1

The following is taken from the Princeton Review's Cracking the GRE, 2013 Edition. Can someone please help me understand why choice (C) is offered as the correct answer? I know my confusion stems from my faulty analysis of the argument (attached at the end), but I am just unable to identify the gaps of reason from here. I would appreciate any insight on the matter.

Over the last several decades, the demand for Country Y’s auto-mobiles increased in Country X but demand for Country X’s auto-mobiles in Country Y has remained stagnant. Initially, this disparity was plausibly due to Y’s manufacturers having superior technology, which has yielded more fuel efficient cars with cheaper maintenance. However, now Country X’s cars are comparable—if not slightly superior—in these respects. What Country X’s manufacturers fail to acknowledge is that Country Y’s drivers drive on the left side of the road. Clearly, to help lessen this trade imbalance, Country X manufacturers should produce more cars with right-side steering wheels.

Which of the following is an assumption made by the argument?

(A) Reversing the trade imbalance requires making [right-hand-drive cars].

(B) If Country X makes auto-mobiles with right-side steering wheels, most consumers from Country Y will chose to purchase a car from Country X.

(C) If consumers from Country Y drive on the left side of the road, these consumers are less inclined to buy [cars built with] steering wheels on the left-side of the car.

(D) Cars from Country X will continue to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their maintenance costs.

(E) The government of Country Y requires all its citizens to purchase cars with right-side steering wheels.


My Analysis:

Conclusion: to help lessen the trade imbalance, country X's manufacturers should produce more cars with right-side steering wheels.

Premise No.1: country X's manufacturers have upgraded their technology and cut their maintenance costs to match that of country Y's manufacturers, but there still exists a trade imbalance

Premise No.2: country Y's drivers drive on the left side of the road.

Assumption: trade balance, and therefore offsetting any imbalance, is dependent on the manufacturer's technology, maintenance cost, and assigned location of the steering wheel.

Answer Key Explanation:

Choice (A) is not necessary—it strengthens the argument. In fact, it guarantees that the conclusion is true, but it’s not the assumption. I don’t need reversing the trade imbalance to require the plan advocated in the passage. I only need the plan to help lessen the imbalance. The same problem exists in choice (B): I don’t need most consumers from Y to purchase cars from X in order to help lessen the trade imbalance. Choice (C) says that if they are not inclined to buy them, then the plan is no good. Thus, this is essential to the plan working. Choice D is not necessary: I don’t need Country X’s cars to continue to improve. I only need them to continue to be comparable to Country Y’s cars. Choice (E) makes me like the plan but it is not essential. I don’t need the preference for right side steering wheels to be government-mandated.

3
  • 1
    Note that hypothesis (C) is not stated overtly in the excerpt from the review. Assume instead hypothesis (C') that 'Most drivers in Country Y perversely prefer buying left-hand-drive cars (ie those with left-side steering wheels) because they feel they are more macho'. Would the same conclusion (as in your analysis) be sensible? So which assumption (C or C') is tacitly made in the excerpt? Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 6:26
  • @EdwinAshworth, thank you both for the edit and your clarification. Although, I have to give your explanation a little more time to sink in. My mind is on overload right now! It's really frustrating to study months after months only to get these type of questions wrong yet again. Not that any of that is your problem; sorry and thank you again!
    – Mehdi
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 7:49
  • 1
    A is more in-line with a conclusion. In fact, is a conclusion that we are drawing. Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 15:25

1 Answer 1

3

Please note the question, what is the assumption made by the argument.

In order for the entire argument to be valid, we have to assume that

(C) If consumers from Country Y drive on the left side of the road, these consumers are less inclined to buy [cars built with] steering wheels on the left-side of the car.

And the presumption is that it is the only factor is stopping Country Y drivers to opt for Country X cars, as the argument supposes that every other reason favors, Country X cars.This is a matter of personal preference and cannot be quantified and hence is an assumption which is critical to the argument.

2
  • Thank you! I think I'm beginning to understand! Just as an aside, if choice (A) strengthens the argument and makes sure that the conclusion is true, and at the same time is NOT an assumption according to the answer key, then do you know by any chance what we might call it?
    – Mehdi
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 8:00
  • 1
    Yes; I'm with you in thinking that this ((A)) should be labelled a 'deduction' (you might say – in fact you do! – conclusion) which follows logically (though there may be other unmentioned factors that also need to be taken into consideration) if hypothesis (C) is correct. The 'Answer Key Explanation' seems rather unhelpful to me. Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 8:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.