Parallel Reasoning Strategies: Part III

GMAT Gurus Speak OutNow that we’ve got the what and the how from Part 1 and Part 2, let’s tackle a full question!

Art Critic: The most important painters of the past paid artistic tribute to the schools under which they developed while eventually breaking away to create their individual styles. And no important painter lacks the ability to create emotion in the viewers of their art. Therefore, any painter who intends to create an emotional reaction in his or her viewer pays tribute to the schools under which they trained, while at the same time creating an individual style.

Which one of the following contains flawed reasoning that most closely parallels that in the argument above?

(A) Significant historical treaties always describe reparations between two nations, and no historical treaty fails to include terms of peace. If a treaty describes reparations between two nations and includes terms of peace, it is of historical significance.

(B) Without resilience, a Marine Corps commander cannot discipline his troops. Without discipline, a commander is incapable of leading troops into battle. It follows, then, that a great Marine Corps commander is both resilient and disciplined.

(C) The most remarkable lightning strikes occur in tropical climates, and no truly remarkable lightning strikes have occurred in places of high desert. Therefore, if a country’s climate is tropical yet also contains high desert, it is unlikely to have a high incidence of remarkable lightning storms.

(D) Any opera that doesn’t have a beautiful aria must have a complex orchestration, since the famous operas never fail to impress with both beautiful arias and complex orchestrations.

(E) Obviously, any interior decorator who desires to better his or her clients’ lives will listen to the personal design tastes of the clients. Any worthwhile interior decorator, after all, wants to improve clients’ lives, and no worthwhile interior decorator ignores the personal design tastes of the clients whose lives he or she is trying to better.

Step  1 – The X’s (“most important painters…”) did Y (“paid artistic tribute while…styles”). And no X lacks Z (“the ability to create…”). Therefore, any X who intends Z, does Y. In even simpler terms: X’s did Y. No X lacks Z. Any X who wants Z, does Y.

Step 2 – The author is failing to take into account that there might be unimportant painters who ALSO intend an emotional reaction, but do not follow the 1st criteria (paying tribute/breaking away). The correct answer choice will likely also have 2 pieces of premise + 1 conclusion dealing with intentions.

(E) is correct. Now the conclusion is placed first: Any X (“decorator”) who wants Y (“better clients’ lives”) will Z (“listen…”).  X’s wants Y, and no X (“worthwhile interior designer”) ignores Z (“personal design tastes”). In simpler form: X wants Y, will Z. X wants Y. No X ignores Z. The author is failing to take into account that there might be non-worthwhile painters who desire to better clients’ lives, but do not listen to the personal design tastes of the clients.

Remember: On Parallel Reasoning questions, take your time to fully understand the argument in the question-stem, it will allow you to move through the 5 arguments in the answer choices more quickly and eliminate incorrect options effectively. There’s no “shortcuts” for a solid grasp of the passage!

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Vivian Kerr is a regular contributor to the Veritas Prep blog, providing tips and tricks to help students better prepare for the GMAT and the SAT.