Critical Reasoning - Strengthen Argument

GMAT® Verbal Practice Questions

This GMAT verbal practice question is a critical reasoning question. The task at hand is to identify the difference in reasoning taken by two speakers and identify the option that will strengthen the argumnent of one of the speakers

Question

Jess: To be a woman in this century is far better than to be a woman in centuries past. Life expectancy for women has - for the first time - surpassed that for men and while only around 20℅ of college students in the late 1800s were women, today, almost 60℅ of college students are women.

Sam: However, women educated in the top-ranked colleges in the country earn only about 70℅ of what their male counterparts earn. Also, studies show that even today, in a number of industries, women are refused top management positions simply because they are women.

Which of the following is Jess most likely to say in response to Sam?

  1. Women today are healthier and live longer than women in the 1800s, who primarily died because of child birth.
  2. There are more women at the entry-level jobs of most industries than there are men.
  3. Women today are better able to juggle professional and personal lives and a number of them are proving to be successful single mothers.
  4. The proportion of women in the judicial and legislative branches of the country is at its highest and the country elected its first woman president recently.
  5. Women are allowed more freedom today and are not likely to be sacrificed at the altar of marriage or in a witch hunt.

Explanatory Answer

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

    Jess believes that women today are better off than in the past. Sam however, believes that women are not on par with men at the workplace.

    The important difference between the two arguments is that Jess is making a time comparison (between the past and now) and Sam is making a gender comparison (between men and women).

    Jess’ response to Sam must simultaneously strengthen her stance that women today are better off while establishing that Sam might not be entirely right and that women are treated equal to men, if not better.

  2. Step 2: Eliminating Options

    • Option (A) states that life expectancy for women has gone up. However, Jess has already stated that it has. So, repeating the same point does not further strengthen her own or counter Sam’s argument.
    • Option (B) can be eliminated because it only discusses entry-level jobs. Stating that there are more women in the entry-level positions does not undermine Sam’s argument that women do not reach the higher-level positions.
    • Option (C) does not talk about professional success of women and only mentions that they are more successful at being single mothers. This statement still does not address Sam’s point that women are not treated equal to men professionally.
    • Similarly, women being “allowed” more freedom and not subjected to a witch hunt does not imply that women are equal to or better than men. Option (E) can also be eliminated.
    • Option (D) implies that women are doing well in other professions, if not in the corporate world. It also implies that women are able to get higher ranked positions in the country. This validates Jess’ argument that women are better off today than in the past and simultaneously questions Sam’s argument that women aren’t treated equal to men.
Option D is the correct answer.

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