Official Explanation:Regional manager of car dealership: Our salespeople have not been able to keep up with the sales quotas required by our state headquarters. In fact, the number of cars sold by nearly all of our current salespeople has declined in the last six months. In order to satisfy the state quotas, we’ll need to either hire more salespeople or replace some of our existing ones with new people.
The regional manager’s argument assumes which of the following?(A) The state sales quotas can be satisfied without replacing the current salespeople.(B) The current salespeople cannot substantially increase their sales numbers with additional training.(C) There has not been a statewide decrease in sales of the type of cars sold at the regional manager’s dealership.(D) The current salespeople whose sales have not declined in the last six months will eventually experience a decrease in their sales.(E) The profitability of the sales made at the regional manager’s dealership have not increased or remained current during the last six months.Question Type: Assumption
Boil It Down: The only way to satisfy the sales quotas is to either hire more salespeople or replace some of our existing ones with new people because our cars sold by all of our current salespeople has declined in the last six months.
Goal: Find the most logical assumption by bridging the gap between conclusion and evidence. Analysis:This is a necessary assumption question. This means that we are given evidence, and we are given a conclusion, and somewhere in between the author makes an assumption. We need to bridge the gap to find the assumption. Right now we have:
Evidence: the number of cars sold by nearly all of our current salespeople has declined in the last 6 months.
Assumption: ???
Conclusion: To satisfy the state quotas, we’ll need to either hire more salespeople or replace some existing salespeople with new people.
When we are trying to figure out the assumption of a prompt, we need to bridge the gap between the conclusion and evidence. Right now, this conclusion should raise questions in your head. If every single salesperson is declining, will hiring more salespeople or replacing the old ones help? What if there is some outside force causing sales to go down; like a global pandemic for example. Hiring more salespeople wouldn’t help that at all. However, because this is a necessary assumption question there are many possible right answers. We should make a prediction. In our assumption, we should make a prediction that makes the prompt more likely to be true:
Evidence: the number of cars sold by nearly all of our current salespeople has declined in the last 6 months.
Assumption: There are enough potential customers that, if we hired new or better salespeople, would purchase enough cars to meet our quota.
Conclusion: To satisfy the state quotas, we’ll need to either hire more salespeople or replace some existing salespeople with new people.
Remember all we are doing at this step is making a prediction. Our answer does not have to be exactly what we predict; rather, a prediction is to help us understand what an answer should/could look like. It gets our mind going in the right direction. If we can make a prediction that means we fully understand the conclusion and the evidence. Without knowing the conclusion and evidence in a necessary assumption question, it is very difficult to answer the question correctly. With this in mind, let’s look at the answers
(A) The state sales quotas can be satisfied without replacing the current salespeople.
This answer choice is the exact opposite of what we want. Our conclusion is very strong: the only way to meet our quotas is to hire more or better salespeople. This answer would only be correct if it said, “the state sales quotas cannot be met without replacing at least some current salespersons.” If the quotas can be met with our current salespeople, why do we need to hire more or better ones?(B) The current salespeople cannot substantially increase their sales numbers with additional training.
This is the correct answer. It helps make our answer more likely to be correct. Let’s plug it in to see:
Evidence: the number of cars sold by nearly all of our current salespeople has declined in the last 6 months.
Assumption: The current salespeople cannot substantially increase their sales with more training.
Conclusion: To satisfy the state quotas, we’ll need to either hire more salespeople or replace some existing salespeople with new people.
This makes our answer more likely to be correct because it gets rid of a possible alternative. Now that we know that training won’t help at all, it seems more likely we must get rid of our current staff. Remember that a necessary assumption does not have to prove the conclusion, only make it more likely.(C) There has not been a statewide decrease in sales of the type of cars sold at the regional manager’s dealership.
This is a tricky answer choice, but when you apply it to our evidence and conclusion it doesn’t seem to help, does it? This answer choice talks about a statewide decrease in sales, but how does this help prove our argument that we will need more or better salespeople? What if there was simply a massive decrease in our specific regions sales of this car, that was unique to the region but not to the state. Would hiring more or better salespeople help then? We are focused on the region itself, not the state.(D) The current salespeople whose sales have not declined in the last six months will eventually experience a decrease in their sales.
Assuming this is true, it does not help our argument. Even if the best performing salespeople decline, it doesn’t help prove that we need more or better salespeople. What if the lowest performers improved significantly? Could they have improved enough to compensate for the new decrease and still meet quotas? We can’t know for sure, so this answer choice is wrong.(E) The profitability of the sales made at the regional manager’s dealership have not increased or remained current during the last six months.
This is a classic logical reasoning wrong answer choice. We are talking about sales, the answer talks about profits. In real life, sales and profits are typically related one way or another, but for the logical reasoning we can’t assume that for sure. So what if profits are remaining the same? We are focused on the number of sales, not the amount of profits. Maybe their sales have decreased precisely because they chose to charge higher prices, giving them a bigger profit margin, at the cost of less sales. Regardless, it doesn’t help us prove that we need more or better salespeople to meet the quotas.NOTE:Something which should always be repeated during necessary assumption questions is that there are many possible correct answers. Sometimes it is hard to tell which answer choice makes the conclusion more likely to be correct. In that case, eliminating answers is just as much a skill as choosing the correct one. Some answer choices should be immediately eliminated from contention right off the bat. This is an invaluable skill. Even if you have to guess on some questions, eliminating 2 wrong answer choices and making a 1/3 educated guess is much better odds than eliminating nothing at all. In fact, even the best standardized test takers will eventually come to a question where they say, “Hmmm, I’m not sure why this is the right answer, but it must be because I’m confident the other 4 are wrong.” Eliminating wrong answers is certainly a skill.
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