Critical Reasoning - Evaluate the Argument

GMAT® Verbal Lessons & Practice

This GMAT verbal practice question is a critical reasoning question. Concept tested: Evaluating an argument.


In an effort to curb drug abuse, the government has imposed strict laws to prosecute the dealers. However, such an initiative is unlikely to be effective. Prosecuting dealers will lead to a shortage of drugs. At the same time, because no efforts are being taken to curb demand, drugs will be sold at a premium, attracting more people to the very remunerative job of drug dealing. Therefore, to effectively reduce drug abuse, the government will have to prosecute the drug users and not dealers.

Which of the following is the most relevant information in evaluating the credibility of the argument?

  1. Whether efforts have been successfully taken in any other country to regulate drug users.
  2. Whether the payoff from selling drugs outweighs the severity of the punishment
  3. Whether drugs will continue to be sold at a premium when there are dealers in the market again
  4. Whether the majority of the users will be willing to pay a premium to continue to use the drugs
  5. Whether the government will be able to keep track of new dealers as and when they enter the market

Explanatory Answer

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

    The author believes that the government should prosecute drug users and not dealers in order to control drug abuse.

    • In order to evaluate the argument, the answer option has to evaluate this suggestion made by the author. So, the correct option would be one that determines one or all of the following
      • whether prosecuting drug users is possible
      • if possible, then will such a measure be as or more effective than prosecuting drug dealers
      • whether for some reason, the current steps taken by the government are effective in tackling drug abuse.
  2. Step 2: Eliminating Options

    • Option (A) can be eliminated because what worked in other countries need not necessarily work in this one. The answer option has to evaluate whether the recommendation would work in this particular scenario.
    • Option (B) can be eliminated because if the payoffs are outweighing the punishment, that would mean that there would be more dealers involved in drug dealing. The argument implies that this will already happen so this option does nothing to evaluate the author’s recommendation.
    • Option (C) does not evaluate whether drug abuse would reduce or increase. What needs to be evaluated is drug usage and not drug dealing. For similar reasons, Option (E) can also be eliminated. Keeping track of new dealers does not necessarily keep track of drug dealing or usage.
    • Option (D) evaluates the argument because the author’s primary argument against the government’s actions is that the current efforts will not curb drug usage, and that sale of drugs will continue happening at a premium. However, if most drug users do not wish to pay the premium charged, then the sale and usage of drugs will come down and the government’s current measures will prove to be effective enough.
Option D is the correct answer.

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