Tough GMAT: Challenge Problem of the Day!

Try this question from Manhattan GMAT’s Critical Reasoning question bank!

Due to the increase in traffic accidents caused by deer in the state, the governor last year reintroduced a longer deer hunting season to encourage recreational hunting of the animals.The governor expected the longer hunting season to decrease the number of deer and therefore decrease the number of accidents. However, this year the number of accidents caused by deer has increased substantially since the reintroduction of the longer deer hunting season.

Which of the following if true, would best explain the increase in traffic accidents caused by deer?

(A). Many recreational hunters hunt only once or twice per hunting season, regardless of the length of the season.
(B). The deer in the state have become accustomed to living in close proximity to humans and are often easy prey for hunters as a result
(C). Most automobile accidents involving deer result from cars swerving to avoid deer, and leave the deer unharmed.
(D). The number of drivers in the state has been gradually increasing over the past several years
(E). A heavily used new highway was recently built directly through the state’s largest forest, which is the primary habitat of the state’s deer population.


This one is less of an argument and more of a straightforward premise, but we still will need to find the answer that best matches the reasoning behind the premise.

Conclusion: Longer deer season will decrease # of deer and # of accidents.

Evidence: Deer causing more accidents.

Assumption: Longer season = fewer deer overall

Question: Why are there more accidents?

Prediction: More deer, more drivers

A – This weakens the conclusion, but doesn’t answer the question.
B – Potentially, but kinda weak…deer wouldn’t necessarily come closer to cars just because they are used to people and the “easy prey” is irrelevant
C – Whether or not the deer are harmed doesn’t explain WHY there are more accidents
D – Potentially…This would explain why there are more accidents…but uses “gradually” which isn’t quite as strong…
E – Potentially…This would bring deer + drivers in closer proximity than D. Notice the strong language “heavily used”, “directly through”, and “primary.”

The correct answer is (E).


Learnist: How to Rock the “Bolded Statement” Questions on the GMAT

GMAT “Bolded Statement” (or “Boldface”) questions ask about the structure of a GMAT Critical Reasoning passage. Since they’re rare (and fairly confusing), many students struggle with them.

GMAT Arguments have a tendency to follow predictable patterns of organization and are always comprised of a conclusion, premise (or evidence), and assumptions. This is one of the core fundamentals in Critical Reasoning!

If what I just wrote makes no sense to you, you’ll definitely want to thoroughly review this Learnboard on Argument Structure before proceeding.

According to this article, here’s some sample bolded statement question stems:

  • In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?
  • The first boldface statement has what relationship to the second boldface statement?

Most of the bolded statement questions will follow one of these two lines: either asking about the “roles” of each boldface OR about their relationship to one another.

But remember that the REAL question behind the question will always be this: what function does each bolded statement perform within the argument?

To successfully decipher the given options, you’ll want to categorize each part of the passage and each answer choice with a predetermined, specific set of symbols. Make use of that yellow scratch pad! Here’s the symbols I like to use:

MC = Main Conclusion (the author’s argument or position)

OC = Opposing Conclusion (an argument in opposition to the main conclusion)

F = Fact (basic given information, backstory, premise, etc.)

A = Stated Assumption (think of this as part of the passage that “links” given facts/evidence to stated conclusions)

E (+) MC = Evidence Supporting Main Conclusion (this is what the author cites to support his conclusion)

E (+) OC = Evidence Supporting Opposing Conclusion (this is evidence that is cited in support of the opposing conclusion; it undermines the author’s conclusion and can also be expressed as E (-) MC).

Try out two free practice questions with full explanations on this board: How to Rock the “Bolded Statement” Questions !