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Critical Reasoning on the GRE: Practice Questions and Explanations

Of all GRE Verbal question types, GRE Critical Reasoning questions can be especially frustrating, particularly if you’re encountering them for the first time! If you’ve taken an exam like the SAT that doesn’t have this question type, the logical analysis these questions require can feel unfamiliar. Luckily, there’s an easy solution to that–lots of GRE Critical Reasoning practice!

Try your hand at the GRE Critical Reasoning questions below, then read through the answers and explanations that follow. If you still want more practice, take a GRE practice test to get even better at this tricky question type!

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GRE Critical Reasoning Practice Set 1

NOTE: We’ve provided interactive buttons for you to select your answer as you go through these questions. This way, you can keep track of your answers and check your work. However, please note that there’s no option to submit them!

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?

The initial cost of manufacturing a Dvorak keyboard will be more expensive than that of a QWERTY keyboard.
Many who have attempted using a Dvorak keyboard claim that learning the configuration of keys takes weeks.
Those suffering from repetitive stress injuries often attribute the injuries to multiple factors.
Businesses that have educated employees on the benefits of the Dvorak keyboard, have found that employees continue to use the Qwerty keyboard.
Businesses have found that many employees who believe the Qwerty keyboard is responsible for stress-induced injuries are unaware of the Dvorak keyboard.

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Check your answers and read the explanation here!

 

2. Which of the following is an assumption upon which the author’s claim rests?

When deciding between two options, consumers and businesses do not opt for the solution that has fewer negative effects.
People’s reluctance to transition to the Dvorak keyboard does not have multiple factors.
Dvorak keyboards require users to relearn the configurations of the keyboard, a potentially time-consuming process.
The Dvorak keyboard can only become a viable alternative if businesses require their employees to no longer use QWERTY keyboards.
The range of finger movement is the sole determinant of typing speed.

Check your answers and read the explanation here!

GRE Critical Reasoning Practice Set 2

The median house value in Butlerville has fallen significantly in the last few months. Nonetheless, the number of homes sold has been at its lowest level in seven years.

3. Which of the following best explains the discrepancy?

The value of homes is not the only determinant of whether a house will be sold.
The neighboring city of Jacksonburg has seen a recent surge in home sales.
The Butlerville economy is struggling and the unemployment rate has reached historic rates.
Analysts predict that the number of homes sold will increasing in the coming year.
Homes priced over a million dollars have seen the sharpest decline in sales.

Check your answers and read the explanation here!

GRE Critical Reasoning Answers and Explanations

1. D

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.

 

2. B

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.

 

3. A

In Critical Reasoning, part of finding the correct answer is eliminating the incorrect ones. Of course, you have to have a good reason for eliminating the wrong answers. (This post helps break down the wrong answers).

(A) The value of homes is not the only determinant of whether a house will be sold. This answer choice may sound tempting, only because it may not be immediately apparent what the implications of the answer choice are. Even if there are other indicators of whether a home sells, what are these indicators? Regardless, our question of why fewer homes are being sold is not directly answered. Whenever you are unsure on an answer choice, do not feel you have to eliminate it right away. Come back to it if necessary. Often a much obvious answer choice awaits.

(B) The neighboring city of Jackson has seen a recent surge in home sales. This answer choice is Out of Scope, because we are trying to explain what is going on in Butlerville not in Jacksonburg.

(C)  The Butlerville economy is struggling and the unemployment rate has reached historic rates. Here is a good reason people aren’t buying homes. People are unemployed and not making money (you do need money to buy a home, after all). So now we have the answer as to why fewer homes are being sold. This is the correct answer.

(D) Analysts predict that the number of homes sold will increasing in the coming year. The coming year does not explain why so few house have sold in the current year. Out of Scope

(E)  Homes priced over a million dollars have seen the sharpest decline in sales. While this may be true, it does not explain why fewer people in Butlerville are buying homes.

A Final Note

Great job familiarizing yourself with GRE Critical Reasoning practice! For even more sample problems to test your skills, take a look at Magoosh’s 27 GRE Verbal Practice Questions (which also include answers and explanations!). ETS, the test maker, also has some great practice problems for you to try. Then, head over to our GRE Study Schedules to see how you can maximize your GRE study time. Good luck!

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