GMAT Critical Reasoning Practice Test 05


It is often thought that our own modern age is unique in having a large number of people who live into old age. It has frequently been assumed that plagues, wars, and harsh working conditions killed off most people in previous ages before they could reach old age. However, recent research shows that in 17th century Europe, for example, people over sixty comprised 10 percent of the population. The studies also revealed that although infant mortality remained high until the 20th century in Europe, people who survived to adulthood could expect to live to be old.

The portions in boldface play which of the following roles in the argument above?

A. The first is a conclusion that the author supports. The second is data that contradicts that conclusion.
B. The first is a finding that the author contests. The second is a finding that the author accepts.
C. The first is an assumption that the author thinks is invalid. The second is data that validates that assumption.
D. The first is a position that the author opposes. The second is a finding that supports the author’s position.
E. The first is a position that the author opposes. The second is an assumption which, if valid, negates the author’s view.


A marriage counselor noted that couples who have occasional violent arguments are less likely to divorce within the next six months than those who have frequent but less violent arguments. He concluded that frequent arguing is a major factor in the causation of severe marital disharmony.

The counselor’s conclusion is most weakened by which of the following observations?

A. Couples who have already come to the point of divorce argue continuously over small matters.
B. People who have recently divorced are more likely to argue violently when they meet.
C. Many people in happy marriages have occasional violent arguments.
D. Recently divorced people rarely cite frequent arguments as a cause of marital disharmony
E. A significant fraction of couples close to divorce do not talk to each other.


The Dean claimed that, as a result of continued cutbacks in the budget for pure science research, fewer students are choosing a career in physics, and therefore the number of postgraduate students studying physics is likely to decline.

Which of the following, if true, casts most doubt on the Dean’s conclusion?

A. The number of students majoring in physics at the undergraduate level has been increasing steadily over the years, a trend that is expected to continue.
B. The number of students studying chemistry declined even before cutbacks in research funding were noted.
C. Most postgraduate students of physics move to careers in computer science and engineering.
D. The Dean’s own university has recently increased the number of staff members teaching physics.
E. The budget cutbacks are less severe for the pure sciences than for applied sciences.


A nature conservancy expert found little support for his campaign to protect toads. He suggested that, even thought the campaign highlighted the vital role the toads played in the ecology of the region, people were unenthusiastic about saving toads as these animals are perceived as unpleasant creatures, and people seldom feel passionate about animals with which they have no positive feelings.

The expert’s opinion would be most strengthened by which of the following observations?

A. Ecological conservation is an increasingly important concern in the region.
B. A recent campaign to save bats achieved a measure of success only after a cartoon bat was adopted as the mascot of the local football team.
C. Snakes and lizards also need protection in this region as a result of human activity.
D. The campaign to protect toads has been in existence for over five years and yet the toad population continues to decline.
E. The children in the local schools were found to have a greater aversion to toads than to snakes.


Many people report that exposure to certain foods such as cheese, red wine, and chocolate, are associated with the onset of migraine headaches. Other people report that exposure to certain smells (especially strong perfumes) seems to trigger a migraine headache, and some note that exposure to bright and flickering lights can be followed by a migraine. It would seem that a person with a tendency to get migraines should try to find which of these situations is associated with the onset of the headache and then avoid this stimulus.

All of the following, if true, would indicate potential problems with the recommendation above except

A. the time delay between the trigger and the onset of the headache can make it exceptionally difficult to identify the trigger
B. the presence of a known trigger doesn’t always cause a migraine
C. in many cases an internal hormonal change triggers a migraine
D. in a high proportion of cases the patients report multiple triggers for their headaches
E. most of the known triggers are common and almost unavoidable features of modern life


It is strange that in Sentacity there are so many corner shops selling food items. After all there are many supermarkets in the city which sell food at cheaper prices, and many of these supermarkets are open 24-hours.

Which of the following, if true, would be of least help in explaining the paradoxical observation?

A. The corner shops are selling specialist food items not available in the supermarkets.
B. The supermarkets are mostly located on the outskirts of the city and require residents to use cars or public transport to reach them.
C. The main business of the local shops is newspaper distribution and food items represent a small part of their turnover.
D. The corner shops are mainly family-owned businesses and have been there for much longer than the supermarkets and are perceived as an important feature of the community.
E. The corner shops are willing to make home deliveries.

Test information

Q 6 questions

Time 10 minutes

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