Critical Reasoning Question 9-After WWII

The education offered by junior colleges just after World War II had a tremendous practical effect on family-run businesses throughout the country.  After learning new methods of marketing, finance, and accounting, the sons and daughters of merchants returned home, often to increase significantly the size of the family’s enterprise or to maximize profits in other ways.

Which of the following statements is best supported bu the information above?

A.  The junior colleges principally emphasized methods of increasing the size of small businesses.

B.  The business methods taught in the junior colleges were already widespread before World War II.

C.  The business curricula at junior colleges did not include theoretical principles of management.

D.  Without the influence of junior colleges, many family-run businesses would have been abandoned as unprofitable.

E.  Business methods in many postwar family-run businesses changed significantly as a result of the junior colleges.

Think you know the answer?

The correct answer is E.

This question asks, “Which of the following is best supported by the information above?”  In other words, what can be inferred from the stated material?  The author in this question discusses the impact of junior colleges on family-run businesses.  Evidence.  These colleges introduced people to new methods that were often successfully applied to family-run businesses.  Conclusion:  These colleges had a tremendous effect on family-run businesses.

A good inference will not go beyond this scope or read too much into particular detail.  We go through the choices on Inference questions, because it’s hard to predict what the correct answer will be.

In (A) the disqualifying word is principally.  The information presented does not specify what the junior colleges emphasized.  This choice reads too much into the fact that often family businesses increased in size because of the newly acquired knowledge.  (B) is wrong because we really can’t infer how popular or widespread these methods were before the war.  For all we know these could have been revolutionary techniques or well-kept secrets. In (C), we know junior colleges taught new methods of marketing and finance and stuff like that; we do not know how much management theory was or was not presented.  This choice relies on data we aren’t given, a sure sign of an incorrect or unwarranted inference.  In (D), all we are really told is that many family-run businesses became more profitable.  It is possible that many family-run businesses could have been abandoned as unprofitable had it not been for the junior colleges, but nothing suggests that there necessarily would have been a significant number of business failures without colleges.

(E) is certainly true.  Business methods did change because of the education.  Notice how non biased this statement is,coming directly from the information given.  Often, people find the correct choice to be too obvious in Critical Reasoning questions; often it’s just that straightforward.

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