GMAT Critical Reasoning Question of the Day!

This Complete the Passage comes to you from the Official Guide!

Which of the following most logically completes the argument given below:

The irradiation of food kills bacteria and thus retards spoilage. However, it also lowers the nutritional value of many foods. For example, irradiation destroys a significant percentage of whatever vitamin B1 a food may contain. Proponents of irradiation is no worse in this respect than cooking. However, this fact is either beside the point, or else misleading, since ________________.

(A) many of the proponents of irradiation are food distributors who gain from foods’ having a longer shelf life
(B) it is clear that killing bacteria that may be present on food is not the only effect that irradiation has
(C) cooking is usually the final step in preparing food for consumption, whereas irradiation serves to ensure a longer shelf life for perishable food
(D) certain kinds f cooking are, in fact, even more destructive of vitamin B1 than carefully controlled irradiation is
(E) for food that is both irradiated and cooked, the reduction of vitamin B1 associated with either process individually is compounded

Here’s how we can break this passage down:

Irradiation = less spoilage, but less nutrition
Irradiation destroys vitamins (but no worse than cooking)

The “no worse than cooking” argument is misleading BECAUSE…we need something that continues to show that irradiation IS worse than cooking (“misleading”), or something that shows the comparison is not valid (“beside the point”).

A – doesn’t relate to cooking
B – doesn’t relate to cooking
C – about cooking
D – about cooking
E – about cooking

It comes down to C, D, and E. So how are they different? C shows 1 fact about cooking and 1 pro for irradiation. D shows cooking can be worse than irradiation, which is the OPPOSITE of what we want. (E) shows the comparison is not valid b/c the argument doesn’t take into account that combining the processes may be worse.

Learnist: Best Websites to Self-Study for the GMAT

Who needs to enroll in an expensive GMAT classroom course when there’s tons of free (or almost-free) reliable GMAT practice tests, strategy guides, and test questions online?

The official website for GMAT is at mba.com. Download the free GMATPrep software and take the two adaptable free GMAT practice tests. You’ll want to go over these GMAT questions with a fine tooth comb.

For $29, you can download three additional GMAT tests with “retired” test questions. There are also some other excellent free GMAT resources, such as two large pdf files containing all of the Topics for the AWA section, excellent GMAT practice for the Issue and Argument essays. This is your first-stop GMAT shop!

Learn about more great sites to study for the GMAT online on Learnist!

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 !