Did you try out last year’s Critical Reasoning practice question? Okay, it was really only a few days ago, but that was 2013, and we’re fresh into 2014. Let’s start off strong with breaking down this GMAT Critical Reasoning question in a way that will allow you to grab points on GMAT Test Day.
Step 1: Identify the Question Type
The direct wording in the question stem clearly indicates a weaken question.
Step 2: Untangle the Stimulus
The conclusion here is that companies employing overseas call centers will be more profitable than companies that do not. The evidence is that these companies save more with overseas call centers than do companies that don’t use them.
Step 3: Predict the Answer
The argument, however, assumes that all other elements of the businesses will remain the same. As we head to the choices, we should be looking for a fact that creates a problem for these businesses—in other words, something that would interfere with their moneymaking ability once they decide to outsource their customer service operations.
Step 4: Evaluate the Choices
If, as choice (B) suggests, companies that export jobs lose favor with consumers, who are willing to compensate the companies that don’t export jobs by paying higher prices for their goods and services, it is far less likely that the companies using the overseas call centers will see higher profits. (B) is our answer.
(A) would actually strengthen the argument: if offshore call centers are competing with each other to offer the lowest-price services, American companies that use them will save even more money, potentially increasing their profitability.
(C) specifies a certain type of business function that cannot be outsourced, which is irrelevant to the argument.
(D) is also a strengthener; if the offshore call center employees are better trained, they can provide better customer service, which could contribute to the profitability of the companies that use them. Expect one or two answer choices in a strengthen/weaken question to do the opposite of what you’re looking for.
And (E) discusses the personnel who train the call center employees, another topic that is irrelevant to the argument (particularly because the cost of training is not specified).