Style of Reasoning questions ask you to describe how the argument was
made, not necessarily what it says. You will compare the
reasoning in two arguments or choose the answer choice that uses the most
similar deductive process.
Here are some examples of the ways in which the stems to such questions
- How does the author make his point?
- A's response has which of the following relationships to B's
How to approach Style of Reasoning Questions
1. Read the argument and find the conclusion.
2. State the reasoning in your own words. Describe how the
author gets from the premises to the conclusion.
3. Use POE. The best answer will describe the reasoning used
in the argument. Eliminate answer choices that don't match the reasoning
used in the argument.
- There is a piece of folk wisdom expressed in the saying, "If it is
not broken, don't fix it." A factory manager who accepted that saying
would be least likely to:
Explanation: The point of the proverb, "If it is not broken, don't fix it" is
that tampering with something which is not an urgent problem is
unnecessary. All of the alternatives involve the manager's making some
change or taking some action. But the first four represent the manager's
action as being a response to a particular existing problem. They are
not against the spirit of the proverb. But preventive maintenance seems
to be just what the proverb advises against. (E) is the best
(A) Agree to union demands, in the interest of safety, for better
lighting in the stairwells and storage areas.
(B) Respond to the difficulty of retaining skilled electronic
technicians by establishing an on-site day-care center for small
(C) Order the immediate replacement of windows broken in a
(D) Replace the quality control supervisor after receiving several
complaints about defective units in recent shipments from the
(E) Institute a program of preventive maintenance for major pieces of
- Despite recent rumors of a new and improved
building, employees should not expect
Without the support of the
building's supervisor, the committee's plan usually fails. Two years
ago, a plan to renovate the meeting rooms went under after the
supervisor changed his mind and withdrew his support.
The bolded extracts play which of the following roles in
the argument above?
Explanation: This question asks you to identify the
parts of an argument. The argument's structure is as follows: The
expected outcome of a situation is presented; followed by a general rule
for predicting the outcome of situations like these; followed by a
specific instance of the general rule. The conclusion is in the
beginning, while the argument in support of the conclusion follows after
(A) The first extract offers advice and the second extract states a
(B) The first extract states the conclusion and the second extract
supports that conclusion with an analogy.
(C) The first extract states a conclusion and the second extract
provides evidence that weakens the conclusion.
(D) The first extract states a position and the second extract contains
(E) The first extract states a premise on which the conclusion is based
and the second extract states the conclusion.
Looking at the answer choices, we see that only two answer
choices, (B and C), put the conclusion first.
description of the first extract as an offer of advice could be correct,
but as the second extract is not the conclusion. Choice (A) is incorrect.
Choice (D) inaccurately describes the first extract's function as
stating a position.
Choice (E) describes the first extract's
function as a premise, which is incorrect.
Choices (B) and (C)
are identical in their description of the first extract as a conclusion,
but differ in their descriptions of the second extract. Choice (B) describes
the second extract as an analogy supporting the conclusion. Is this
accurate? Yes. The use of another, similar situation to illustrate the
outcome of this situation constitutes an analogy, and it supports
the conclusion. Choice (C) suggests that the second phrase weakens the
conclusion, which it does not. Choice (B) is the best answer.
Double Bold Critical Reasoning Questions are typically deductive arguments and demonstrate how two