Example Critical Reasoning Question: Trouble at the World Wide Wicket Company

On the GMAT, Critical Reasoning questions present you with a decision that someone has made and ask you to choose a statement that would either strengthen or weaken the justification for that decision. Consider the following example problem:Тимпания

At the World Wide Wicket Company, J. Pierrepont Finch decides to increase production of wickets even though sales last quarter fell by 10%. Which of the following, if true, would provide the best justification for his decision?

A. New legislation has been passed that will limit the World Wide Wicket Company’s planned expansion into new markets.

B. Although sales last quarter fell by 10%, sales the previous quarter increased by 20%.

C. The wicket business is seasonal and next quarter orders will likely increase.

D. Competing firms in the wicket business have also decided to increase production and begin new advertizing campaigns.

E. A book discussing strategies for professional advancement recommended that he increase production in order to impress his superiors.

Let’s carefully examine each choice one by one. If choice (A) were true, the the new legislation would most likely continue to limit sales since it is preventing the company from expanding into new markets. This would not be a good reason to increase production. Because past performance does not guarantee future success, choice (B) would not be a very good justification for the increase either. If the wicket business were seasonal, however, as choice (C) states, that would mean that certain times of the years were busier than others, and that even if business slowed down during the off-season, it could be expected to pick up again later in the year. This sounds like a reasonable justification for increasing wicket production. With the information presented, (D) does not make a convincing case for ramping up production, because the competing firms’ actions do not indicate weather the World Wide Wicket Company is in a position to increase production; furthermore, we do not even know if the competitors are justified in their own actions. As for choice (E), even if this book has served Finch well in the past, increasing production based on the authority of a book that does not know the particulars of the World Wide Wicket Company’s situation may be unwise and shortsighted. Even if this ploy resulted in a promotion, if it drove the company into the ground Finch would still have to deal with the consequences.

Thus, the best answer is clearly (C).

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