Practice GMAT Critical Reasoning Question

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Samuel is obviously a bad fisherman. During the past season, in which he and the five members of his team spent four months on a boat together off Dutch Harbor, AK, he caught fewer fish than any of his teammates.
Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument above?
Correct Answer: D

The conclusion to the argument is that "Samuel is obviously a bad fisherman" while the premise is Samuel's poor fishing performance relative to the peers on his fishing boat this past season.

The argument is flawed as the conclusion does not follow from the premise. The line of reasoning fails to take into consideration other possibilities for Samuel's performance this past season: perhaps Samuel fished with different bait. Similarly, just because Samuel caught fewer fish in one season than five other individuals does not mean that he is a bad fisherman. It simply means that he caught fewer fish than five individuals in one season. This season could have been an exception in Samuel's career or his teammates could be far above average.

  1. The same logical flaws are at play in this answer (except in reverse). Using one season and a comparison to the fishermen on one boat does not provide a wide enough basis to make a judgment about a fishermen's ability relative to all other fishermen. Comparing this past season with another season still does not help to explain Samuel's poor performance this season (whereas knowing that Samuel used experimental bait this season would provide a justification for why Samuel caught few fish yet was still not a terrible fisherman).
  2. Samuel's performance as a pilot does not relate to his ability as a fisherman. This answer is off topic.
  3. On first glance, this looks like a good answer. However, it does not consider whether Samuel's teammates were sick during the same period. Perhaps one of Samuel's teammates was sick for two weeks.
  4. This answer highlights something that made Samuel's fishing performance uniquely different than his teammates. Moreover, Samuel did not make the choice to fish with alternative bait--his captain ordered him to do it. If Samuel made the choice to fish with alternative bait, it would be his poor fishing judgment that would be at fault. Similarly, the answer makes clear that no other fisherman on Samuel's boat faced the same predicament.
  5. If anything, this answer strengthens the argument.

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