Critical Reasoning - Practice

GMAT® CR - Does not strengthen the argument

This GMAT verbal practice question is a critical reasoning question. The task is to identify that option that does not strengthen the argument.


It seems that medical care is constantly improving and is far better today than it was a few years ago. New medicines are being developed, and at a lower cost. Technological advancements are being made and new treatments are devised. However, hospital care has not improved as much as expected. Most hospitals do not have a large enough ER that can handle a sudden influx of patients and the number of people who die in a hospital due to reasons other than what they got admitted for is staggeringly high.

All of the following underscore the author’s argument EXCEPT

  1. Most hospitals require doctors to do so much paperwork that they spend insufficient time on direct patient care.
  2. Most hospitals recirculate air and therefore, it is very easy for diseases such as anthrax to spread through the hospital.
  3. In smaller cities, the ambulance service is on a voluntary basis and the response time for calls is much lower than the national average, leading to a higher loss of life.
  4. A number of doctors in private hospitals are not held accountable by the administration for the loss of patients.
  5. Doctors in most private hospitals have performance appraisals based on how much money they have brought in for the hospital rather than based on how effectively they treated patients.

Explanatory Answer

Video explanation will be added soon.
  1. Step 1: Analyzing the Argument

    The argument states that medical care has improved but that does not mean that the hospitals have become better. At first glance, it may look like the argument counters itself. However, the first few sentences are discussing the development of medical care and the last few sentences are specifically about hospital care.

    The question asks us to identify the option that does NOT underscore, which is to strengthen, the author’s argument. Not strengthening does not necessarily mean weakening the argument. So, find four options that strengthen and the one left out is the answer.

    To strengthen the argument, we need to establish that hospitals are not so good and that people die in hospitals for reasons other than their illness.

  2. Step 2: Eliminating Options

    • Option (A) implies that the hospitals have the doctors do so much other work that patient care takes a backseat. This can be used to strengthen the author’s argument that hospital care is not great. Therefore, option (A) can be eliminated.
    • If the hospitals recirculate air, making it easier for the diseases to spread, then that further justifies that people die of other diseases than the ones they get admitted for. Option (B) strengthens and can be eliminated.
    • If the doctors are not held accountable or held accountable for something other than patient care, then patient care takes a backseat. Both options (D) and (E) imply therefore, that the hospital care is not up to scratch.
    • The response time of ambulances do not reflect on extent of or quality of hospital care. This option does not weaken the argument nor does it strengthen. It is simply irrelevant to the discussion and is therefore the answer.
Option C is the correct answer.

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