Below are two questions relating to a critical reasoning prompt. Neither question is easy – so if this is your first foray into GRE critical reasoning, read this post first.
For the rest, I do have a quick – but very important – preamble. Whenever you encounter a critical reasoning question on the GRE, always read the question. It is easy to give the question nothing more than a cursory glance after sweating through the argument. The prompt, however, is only important insofar as it helps you answer the question.
The Dvorak keyboard requires less finger movement than the ubiquitous QWERTY keyboard,. As a result, Dvorak keyboard users are not only able to type more words per minute, but are also less vulnerable to both repetitive stress disorder and carpal tunnel syndrome. Nonetheless, businesses, as well as consumers, have not adopted the Dvorak keyboard. Clearly, if the Dvorak keyboard is to become more widely used, its benefits must be more widely touted.
1. Which of the following, if true, most threatens the author’s conclusion?
(A) The initial cost of manufacturing a Dvorak keyboard will be more expensive than that of a QWERTY keyboard.
(B) Many who have attempted using a Dvorak keyboard claim that learning the configuration of keys takes weeks
(C) Those suffering from repetitive stress injuries often attribute the injuries to multiple factors
(D) Businesses that have educated employees on the benefits of the Dvorak keyboard, have found that employees continue to use the Qwerty keyboard
(E) Businesses have found that many employees who believe the Qwerty keyboard is responsible for stress-induced injuries are unaware of the Dvorak keyboard.
2. Which of the following is an assumption upon which the author’s claim rests?
(A) When deciding between two options, consumers and businesses do not opt for the solution that has fewer negative effects.
(B) People’s reluctance to transition to the Dvorak keyboard does not have multiple factors.
(C) Dvorak keyboards require users to relearn the configurations of the keyboard, a potentially time-consuming process
(D) The Dvorak keyboard can only become a viable alternative if businesses require their employees to no longer use QWERTY keyboards.
(E) The range of finger movement is the sole determinant of typing speed.
The argument believes that more people simply have to know about the Dvorak keyboard and they will begin using it. (D) casts the most doubt on the conclusion. If businesses have tried educating employees, but the latter have been reluctant, then simply making the Dvorak more widely known is not going to result in converts, the way the argument assumes it will. (B) does not directly weaken the argument the way (D) does. Sure, people claim they will take a few weeks to learn how to use the keyboard. That is not the same as saying they are unlikely to shift.
This one is tricky. The argument states that there is only one reason that people are not using the Dvorak: they do not know about it. Therefore, the argument assumes that there are not multiple factors for the Dvorak’s lack of success. (A) is misleading, mainly because it sounds reasonable. That is, in the real world, (A) seems like it would be true. For this argument, (A) goes against what the argument is saying. People and businesses continue to use the QWERTY keyboard despite the negative effects. (C) weakens the argument. Revealing an assumption is not the same as weakening an argument.