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Plan: Last year, to improve sales, a software company decided to make its flagship product - a professional bookkeeping program - compatible with all types of computers, instead of with only those that were running a particular operating system.

Result: Last year, the sales of the product increased by 5%.

Additional Information: For the previous 9 years the sales of the product increased 5% for every year, a natural increase that occurs without fail as more companies annually learn about the product and its incontestable merits.

In light of the additional information, which of the following, if true, best explains the result that followed the implementation of the plan?

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This statement talks about failed or mediocre products. The argument's premises tell us that the software program in question, however, cannot really be considered a failure. Firstly, increases in sales of 5% annually without fail are quite an accomplishment. Secondly, the phrase incontestable merits is also positive, and complimentary of the product. Since we know the product is hardly mediocre, this answer choice fails to explain the plan's results.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

The Additional Information tells us that for 9 years sales have experienced a constant rise of 5%. Therefore, despite the scandal and change of management three years ago, it doesn't seem that the company really changed its course in terms of sales. This statement does not really affect the paradox in any way since the event described did not affect last year's sales.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This statement emphasizes the paradox. If the economy has been growing, then why didn't the sales of the product grow beyond the usual amount (5%) when an extra effort was made in allowing it to be used by far more professionals?

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice emphasizes the paradox presented in the argument. We are told here that companies should make changes to their products. The software company in question did make such changes, but was not rewarded with any increases in sales beyond the ordinary amount. This answer choice does not explain why this happened.

Excellent work!

[[snippet]]

This answer choice explains why, despite the changes made by the company, the product's sales did not increase. Since the marketing firm did not want to distract potential customers with details of added features, it may have failed to alert customers to the product's expanded compatibility. Thus, the company did not cash in on its improvements.

Because bookkeeping programs are used by professionals, they are required to be highly efficient and trustworthy applications, a demand leading to a competitive market and the failure of many mediocre software products.
Marketing for the product is handled by one of the most successful firms in its field, and one that chose to highlight the company's brand name in general, not wishing to distract potential customers with details of added features.
Three years ago, due to an embarrassing internal fraud scandal, the managing director of the software company was fired and replaced by a business manager who, though talented, was somewhat inexperienced.
Constant inflation during the past few years has had a noticeable effect causing prices to rise, salaries to rise, and an overall growth and stabilization of the economy.
To maintain a positive corporate image as the provider of competent and up-to-date software, companies need to constantly sharpen, restructure, and enhance their programs, offering solutions to previous limitations.