Analytical Reasoning Practice Questions
1. Gigi, a geology student, collected field samples of rocks. On one day, she observed that every rock she collected was quartz, and she collected every piece of quartz she saw. Which of the following can be concluded from her observations?
A. The only rocks Gigi saw that day were quartz.
B. Gigi collected all of the rocks she saw that day.
C. There were no other kinds of rocks in the field that day.
D. Gigi did not collect any rocks other than quartz that day.
E. Gigi did not see any rocks other than quartz that day.
2. “We cannot allow our workers to organize, because if they have a union, the union will go on strike. Our company cannot afford the down time. Since a strike would prove catastrophic to our business, we must prevent unionization at all costs.” What is the flaw in the conclusion?
A. In reality, unions very rarely or never go on strike.
B. It overestimates the influence labor unions have.
C. The motivations for a union strike are not stated.
D. Down time due to a strike could ruin the business.
E. It fails to consider the possibility of a compromise.
3. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased exponentially in recent years. Some parents blame vaccinations, but scientific research has failed to reveal any connection. Which of the following would best clarify the statements above?
A. It is the rate of diagnoses, not the number of cases that has increased.
B. New neuroimaging technology has enabled a higher rate of identification.
C. Vaccinations have increased at the same rates and times as the diagnoses.
D. Parents have intuition about their children that researchers do not.
E. Scientific researchers have not looked in the right places for connections.
4. Mr. Tramp has groomed his two grown children to inherit his vast corporation. He remarks that his son has the most comprehensive knowledge of the business, while his daughter exhibits superior skills in making common-sense decisions. He believes that together they will be able to successfully run the business. What assumption is inherent in this belief?
A. Knowing the business is the essential requirement to run it.
B. Common sense and business knowledge are both required.
C. Tramp’s corporation is too vast for just one person to run it.
D. Common sense is more important than business knowledge.
E. Tramp’s children will be supported by trained company staff.
5. Because my next follow-up doctor visit involves blood work, I will have a bruise afterward. For the statement above to be valid, which assumption is necessary?
A. Techs often have difficulty getting blood from this patient’s veins.
B. This patient has sometimes gotten a bruise after having blood work.
C. This patient has gotten a bruise every time after blood was drawn.
D. It will take several attempts for the tech to get a needle into a vein.
E. The patient will experience pain when the tech tries to draw blood.
6. “Free enterprise is characterized by competition, not monopoly, within an industry. The only choice for an electric utility for consumers in some areas is the ABC Power Company.” Which of the following conclusions can be made based on this statement?
A. A monopoly is defined as having no competitors anywhere.
B. The ABC Power Company exemplifies free enterprise.
C. There is no family competition in the ABC Power Company.
D. The ABC Power Company has a monopoly in some areas.
E. The ABC Power Company is a business that is publicly owned.
7. A reporter pointed out to his interviewee that a major wire service and a prominent newspaper found no evidence that the interviewee had reported for military service in a certain place and time period. The interviewee responded that the sources were “wrong” because they disagreed with his version of the events. He asserted that even though there was no evidence, he did report for service. Otherwise, he would not have received an honorable discharge. The fallacy in this reasoning is
A. that the evidence and the interviewee’s conclusion are contradictory.
B. that the evidence is right, and therefore the conclusion must be wrong.
C. that the evidence does not contradict the conclusion of the interviewee.
D. that the evidence is wrong, so the interviewee’s conclusion must be right.
E. that the evidence and the conclusion are contradictory, so the evidence is wrong.
8. A teacher asks each student in her class to write a short story that is relevant to his or her everyday life to impart a real-life quality. One student wants to write his story about the main character in one of his favorite movies. Which of the following is the best logical argument against this idea?
A. Using a fictional character is unlikely to reflect the student’s own everyday life.
B. Using the same writing methods results in stories with varying levels of effectiveness.
C. Using a movie character without obtaining permission would violate copyright laws.
D. Using self-reflection is necessary for writing short stories that are truly original.
E. Using valuable, instructional themes is more important than character popularity.
9. “This domestic red table wine is of excellent quality and is very affordable. It is comparable to an imported red table wine that costs three times as much. You won’t be able to tell them apart by taste. However, if you don’t want your guests to know which wine you are serving, you can decant it into a carafe so they don’t see the label.” What assumption is inherent in this promotional statement?
A. Most red table wine is produced domestically.
B. Imported wine is a status symbol to some people.
C. The duties on imported wines raise their prices.
D. Domestic and imported wines have different tastes.
E. Red table wine tastes better when served from a carafe.
10. “All reptiles have scales. All snakes are reptiles, so all snakes have scales.” What is the basis of this argument?
A. Inductive reasoning
B. Special knowledge
C. A logical syllogism
D. Ambiguous terms
Answers – Analytical Reasoning
1. D: Gigi only collected quartz rocks on that day because every rock she collected that day was quartz, so she could not have collected any other kinds of rocks. It is not necessarily true that quartz was the only kind of rock she saw that day; she could have seen other rocks, but not collected them. If this was the case, she would not have collected all the rocks she saw that day. If she did not see rocks other than quartz, or did see them but did not collect them, this does not mean they did not exist. Therefore, there could have been other kinds of rocks in the field that day.
2. E: This conclusion is based on only two opposite alternatives: a union or no union. It does not consider the range of potential compromises in between. It is not true that unions rarely or never go on strike; strikes are one of many tools in collective bargaining. As such, they are not the first or only solution. Typically, unions present proposals to management first. If the two disagree initially, they try to arrive at compromises both can accept. Ultimately, if bargaining fails completely, the union may declare a strike. The conclusion does not overestimate the influence of labor unions. Strikes are within unions’ purview when they deem them necessary. Rather, the statement jumps to the conclusion that a strike is immediately inevitable if workers organize, without considering other possibilities. If down time could actually sink the business, this would not make the statement’s conclusion flawed, but would support it.
3. A: A leading hypothesis proposed by scientists to explain the recent exponential increase in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) diagnoses is that the incidence of these disorders has not increased, but rather the identification of them has. This higher diagnosis rate is not enabled by new technology. While neuroscientists do use new imaging techniques to examine brain activity in diagnosed autistics, and have confirmed it differs from normal brain activity, neuroimaging is not yet used for diagnosis. This is still done by using behavioral observations and tests. Thus, neuroimaging technology does not account for more diagnoses. Greater awareness of and screening and testing for ASDs are likely responsible. Vaccinations have not increased at the same rates and times as diagnoses; immunizations have been standard for much longer. While parents undoubtedly have intuitions about their children that researchers do not, this does not explain why scientific methods have found that there is no connection between vaccines and ASDs. Though scientists might not be looking in the right places, this allegation clarifies nothing since it does not propose any alternatives for investigation.
4. B: Mr. Tramp identifies a different quality in each child. He believes they can successfully run his corporation together. This reflects the assumption that both qualities — business knowledge and common sense — are required to successfully run the corporation. Therefore, knowing the business alone is not enough. There is no assumption that the corporation is too vast to be run by just one person. This is not mentioned, and is not the reason Tramp believes his children should run it together. It is because each of them possesses one of the two necessary qualities. Since both qualities are required, it is not true that common sense is more important than business knowledge. Tramp’s belief in his children’s ability to jointly run the business is not based on an assumption of support by the staff. While they may receive support, this is never mentioned.
5. C: For this patient to predict that she will have a bruise after blood is drawn, it is necessary to assume she always gets a bruise after blood is drawn. Assuming the techs often have trouble getting blood from this patient’s veins does not necessarily mean that she will end up with a bruise later. Having had a bruise sometimes after blood was drawn does not guarantee it will happen this time, since it does not always happen. Assuming the tech will need several attempts to get the needle into a vein does not mean the patient will bruise later; she may or may not (though the risk of bruising may be higher with more failed attempts, there is no guarantee a bruise will develop). Assuming the patient will feel pain does not necessarily mean she will bruise later. Bruises can follow whether or not there is pain, and the patient may also feel pain and not bruise later.
6. D: The statement identifies competition, but not monopoly, as a characteristic of free enterprise. It says ABC Power is the only choice in some areas. In other words, it has no competition, implying it has a monopoly in those areas. The statement does not imply that a monopoly is defined as having no competitors anywhere. It only implies that in areas with no competitors, ABC has a monopoly. Thus, it does not exemplify free enterprise, as the statement identifies free enterprise as characterized by competition, not monopoly. There is no information in the passage to imply anything about family competition or lack thereof. There is also no information regarding public ownership of the company.
7. E: The fallacy in the interviewee’s reasoning is that because the evidence and the interviewee’s conclusion are contradictory, the evidence must be wrong. The fact that they are contradictory does not on its own represent the fallacy. Rather, the fallacy is assuming that this contradiction automatically means the evidence is wrong. The interviewee said the evidence was wrong, not right, and he did not find his own conclusion wrong. The evidence did contradict his conclusion, and he did not deny this. He did not use his assertion that the evidence was wrong to prove his conclusion right. Rather, he used the contradiction between the evidence and his conclusion to assume that the former, not the latter, was wrong, which is a fallacy in reasoning.
8. A: The only logical argument is that the assignment was to write a short story that the student found relevant to his or her everyday life to impart a real-life quality, so writing about a fictional character is unlikely to reflect aspects of the student’s own everyday life. The idea of the effectiveness of the same writing methods varying among individual writers has nothing to do with choosing a fictional character when asked to write a story relevant to one’s own life. While using material such as a character created by another author without clearance would violate copyright laws, this is not a logical argument related to the assignment condition of relevance to one’s own everyday life. In this situation, self-reflection and originality are not specifically required for the assignment, but relevance to the student’s own everyday life is. The issue is not the importance of thematic content versus character popularity, but the relevance of the story to the student’s everyday life.
9. B: The promotion states that the domestic wine tastes the same as the imported version, so (D) is incorrect. By assuming that some consumers won’t want their guests to know the wine is domestic, the statement implies that imported wine is a status symbol to them. The information that the domestic red table wine costs less than the imported kind does not mean most red table wine is made domestically (A). It cannot be inferred from anything in the statement that import duties raise the price of wines (C). Serving wine from a carafe is suggested in the statement as a way to hide its label and brand name, and hence whether it is imported or domestic in origin, not as a way of enhancing its taste (E).
10. C: In formal logic, a syllogism is an argument wherein the predicate of the conclusion is the major term of the major premise (the first one here). The minor term of the minor premise (the second one here) is the subject of the conclusion. Both premises share in common a middle term not stated in the conclusion. The general form is: “All A have C; all B are A; therefore, all B have C.” In this example, A = reptiles, C = scales, and B = snakes. The syllogism uses deductive reasoning to infer the conclusion. Deductive reasoning makes a specific conclusion based on general knowledge. Inductive reasoning is the reverse, making generalizations based on specific facts. The conclusion here is based on existing information, and does not depend on special knowledge. The terms are not ambiguous, which would imply they are unclear or open to various interpretations.