C) There are several industries in which the ratio of research and
development costs to revenues is higher than it is in the pharmaceutical
(D) An existing patent for a drug does not legally prevent
pharmaceutical companies from bringing to market alternative drugs,
provided they are sufficiently dissimilar to the patented drug.
(E) Much recent industrial innovation has occurred in products---for
example, in the computer and electronics industries---for which patent
protection is often very ineffective.
The pharmaceutical industry’s argument is best supported by an
explanation of why the patent period sufficient for other industries to
recoup their development costs is insufficient for the pharmaceutical
industry. Choice B is the best answer because it provides an
explanation: required clinical trials prevent new drugs from being sold
for much of the time they receive patent protection.
Choice A is
incorrect: the fact that the pharmaceutical industry’s request is unique
does nothing to justify that request. Choice C and E, if true, could
undermine the pharmaceutical industry’s argument, so they are incorrect.
Choice D indicates that alternative drugs might render patent protection
worthless, but that is clearly no reason to extend the protection.