Critical Reasoning Practice

GMAT® Verbal Practice Questions

This GMAT verbal practice question is a critical reasoning question. You have to identify from the answer Options the one that best describes the response provided by the second speaker to a suggestion made by the first speaker.

Question

Alan: In the last 15 years, most of the criminals who were convicted of theft or murder were from the lower income classes and had not completed high school. Therefore, the government has to spend more money on reducing poverty and increase funding to education. Because terrorism is the most severe of all crimes, such measures would bring down overall crime rate and reduce threat from terrorism.

Dylan: A study that was conducted in a country known to produce a number of terrorists showed that on average the terrorists were better educated than the overall population and that they did not necessarily come from lower income classes. This is probably because crimes such as theft are committed for personal gain while terrorism is for political or religious gain.

Which of the following best describes Dylan's response to Alan?

  1. Dylan changes the direction of the argument entirely by discussing the scenario in a different country
  2. Dylan partially agrees with Alan's reasoning but refutes his recommendation to the government
  3. Dylan converts a causal argument made by Alan into a generalization applicable universally
  4. Dylan challenges Alan's reasoning by explaining why two situations that Alan perceives as similar are not
  5. While Alan arrives at a conclusion by drawing an analogy, Dylan arrives at the same conclusion by refuting the analogy

Explanatory Answer

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

    Alan’s argument is that the government should take steps to reduce poverty in an effort to reduce all kinds of crime from petty theft to terrorism.

    Dylan quotes a study in another country that showed that the motives behind theft and terrorism are not the same and that tackling one need not tackle the other.

    Essentially, Dylan agrees with one part of Alan’s argument (that financial reasons motivate theft), disagrees with another part (terrorism is not motivated by financial factors but rather political or religious factors) and hence believes that the recommendation made by Alan to the government would not be effective.

  2. Step 2: Eliminating Options

    • Option (A) can be eliminated because Dylan is not entirely changing the direction of the conversation. Even if the study he quotes is about another country, he is still focusing on the factors that motivate crime.
    • Option (C) can be eliminated because Dylan is not broadening but questioning Alan’s argument. For (C) to be true, Dylan must be saying something along the lines that the conclusion that Alan has drawn apply universally to all countries.
    • Option (E) can also be eliminated. The two are arriving at different conclusions but (E) claims that they are arriving at the same conclusion.
    • At first glance, both options (B) and (D) look like they are representing Dylan’s reasoning. However, Dylan is not refuting Alan’s recommendation itself but the effectiveness of the recommendation – He is not saying the government must not alleviate poverty but rather than alleviating poverty will not necessarily curb terrorism. Option (B) can therefore, be eliminated.
    • Option (D) works because Alan is assuming that what is true for theft is true for terrorism and Dylan is pointing out that it need not be the case.
Option D is the correct answer.

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