GMAT Practice Exam: GMAT Test Questions
Directions: The questions in this section are based on the reasoning
contained in brief statements or passages. For some
questions, more than one of the choices could conceivably answer the
question. However, you are to choose the best answer; that
is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the
question. You should not make assumptions that are by
commonsense standards implausible, superfluous, or incompatible with the
passage. After you have chosen the best answer,
blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.
1. Studies have shown that treating certain illnesses with
treatment X produces the same beneficial changes in
patients' conditions as treating the same illnesses with
treatment Y. Furthermore, treatment X is quicker and
less expensive than treatment Y. Thus, in treating
these illnesses, treatment X should be preferred to
Which one of the following, if true, would most
weaken the argument above?
(A) Unlike treatment Y, treatment X has produced
harmful side effects in laboratory animals.
(B) There are other illnesses for which treatment Y
is more effective than treatment X.
(C) Until recently, treatment X was more expensive
than treatment Y.
(D) Treatment Y is prescribed more often by
physicians than treatment X.
(E) A third treatment, treatment Z, is even quicker
and less expensive than treatment X.
2. Some political thinkers hope to devise a form of
government in which every citizen's rights are
respected. But such a form of government is
impossible. For any government must be defined and
controlled by laws that determine its powers and limits;
and it is inevitable that some individuals will learn how
to interpret these laws to gain a greater share of
political power than others have.
Which one of the following is an assumption required
by the argument?
(A) In any form of government that leads to unequal
distribution of political power, the rights of the
majority of people will be violated.
(B) A government can ensure that every citizen's
rights are respected by keeping the citizens
ignorant of the laws.
(C) Not all the laws that define a government's
power and limits can be misinterpreted.
(D) In any form of government, if anybody gains a
greater share of political power than others
have, then somebody's rights will be violated.
(E) People who have more political power than
others have tend to use it to acquire an even
greater share of political power.
3. Safety considerations aside, nuclear power plants are
not economically feasible. While the cost of fuel for
nuclear plants is significantly lower than the cost of
conventional fuels, such as coal and oil, nuclear plants
are far more expensive to build than are conventional
Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens
(A) Safety regulations can increase the costs of
running both conventional and nuclear power
(B) Conventional power plants spend more time out
of service than do nuclear power plants.
(C) The average life expectancy of a nuclear power
plant is shorter than that of a conventional one.
(D) Nuclear power plants cost less to build today
than they cost to build when their technology
was newly developed.
(E) As conventional fuels become scarcer their cost
will increase dramatically, which will increase
the cost of running a conventional power plant.
4. Pundit: The average salary for teachers in our society is
lower than the average salary for athletes.
Obviously, our society values sports more than it
The reasoning in the pundit's argument is questionable
because the argument
(A) presumes, without providing justification, that
sports have some educational value
(B) fails to consider that the total amount of money
spent on education may be much greater than
the total spent on sports
(C) fails to consider both that most teachers are not
in the classroom during the summer and that
most professional athletes do not play all year
(D) compares teachers' salaries only to those of
professional athletes rather than also to the
salaries of other professionals
(E) fails to compare salaries for teachers in the
pundit's society to salaries for teachers in other
5. The area of mathematics called "gauge field theory,"
though investigated in the nineteenth century, has only
relatively recently been applied to problems in
contemporary quantum mechanics. Differential
geometry, another area of mathematics, was
investigated by Gauss in the early nineteenth century,
long before Einstein determined that one of its
offspring, tensor analysis, was the appropriate
mathematics for exploring general relativity.
Which one of the following is best illustrated by the
examples presented above?
(A) Applications of some new theories or techniques
in mathematics are unrecognized until long
after the discovery of those theories or
(B) Mathematicians are sometimes able to anticipate
which branches of their subject will prove
useful to future scientists.
(C) The discoveries of modern physics would not
have been possible without major mathematical
advances made in the nineteenth century.
(D) The nineteenth century stands out among other
times as a period of great mathematical
(E) Mathematics tends to advance more quickly
than any of the physical sciences.
6. Recently discovered bird fossils are about 20 million
years older than the fossils of the birdlike dinosaurs
from which the birds are generally claimed to have
descended. So these newly discovered fossils show,
contrary to the account espoused by most
paleontologists, that no bird descended from any
The reasoning in the argument is flawed in that the
(A) draws a generalization that is broader than is
warranted by the findings cited
(B) rejects the consensus view of experts in the field
without providing any counterevidence
(C) attacks the adherents of the opposing view
personally instead of addressing any reason for
(D) fails to consider the possibility that dinosaurs
descended from birds
(E) ignores the possibility that dinosaurs and birds
descended from a common ancestor
7. Whether one is buying men's or women's clothing, it
pays to consider fashion trends. A classic suit may stay
in style for as long as five years, so it is worthwhile to
pay more to get a well-constructed one. A trendy hat
that will go out of style in a year or two should be
purchased as cheaply as possible.
Which one of the following most accurately expresses
the principle underlying the reasoning above?
(A) Formal attire tends to be designed and
constructed to last longer than casual attire.
(B) The amount of money one spends on a garment
should be roughly proportionate to the length
of time one plans to keep wearing it.
(C) One should not buy a cheaply made garment
when a well-constructed garment is available.
(D) The amount of money one spends on clothing
should be roughly the same whether one is
purchasing men's or women's attire.
(E) It is more appropriate to spend money on office
attire than on casual attire.
8. Engineers are investigating the suitability of
Wantastiquet Pass as the site of a new bridge. Because
one concern is whether erosion could eventually
weaken the bridge's foundations, they contracted for
two reports on erosion in the region. Although both
reports are accurate, one claims that the region suffers
relatively little erosion, while the other claims that
regional erosion is heavy and a cause for concern.
Which one of the following, if true, most helps to
explain how both reports could be accurate?
(A) Neither report presents an extensive chemical
analysis of the soil in the region.
(B) Both reports include computer-enhanced satellite
(C) One report was prepared by scientists from a
university, while the other report was prepared
by scientists from a private consulting firm.
(D) One report focuses on regional topsoil erosion,
while the other report focuses on riverbank
erosion resulting from seasonal floods.
(E) One report cost nearly twice as much to prepare
as did the other report.
9. Letter to the editor: I have never seen such flawed
reasoning and distorted evidence as that which
you tried to pass off as a balanced study in the
article "Speed Limits, Fatalities, and Public
Policy." The article states that areas with lower
speed limits had lower vehicle-related fatality
rates than other areas. However, that will not be
true for long, since vehicle-related fatality rates
are rising in the areas with lower speed limits. So
the evidence actually supports the view that
speed limits should be increased.
The reasoning in the letter writer's argument is flawed
because the argument
(A) bases its conclusion on findings from the same
article that it is criticizing
(B) fails to consider the possibility that automobile
accidents that occur at high speeds often result
(C) fails to consider the possibility that not everyone
wants to drive faster
(D) fails to consider the possibility that the vehiclerelated
fatality rates in other areas are also
(E) does not present any claims as evidence against
the opposing viewpoint
10. Human settlement of previously uninhabited areas tends
to endanger species of wildlife. However, the
Mississippi kite, a bird found on the prairies of North
America, flourishes in areas that people have settled. In
fact, during the five years since 1985 its population has
risen far more rapidly in towns than in rural areas.
Which one of the following, if true, most helps to
explain why the Mississippi kite population does not
follow the usual pattern?
(A) Residents of prairie towns have been setting off
loud firecrackers near kites' roosting spots
because of the birds' habit of diving at people
and frightening them.
(B) Towns on the prairies tend to be small, with a
low density of human population and large
numbers of wild birds and animals.
(C) Since the international migratory bird protection
treaty of 1972, it has been illegal to shoot
kites, and the treaty has been effectively
(D) Wildlife such as pigeons and raccoons had
already adapted successfully to towns and
cities long before there were towns on the
North American prairies.
(E) Trees are denser in towns than elsewhere on the
prairie, and these denser trees provide greater
protection from hail and windstorms for kites'
nests and eggs.
11. When a major record label signs a contract with a
band, the label assumes considerable financial risk. It
pays for videos, album art, management, and
promotions. Hence, the band does not need to assume
nearly as much risk as it would if it produced its own
records independently. For this reason, it is only fair
for a major label to take a large portion of the profits
from the record sales of any band signed with it.
Which one of the following most accurately describes
the role played in the argument by the claim that a
band signed with a major label does not need to
assume nearly as much risk as it would if it produced
its own records independently?
(A) It is the only conclusion that the argument
attempts to establish.
(B) It is one of two unrelated conclusions, each of
which the same premises are used to support.
(C) It is a general principle from which the
argument's conclusion follows as a specific
(D) It describes a phenomenon for which the rest of
the argument offers an explanation.
(E) Premises are used to support it, and it is used to
support the main conclusion.
12. Commentator: Recently, articles criticizing the
environmental movement have been appearing
regularly in newspapers. According to Winslow,
this is due not so much to an antienvironmental
bias among the media as to a preference on the
part of newspaper editors for articles that seem
"daring" in that they seem to challenge prevailing
political positions. It is true that editors like to
run antienvironmental pieces mainly because they
seem to challenge the political orthodoxy. But
serious environmentalism is by no means
politically orthodox, and antienvironmentalists
can hardly claim to be dissidents, however much
they may have succeeded in selling themselves as
The commentator's statements, if true, most strongly
support which one of the following?
(A) Winslow is correct about the preference of
newspaper editors for controversial articles.
(B) Critics of environmentalism have not
successfully promoted themselves as renegades.
(C) Winslow's explanation is not consonant with the
frequency with which critiques of
environmentalism are published.
(D) The position attacked by critics of
environmentalism is actually the prevailing
(E) Serious environmentalism will eventually
become a prevailing political position.
13. Philosopher: Some of the most ardent philosophical
opponents of democracy have rightly noted that
both the inherently best and the inherently worst
possible forms of government are those that
concentrate political power in the hands of a few.
Thus, since democracy is a consistently mediocre
form of government, it is a better choice than
rule by the few.
Which one of the following principles, if valid, most
helps to justify the philosopher's argument?
(A) A society should adopt a democratic form of
government if and only if most members of the
society prefer a democratic form of
(B) In choosing a form of government, it is better
for a society to avoid the inherently worst than
to seek to attain the best.
(C) The best form of government is the one that is
most likely to produce an outcome that is on
the whole good.
(D) Democratic governments are not truly equitable
unless they are designed to prevent interest
groups from exerting undue influence on the
(E) It is better to choose a form of government on
the basis of sound philosophical reasons than
on the basis of popular preference.
14. Expert: What criteria distinguish addictive substances
from nonaddictive ones? Some have suggested
that any substance that at least some habitual
users can cease to use is nonaddictive. However,
if this is taken to be the sole criterion of
nonaddictiveness, some substances that most
medical experts classify as prime examples of
addictive substances would be properly deemed
nonaddictive. Any adequate set of criteria for
determining a substance's addictiveness must
embody the view, held by these medical experts,
that a substance is addictive only if withdrawal
from its habitual use causes most users extreme
psychological and physiological difficulty.
Which one of the following can be properly inferred
from the expert's statements?
(A) If a person experiences extreme psychological
and physiological difficulty in ceasing to use a
substance habitually, that substance is
(B) Fewer substances would be deemed addictive
than are deemed so at present if an adequate
definition of "addictive" were employed.
(C) A substance that some habitual users can cease
to use with little or no psychological or
physiological difficulty is addictive only if that
is not true for most habitual users.
(D) A chemical substance habitually used by a
person throughout life without significant
psychological or physiological difficulty is
(E) "Addiction" is a term that is impossible to
define with precision.
15. Sociologist: A contention of many of my colleagues-
that the large difference between the wages of the
highest- and lowest-paid workers will inevitably
become a source of social friction-is unfounded.
Indeed, the high differential should have an
opposite effect, for it means that companies will
be able to hire freely in response to changing
conditions. Social friction arises not from large
wage differences, but from wage levels that are
static or slow changing.
Which one of the following is an assumption required
by the sociologist's argument?
(A) When companies can hire freely in response to
changing conditions, wage levels do not tend to
be static or slow changing.
(B) People who expect their wages to rise react
differently than do others to obvious disparities
(C) A lack of financial caution causes companies to
expand their operations.
(D) A company's ability to respond swiftly to
changing conditions always benefits its
(E) Even relatively well-paid workers may become
dissatisfied with their jobs if their wages never
16. Publisher: The new year is approaching, and with it the
seasonal demand for books on exercise and
fitness. We must do whatever it takes to ship
books in that category on time; our competitors
have demonstrated a high level of organization,
and we cannot afford to be outsold.
Which one of the following most accurately expresses
the main conclusion drawn in the publisher's
(A) The company should make shipping books its
(B) By increasing its efficiency, the company can
maintain its competitive edge.
(C) The company will be outsold if it does not
maintain its competitors' high level of
(D) It is imperative that the company ship fitness
and exercise books on time.
(E) The company should do whatever is required in
order to adopt its competitors' shipping
17. Advertiser: There's nothing wrong with a tool that has
ten functions until you need a tool that can
perform an eleventh function! The VersaTool can
perform more functions than any other tool. If
you use the VersaTool, therefore, you will need
additional tools less often than you would using
any other multiple-function tool.
The reasoning in the advertiser's argument is most
vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that the
(A) include some functions that are infrequently or
(B) include a number of functions that are difficult
to perform with any tool
(C) cost more than the combined cost of two other
multiple-function tools that together perform
more functions than the VersaTool
(D) be able to perform fewer often-needed functions
than some other multiple-function tool
(E) not be able to perform individual functions as
well as single-function tools
18. The flagellum, which bacteria use to swim, requires
many parts before it can propel a bacterium at all.
Therefore, an evolutionary ancestor of bacteria that had
only a few of these parts would gain no survival
advantage from them.
Which one of the following is an assumption on which
the argument depends?
(A) Any of bacteria's evolutionary ancestors that
had only a few of the parts of the flagellum
would be at a disadvantage relative to similar
organisms that had none of these parts.
(B) For parts now incorporated into the flagellum to
have aided an organism's survival, they would
have had to help it swim.
(C) All parts of the flagellum are vital to each of its
(D) No evolutionary ancestor of bacteria had only a
few of the parts of the flagellum.
(E) Any of bacteria's evolutionary ancestors that
lacked a flagellum also lacked the capacity to
19. Style manual: Archaic spellings and styles of
punctuation in direct quotations from older works
are to be preserved if they occur infrequently and
do not interfere with a reader's comprehension.
However, if they occur frequently, the editor may
modernize them, inserting a note with an
explanation to this effect in the text, or if similar
modernizing has been done in more than one
quotation, inserting a general statement in the
preface. On the other hand, obvious typographical
errors in quotations from modern works may be
corrected without explanation.
Which one of the following follows logically from the
(A) If an editor corrects the spelling of a quoted
word and the word occurs only once in the
text, then an explanation should appear in a
note or in the text.
(B) An editor may modernize an archaic spelling of
a word found in a modern work without
providing an explanation.
(C) An editor should modernize an archaic spelling
of a word that is quoted from an older work if
the spelling interferes with reader
(D) An editor may modernize punctuation directly
quoted from an older work if that punctuation
occurs frequently and interferes with reader
(E) If an editor modernizes only one of several
similar instances of quoted archaic punctuation,
an explanation should appear in the preface of
20. Whoever murdered Jansen was undoubtedly in Jansen's
office on the day of the murder, and both Samantha
and Herbert were in Jansen's office on that day. If
Herbert had committed the murder, the police would
have found either his fingerprints or his footprints at
the scene of the crime. But if Samantha was the
murderer, she would have avoided leaving behind
footprints or fingerprints. The police found fingerprints
but no footprints at the scene of the crime. Since the
fingerprints were not Herbert's, he is not the murderer.
Thus Samantha must be the killer.
Which one of the following, if assumed, allows the
conclusion that Samantha was the killer to be properly
(A) If there had been footprints at the scene of the
crime, the police would have found them.
(B) Jansen's office was the scene of the crime.
(C) No one but Herbert and Samantha was in
Jansen's office on the day of the murder.
(D) The fingerprints found at the scene of the crime
were not Jansen's.
(E) The fingerprints found at the scene of the crime
were not Samantha's.
21. Most opera singers who add demanding roles to their
repertoires at a young age lose their voices early. It has
been said that this is because their voices have not yet
matured and hence lack the power for such roles. But
young singers with great vocal power are the most
likely to ruin their voices. The real problem is that
most young singers lack the technical training
necessary to avoid straining their vocal cords-
especially when using their full vocal strength. Such
misuse of the cords inevitably leads to a truncated
Which one of the following does the information above
most strongly support?
(A) Young opera singers without great vocal power
are unlikely to ruin their voices by singing
(B) Some young opera singers ruin their voices
while singing demanding roles because their
vocal cords have not yet matured.
(C) Only opera singers with many years of technical
training should try to sing demanding roles.
(D) Only mature opera singers can sing demanding
roles without undue strain on their vocal cords.
(E) Most young opera singers who sing demanding
roles strain their vocal cords.
22. Food that is very high in fat tends to be unhealthy.
These brownies are fat-free, while those cookies
contain a high percentage of fat. Therefore, these fatfree
brownies are healthier than those cookies are.
Which one of the following exhibits flawed reasoning
most similar to the flawed reasoning exhibited by the
(A) Canned foods always contain more salt than
frozen foods do. Therefore, these canned peas
contain more salt than those frozen peas do.
(B) Vegetables that are overcooked generally have
few vitamins. Therefore, these carrots, which
are overcooked, contain fewer vitamins than
those peas, which are uncooked.
(C) The human body needs certain amounts of many
minerals to remain healthy. Therefore, this
distilled water, which has no minerals, is
(D) Some types of nuts make Roy's throat itch.
These cookies contain a greater percentage of
nuts than that pie contains. Therefore, these
cookies are more likely to make Roy's throat
(E) Eating at a restaurant costs more than eating
food prepared at home. Therefore, this homecooked
meal is less expensive than a restaurant
meal of the same dishes would be.
23. Ethicist: It would be a mistake to say that just because
someone is not inclined to do otherwise, she or
he does not deserve to be praised for doing what
is right, for although we do consider people
especially virtuous if they successfully resist a
desire to do what is wrong, they are certainly no
less virtuous if they have succeeded in
extinguishing all such desires.
The assertion that people are considered especially
virtuous if they successfully resist a desire to do what
is wrong plays which one of the following roles in the
(A) It is a claim for which the argument attempts to
(B) It makes an observation that, according to the
argument, is insufficient to justify the claim
that the argument concludes is false.
(C) It is a claim, acceptance of which, the argument
contends, is a primary obstacle to some
people's having an adequate conception of
(D) It is, according to the argument, a commonly
held opinion that is nevertheless false.
(E) It reports an observation that, according to the
argument, serves as evidence for the truth of its
24. Ecologists predict that the incidence of malaria will
increase if global warming continues or if the use of
pesticides is not expanded. But the use of pesticides is
known to contribute to global warming, so it is
inevitable that we will see an increase in malaria in the
years to come.
The pattern of reasoning in which one of the following
is most similar to that in the argument above?
(A) The crime rate will increase if the economy
does not improve or if we do not increase the
number of police officers. But we will be able
to hire more police officers if the economy
does improve. Therefore, the crime rate will
(B) If educational funds remain at their current level
or if we fail to recruit qualified teachers,
student performance will worsen. But we will
fail to recruit qualified teachers. Therefore,
student performance will worsen.
(C) If interest rates increase or demand for
consumer goods does not decline, inflation will
rise. But if there is a decline in the demand for
consumer goods, that will lead to higher
interest rates. Therefore, inflation will rise.
(D) If global warming continues or if the rate of
ozone depletion is not reduced, there will be an
increase in the incidence of skin cancer. But
reduced use of aerosols ensures both that
global warming will not continue and that
ozone depletion will be reduced. Thus, the
incidence of skin cancer will not increase.
(E) If deforestation continues at the current rate and
the use of chemicals is not curtailed, wildlife
species will continue to become extinct. But
because of increasing population worldwide, it
is inevitable that the current rate of
deforestation will continue and that the use of
chemicals will not be curtailed. Thus, wildlife
species will continue to become extinct.
25. In ancient Greece, court witnesses were not crossexamined
and the jury, selected from the citizenry,
received no guidance on points of law; thus, it was
extremely important for litigants to make a good
impression on the jurors. For this reason, courtroom
oratory by litigants is a good source of data on the
common conceptions of morality held by the citizens of
Which one of the following, if true, would most
strengthen the argument?
(A) Litigants believed jurors were more likely to be
impressed by litigants whose personality they
(B) Litigants believed jurors were more likely to
subject the litigants' personal moral codes to
close critical scrutiny than were people who
did not sit on juries.
(C) Litigants believed jurors were likely to be
impressed by litigants whose professed moral
code most resembled their own.
(D) Litigants believed jurors to be more impressed
by litigants who were of the same economic
class as the jurors.
(E) Litigants believed jurors were likely to render
their decisions based on a good understanding
of the law.