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This article titled ‘How to solve questions related to Inference: Tricks and Practice Questions’ is written by Aditya Kumar and discusses how to solve questions related to inference.
I. What is inference?
The dictionary meaning of the term inference is to derive by reasoning and this is exactly what you will be required to do on Inference Questions arrive at an answer that is not explicitly stated in the passage but that can be definitely concluded given the information in the passage. It is a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.
Last year three automobile manufacturers—Honda, Toyota, and Suzuki— launched new models of their respective sedans in Japan. The three models that were launched were similarly priced and had similar features. However, the sales of Suzuki’s new sedan have been far lower than those of Honda and Toyota’s new sedans in the past one year.
The statements above best support which of the following as a conclusion?
(A) The people in Japan prefer cars manufactured by Toyota and Honda to those manufactured by Suzuki.
(B) The people in Japan do not like cars manufactured by Suzuki.
(C) Cars manufactured by Suzuki are notorious for their flimsy build quality and poor fuel efficiency.
(D) In the last one year, Suzuki has earned less revenues from the sale of its new sedan than have Honda and Toyota.
(D) The correct answer. The argument tells us that the three new sedans are similarly priced. Then if Suzuki has sold fewer cars (and by a large margin) than have Honda and Toyota, its revenues from the sale of this new sedan have to be lower than those of Honda and Toyota. This option must be true in all cases and, hence, has to be the correct answer.
II. Difference between assumption and inference
Assumption → Argument → Inference
The assumption is what leads to the argument or what logically completes the argument. Without the assumption, the argument will be logically incomplete. The inference then follows from this argument. Hence, Assumption comes before the argument and Inference comes after the argument.
III. How to approach assumptions questions?
- First read the stimulus. If it does not contain an argument or a discrepancy, then it will most likely be an Inference question.
- Read the question critically. Inference questions can often be worded in a tricky manner. Make sure you’ve correctly understood whose point of you need to answer from.
- They use subjective words such as imply, infer, suggest, most likely agree, least likely agree, etc.
- Do not bother predicting the answer; immediately jump to the answer choices.
- Don’t spend too much time on each answer choice. Take a quick look at all five answer choices (maybe spending 10 seconds on each) and eliminate ones that are outside the scope of the argument.
- By now you should’ve ideally narrowed down your choice to two or three options. Go through these options again and eliminate the ones that are extreme or strongly worded
- In case you have more than one possibility for the correct answer, read the stimulus once again and try to identify the option that must be true based on this stimulus.
IV. Tips for Inference Questions
- Never use outside knowledge to answer Inference Questions: If you avoid extreme options, you will automatically end up avoiding the use of outside knowledge while evaluating answer choices. For example, in the Suzuki argument, if you are aware that in real life, Suzuki makes cars that are of a flimsy build quality or that are primarily meant for exports, then this may color your judgment and make you select the wrong answer choice.
- Don’t bother predicting the answer: Because multiple inferences can be arrived at from a given stimulus, it doesn’t make sense to predict the answer. Instead, look at each answer choice and try to eliminate extreme options or those that are outside the scope of the argument.
- Avoid Explain Answers: A common wrong-answer trap in Inference questions is an answer choice that explains the situation in the stimulus. These options will look extremely logical to you but remember that the question is not asking you to explain the stimulus but to infer something from the stimulus.
- Inference does not mean to summarize the stimulus: An inference does not have to provide a logical conclusion to the stimulus nor does it have to be a summary of the stimulus. It just has to be a fact that can most definitely be concluded on the basis of the information provided in the stimulus. It goes without saying that there can be multiple inferences that can be arrived at from a given stimulus.
- Always avoid extreme answer choices: It is human nature to read too much between the lines. In fact, this quality may even be beneficial or an asset in real life. However, on the CLAT, this will prove to be a liability. If you read too much between the lines, you will almost always end up with extreme or strongly worded answer choices, which will most likely never be the correct answer to an Inference question. So, avoid options containing words such as must, always, only, cannot be determined, etc. Instead go with options that contain vague words such as usually, maybe, might, sometimes, possibly, etc.
V. Practice questions based on assumption
1. Curbing government spending has been demonstrated to raise the value of a country’s currency over time. However, many economists no longer recommend this policy. A currency of lesser value causes a country’s exports to be more competitive in the international market, encouraging domestic industries and making the economy more attractive to foreign investment.
The statements above most strongly support which of the following inferences?
- Limited government spending can also lead to a reduction in the national deficit.
- Curbing government spending can make a country’s exports less competitive.
- Many economists now recommend higher levels of government spending.
- An increase in the value of a currency will result in reduced government spending.
2. As soon as the suspect ran out of the bank, he started shooting at the policemen standing on the corner. As he ran away, he kept firing back at the policemen. The policemen took cover and returned fire. One policemen hit the suspect just as he was about to get into a waiting car. As the police approached, the car sped away without the suspect, allowing the police to apprehend and arrest the suspect.
Which of the following inferences is best supported by the passage?
- The suspect robbed the bank.
- The suspect was not as good a marksman as were some of the police.
- The suspect’s accomplices, all armed with guns, were in the waiting car.
- If the suspect had not been hit, he would have fled the scene in the car.
3. Dear Applicant: Thank you for your application. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a position in our local government office for the summer. As you know, funding for summer jobs is limited, and it is impossible for us to offer jobs to all those who want them. Consequently, we are forced to reject many highly qualified applicants.
Which of the following can be inferred from the letter?
- The number of applicants for summer jobs in the government office exceeded the number of summer jobs available.
- The applicant who received the letter was considered highly qualified.
- Very little funding was available for summer jobs in the government office.
- The application of the person who received the letter was considered carefully before being rejected.
- (B) is correct, since it follows directly from the premises. According to the argument, curbing government spending can raise a currency’s value. A weaker currency makes a country’s exports more competitive. A stronger currency, then, would make a country’s exports less competitive than they would have been with a weaker currency. Thus, curbing government spending CAN make a country’s exports less competitive. Notice that the word can makes this answer choice a very limited claim. This choice does not state that curbing government spending will make a country’s exports less competitive. Such an outcome is simply a possibility
- (D) is correct Yes as both the police and the suspect were constantly firing at each other and police were successful in hitting the suspect.
- (A) is correct The conclusion that can be drawn from the above letter to the Applicant is that the number of applicants who have applied for a summer job in the local government office exceeds the number of available summer jobs. It is stated in option A.
1. Wiley Gmat 2017 edition
2. Gmat club forum official site, Available Here.