Critical Reasoning - Strengthen the Argument

GMAT® Verbal Practice Question and CR Review

This GMAT verbal practice question is a critical reasoning question. This question is a strengthen the argument question.

Question

John: A study has identified that many soldiers received less-than-honorable discharges from the army due to charges of misconduct that can actually be attributed to conditions such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury. This is a military practice that is unfair and must be avoided. The army must take responsibility for the same and stop discharging their soldiers dishonorably.

Christy: While it is true that it is unfair to the soldiers to be discharged so from the army, it has also been found that there are no sufficient measures or systems that have been created to identify whether the misconduct was due to trauma or due to other reasons. Moreover, to enforce discipline in the ranks, it is important for the army to follow a uniform rule for all the soldiers.

Which of the following statements can Christy further add to her argument?

  1. If there is no proper system, then the army should have developed a proper system by now.
  2. Complete elimination of dishonorable discharges would make it more difficult for the army to monitor and evaluate the soldiers.
  3. It is not the army’s fault that there has been no system developed to help those with PTSD
  4. Studies have also found that showing consideration for some soldiers has led to others taking advantage, indirectly promoting misconduct.
  5. There have been instances when the army has been able to identify the reasons for the misconduct and acted accordingly.

Explanatory Answer

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

    John’s argument is that it is unfair of the army to dishonorably discharge people for misconduct when such conduct could have been because of PTSD. While Christy accepts that such dishonorable discharge is unfair, she believes that the army has to have a uniform rule and cannot act partial to some soldiers, especially when the cases of misconduct due to PTSD are not easily distinguishable from the rest.

    Christy’s argument is not entirely contradictory to John’s. Therefore, in order to further strengthen her argument, the correct answer option cannot just talk about the fairness of the discharge but should address the uniformity in rules that she advocates.

  2. Step 2: Eliminating Options

    • Option (A) is more of John’s response to Christy. Claiming that the army must have developed a system already, implies that the army has not done.
    • Option (B) discusses the importance of monitoring and evaluating the soldiers and states that to be the reason dishonourable discharges cannot be done away with. However, Christy’s argument is that there has to be uniformity in the rules adopted by the army. This option does not discuss uniformity at all and can be eliminated.
    • While Option (C) seems to be supporting the army, the discussion by Christy is not about who is to blame but about the impossibility of having different rules for different people. Moreover, the option only repeats the implication behind the first statement in Christy’s argument. The answer option therefore, does not add further to Christy’s reasoning.
    • Option (E) partially contradicts Christy’s argument. If the army has identified the reasons behind misconduct earlier, then it can do so again. Christy’s argument is that it is not possible to identify the reason and therefore, act accordingly. Furthermore, her argument is that even if able to identify the reason, it is better off to have uniformity in rules.
    • Option (D) further stresses on the need for uniformity in rules – so that there is no misconduct by the ranks. Option(D) therefore, strengthens Christy’s reasoning.
Option D is the correct answer.

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