Which Critical Reasoner Are You? – Part II: The White Rabbit

by on July 13th, 2013

By Amit Moshe, Economist GMAT Profiler.

In the last post in this series, we presented the first of the Critical Reasoners, the Airhead. Each one of these “types” of verbal test-takers hasn’t quite nailed down one of the key principles of solving Critical Reasoning questions. As a result, this Critical Reasoner is likely to make the same mistake over and over again. The good news is that once identified, these misconceptions are relatively easy to root out. Good luck in figuring out which Critical Reasoner you are (may be more than one!).

In this post, we introduce a new CR profile. Say hello to…

The White Rabbit

White Rabbits are named after the hyperventilating, time-constricted character from Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. White Rabbits are haunted by the time pressure exerted by the GMAT – they rush through the the question as fast as they possibly can, either because they know they have time-management problems or simply because the timer makes them edgy. White rabbits usually know that they can’t avoid reading (the argument, the question stem, or the answer choice), so they try to save time by rushing directly from the argument to the answer choices. In doing so, they skip (knowingly or unknowingly) the most crucial step of the Critical reasoning Work Order: Step 3 – try to predict what the right answer should do. In other words, in their “I’m late! I’m late!” mad rush to find the answer, the White Rabbit neglects to do the one thing that can help him in his mission: keep your brain switched on, and THINK.

Missing Principle: “takes time” and “saves time” are not mutually exclusive. In other words, some Work Order steps that take time to perform can actually also save time later on in the process.

Diagnosis: it’s easy to diagnose White Rabbits, first, because most stressed-out students are White Rabbits and, second, because White Rabbits fail to perform a very specific action. If you do not STOP AND THINK after reading the question stem and argument and before moving on to read the answer choices – you are a White Rabbit. Not taking time to process the argument and coming up with your own version of the answer often results in answer choices looking the same (all seem correct or all seem incorrect).

Treatment: don’t just rush from the argument to the answer choices. Stop and think about the argument you’ve just read. Not only will you not save time by skipping this crucial step, but you will also lose time by rushing, as you will have to read the argument, question stem, and answer choice again (and again).

The process should be as follows: once you read the question stem and break down the argument, pause and try to think of your own answer(s). When you have a clue of what could be the correct answer, you turn to the answer choices and read them, looking for an answer choice similar to what you thought of. The correct answer choice may not be exactly what you had in mind, but this essential phase gives you a better chance of recognizing an answer that goes in the right direction and ditching the less obvious traps.

Try it out: take 2 minutes to answer the question below. Post your answer choice and explanation in the comment section below. Remember – they key to CR questions is to keep your brain switched on.

Bamboo is slowly being recognized by a growing number of industries as a versatile and remarkable material. With sources of wood becoming scarcer by the day, bamboo provides an ecological and sustainable substitute, especially since it is the fastest growing plant on earth. Used in Asian countries for thousands of years, bamboo can provide structural solutions for the production of tools, buildings, home utensils, furniture, and lighting. It can be said, therefore, that if bamboo replaced the wood used in the manufacturing of these products, deforestation would no longer be an ecological threat.

Which of the following is a necessary assumption underlying the  argument’s conclusion?

A) Replacing wood with bamboo to manufacture tools, buildings, home utensils, furniture and lighting would be an uncomplicated procedure.
B) Using forest wood for the manufacturing of the products mentioned is the cause behind the rapid reduction of forest acreage.
C) Bamboo is not more expensive than wood.
D) A manufacturing process that uses one material will differ to one that uses another.
E) Deforestation is a disastrous ecological threat that must be averted at all costs in order to prevent disaster in the not-so-distant future.

Correct answer in the next post!

Read other articles in this series:


  • Answer choice 'C'.

    Assumption defender Question.Using Negation technique.

    Bamboo is more expensive then wood. This will weaken the argument above. So the author must have assumed this.Also Eliminating at other answer choices:

    A) No discussion about procedure to make bamboo. Even if we consider this the conclusion says that " if bamboo replaced the wood used in the manufacturing of these products". This clearly indicates that even if it is a complicated procedure there will be no difference.

    Other choices can also be eliminated. Somebody pls elaborate & confirm.

  • I think the Ans is A.

  • IMO B
    A, C and D are out of scope. Is looks quite tempting; but the argument that deforestation would no longer be an ecological threat if bamboo replaced woods does not rest on whether deforestation is disastrous. If using woods to produce those items did not really lead to deforestation, the argument would be seriously flawed. Hence the ans. is B.

  • IMO the ans is B . because it contains the main point --deforestation!

  • OA should be B

    Conclusion as per the stimulus:" therefore, that if bamboo replaced the wood used in the manufacturing of these products, deforestation would no longer be an ecological threat."

    Thus the argument assumes that using wood for various applications (home, furniture, tools) led to deforestation. This assumption is exactly paraphrased in answer choice B.

    Complexity of procedures (choice A), expensiveness (choice C), difference in manufacturing process (choice D) are losers when they contend with correct choice B.

    The degree of ecological threat (choice E) is totally out of scope.

    Hence OA should be B

    • The answer is B.
      Since the argument concludes with bamboos serving as a way to avoid deforestation, by it replacing Wood in most of wooden products.
      thus the assumption is, major cause of deforestation is use of wood to build these products.

  • Definitely B.@YTG, I mostly commit out-of-scope error and was almost close to choosing A, but I think it's B.

  • The answer is B.
    Premises are Bambo=versatile mat, ecological & sustain subs of wood. It can susbs wood for pdction of tools.
    Therefore, if it is used, deforestation wouldn't be a threat.

    The assumption is that there is deforestation because of wood used to produce goods.
    Then B is the answer

  • the ans is B
    there has been a shift in conclusion(deforestation) which is not mentioned in the premises....moreover, when u negate the ans choice(Using forest wood for the manufacturing of the products mentioned is the NOT the cause behind the rapid reduction of forest acreage), it seriously undermines the conclusion

  • I chose 'B' for answer. 

  • B - The conclusion talks about deforestation and the argument is usage of those mentioned products which leads to deforestation.

  • Answer is B clearly. Rest of the statements is irrelevant.
    Look at the key word therefore and what author says later ....
    Deforestation would not longer be a ecological threat.

  • Answer is A.

  • Its B for sure!

  • The answer choice is B. Applying the Negation technique on choice B, thwarts the argument and the argument falls apart. Also, it is mentioned that Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth, so even if it is used for the manufacturing of products, replacing wood,it would not take time to grow more in quantity.

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