CRITICAL READING AND INFERENCE QUESTIONS

These questions examines your ability to read and understand complex material and draw valid conclusions from it.

Most of the critical reading and inference questions contain information or a short text and a question that relates to them. Sometimes, several questions may be based on the same information and the same instructions.

1. Charles Leadbeater: “The personal computer I am using to write this essay is composed of approximately the same amount of plastic, gold, silicon, copper, and other metals as the computer I used five years ago. Both pieces of equipment are fairly similar in weight and shape, but my present computer is twenty times more powerful than my previous computer. This difference is due to human intelligence, which rearranges the available materials in order to obtain more from them. This is the story of the economic growth that has occurred in the modern era.”

Q. According to Leadbeater, what is “the story of the economic growth that has occurred in the modern era”?

  1. Man’s wiser use of available resources makes it possible to obtain more from them.
  2. The constant development of new technologies makes it possible to produce a greater variety of materials.
  3. The personal computer which man developed makes it possible to do calculations faster and more powerfully than ever before.
  4. The improvement in human intelligence in the modern era has led to accelerated economic growth.

Leadbeater is using the changes that have taken place in the personal computer as an example of the factors leading to economic growth in the modern era. According to him, the computer he is using today is better than the computer he used in the past even though the materials that make up the two computers are more or less the same. The improvement is due entirely to man, who has found new ways to obtain more from the same materials.

Response (1) is the correct answer because it presents a general statement in this spirit: The materials that make up the computer are an example of available resources, and the computer’s improved power is an example of man’s wise use of these resources to obtain more from them.

Response (2) is incorrect. It implies that the production of an ever-increasing variety of materials is what propels economic growth, whereas Leadbeater stresses that there has been no change in the variety of materials at man’s disposal, and argues that it is human intelligence that propels economic growth.

Response (3) is incorrect. Although Leadbeater refers to the improvement that has taken place in personal computers, he uses it only as an example of economic growth in the modern era.

Response (4) is incorrect. Leadbeater does not claim that man’s intelligence has increased in the modern era, but rather that the economic growth in the modern era has resulted from this intelligence.

2. Fetal cells in the early stages of pregnancy are pluripotent cells, that is, they have the ability to develop into every type of adult body cell. As a pregnancy progresses, each cell undergoes differentiation into a specific type of tissue, and finally, specializes for performing a specific Researchers today are trying to develop a technology whereby adult cells will revert to their pluripotent state, making it possible to determine what type of tissue they will become. In the future, this technology may make it possible to cure disease by replacing diseased tissue with these cells.

Q. Which of the following statements cannot be inferred from the above text?

  1. The technology that researchers wish to develop will make it possible to transform specialized cells into pluripotent cells.
  2. Adult body cells are not pluripotent cells.
  3. Pluripotent cells are unique in that they have the potential to revert to their original.
  4. The therapeutic potential of pluripotent cells lies in the fact that they can specialize to perform any function.

This question presents four statements regarding pluripotent cells, three of which can be inferred from the above text, and one that cannot. Read the question carefully. The correct answer is the statement that cannot be inferred from the text. Keep this in mind when choosing your response.

Response (1) can be inferred from the text. The fourth line states that “researchers today are trying to develop a technology whereby adult cells will revert to their pluripotent state.” According to the third line, adult cells are cells that have specialized to perform a specific function.

Response (2) can be inferred from the text. The first four lines state that pluripotent cells are cells that have not yet differentiated to perform a specific function and that adult cells have already specialized to perform a specific function. Therefore, adult cells are not pluripotent cells.

Response (3) is the correct response because it cannot be inferred from the text. It is not stated anywhere in the text that pluripotent cells can revert to their original state. On the contrary, a cell’s pluripotent state is its original state.

Response (4) can be inferred from the text. The first two lines state that pluripotent cells have the ability to develop into every type of adult body cell. We can infer from this that in the future they may be able to replace any tissue in the adult body, including diseased tissue, and – as the last sentence suggests – therein lies their therapeutic potential.

3. Following an internet advertising campaign for the beverage Trix, the director of the advertising agency that launched the campaign conducted a survey and found that Trix’s sales were higher than those of the competing beverage, Platon. He concluded from this that internet advertising is more effective than advertising by means of other communications media.

Q. Which of the following does not weaken his conclusion?

  1. The price of Trix was reduced during the course of the internet advertising
  2. Trix’s sales were higher than Platon’s sales even before the start of the internet advertising.
  3. A widespread television advertising campaign conducted a year earlier did not result in an increase in Trix’s sales.
  4. During the advertising campaign for Trix, Platon was not advertised at all.

The director of the advertising agency found a difference between the sales figures of Trix and those of Platon, and explained this difference by the fact that Trix was advertised on the internet. He thus arrived at the general conclusion that internet advertising is more effective than other forms of advertising. His conclusion is based on several assumptions. If one of these assumptions turns out to be incorrect, it weakens his conclusion. Moreover, if there is another logical explanation for the director’s finding, it too weakens his conclusion.

Response (1) weakens the director’s conclusion because it offers an alternative explanation for the finding. It was not the internet advertising campaign that was responsible for the difference in the sales of the two beverages, but a reduction in the price of Trix.

Response (2) weakens the director’s conclusion because it undermines one of his basic assumptions– that Trix’s sales increased. The assumption in this response is refuted because Trix’s sales were higher even before the advertising campaign.

Response (3) is the correct response because it is consistent with the director’s conclusion. If, in the past, a television advertising campaign was conducted and it did not lead to an increase in sales, and now an internet advertising campaign was conducted and it was effective, it definitely supports rather than weakens the conclusion that internet advertising is more effective than other forms of advertising.

Response (4) weakens the director’s conclusion. Because Platon was not advertised at all, we cannot infer anything about the difference between internet advertising and other forms of advertising, and so, the director’s conclusion is less valid. This statement can also provide an alternative explanation for the finding, namely, that any advertising is better than no advertising. In other words, it was not the internet that helped Trix’s sales, but the fact that it was advertised at all.

4. A particular supermarket chain is offering the following two deals only: Any customer who buys at least two kilograms of oranges will receive a juicer, and any customer who buys at least two kilograms of apples will receive a salad bowl. These deals are conditional upon making a purchase of over 250 shekels.

Q. Which of the following is not possible with regard to this particular supermarket chain?

  1. A customer bought three kilograms of oranges and did not receive a salad.
  2. A customer bought items totaling 300 shekels, including one kilogram of apples, and received a juicer.
  3. A customer bought items totaling 300 shekels, including two kilograms of apples and one kilogram of oranges, and received a juicer.
  4. A customer bought items totaling 150 shekels, and received neither a juicer nor a salad.

To determine whether a situation is possible or not, check whether it is consistent with the information provided.

The situation described in response (1) is possible. According to the information provided, a person who buys 3 kilograms of oranges receives a juicer and not a salad bowl. Therefore, this response does not contradict the information provided.

The situation described in response (2) is possible. The customer bought many items, and although it is not stated explicitly, it is possible that these included two kilograms of oranges. Therefore, it is possible that the customer received a juicer.

The situation described in response (3) is not possible, and it is therefore the correct response. According to the information provided, only someone who buys at least two kilograms of oranges receives a juicer, and in this case it is stated explicitly that the customer bought only one kilogram of oranges.

The situation described in response (4) is possible. Since the customer did not make the minimum purchase required in order to be eligible for the deal, he is not entitled to receive either a juicer or a salad bowl, even if he did buy oranges or apples, which is not known.

5. After Shulie and her friend watched a televised announcement by one of the government ministers, Shulie said: “It is as if he is saying, ‘I’ll break the barrel and keep its wine.'”

Q. Which of the following is most likely to be the announcement to which Shulie was referring?

  1. Minister of Education: “The education budget will be cut, but the level of education will not be affected.”
  2. Minister of Transport: “I will speed up the laying of the railway track despite technical “
  3. Minister of the Treasury: “Taxes will not be reduced next year, despite the government’s “
  4. Minister of Defense: “In spite of what military commentators say, the professionalism of army officers has actually increased.”

Since it is impossible to break a wine barrel and keep its contents, Shulie is using the saying to indicate that the two things announced by the Minister cannot be accomplished if attempted at the same time. In her opinion, one negates the other. Shulie’s saying fits the Minister of Education’s announcement in response (1): According to Shulie, if the education budget is cut, the level of education cannot remain the same. She is comparing the budget cut to breaking a wine barrel, and maintaining the level of education to keeping the wine.

The saying does not fit the other announcements. In response (2), laying the railway track and technical problems are not mutually exclusive. The saying also does not fit response (3) which refers to a promise that will not be kept, or response (4), which refers to a disagreement between the Minister of Defense and military commentators. None of these responses contains two components that have the same relationship as the components in the saying.

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