Here are some examples of Inference questions that may appear on the GMAT exam and the best way to solve them.
According to a recent report on higher education in the United States, the fifteen universities with the highest annual tuition fees also gave out the largest financial aid awards to incoming students with outstanding achievements. Because of a belief in equal opportunity, these universities are able to redistribute resources from those who can give them to those who deserve them by virtue of their merits.
Which of the following can be correctly inferred from the statement above?
(A) Following a belief in equal opportunity is a good way to mask charging higher tuition fees
(B) It is possible for a university that believes in equal opportunity to put different financial demands on different students
(C) A University that offers large financial aid awards must do so because it believes in equal opportunity
(D) Universities that have high tuition fees tend to give out lots of financial aid
(E) Universities that have large endowments tend to give out lots of financial aid
*How to approach the question: here are the facts, here are the premises, which of the statements must follow. If it must follow that means that it can’t be an opinion, require additional evidence to make it true, nor can it be something that goes outside the argument. The correct answer is (B). We know this because this report talks about 15 universities that does what is stated in (B). We need to know that here is at least one example. (D) is the tempting wrong answer, but there is an extra piece of info that we need to make (D) correct: we don’t know if these 15 universities actually have the highest tuition fees. (E) is tempting but it is wrong because it requires a tiny amount more of information, whereas (B) does not require any more information. The correct answer gets overlooked sometimes because it looks a bit boring. (A) and (C) rely on opinion; they are hopeless answers. (E) talks about endowments and the question was not about endowments but it was about tuition fees, so it would be a stretch to go for (E).
Although aspirin has been proven to eliminate moderate fever associated with some illnesses, many doctors no longer routinely recommend its use for this purpose. A moderate fever stimulates the activity of the body’s disease-fighting white blood cells and also inhibits the growth of many strains of disease-causing bacteria.
If the statements above are true, which of the following conclusions is most strongly supported by them?
(A) Aspirin, an effective painkiller, alleviates the pain and discomfort of many illnesses.
(B) Aspirin can prolong a patient’s illness by eliminating moderate fever helpful in fighting some disease.
(C) Aspirin inhibits the growth of white blood cells, which are necessary for fighting some illnesses.
(D) The more white blood cells a patient’s body produces, the less sever the patient’s illness will be.
(E) The focus on modern medicine is on inhibiting the growth of disease-causing bacteria within the body.
*(B) is the correct answer because it is a restatement of the original argument. (A) is a logical leap. (C) simply misstates the argument. (D) is a trap answer. (E) is a statement of opinion and that’s why we can eliminate that is the correct answer.
An electric piano designed to have perfect frequency for each note would sound different than the best Baldwin or Steinbach Grand Piano currently available.
To professional pianists, a piano that sounds different from the best Grand Pianos sounds less like a piano and therefore worse than the best-sounding existing pianos.
Professional pianists are the only accepted judges of the quality of pianos.
Which of the following would be best supported by these statements?
(A) Only amateur pianists should be asked to judge the sound of electric pianos.
(B) Professional pianists assist in designing electric pianos
(C) The best sounding grand pianos have been around for over one hundred years
(D) It is currently impossible to create an electric piano that accepted judges will evaluate as being an improvement on existing grand pianos
(E) It is possible to create an electric piano that sounds better to everyone except a professional pianist.
*We first look at the question stem and we see “best supported” telling us that it is an inference question. We can get rid of (A) because it is an opinion and not a fact. (C) is incorrect because it is not supported by the statement. (B) is wrong because we don’t have information on the role of pianist in designing pianos. (B) is a classic trap answer. The correct answer is (D) because it is a restatement of the argument.
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