After successfully completing the CAT 2016 sprint series and the SNAP 2016 sprint series, we are back with the XAT 2017 – Critical Reasoning, Decision Making Marathon – 15 to boost your prep. This series will consist of 15 sets of questions that will test your reasoning skills and will enable you to do well in the crucial Decision Making section of XAT 2017.

You may check out the entire series here: XAT 2017 – Critical Reasoning, Decision Making Marathon

XAT 2017 – Critical Reasoning, Decision Making Marathon – 15

Directions: The questions in this section are based on the reasoning contained in brief statements or passages. For some questions, more than one of the choices could conceivably answer the question. However, you are to choose the best answer; that is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the question. You should not make assumptions that are by commonsense standards implausible, superfluous, or incompatible with the passage. After you have chosen the best answer, blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.

1. Activist: Any member of the city council ought either to vote against the proposal or to abstain. But if all the members abstain, the matter will be decided by the city’s voters. So at least one member of the city council should vote against the proposal.

The conclusion of the activist’s argument follows logically if which one of the following is assumed?

(A) If all the members of the city council abstain in the vote on the proposal, the city’s voters will definitely decide in favor of the proposal.

(B) The proposal should not be decided by the city’s voters.

(C) No members of the city council will vote in favor of the proposal.

(D) If not every member of the city council abstains in the vote on the proposal, the matter will not be decided by the city’s voters.

(E) If one member of the city council ought to vote against the proposal, the other members should abstain in the vote on the proposal.

2. Economist: Some critics of the media have contended that negative news reports on the state of the economy can actually harm the economy because such reports damage people’s confidence in it, and this lack of confidence in turn adversely affects people’s willingness to spend money. But studies show that spending trends correlate very closely with people’s confidence in their own immediate economic situations. Thus these media critics are mistaken.

The economist’s argument is flawed in that it fails to consider the possibility that

(A) one’s level of confidence in one’s own economic situation affects how one perceives reports about the overall state of the economy

(B) news reports about the state of the economy are not always accurate

(C) people who pay no attention to economic reports in the media always judge accurately whether their own economic situation is likely to deteriorate or improve

(D) people who have little confidence in the overall economy generally take a pessimistic view concerning their own immediate economic situations

(E) an economic slowdown usually has a greater impact on the economic situations of individuals if it takes people by surprise than if people are forewarned

3. Zoologist: Every domesticated large mammal species now in existence was domesticated thousands of years ago. Since those days, people undoubtedly tried innumerable times to domesticate each of the wild large mammal species that seemed worth domesticating. Clearly, therefore, most wild large mammal species in existence today either would be difficult to domesticate or would not be worth domesticating.

The zoologist’s argument requires the assumption that

(A) in spite of the difficulties encountered, at one time or another people have tried to domesticate each wild large mammal species

(B) it is not much easier today to domesticate wild large mammal species than it was in the past

(C) not all of the large mammal species that were domesticated in the past are still in existence

(D) the easier it is to domesticate a wild large mammal species, the more worthwhile it is to do so

(E) of all the domesticated large mammal species in existence today, the very first to be domesticated were the easiest to domesticate

4. Last winter was mild enough to allow most bird species to forage naturally, which explains why the proportion of birds visiting feeders was much lower than usual. The mild winter also allowed many species to stay in their summer range all winter without migrating south, thereby limiting the usual attrition accompanying migration. Hence, last year’s mild winter is responsible for this year’s larger-than-usual bird population.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the reasoning in the argument?

(A) Increases in bird populations sometimes occur following unusual weather patterns.

(B) When birds do not migrate south, the mating behaviors they exhibit differ from those they exhibit when they do migrate.

(C) Birds eating at feeders are more vulnerable to predators than are birds foraging naturally.

(D) Birds that remain in their summer range all winter often exhaust that range’s food supply before spring.

(E) Birds sometimes visit feeders even when they are able to find sufficient food for survival by foraging naturally.

5. Journalist: Newspapers generally report on only those scientific studies whose findings sound dramatic. Furthermore, newspaper stories about small observational studies, which are somewhat unreliable, are more frequent than newspaper stories about large randomized trials, which generate stronger scientific evidence. Therefore, a small observational study must be more likely to have dramatic findings than a large randomized trial.

Which one of the following most accurately expresses a flaw in the journalist’s reasoning?

(A) It casts doubt on the reliability of a study by questioning the motives of those reporting it.

(B) It fails to consider that even if a study’s findings sound dramatic, the scientific evidence for those findings may be strong.

(C) It confuses a claim about scientific studies whose findings sound dramatic with a similar claim about small observational studies.

(D) It overlooks the possibility that small observational studies are far more common than large randomized trials.

(E) It fails to rule out the possibility that a study’s having findings that sound dramatic is an effect rather than a cause of the study’s being reported on.

6. In several countries, to slow global warming, many farmers are planting trees on their land because of government incentives. These incentives arose from research indicating that vegetation absorbs carbon dioxide that might otherwise trap heat in the atmosphere. A recent study, however, indicates that trees absorb and store carbon dioxide less effectively than native grasses. Therefore, these incentives are helping to hasten global warming.

The argument requires the assumption that

(A) trees not only absorb carbon dioxide but also emit it

(B) most farmers do not plant any trees on their land unless there is an incentive to do so

(C) land that has been deforested seldom later sustains native grasses

(D) some of the trees planted in response to the incentives are planted where native grasses would otherwise be growing

(E) few if any governments have been interested in promoting the growth of native grasses

7. Does the position of a car driver’s seat have a significant impact on driving safety? It probably does. Driving position affects both comfort and the ability to see the road clearly. A driver who is uncomfortable eventually becomes fatigued, which makes it difficult to concentrate on the road. Likewise, the better the visibility from the driver’s seat, the more aware the driver can be of road conditions and other vehicles.

Which one of the following most accurately describes the role played in the argument by the claim that driving position affects both comfort and the ability to see the road clearly?

(A) It is the conclusion drawn in the argument.

(B) It is a claim that the argument shows to be inconsistent with available evidence.

(C) It is used to provide a causal explanation for an observed phenomenon.

(D) It describes evidence that the argument ultimately refutes.

(E) It is a premise offered in support of the conclusion drawn in the argument.

8. Physician: There were approximately 83,400 trampoline-related injuries last year. This suggests that trampolines are quite dangerous and should therefore be used only under professional supervision.

Trampoline enthusiast: I disagree. In the past ten years sales of home trampolines have increased much more than trampoline-related injuries have: 260 percent in sales compared with 154 percent in injuries. Every exercise activity carries risks, even when carried out under professional supervision.

The dialogue provides the most support for the claim that the physician and the trampoline enthusiast disagree over whether

(A) trampolines cause injuries to a significant number of people using them

(B) home trampolines are the main source of trampoline-related injuries

(C) the rate of trampoline-related injuries, in terms of the number of injuries per trampoline user, is declining

(D) professional supervision of trampoline use tends to reduce the number of trampoline-related injuries

(E) trampoline use is an activity that warrants mandatory professional supervision

9. Editorial: One of our local television stations has been criticized for its recent coverage of the personal problems of a local politician’s nephew, but the coverage was in fact good journalism. The information was accurate. Furthermore, the newscast had significantly more viewers than it normally does, because many people are curious about the politician’s nephew’s problems.

Which one of the following principles, if valid, would most help to justify the reasoning in the editorial?

(A) Journalism deserves to be criticized if it does not provide information that people want.

(B) Any journalism that intentionally misrepresents the facts of a case deserves to be criticized.

(C) Any journalism that provides accurate information on a subject about which there is considerable interest is good journalism.

(D) Good journalism will always provide people with information that they desire or need.

(E) Journalism that neither satisfies the public’s curiosity nor provides accurate information can never be considered good journalism.

10. Interior decorator: All coffeehouses and restaurants are public places. Most well-designed public places feature artwork. But if a public place is uncomfortable it is not well designed, and all comfortable public places have spacious interiors.

If all of the interior decorator’s statements are true, then which one of the following must be true?

(A) Any restaurant that has a spacious interior is comfortable.

(B) Most public places that feature artwork are well designed.

(C) Most coffeehouses that are well designed feature artwork.

(D) Any well-designed coffeehouse or restaurant has a spacious interior.

(E) Any coffeehouse that has a spacious interior is a well-designed public place.

Answer key:

1. B

2. D

3. B

4. C

5. D

6. D

7. E

8. E

9. C

10. D

Meanwhile, for those who want to solve quality questions from past year XAT papers, you may check out our ongoing XAT 2017 Sprint Preparation Series.

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