1. After studying ceramic pieces found in a seaport in Israel, archaeologists determined that the Philistines, an ancient people who settled in the Aegean Sea region around 1200 BC, were able to read and write in an undeciphered, non-Semitic language. This proves that, contrary to previous beliefs, the Philistines were actually a cultured and literate people.
Which of the following, if true, offers the most support for the conclusion drawn in the passage above?
(A) Tamil, a classical language of India and Sri Lanka, dates back to 500 BC.
(B) The Philistines also had refined pottery and sophisticated architecture.
(C) The language spoken by the Philistines is less sophisticated than other languages spoken at that time.
(D) Archaeological research suggests that the Philistines had cultural ties to the Mycenaeans, in Greece.
(E) The Philistines held a monopoly on iron smithing consistent with the Biblical descriptions of Goliath’s armor.
This question asks you to strengthen the conclusion reached in the passage. The conclusion that the Philistines were literate is supported by the passage, but the conclusion that they were cultured is not: though we can assume that literacy implies culture, we’re given no evidence of this in the passage. Choice (A) is irrelevant; we are concerned with the Philistines, not the Tamil language. Choice (B) strengthens the conclusion by giving us evidence that the Philistines were cultured in addition to being literate. Choice (C) weakens the conclusion. Choice (D) is irrelevant; we might assume that the Greeks were cultured and thus that the Philistines were as well, we are given no evidence here of Greek cultural sophistication. Choice (E) strengthens the idea that the Philistines were perhaps a sophisticated people in other ways, but not necessarily that they were cultured. Choice (B) gives the best support for the conclusion, and is therefore the best answer.
2. Over the past three years, the crime rate in the city has steadily declined. Four years ago, a new mayor took office on a third party ticket whose platform included a tougher stance on crime and improved funding for after-school and other youth programs. Without this mayor’s leadership, it is certain that this positive change in the crime rate never would have occurred.
Which of the following statements, if true, would most weaken the argument above?
(A) In the first year the mayor was in office, the crime rate rose by 1.5%.
(B) Due to budget cuts, the mayor’s proposed funding for after-school and other youth programs was never implemented.
(C) Three years ago, a new chief of police was appointed who instituted foot patrols in high crime areas.
(D) The crime rate in neighboring cities has been on the rise for the past three years.
(E) The after-school programs had an even higher rate of attendance than was expected.
This question asks you to weaken the argument. The author writes that without the new mayor’s leadership, the recent decline in the crime rate would not have occurred. However, the only evidence we’re given is that the mayor’s platform included anti-crime programs. To weaken the argument, find a statement that shows that the decline in the crime rate may have been caused by something other than the mayor’s taking office. Choice (C) suggests that it could have been caused at least in part by the new chief of police, whose increase in officers patrolling by foot could very well have made a positive impact on the crime rate. Choice (A) is irrelevant; we’re only concerned with the past three years. Choice (B) fails to weaken the conclusion because it’s possible that while the youth programs were never implemented, other anti-crime programs were. Choice (D) is irrelevant. Choice (E) strengthens the argument. Choice (C) weakens the argument, and is the best answer.
3. In the secretarial schools of the mid-20th century, accuracy of typing was valued as much as speed. Business letters were supposed to be error-free with no visible corrections, and on typing tests, deductions were made from the speed scoring for every error found. The development of so many varieties of correction methods and technologies in this time period is therefore somewhat of a mystery.
Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the conclusion drawn above?
(A) Business letters were typed on a heavyweight paper that not only looked good, but could endure repeated erasure.
(B) A special kind of typewriter paper called erasable bond was invented to allow easier removal of type from the page.
(C) Typewriters are more difficult to type on than keyboards, and even the most sophisticated typewriters would sometimes jam.
(D) In the mid-20th century, typewriters were as ubiquitous as computers are today.
(E) Typing mistakes were considered sufficient reason for firing a secretary.
This question asks you to weaken the conclusion reached by the author about typewriter correction methods. The passage states that typing accuracy was highly prized in secretarial schools, and that therefore the development of correction methods is a mystery. This conclusion can be weakened by providing evidence that there were valid reasons for the development of correction methods. Choices (A) and (B) are irrelevant; they merely provide information about certain kinds of correction methods. Choice (C) weakens the conclusion somewhat; it suggests that even sophisticated typists could make mistakes, but still doesn’t provide a reason for the invention of many types of correction methods. Choice (D) weakens the conclusion considerably. If typewriters were as widespread as computers are today, that means that almost everyone had one and that correction methods could have been invented for the average typist, regardless of professional secretarial standards. Choice (E) weakens the conclusion somewhat. Choice (D) weakens the conclusion the most, and is therefore the best answer.
4. The ancient Greek word askesis, from which the adjective ‘ascetic’ derives, means practice, training, or exercise, and was originally used in reference to any sort of disciplined practice. Today, the word ‘ascetic’ is primarily associated with the renunciation of worldly pursuits for the purpose of spiritual gain. However, anyone can choose to practice asceticism.
Which of the following can be correctly inferred from the passage above?
(A) The only people practicing asceticism today are monks, yogis or priests.
(B) Asceticism no longer refers to any disciplined practices other than those undertaken for spiritual gain.
(C) The ancient Greeks often incorporated principles of asceticism into their daily lives.
(D) The word ‘asceticism’ can be used independently of religious connotation.
(E) Ascetics consider worldly affairs more important than spiritual gain.
This question asks you to identify the statement that has been correctly inferred from the passage. Because ‘infer’, for GRE purposes, is essentially synonymous with ‘must be true’, the question is actually asking you to determine which statement can be logically derived from the information given in the passage. Choices (A) and (B) are extreme; the passage states that the word ‘ascetic’ is primarily associated with religious ascetics, but there could be other types of ascetics as well. Choice (C) incorrectly identifies the Greek word ‘askesis’ with the meaning of the English word ‘ascetic’. Choice (D) is a correctly inferred statement. Because the passage states both that ‘ascetic’ is only primarily associated with renouncing worldly pursuits for the spiritual, and because it further says that ‘anyone’ can choose to practice asceticism, it must, therefore, be true that ‘asceticism’ is not used exclusively to refer to a religious practice. Choice (E) is the opposite of what is stated in the passage. Choice (D) is the only statement that can be logically inferred from the passage and is the best answer. Difficulty: Medium
5. Recent research in neuropsychology suggests that laughter is less a response to humor than a kind of involuntary social signal. In one study, a social scientist observed instances of laughter in diverse settings and found that 80 to 90 percent occurred after straight lines such as “talk to you later” and “I know”.
The argument above depends on which of the following unstated assumptions?
(A) Involuntary social signals can be studied with observational methods.
(B) The diverse settings in the study included diverse populations as well.
(C) Statements can be removed from context without any loss of meaning.
(D) People laugh after straight lines because they believe they are expected to.
(E) Humor and laughter are one and the same.
This question asks you to find the unstated assumption in the argument. The argument is structured like so: the conclusion (a general rule) is stated first, followed by evidence supporting the conclusion (an instance of this rule). The conclusion states the general rule that laughter is most often an involuntary social signal, not a response to humor. A recent study claiming that 80 to 90 percent of laughter occurs after “straight lines” is presented as evidence of the general rule. This is the vital point of the argument. If the study is not an instance of the general rule, then the evidence doesn’t support the conclusion, and the argument is invalid.
Choice (A) is an assumption upon which the study depends, but not the conclusion. Choice (B) strengthens the credibility of the study. Choice (C) must be true for the argument to be valid: if it is false, and statements must be studied in context, then the fact that 80 to 90 percent of laughter occurs after “straight lines” doesn’t necessarily imply that those lines aren’t used humorously in context. Choice (D) is an unfounded inference. Choice (E) states the opposite of what’s stated in the conclusion. Choice (C) is the only statement that must be true for the argument to work and is, therefore, the best choice. Difficulty: Hard
6. Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes tooth decay, is transmitted almost exclusively from mother to child, which allows it to be traced back thousands of years via its DNA to one of several distinct lineages. This would not be possible if it were transmitted more easily from person to person.
Which of the following can be inferred from the passage above?
(A) Mothers can be blamed for tooth decay in children.
(B) Streptococcus mutans can be classified according to lineage.
(C) If it were transmitted from father to child, streptococcus mutans would not be traceable.
(D) Bacteria cannot be traced if it has no DNA.
(E) Tooth decay only occurs among humans.
This question asks you to infer information from the passage. Because ‘infer’ is essentially synonymous with ‘must be true’ on the GRE, you need to find the answer choice that is logically derived from the information in the passage. In Choice (A), the bacteria causes tooth decay, not mothers. Choice (B) is a logical derivation of information found in the passage; if the bacteria can be traced to one of several distinct lineages, then it can also be classified according to lineage. Choice (C) draws unsupported conclusions. Choices (D) and (E) are extreme. Choice (B) is the only statement that must be true and is, therefore, the best answer. Difficulty: Easy
7. In response to an overwhelming demand for better technical support, we have added an online help section to our website where customers can chat live with customer service representatives. We are confident that this change will significantly decrease both the number and frequency of complaints about our technical support.
The company’s plan assumes which of the following?
(A) Customers will not have other complaints.
(B) All of their customers have access to the internet.
(C) Customer service representatives can provide technical support.
(D) Online support will be equally as effective as telephone support.
(E) Customers are less likely to complain via email than by telephone.
This question asks you to identify the assumption in the company’s plan to improve technical support. This is another way of asking what the plan depends on: if the reverse were true, would the plan still work as intended? Choice (A) is out of scope: the company’s plan is intended to reduce technical support complaints only. Choices (B) and (D) are extreme: only some customers need to have internet access for the plan to work, not all customers; and online support need only be effective, not as effective as telephone support. Choice (C) is a necessary assumption: if customer service reps can’t provide technical support, then this service will not address customers’ technical support concerns. Choice (E) is irrelevant; while this may impact the number and frequency of complaints in some way, it has no bearing on the efficacy of the plan itself. Choice (C) is the best answer. Difficulty: Easy/Medium
8. Subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages, issued to consumers with poor credit histories, accounted for less than 15 percent of all conventional loans in the city last year. However, they were the source of half of all foreclosures.
Which of the following can be inferred from the passage above?
(A) Poor credit history is predictive of poor loan management.
(B) 85 percent of loans last year were issued to consumers with good credit history.
(C) Consumers with good credit history are more likely to avoid foreclosure.
(D) In the last year, there were significantly more foreclosures than issuances for consumers holding subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages.
(E) Half of all foreclosures in the last year were on homeowners with poor credit history.
This question asks you to infer information from the passage. Choice E is the only statement that can be logically derived from the passage. Since subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages are issued to consumers with poor credit history, and since subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages were the source of half of all foreclosures in the past year, then it must be true that half of all foreclosures in the past year were on the holders of subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages – or consumers with poor credit history. Choices A and C draw on unsupported assumptions. Choice B is unsupported by the passage: the passage talks about conventional loans, not all loans. Choice D makes a mathematical error: because the numbers given in the passage are percentages, there’s no way to determine the actual number of foreclosures and issuances. Choice E must be true and is the best answer. Difficulty: Hard
9. Felicia: Internships are a waste of time and energy. In the time you spend working for free, you could be temping or taking classes or pursuing employment that not only fulfills your interests but also compensates you for your hard work.
Nitesh: The purpose of internships isn’t compensation; it’s preparation for a future career. With an internship, you can secure connections within your field of choice and also gain experience that looks great on a resume.
Nitesh objects to Felicia’s argument by:
(A) correcting a common perception.
(B) pointing out an error of logic.
(C) refuting a previously agreed-upon conclusion.
(D) objecting to an unstated premise.
(E) suggesting an alternative definition.
This question asks you to identify the reasoning in Nitesh’s response to Felicia’s argument, which proposes that internships are not, in fact, a waste of time, as Felicia has suggested. Felicia’s argument begins with her conclusion (“Internships are a waste of time and energy”) and is followed by support for her conclusion. Nitesh’s argument responds to Felicia’s unstated premise that the purpose of all work is compensation by suggesting that internships are a form of preparation, not employment per se. Choice D correctly identifies Nitesh’s method of objection. Choice A is inaccurate; while he may be correcting a common perception, that’s not the point of his objection in context. Choice B is correct in a sense because Nitesh is objecting to Felicia’s failure to secure her premises, but he does not say that she failed to do this; he simply states his objection. Choice C is inaccurate because we don’t know the content of their previous discussion. Choice E is incorrect because they are not debating a definition. Choice D accurately states Nitesh’s method of objection and is the best answer. Difficulty: Hard
10. Although it’s a common perception that philosophy has no practical application to the real world, history suggests otherwise. In fact, the word “philosophy” itself derives from the Greek roots philos, meaning “love”, and sophos, which means “wisdom”. Taken together, the word “philosophy” literally means “love of wisdom”.
The red phrases play which of the following roles in the argument above?
(A) The first phrase states the conclusion, and the second phrase offers support for that conclusion.
(B) The first phrase introduces evidence supporting a conclusion, and the second phrase contains that evidence.
(C) The first phrase contains an objection to a common perception, and the second phrase offers support for that objection.
(D) The first phrase states a premise on which the conclusion is based, and the second phrase offers a supporting definition.
(E) The first phrase defines a word crucial to the argument, and the second phrase states the conclusion.
This question asks you to identify the reasoning in an argument. The argument begins by stating a common perception, and then objects to that perception, while the second sentence contains information supporting the objection. The bolded phrases contain the author’s objection to the common perception (first phrase) and a definition used in support of the author’s objection (second phrase). Choice C is the most accurate description of the roles played by these phrases. Choice A is inaccurate in that the first phrase does not actually state the author’s conclusion. Choice B inaccurately suggests that the first phrase is merely an introduction to evidence, instead of an objection to an idea. Choice D incorrectly labels the first phrase a premise. Choice E is a reversal of the correct answer. Choice C correctly identifies the roles played by the two phrases and is the best answer. Difficulty: Medium/Hard
11. Researchers are testing a theory of artificial intelligence with an algorithm based on the ancient Eastern game Go. This is due to the game’s highly complex, mathematically natural relationship between the stones placed on the board, which mirrors patterns found in nature.
It can be inferred from the passage that:
(A) Intelligence is purely mathematical.
(B) The game of Go was not invented but discovered.
(C) Artificial intelligence will be a reality in the near future.
(D) The game of Go requires a knowledge of mathematics.
(E) Artificial intelligence could be based on natural phenomena.
This question asks you to draw an inference from the information presented in the passage. To do so, you must find the statement that must be true. Choice A is too extreme; the passage tells us about a theory of artificial intelligence, not about the nature of intelligence itself. Choice B is based on the unfounded assumption that because Go is mathematical and natural, it was necessarily discovered. Choice C is incorrect because the passage doesn’t tell what will happen, just what is happening. Choice D incorrectly assumes that because Go stones happen to fall into mathematical patterns, that one must, therefore, know math to play, which isn’t stated in the passage (and isn’t true, either). Choice E must be true because if artificial intelligence could be based on Go, and Go incorporates patterns found in nature, then it follows that artificial intelligence could be based on those natural patterns. Choice E is the best answer. Difficulty: Easy/Medium
12. A consulting firm is planning to start a new program allowing employees more control over their health coverage. Instead of having their level of coverage based solely on salary, the employees will now be able to choose from three plans, the least expensive of which is the same price as the current mid-level plan.
The company’s plan, as outlined in the passage above, assumes that:
(A) Employees will be willing to sacrifice a portion of their salaries for increased control over their coverage.
(B) The current least expensive plan offers inadequate coverage.
(C) Employees are tired of having their coverage determined by their salaries.
(D) The most basic of the three plans will include the same amount of coverage as the current least expensive plan.
(E) Higher-salaried employees will not be resentful of the plan.
This question asks you to identify the assumption in the company’s plan to change their employee’s health care coverage. The plan is intended to give the employees more control over their coverage. However, since the least expensive plan costs as much as the current mid-level plan, it is also more expensive. The assumption is that employees will be willing to pay more for their plans in exchange for the freedom to choose their own plans. This assumption is stated in choice A.
Choices B and C are assumptions we might make about the reasons behind the company’s decision to change their plans, but neither is necessarily true. Choice D is not necessarily true either; again, this is an assumption one could make about the plans, but it isn’t necessary for the plan to work. Choice E is not a necessary assumption either; though they might hope this to be true, the company’s plan isn’t based on employee’s potential resentments. Choice A is the best answer. Difficulty: Medium
13. A chemical leak at a local factory contaminated the water at a nearby fishing area. To compensate for the damage they caused to the river, the factory has announced their intention to donate a large sum of money to local environmental conservation efforts.
The factory’s inadequate method of compensation was most likely caused by which of the following errors of reasoning?
(A) Mistaking cause for effect
(B) Equating a part with the whole
(C) Miscalculating a value
(D) Misapplying a principle
(E) Ignoring a premise
This question asks you to identify an error in reasoning. The error lies in the method of compensation decided upon by the factory; in donating to the general cause of conservation in the area instead of giving the money directly to the fishing area, they failed to correct the damage they caused to that specific area of land. Choice B describes this best, as the money will be spent on all of the land in the area instead of the part contaminated by the chemical leak. Choice B is the best answer. Difficulty: Medium/Hard
14. Dialectology, a sub-field of linguistics that studies variations in a language, began as an effort to produce dialect maps, in which lines were drawn on a map indicating different dialect areas. In the late 1920s, dialectologists became more concerned with social factors and began taking social variation into account in their studies of dialect. This occurred as a result of structuralist developments in the study of language.
Which of the following statements, if true, would most strengthen the argument above?
(A) After 1930, linguists no longer considered dialect maps useful in the study of dialect.
(B) If not for structuralist developments in the study of language, psychologists may never have incorporated linguistic factors into their studies.
(C) Structuralism is a linguistic approach that focuses on the relationships between elements and the social structures that result.
(D) Some linguists consider dialectology as a social science due to its focus on social factors.
(E) Though by the mid 20th century structuralism was one of the most popular and widespread academic approaches, in the 1930s it was still barely known.
This question asks you to strengthen the argument presented in the passage. The first sentence is primarily background information; an argument is then made in the second sentence that dialectologists began taking social factors into account as a result of structural developments in the study of language. To strengthen this argument, you must find a statement that supports the link between the changes in dialectology and the structuralist developments in the study of language.
Choice A is irrelevant; it gives more evidence for the change in dialectology in the 1920s but doesn’t tell us anything about why that change occurred. Choice B is irrelevant; we need information about the study of language, not psychology. Choice C provides this information: if structuralism focuses on social structures, then the argument that structuralism influenced dialectology’s incorporation of social factors is strengthened. Choice D is irrelevant (and untrue). Choice E weakens the argument. Choice C is the only statement that strengthens the argument and is the best answer. Difficulty: Medium
15. With the exception of Professor Kirschner, all faculty in the History department are either tenured or under thirty-five.
From which of the following can the statement above most correctly be inferred?
(A) Professor Kirschner is the only professor in the History department who is not tenured.
(B) If a professor in the History department is under thirty-five or tenured, then he or she is not Professor Kirchner.
(C) Professor Kirchner is the only professor in the History department who is over thirty-five and lacks tenure.
(D) If a professor is in the History department, then he or she is either tenured or under thirty-five or is Professor Kirschner.
(E) Professor Kirschner cannot be a member of the History department.
This question asks you to find the statement from which the sentence about Professor Kirschner can be inferred. The sentence tells us that among the faculty in the history department, everyone except Professor Kirschner is either tenured or under thirty-five. This means that, with the exception of Professor Kirchner, a professor in the history department is either tenured or under thirty-five.
Choice A will not lead us to that conclusion; it says that Professor Kirchner is the only professor who is not tenured, but we know that the professors who are under thirty-five are not tenured. Choice B is incorrect because it leaves open the possibility that professors can be both under thirty-five and tenured. Choice C is an inference that can be drawn from the statement; however, the statement about Professor Kirchner cannot be inferred from it. Choice D contains the same information found in the statement about Professor Kirschner, just rearranged. There are three types of professors: those who are tenured, those who are under thirty-five, and those who are neither (only Professor Kirchner!). This information is present in both the statement and choice D; choice D is, therefore, a logical source of the inferred statement. Choice E is nonsense. Choice D contains the only sentence from which the statement can be inferred and is, therefore, the best answer. Difficulty: Hard
16. The deviation of atomic numbers from mass numbers is given as a number that directly corresponds to the severity of the reactions of an element’s isotopes to nuclear fission and fusion. Nuclear fission produces energy in elements heavier than iron and absorbs energy in elements lighter than iron.
If nuclear fusion has an effect on isotopes that is equal to the negative value of fission’s effect on the isotope, then it must be true that
(A) elements lighter than iron never produce energy
(B) nuclear fission and fusion do not affect iron’s isotopes
(C) the deviation of an element’s atomic number from its mass number is a constant
(D) the deviation of iron’s atomic number from its mass number is zero
(E) elements heavier than iron do not respond to nuclear fusion
This question asks you to find the statement that must be true based on the information in the passage. According to the passage, the deviation of atomic numbers from mass numbers corresponds to the severity of the reaction of an element’s isotopes to nuclear fission and fusion, which affect isotopes in an equal but opposite manner. Choice C, which states that the deviation of an element’s atomic number from its mass number is a constant, is a logical inference because the severity (or absolute value) of an element’s reaction to fission and fusion is identical. Choices A and E are unsupported by the passage. Choice B is an unfounded inference; though fission and fusion affect elements lighter and heavier than iron in different ways, it doesn’t necessarily follow that iron isn’t affected at all by fission or fusion. Similarly, choice D assumes that iron is not affected by fission or fusion, and also that the derivation number is identical to the severity of its reactions to fission and fusion, whereas the passage merely tells us that it corresponds to the severity of the isotope’s reactions. Choice C is the only answer that must be true and is, therefore, the correct answer. Difficulty: Hard
17. Armchair anthropologists of the Victorian Era rarely visited the lands in whose cultures they proclaimed themselves experts and were as likely as not to call the inhabitants “savages”. By contrast, contemporary anthropologists, who are not taken seriously unless they have lived for a time among the people they study, are likely to use the more enlightened term “indigenous people”.
The author’s assertion about the superiority of contemporary anthropologists rests on which of the following assumptions about the word “enlightened”?
(A) Victorian Era anthropologists often considered themselves enlightened even though they had never lived among the cultures they studied.
(B) To be enlightened requires spending time among the people being studied.
(C) The goal of contemporary anthropology is to become enlightened.
(D) A person who has been enlightened can not, by definition, be called a savage.
(E) Anthropologists must be enlightened before they are properly prepared to spend time among the people they study.
Situation: The passage contrasts Victorian Era anthropologists and contemporary anthropologists. Contemporary anthropologists are considered more enlightened.
Reasoning: Which of the following identifies the assumption made in the use of the word “enlightened”? The specific contrast drawn between the two groups of anthropologists is that contemporary anthropologists often spend time living among the people they study, whereas Victorian Era anthropologists usually did not. According to the author of the passage, it is the time spent among the people they study that makes contemporary anthropologists more enlightened.
A: The passage does not discuss whether Victorian Era anthropologists considered themselves enlightened.
B: Correct. Contemporary anthropologists are considered more enlightened because, unlike Victorian Era anthropologists, they are likely to have lived among the people they study.
C: The passage does not make this claim.
D: The passage does not address the application of the word “enlightened” to people being studied.
E: The passage actually argues that anthropologists are enlightened because, or after, they spend time among the people they study.
The correct answer is B.
18. Substances with similar scents often have vastly different molecular structures. The scents of marzipan and cyanide, for example, both contain strong hints of almond. The molecular structures of the substances, however, make them appropriate for nearly opposite uses: marzipan is often found in gourmet desserts, and cyanide is a powerful poison.
Which of the following conclusions can most reasonably be drawn from information in the passage above?
(A) Molecular structures of substances with similar scents are always vastly different.
(B) Molecular structures of unknown substances can often be predicted based on their scents.
(C) Scents of unknown substances can not be accurately predicted based only on their molecular structure.
(D) Scents of poisonous substances are usually similar to scents of non-poisonous foods.
(E) Marzipan and cyanide have similar scents and can, therefore, be assumed to contain similar elements.
Situation: Scents of substances often have no direct relationship to their molecular structure.
Reasoning: Which conclusion can be drawn from the passage? The main point of the passage is that the molecular structure of a substance does not determine its scent in a predictable way; substances of similar scents may have very different molecular structures, and vice versa. Marzipan and cyanide are examples of two substances that bear similar scents but are so different in molecular structure that one is a food and the other is a poison.
A: The passage gives an example of two substances where this is the case, but does not argue that substances with similar scents are always different in molecular structure.
B: The passage argues the opposite.
C: Correct. The passage uses the example of marzipan and cyanide to demonstrate that scents of substances cannot be accurately predicted based on their molecular structure.
D: Though this is true in the case of cyanide and marzipan, the word “usually” overstates the case made in the passage.
E: This conclusion cannot be drawn from the passage.
The correct answer is C.
19. The method by which attorneys at Watson & Crick bill for their time is inherently faulty. Accounting rules allow billing for a full hour even when an attorney has not worked on a specific file for a full 60 minutes. Inevitably, this practice will lead to attorneys billing for more full hours than they actually work, passing on false expenses to clients anytime they open a file or pick up the phone.
Which of the following, if true, constitutes the best piece of evidence for countering the claim that attorneys at Watson & Crick are likely to bill for more full hours than they work?
(A) Attorneys at Watson & Crick are required to attend annual ethics seminars, during which over-billing is strongly discouraged.
(B) Senior partners at Watson & Crick typically bill over 60 hours per week.
(C) Accounting rules at Watson & Crick only allow attorneys to bill for a full hour if they have performed more than one task for a client in a given day.
(D) Attorney fees at Watson & Crick are calculated based on 15-minute segments of billing time.
(E) Attorneys often have tremendous workloads and expect to be reasonably compensated for time spent working for clients.
Situation: The author of the passage claims that attorneys at a law firm are likely to bill for more hours than they work.
Reasoning: Which best counters the claim that attorneys are likely to bill for more hours than they work? The author of the passage is concerned with an accounting rule at the law firm that allows attorneys to bill for full hours even if they have not worked a full 60 minutes. It is assumed that attorneys will be able to bill for a full hour even if they perform only the briefest of tasks for a client. If, however, it can be shown that the firm’s accounting rules will not permit the abuses that trouble the author of the passage, the claim will be effectively countered.
A: Though over-billing may be strongly discouraged, this option does not present conclusive evidence that abusive billing practices will be prevented.
B: The number of hours billed by attorneys at the firm provides no evidence for how many hours were worked, making a determination about over-billing impossible.
C: This option would actually strengthen the author’s claim that attorneys are likely to bill full hours for brief tasks.
D: Correct. This option provides adequate evidence to counter the author’s claim. If fees at the firm are determined in 15-minute, rather than hourly, segments, then attorneys will not be able to bill for a full hour unless they have performed work during 4 15-minute intervals.
E: This may speak to the mindset of attorneys, but does not directly address the author’s concern.
The correct answer is D.
Questions 20-21 are based on the following:
The life expectancy of people living below the poverty line in the United States is seven years shorter than the national average. A public health advocate argues that this is due to the fact that the poor cannot afford preventative medical care and often live in substandard housing where harmful substances such as lead paint and asbestos are common. An expansion of health insurance services to those below the poverty line is ultimately a more cost-efficient way of raising life expectancy because preventative care will forestall many expensive emergency treatments.
20. Which of the following, if true, accurately identifies the most significant flaw in the public health advocate’s argument that health insurance services for those below the poverty line should be expanded?
(A) The public health advocate does not provide sufficient information about the amount of money that will be saved by preventing emergency medical treatments.
(B) The expansion of health insurance services to those below the poverty line will not address health problems caused by substandard housing.
(C) Many health care providers are especially concerned with treating complications caused by exposure to lead paint and asbestos.
(D) Census results do not clearly indicate what percentage of the population falls below the poverty line.
(E) Lead paint and asbestos, though they cause medical problems, have not been conclusively proven to shorten life expectancy.
Situation: A public health advocate argues that making more health insurance services available to people below the poverty line will save money by avoiding emergency medical treatments. Emergency medical treatments are needed because those below the poverty line cannot pay for preventative medical care. Dangerous substances in substandard housing are mentioned as a second factor contributing to a lower-than-average life expectancy.
Reasoning: What is the flaw in the advocate’s argument that health insurance services should be expanded? The public health advocate argues that expanded insurance services should be offered to those below the poverty line in order to prevent expensive emergency treatments. The expansion of insurance services, however, would only address one of the factors the advocate claims contribute to a shorter life expectancy.
A: While this may be true, it is not the argument’s most serious flaw.
B: This option correctly identifies the flaw in the public health advocate’s argument. The advocate presents both lack of preventative care and substandard housing as factors shortening life expectancy, but the proposed solution only addresses one of the factors.
C: This option does not directly address the health care advocate’s argument.
D: The passage is concerned with matters relating to those below the poverty line, not with determining the exact percentage of the population it includes.
E: This option does not directly address the expansion of health insurance services to those below the poverty line.
The correct answer is B.
21. The argument that an expansion of health insurance services to those below the poverty line will forestall expensive emergency treatments assumes that
(A) Life expectancy can be increased by preventative medical care.
(B) There are an adequate number of physicians available to provide preventative medical care to all those below the poverty line.
(C) Expanded insurance plans will also treat complications caused by exposure to lead paint and asbestos in substandard housing.
(D) Lead paint and asbestos are not as significant in reducing life expectancy as lack of preventative medical care.
(E) Recipients of expanded health insurance coverage would take advantage of preventative medical care if they had the option.
Situation: A public health advocate argues that making more health insurance services available to people below the poverty line will ultimately save money by preventing emergency medical treatments. The advocate says that emergency medical treatments are needed because those below the poverty line cannot pay for preventative medical care. Dangerous substances in substandard housing are mentioned as a second factor contributing to a lower-than-average life expectancy.
Reasoning: Which is the assumption supporting the argument that health insurance will prevent emergency treatments? According to the advocate’s reasoning in the last sentence of the passage, more medical insurance translates directly into fewer emergency treatments. The correct answer will most clearly undermine this direct connection.
A: While the passage as a whole assumes this, it is not the assumption made in connecting expanded health insurance with forestalling emergency treatments.
B: The number of physicians available is not directly relevant to the connection between health insurance and expensive emergency treatments.
C: Treatment of complications likely in substandard housing is not discussed in the passage.
D: This idea is not addressed in the passage.
E: Correct. This option correctly identifies the assumption connecting expanded health insurance with preventing emergency medical treatments. It is possible that those covered by health insurance would not seek preventative care.
The correct answer is E.
22. Since viewers consistently imitate the behaviors they see on TV, continued exposure to violent programs will cause more people to consider violence an acceptable way of solving problems. In order to prevent a nationwide increase in violent crime, the government should ban the broadcast of violent programs.
Which of the following is most similar to the passage above in logical structure?
(A) A judge finds the publisher of a chemistry textbook liable when a group of college students uses an experiment described in the book to start a fire in a rival’s dorm room.
(B) A mother bans her teenage sons from watching violent television shows after they are involved in a series of fights with classmates.
(C) A teacher hides the jar of candy she usually keeps on her desk in order to prevent students from gorging on it and ruining their lunch.
(D) A tour guide does not reveal to his clients the location of the town’s best ice cream shop because he has been upbraided by the shop’s owners for sending in too large a crowd.
(E) A restaurant manager refuses to distribute fliers advertising an upcoming political rally because she does not support the candidate.
Situation: The author argues that the government should ban violent television programs before the programs cause a national increase in violent crime.
Reasoning: Which of the following uses a logical structure most similar to the logical structure of the passage? The author assumes in the first sentence that viewers who watch violent television programs will themselves become more violent. Since a higher crime rate is not desirable, the author suggests that the government deter more people from committing violent crimes by preventing the public’s exposure to the cause of crime: violent television programs. Also note that the passage proposes a solution designed to prevent, not to punish, violent crime.
A: The judge’s decision does not represent a preventative measure, nor does this example assume a continuing connection between exposure to chemistry textbooks and dorm fires.
B: Though this option contains a similar theme to the passage, the mother’s decision is made after the misbehavior of her sons and is intended as a punishment.
C: Correct. This situation is most similar to the passage in logical structure. The teacher assumes a connection between the observation of candy and students ruining their lunch by eating too much; her action is also a preventative measure.
D: The tour guide’s action is a preventative measure, but the unpleasant outcome would come from the shop’s owners, not the crowd, and would affect only the tour guide.
E: This option contains neither a measure to prevent nor a measure to punish, and no connection is assumed between distributing fliers and supporting the candidate.
The correct answer is C.
23. Last year sales tax in State Y was raised by 1%, with the additional revenues promised to fund improvements in education. Representative Smith has proposed that the portion of sales tax revenues allotted to County X – some $5 million – be used to build additional schools and access roads in outlying areas, where even major streets are often impassable due to flooding. Representative Smith has already posted on his website blueprints detailing 3 new schools and 2 roadways designed to be unaffected by floods.
Which of the following, if true, represents the largest obstacle facing Representative Smith’s plan to use sales tax revenues to build additional schools in outlying areas of County X?
(A) County X has rejected a proposal to establish toll stations along frequently-traveled roads in the county, even though funds raised were to be directed to Representative Smith’s project.
(B) Students in County X currently travel an average of 20 miles in order to reach an existing school.
(C) More densely populated counties in State Y will receive a larger percentage of the total revenues generated by the sales tax increase.
(D) Provisions of the sales tax revenue rules allow funds to be used for any project impacting the education of at least 2% of students in County X.
(E) The state has stipulated that sales tax revenues designated for education be used only for the construction or remodeling of school buildings and curriculum improvements.
Evaluation of a Plan
Situation: A lawmaker proposes to use state money to build more schools in outlying areas of County X, where roads are often closed due to flooding. The lawmaker’s plans include proposals for both schools and more dependable roads.
Reasoning: Which of the following is most damaging to the plan to build more schools? As the passage makes clear, the success of Representative Smith’s plan depends on the ability to complete two different construction projects: new schools and new roads. If for any reason there will not be funding available for both of Representative Smith’s projects, his plan will likely not succeed.
A: This option, though it demonstrates a lack of additional financing, does not present an obstacle to Representative Smith’s plan as detailed in the passage.
B: This option may strengthen the argument for additional schools, but it does not directly address Representative Smith’s plan.
C: The amount of revenue directed to other counties in State Y is not directly relevant to a plan for County X.
D: This option would actually strengthen Representative Smith’s plan, because it would allow funds to be used for the construction of both schools and roadways.
E: Correct. This option correctly identifies the major shortcoming of Representative Smith’s plan: if the state will not allow funds to be used for the construction of new roads, then the plan to build both new schools and new means of access will likely fail.
The correct answer is E.
24. Clean-burning coal power plants represent an improvement over traditional coal power plants because they are more efficient at capturing greenhouse gases before they are emitted into the atmosphere.
Although the large coal deposits of the Eastern United States make coal an economically cheap resource, the environmental damage caused by current methods of extraction makes coal an environmentally unwise choice as an energy source.
If the statements above are true, which of the following conclusions can be most properly drawn about clean-burning coal power plants?
(A) Clean-burning coal power plants can prevent one type of environmental damage while indirectly causing another.
(B) Environmental groups will protest the construction of more clean-burning coal power plants because they capture insufficient amounts of greenhouse gases.
(C) In the long-term, the money saved by using inexpensive coal as an energy source will outweigh the cost of building more clean-burning power plants.
(D) Most new clean-burning coal power plants will be built in the Eastern United States, where supplies of cheap coal are plentiful.
(E) Most traditional coal power plants, especially those in the Eastern United States, will be demolished to make room for newer, clean-burning plants.
Situation: Clean-burning coal power plants emit fewer greenhouse gases than traditional coal burning power plants. As an energy source, coal is inexpensive economically, but methods of extraction cause environmental damage.
Reasoning: Which conclusion can be drawn about clean-burning coal power plants? Methods of extracting coal, according to the passage, cause environmental damage that outweighs coal’s usefulness as an inexpensive resource. Any conclusions about clean-burning coal power plants must take this possibility of environmental damage into account.
A: Correct. This statement properly recognizes the potential for environmental damage inherent in even clean-burning coal power plants.
B: Environmental groups are not mentioned in either statement, nor is it suggested that clean-burning power plants capture an insufficient amount of greenhouse gases.
C: The premises offer no information that can be used to directly compare the economic costs of coal extraction with the building of new clean-burning coal power plants.
D: This conclusion does not take into account the necessary consideration of environmental damage.
E: The passage offers no information that can be used to reach this conclusion.
The correct answer is A.
25. Charity Hospital Board Member: It does not make sense to continue pouring money into print advertising when telephone solicitation is a more effective fundraising method. We currently employ three people full-time whose only job is to call families of former patients and ask them to donate.
EACH of the following, if true, undermines the argument that print advertising should be discontinued in favor of telephone solicitation EXCEPT
(A) Funds paying the salaries of the telephone solicitors represent a slightly larger dollar amount than money received through their fundraising efforts.
(B) Inaccurate record-keeping makes it difficult to determine what percentage of total fundraising dollars were raised according to which method.
(C) A survey reveals that most of those who gave money to the hospital were first exposed to a fundraising ad in the newspaper and viewed the telephone call as a follow-up.
(D) A survey reveals that most of those who gave money to the hospital did so because they had emotionally connected with a fundraiser over the telephone.
(E) A survey reveals that most of those who declined to donate to the hospital did so because they were offended by the approach of the telephone solicitors.
Situation: A hospital board member argues that print advertising should be discontinued as a fundraising method because telephone solicitation is more cost-effective.
Reasoning: Which ONE of the following strengthens the argument that telephone solicitation is preferable to print advertising? The word “except” in the question stem signals that the correct answer will be the only one that does not undermine the argument presented in the passage. The correct answer will demonstrate that telephone solicitation more effective.
A: This option undermines the argument by demonstrating that the hospital actually pays more in telephone solicitor salaries than the solicitors raise, leading to a net loss.
B: This option undermines the argument by demonstrating that a comparison of print advertising and telephone solicitation cannot be made.
C: The argument is undermined here by a demonstration of the effectiveness of print advertising.
D: Correct. This option is the only one that strengthens the argument in the passage. It demonstrates that most people who donated to the hospital did so because of a telephone solicitor.
E: The argument is undermined here by evidence that telephone solicitation is not only less effective but counter-productive.
The correct answer is D.
SAT Sample Questions – C/apter 3 – Page 6
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