GMAT Challenge Question: The Red Stapler

Studying for the GMAT does not have to be a chore — it can certainly be made enjoyable through fun challenge problems! That’s why we try to keep things lighthearted (yet effective) when it comes to your GMAT preparation.

With that in mind, try today’s Cheerful Challenge Problem, channeling your inner Peter Gibbons in your pursuit of an MBA to become the next Bill Lumbergh. Do it right, and you just may have The Bobs eating out of the palm of your hand. Check back later today for the answer to this problem!

GMAT Critical Reasoning Question

Milton: I believe that you have my red stapler.

Boss: Yeah…we switched from the Swingline to the Boston staplers some time ago. So I am just going to have to go ahead and confiscate this…

Milton: But I was told that I could keep this stapler, it is a better stapler and it does not jam.

Boss: Sorry, Milton. Oh and I’m going to have to ask you to go ahead and move your desk to the basement…

Milton and the Boss are committed to disagreeing about whether_______________

A) Milton should move his desk to the basement.

B) The red Swingline stapler jams less.

C) Milton should be allowed to keep his red stapler.

D) The company previously switched to Boston staplers.

E) Milton needs to go ahead and come in on Saturday.

What do you think? Post your response (along with an explanation!) in the comments field below, and we’ll add the solution later today!


This is a unique variation of an Inference question, as the question asks for the subject on which the two parties must be in disagreement. They may well disagree on each of the answer choices, but only one of them is definite based on the passage.

The correct answer is C, as both parties mention the stapler, and each has a different opinion. Milton provides reasons that he should be allowed to keep it, and his boss denies him that opportunity and takes it. Because both parties explicitly express an opposite opinion about Milton’s ability to keep his stapler, they must be in disagreement about it.

As in any Inference problem, the other answers could be true, but are not necessarily true. It’s very likely that Milton does not want to come in on Saturday (who would?) and that he wouldn’t want to move his desk to the basement, but because there is no explicit evidence of either, neither is correct. Correct Inference answers on the GMAT must be true, so use that burden of proof to your advantage as you approach these questions on the exam.

Follow these and other steps to GMAT success, and you may one day be in a position to have as many as…four people working directly under you (or get a high-paying consulting job at McKinsey or Bain & Company as one of the Bobs).

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