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Answers to Sample GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions

1. If the safest airline seats are now among the lightest, as choice E says, then buying them could be part of a strategy of minimizing fuel costs, rather than indicating a shift away from that goal. Choice E, therefore, is the best choice.
Choice A merely confirms that seat safety has improved, and thus does not weaken the argument. Many policy shifts take place without being publicly announced, so choice B does not weaken the argument. Choice C indicates that minimizing fuel costs remains a priority, but it is neutral on whether safety has become more important, so C is incorrect. Choice D does not distinguish between safe and unsafe seats, and is thus also incorrect.

2.
The passage asserts that skill at forging signatures is not by itself sufficient to match all of the characteristics that the software analyzes to identify signatures. Because the software gives access only after identifying a signature, access cannot be achieved by someone employing forging skill alone. Choice C is thus the best answer.
The passage gives no information about how fast the software operates or about how long the software was under development, so neither A nor D can be concluded. Choice B is incorrect since the software might have features not mentioned in the passage that make it unattractive to banks. The passages give no reason to think that errors of the sort that choice E describes, even if made, would be numerous.

3.
The general manager’s objection is based on avoiding training costs altogether. But if, as choice C says, hiring experienced users of Microton computers is significantly more costly than hiring otherwise qualified people who would have to be trained to use Vitech computers, the force of the objection is weakened. Choice C, therefore, is the best answer.
Choices A, B, and D are all incorrect; none of them provides information relevant to an evaluation of Microton computers as compared with Vitech computers. Choice E argues independently against replacing Microton computers with Vitech and thus is also incorrect.

4.
The manufacturers’ conclusion would be weakened if it could be argued that, in the opinion of customers, safety considerations favor the earlier model. Choice B supports such an argument and is the best answer.
The groups mentioned in choice A would both expected to consider safety important, so their failing to buy the new model would be striking, without casting doubt on the conclusion; thus, choice A is incorrect. Choice C might support the conclusion, because customers bought other engine support the conclusion, because customers bought other engine models that might not include the newer safety features. Choice D and E suggest that usability and price, respectively, were not the customers’ primary consideration in favoring the earlier model, but neither choice weakens the conclusion that safety was not their primary consideration.

5.
Between 1985 and 1988, nursing home occupancy rates rose although admission rates declined. Choice A receives support from these facts since it would be a basis fro an adequate account of how they arose. Because it is the only choice that receives support, A is therefore the best answer.
Without information about the population of older people, nothing can be concluded about percentages in nursing homes; thus, choice B is incorrect. Since there is nothing to indicate whether the development that took place between 1985 and 1988 was an unusual development or a common one, choice C receives no support. No information about numbers of beds is provided, so neither choice D nor choice E is correct.

6.
According to choice D, many firms with PRP contracts also have modernized equipment. Since the cause of their improved productivity might be the modernized equipment, not the PRP contracts, this weakens the argument, so D is the best answer.
Choice A does not weaken the argument: it is merely more evidence of the sort already being used. Choice B is incorrect because it is a natural consequence of increased worker productivity if other costs remain stable. Choice C is incorrect because it explains why introducing PRP contracts is difficult, but says nothing about the results of doing so. Choice E is incorrect because it is not implausible that workers’ pay should roughly correspond to their productivity.

7.
The argument, in predicting a drop in the price of corn futures, relies on news suggesting a good-sized corn crop. This prediction is undermined if there is, at the same time, news suggesting a small crop. Choice D presents such news and is therefore the best answer.
Choice A provides background information describing a stage at which rains are essential, and choice C makes rain over the entire corn-growing area seem more certain. Both are fully compatible with the argument and do nothing to weaken it. Past price changes (choice B) and details of who handles harvested corn (choice E) cannot affect the eventual size of this year’s corn crop, so neither is relevant to the argument.

8.
The question to be resolved is why the mandated wage increase, which increased operating costs, was accompanied by an increase in profits. By showing how the wage increase might have led to an increase in the retailer’s sales, choice B helps resolve this question, and thus is the best answer.
Choices A and E are incorrect, since they suggest that the wages that rose as a result of the mandated increase constituted a significant proportion of the retailer’s expenditures, which if anything adds to the seeming paradox. Choices C and D also contribute to the paradox, since they indicate that along with increases in the minimum wage there were increases in the retailer’s operating costs; so choices C and D are also incorrect.

9.
If the government’s program of support payments to cotton farmers succeeded in raising revenue for the government that would, in the absence of the program, not be raised, this could explain why the program will not be a net burden on the budget. Choice A suggests that the program would raise revenue: by raising the price of cotton, the direct support payments will boost cotton framers’ profits and thereby increase the tax revenues the government receives from cotton farmers. Therefore, A is the best answer.
None of the other choices provides a source of revenue to the government or suggests that savings would be realized in a governmental expense category, so choices B, C, D, and E are all incorrect.

10.
The passage explains that the primary way hospitals have covered the cost of unreimbursed care in the past is no longer available to them. It follows that they have three options: finding a new way to cover that cost, reducing it by giving less unreimbused care, or suffering a loss. This is essentially what choice B concludes, so B is the best answer.
The passage touches neither on kinds of medical procedures administered in hospitals (choice A) nor on revenue other than that received from patients or their insurers (choice E), so neither choice is correct. The passage gives no hint of who the paying patients are how do not rely on insurance, so choice C is unsupported. Concerning choice D, the passage actually suggests that it is false.

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