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Critical Reasoning: Investigation Questions

A new private college offers a course which prepares students for a career in which only 7% of the professionals are successful financially in the related industry. In a radio commercial, the course is presented as a guarantee to financial success based on that career. Clearly, such a guarantee warrants charges of false advertising.

The answer to which of the following would be most useful in evaluating the argument?



This answer choice would not really affect anything. In and of itself, the fact that some successful professionals did not graduate from the said course says nothing about the people who will take it or the course's ability to guarantee success.



Answering the question about a similar course in this answer choice wouldn't help us determine anything about the commercials claim. The argument focuses on a guarantee made regarding a specific course by a specific college.



This question is irrelevant because it begins with how many rather than relating to percents. Since the argument deals with percentages, actual numerical figures would not be helpful to us because we couldn't determine what part of the professional population is made up of course alumni. Plug in 50, 500, 5000, or 5 million - we still don't know the size of the industry so we cannot compare.



This question would not reveal anything about the commercial's accuracy because the college's claim is neither weakened nor strengthened by the success or prevalence of other courses.

Terrific work!


While this answer choice does not entirely invalidate the conclusion, it may validate the conclusion and therefore is the most valuable out of the five answer choices. 

This answer choice can be translated to "Did more than 7% of professionals take the course in the private college?". If more than 7% took the course, and only 7% of professionals are financially successful, then the course's promise for financial success to all students is indeed false advertisement.

Is the percentage of professionals that did not take part in the course in the new private college lower than 93%?
Did any of the professionals included in the 7% not graduate from the course?
Did more than 50% of the professionals graduate from a similar course offered by another college?
How many students does the college accept into a single course?
What percentage of professionals have participated in a course that trains for this specific career?