PSAT Critical Reasoning Practice Test 4

Question – 1

1. In an unfinished but highly suggestive series of essays, the late Sarah Eisenstein has focused attention on the evolution of working women’s values from the turn of the century to the First World War. Eisenstein argues that turn-of-the-century women neither wholly accepted nor rejected what she calls the dominant ‘ideology of domesticity’, but rather took this and other available ideologies – feminism, socialism, trade unionism – and modified or adapted them in the light of their own experiences and needs.For the late Sarah Eisenstein’s quoted viewpoint to be logically correct, which of the following must be assumed?

  • A. In the period indicated, most women in the country had begun working outside their homes.

  • B. Turn-of-the century women shared, more or less, unanimity of opinion on the issue under consideration.

  • C. There was a singular divide between the mentality of working and non-working women.

  • D. Feminism played a dominant role in molding the mind-set of working women.

  • E. Working women were yet to gain social acceptability in the period in question.

  • Answer:B

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: Option (A) is totally unsupported by the passage and, as such, is untenable.When Eisenstein speaks of turn-of-the-century women as one cohesive unit, she obviously holds the view that there was, among them, unanimity of opinion on the issue under consideration. Hence, Option (B) is the correct answer to the question above.Option (C) addresses an aspect of the matter that has not been dealt with in the passage. As such, it cannot be an assumption that its author had made.Feminism has been mentioned in the passage as one of the many influences women of the period in question were exposed to, but the author does not assign to it any dominant role in molding the mind-sets of working women. Therefore, Option (D) is an incorrect answer to the question above.The passage does not take up the issue stated in Option (E), which, therefore, has to be rejected as an answer to the question under consideration.

Question – 2

2. The early trading companies differed strikingly from modern multinationals in many respects. They depended heavily on the national governments of their home countries and thus characteristically acted abroad to promote national interests. Their top managers were typically owners with a substantial minority shareWhich of the following is the most logical conclusion of the statements above?.

  • A. Modern multinationals are much more efficient than the early trading companies.

  • B. The role of modern multinationals is much more diverse and complicated than that undertaken by the early trading companies.

  • C. While the main aim of the early trading companies was to serve the national governments of their home countries, that of modern multinationals is profitability.

  • D. The top managers of modern multinationals are proportionately much better paid than were their counterparts in the early trading companies, because of which they do not need to supplement their income in any way.

  • E. While modern multinationals do not owe their allegiance to any specific country, their senior managers’ holdings in them are generally fairly insignificant.

  • Answer:E

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: Option (A) cannot be inferred or deduced from the passage.Unlike what Option (B) suggests, the passage nowhere deals with the diverse and complicated role played by modern multinationals.While the passage does say that the early trading companies were heavily dependent on their national governments, it does not state or imply that the prime motive of its activities was nationalism. As such, the point made by Option (C) is untenable.Option (D) is an unwarranted inference from the passage, and, as such, cannot be logically defended.Option (E) is a correct conclusion on the basis of the information provided in the passage. As the passage indicates, multinationals, by their very nature, do not have national governments; and the statement, given in the context of a comparison between multinationals and the early trading companies, that the top managers of the latter ‘were typically owners with a substantial minority share’, hint to the fact that, in multinationals, the holdings of senior managers are generally fairly insignificant.

Question – 3

3. A greater number of vegetables are sold in City X than in City Y. Therefore, the people in City X have better nutritional habits than those in City Y.Which one of the following, if true, most substantially strengthens the argument above?

  • A. The incidence of diseases related to vitamin and mineral deficiency is 20% more in City Y than in City X.

  • B. There are more restaurants in City X than in City Y.

  • C. Unlike City X, City Y boasts of an indoor sports stadium.

  • D. The vegetables sold in City X are generally a day old, because they have to be brought from far away.

  • E. City Y, having a colder climate than City X, has more meat-eaters in it than the latter.

  • Answer:A

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: Option (A), by suggesting that the said vitamin and mineral deficiencies are due to an inadequate intake of vegetables, strengthens the argument above.Option (B) is irrelevant to the issue at hand.Option (C) is totally unrelated to the question provided above.Since no-so-fresh vegetables are less nutritious than fresh ones, Option (D) weakens, rather than strengthens, the argument stated above.Protein being an essential part of good nutrition, and there being more protein in meat than in vegetables, Option (E) may be said to weaken, rather than strengthen, the above argument.

Question – 4

4. In 1977, the prestigious Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea, announced the opening of the first women’s studies program in Asia. Few academic programs have ever received such public attention. In broadcast debates, critics dismissed the program as a betrayal of national identity, an imitation of Western ideas, and a distraction from the real task of national unification and economic development.The conclusion that can be drawn from the passage is best expressed by which of the following?

  • A. In 1977, under Western influence, the Ewha Women’s University in Seoul announced the opening of the first women’s studies program in Asia.

  • B. The Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea, attained fame and prestige when, in 1977, it became the first university in Asia to open a women’s studies program.

  • C. The 1977 opening, in the prestigious Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea, of the first women’s studies program in Asia, was not without its share of controversies.

  • D. When, in 1977, the prestigious Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea, announced the opening of the first women’s studies program in Asia, it was viewed as a distraction from the real task of national unification and economic development.

  • E. The opening of the first women’s studies program in Asia in Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea, in 1977, was a historic occasion in the academic world.

  • Answer:C

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: As it is not mentioned in the passage that the program in question was set up under Western influence, Option (A) would not be a correct conclusion to draw from it.The passage implies that Ewha Women’s University was prestigious even prior to the opening of the program in women’s studies. Therefore, Option (B) constitutes an inaccurate statement.Option (C) effectively summarizes what the entire passage is about – that it was not only a first in Asia in the realm of women’s studies, but that it also generated controversy – and, as such, it is the correct answer to the question above.Though Option (D) makes a correct statement, it is a less satisfactory conclusion to draw from the passage than Option (C), as it does not touch upon the issue of controversies that the opening of the program in question generated.Since Option (E) enumerates one of the many viewpoints on the event under discussion, it is not a conclusion we can draw on the basis of the entire passage.

Question – 5

5. The issue of capping malpractice awards is a controversial one. On the one hand, health-care costs are rising so quickly that drastic measures are needed to contain them. On the other hand, when an individual’s life is ruined as a result of a doctor’s negligence, that individual deserves fair recompense. However, in the final analysis, I believe that by capping the awards at a reasonable amount, we can both lower the cost of health care and protect the rights of the victims of malpractice.The bolded phrases play which of the following roles in the argument above?

  • A. The first phrase states the author’s conclusion, and the second phrase refutes that conclusion.

  • B. The first phrase states the author’s conclusion that the issue in question is a controversial one, and the second phrase states the author’s position on the matter.

  • C. The first phrase states one of the author’s premises and the second phrase provides the argument’s conclusion.

  • D. The first phrase states an assumption of the argument, and the second phrase provides the conclusion of the argument.

  • E. The first phrase states a position, and the second phrase supports that position.

  • Answer:B

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: The premises in the passage are: one, that something needs to be done about rising health-care costs, and two, that an individual harmed by a doctor’s negligence should be adequately compensated. The conclusion, on the basis of these premises, is that the issue of capping malpractice awards is a controversial one.Option (A) is incorrect, as the second phrase does not refute the first.Option (B) is correct. The author here takes a position on the controversy by suggesting a remedy.Option (C) is incorrect, as neither is the first phrase a premise, nor is the second phrase the conclusion.Unlike what Option (D) states, the first phrase is not an assumption, and the second phrase is not the conclusion.Option (E) is inaccurate. The first phrase does not take a position, and the second phrase does not support the first phrase.

Question – 6

6. Because of a quality control problem, a supplier of flu vaccines will not be able to ship any supplies of the vaccine for the upcoming flu season. This will create a shortage of flu vaccines and result in a loss of productivity as workers call in sick.The answer to which of the following questions would be most useful in evaluating the validity of the statement above?

  • A. What quantity of flu vaccines does the supplier in question ship?

  • B. What is the quantum of shortage that will be created by this particular supplier not being able to fulfill his quota of supplies?

  • C. On an average, how many workers are afflicted by flu during the flu season?

  • D. Is there no available left-over stock from last year’s total supply of flu vaccines?

  • E. Can the flu vaccines in question be purchased from any other source?

  • Answer:E

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: As knowing the quantity referred to will in no way help in evaluating the validity of the statement above, Option (A) is not the correct answer to the given question.Option (B) is irrelevant to the evaluation of the validity in question.Answering Option (C) will not help in assessing the accuracy of the statement under consideration.Option (D) is redundant, as one has to assume that the answer to it is that, even if there is any left-over stock, it will not be sufficient to meet the requirements of the situation.Since the statement above will be valid only in the event that the shortfall in vaccine supply cannot be overcome through any other source, answering the question in Option (E) would be extremely useful in evaluating its validity..

Question – 7

7. What is it that keeps the developing world in an apparent state of perpetual poverty? Poor education, lack of basic medical care, and the absence of democratic structures all certainly contribute to these nations’ plight.Which of the following can properly be inferred from the statements above?

  • A. Developing nations will always remain poor.

  • B. Once the state of education in developing countries begins to improve, they will begin to come out of their poverty.

  • C. The installation of democratic structures will ensure the future prosperity of developing countries.

  • D. Developing nations need to attend to basic medical care if they wish to achieve satisfactory economic growth.

  • E. The main reason why the developing world is in an apparent state of perpetual poverty is yet to be stated.

  • Answer:E

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: While Option (A) is in the future tense, the passage above says nothing about the future of developing countries. Hence, this option is not valid.Education has been named as one of the factors, and not the only factor, that developing countries need to pay attention to. As such, Option (B) cannot be properly inferred from the statements above.The passage does not claim that the installation of democratic structures alone will suffice to ensure the prosperity of developing nations, and therefore Option (C) makes an inaccurate statement.Since the absence of medical care has not, in the passage, been made solely responsible for the plight of developing countries, Option (D) is not a logical inference one can draw from the statements above.The expression ‘ … all certainly contribute to these nations’ plight’ indicates that, what according to the author is the main reason or reasons for these nations’ plight, has yet to be taken up. Hence, Option (C) is the correct answer to the question mentioned above.

Question – 8

8. As a child in Waldorf kindergarten, I remember marveling with my friends at the water in which we washed the dishes from lunch, and how it was so hot that it felt cold. We have all had the experience of laughing so hard that we cried, or feeling so happy that it hurt. In optics we see the color orange at the point where the top of a poorly-lit window-frame meets the bright sky.Which of the following best resolves the apparent contradiction in the passage above?

  • A. The author is recalling an experience from his childhood, when the mind is not fully developed, and is therefore prone to illusions.

  • B. When we laugh so hard that tears come out of our eyes, we are still laughing, and not crying.

  • C. Polarity is more complicated that many seem to understand: one opposite may, at an extreme, become the other.

  • D. The examples given in the passage are dissimilar, and should not be compared with one another.

  • E. All the examples cited in the passage are various kinds of misconceptions.

  • Answer:C

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: Since the author does not only mention childhood experiences in the passage, Option (A) is not a logical stand to take.Option (B) refers to only one of the examples set out in the passage, and therefore it is not relevant to the passage as a whole.All the three examples cited in the passage above point to the validity of the view that polarity is more complicated than many seem to understand. Thus, Option (C) effectively resolves the apparent contradiction in the passage above.Since the author of the passage identifies a point of similarity in the apparently dissimilar examples he has cited, Option (D) stands invalidated.As some, if not all, of the examples given in the passage above can be verified by experience, Option (E) can be rejected as an erroneous conclusion.

Question – 9

9. . Some say that society defends the current way of doing things, known as the status quo, even after the current ways are outdated, wrong, or even unjust. Yet others argue that the stability of society relies on its members following the current norms and not questioning convention.Which of the following exhibits a pattern of reasoning most similar to the one exhibited in the passage above?

  • A. Some say that spirituality should be done away with, as its aims are not in keeping with the realities of the modern world. Yet others argue that a world without spirituality would be a world without sound values, and hence invite chaos.

  • B. Some say that this restaurant’s most popular dish is biryani, but others argue that it is more famous for its Chinese cuisine.

  • C. Though the weather in Chennai is generally warm for most of the year, this is in sharp contrast to the weather in Thimphu, which is usually cold.

  • D. Some say that we should go for a picnic on Sunday, as it is a holiday and everyone will be free. Others argue that it will be better to take a day’s leave and go for a picnic on a working day, as the picnic spots will be less crowded.

  • E. Some say that democracy is the best form of government. Yet others argue that democracy often tends to get chaotic in its functioning.

  • Answer:A

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: The pattern of reasoning of the passage above goes like this: some say that, for x reason/reasons, a factor, X, (here, the current way of doing things), suffers from this and that shortcoming. However, others point out that it confers such and such benefits.Option (A) exhibits the same pattern of reasoning as is used in the passage: some talk about the detrimental effects of spirituality, while others look to its positive side.Option (B) takes up two factors – biryani and Chinese cuisine. Hence its pattern of reasoning is different from the one mentioned in the passage above.Option (C) does not discuss contrary viewpoints on the same issue, and therefore is very different in its way of reasoning from the given passage.In Option (D), two sets of opinions are presented regarding the best day to go for a picnic. Had the different opinions pertained not to the day to be chosen but to the idea of the picnic itself, then the pattern of reasoning would have been similar to that provided in the passage. However, as that is not the case, this option is not the correct answer to the question above.Though, in Option (E), two differing views are expressed on the same topic, unlike in the passage, no reasons are given for either of the views. Hence, this option has to be rejected as the answer to the question above.

Question – 10

10. Our American culture pivots on our materialistic values. The ‘modern’ society that we see daily is saturated with unnecessary and wasteful objects. The American idealism that we hold so dear, as our identity, is slowly decaying amidst a storm of consumption and over-production. Perhaps Aristotle was right when he said that the best life is the simplest life. Modern society is much too concerned with amassing material wealth – that materialism has blinded our vision and blocked our paths to becoming a truly productive American society.If the above statements are true, which of the following conclusions is most strongly supported by them?

  • A. It is because of America’s materialistic values that it is a very rich country today.

  • B. Aristotle’s opinion of the best life is not applicable to the modern world.

  • C. When the author speaks of ‘a truly productive American society’, he actually means that America should stop producing unnecessary goods.

  • D. The American identity is that of a spiritual nation.

  • E. If Americans wish to improve the quality of their lives, they have to return to simpler ways.

  • Answer:E

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: Option (A) is not at all what the passage is about, and therefore it not a valid statement.Contrary to what Option (B) says, the passage implicitly maintains that Aristotle’s quoted opinion is probably as pertinent today as it was in his own time.In the final sentence of the passage above, the author uses the word ‘productive’ in the sense of ‘creative’. He is not here referring to industrial production. Hence Option (C) constitutes a misunderstanding of the given text.As an urge to adopt more simple ways is not necessarily a plea to become more spiritual, Option (D) has to be termed a sweeping generalization that is not supported by the passage above.Option (E) is an accurate summary of the intent of the passage, and as such it is the correct answer to the question above.

Question – 11

11. The media makes you think that you have to be skinny or buff. The media makes you think that you have to get rich and own lots of things. But you don’t. I see a whole generation, no, I see generations working as slaves of consumption. Working, working too hard to buy disposable things they’re told they need. Go sit by a tree in a calm place for two hours, maybe by a stream. You’ll see what I mean. It’s free and it gives more joy than that new designer watch can possibly give you.The argument above depends on which of the following assumptions?

  • A. The media has a harmful effect on the minds of most people.

  • B. People don’t need most of the disposable articles they buy.

  • C. Everybody has easy access to trees and streams

  • D. Everyone sitting by a tree or a stream or being close to nature for a length of time will enjoy the experience.

  • E. People should lead spiritual lives.

  • Answer:D

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: What Option (A) says has been stated explicitly in the passage, and therefore it cannot be an assumption.Option (B) reproduces what already exists in the text when the author says, ‘The media makes you think that you have to … own lots of things. But you don’t.’ Hence, it cannot be an assumption.The tree and the stream referred to in the passage above are not to be taken literally, but as examples of ‘nature’. As such, Option (C) is not a valid comment.In the passage above, the author takes for granted that everybody will prefer being close to nature rather than, for example, watching television or shopping in a mall. Therefore, Option (D) may be said to be an assumption on which the author bases his argument.Enjoying being close to nature has no direct link with being spiritual. Hence, Option (E) has to be ruled out as an answer to the above question.

Question – 12

12. Five minutes of yoga meditation every morning and every night will change your life. Your concentration will improve. Your grades will go up. Your stress level will go down. It’s a win-win.Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the author’s contention?

  • A. Yoga originated in India, but the percentage of Indians practicing yoga meditation now is smaller than earlier.

  • B. Only a small percentage of educated Indians practice yoga meditation.l

  • C. Though five-minute yoga meditation sessions may be a suitable length of time to begin with, most yoga meditation experts believe that one must meditate for a longer period to enjoy the benefits of the practice.

  • D. Yoga meditation has become a fad in many Western countries.

  • E. The true goal of yoga meditation is to find release from the recurrent cycle of birth, death, and re-birth.

  • Answer:C

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: Option (A) does not refute the author’s contention, since there may be many possible reasons why, today, fewer Indians practice yoga meditation than earlier.Many explanations could be given to explain the phenomenon described in Option (B), which may not necessarily have anything to do with the lack of effectiveness of yoga meditation. Hence, this option has no real connection with the issue in question.By quoting yoga meditation experts on the matter under discussion, Option (C) casts serious doubts about the recommended time required for meditation that has been put forward in the passage. As such, the information in this option undermines the author’s contention. Hence we can term this option as the correct answer choice.Option (D) is irrelevant to the question above.Option (E) in no way contradicts what the author has to say in the passage, and therefore it does not undermine the author’s contention.

Question – 13

13. Historians have long thought that America was, from the beginning, profoundly influenced by the Lockean notion of liberty, with its strong emphasis on individual rights and self-interest. Yet in his recent book, historian J.G.A. Pocock argues that early American culture was actually rooted in the writings of Machiavelli, not Locke.Which of the following is the most logical conclusion of the statements made above?

  • A. Early American culture was largely influenced by Locke’s views on liberty

  • B. Early American culture derived its inspiration from the writings of Machiavelli.

  • C. Individual interests did not play a prominent part in Machiavelli’s political thinking.

  • D. A difference of viewpoints has emerged regarding the character of early American culture.

  • E. Locke and Machiavelli had equal influences on early American culture.

  • Answer:D

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: The passage says that Option (A) is the view historians traditionally held, but that view is now being challenged. As such, this option does not constitute a logical conclusion of the statements made above.Option (B) reflects a new standpoint on the issue in question, but the passage does not commit itself to the opinion thus expressed. Hence, this option cannot be termed a logical conclusion that can be made on the basis of the above passage.While Option (C) constitutes a correct inference on the basis of the above passage, it pertains to only a section of the passage, and it is therefore not the best answer to the question asked above.Option (D) effectively summarizes the passage, and as such may be said to be an accurate conclusion of the statements made above. Hence, this option provides the correct answer to the above question.Option (E) is a matter of debate, and is not related to the conclusion of the statements made above

Question – 14

14. In Forces of Production, David Noble examines the transformation of the machine-tool industry as the industry moved from reliance on skilled artisans to automation. Noble writes from a Marxist perspective, and his central argument is that management, in its decisions to automate, conspired against labor: the power that the skilled machinists wielded in the industry was intolerable to management. In automating, the industry chose to implement ‘numerical control’ (N/C) technology rather than ‘record-playback (R/P) technology. While the former was digitized and computer-based, the latter inherently acknowledged workers’ skills.Which of the following pieces of information would be most useful in evaluating the accuracy of the author’s claim that the management of the machine-tool industry, in its decision to automate, conspired against labor?

  • A. Were there other contemporary industries as well that moved from reliance on skilled artisans to automation?

  • B. What were the levels of skill that the machinists in the industry possess?

  • C. How strong was the labor union movement in the machine-tool industry?

  • D. Were the two technologies in question equal in technical merit?

  • E. Did David Noble have sufficient technical credentials to write about the machine-tool industry?

  • Answer:D

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: The answer to the question asked in Option (A) would in no way help to evaluate the matter in question.Option (B) is not pertinent to the question of whether the management of the machine-tool industry conspired against labor.While the answer to Option (C) might be indicative of whether it is possible that the management was worried about the power the skilled machinists wielded, it would, at best, only lead to a hypothetical response to the issue. Hence, this option has to be ruled out as an answer to the above question.If the two relevant technologies were equal in technical merit, and adopting one meant laying-off more workers than adopting the other would have led to, a choice made in favor of the former would certainly indicate an attitude of conspiracy against labor. As such, Option (D) would certainly be most useful in evaluating the accuracy of the author’s said claim.Since Forces of Production was not meant to be a technical book, the author’s knowledge of technical matters relating to the machine-tool industry would not be required to be enormous. Hence, Option (E) does not pose a significant question in connection with the issue to be resolved.

Question – 15

15. Recently, local governments have increasingly come to recognize the advantages of the promotion of homegrown small businesses. Small indigenous businesses are created by a nearly ubiquitous resource, local entrepreneurs. With roots in their communities, these individuals are less likely to be enticed away by incentives offered by another community.Which of the following must be true on the basis of the statements above?

  • A. The economic development strategy outlined in the passage can only be implemented at another community’s expense.

  • B. The strategy discussed in the passage will ensure that indigenous industry and talent are kept at home, creating an environment that both provides jobs and fosters further entrepreneurship.

  • C. A proliferation of small indigenous businesses will interfere with the setting up of large industries in the area.

  • D. The confinement of people within their own communities will hamper national integration.

  • E. However ‘homegrown’ small businesses may be, there will always be the need to order supplies or raw materials from other localities.

  • Answer:B

  • Answer Explanation:Analysis: The above passage nowhere indicates that the strategy in question will have any negative effect on other communities. Hence, Option (A) is not a valid comment.Option (B) outlines the logical outcome of the given strategy, and therefore it is the correct answer to the above question.The author of the passage does not visualize any negative effects in connection with the implementation of the economic development strategy under discussion, and therefore Option (C) is not an accurate statement.Option (D) takes up an issue that is irrelevant to the above passage.Option (E) is neither necessarily true, nor does it logically follow from the statements made in the passage. Hence, it is a wrong answer option.

Score: 0/10

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