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PrepTest 73, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 1


Question one, when a question asked for what the assumption required by the argument is, it is a necessary assumption question. Necessary assumption questions ask us to identify an assumption that the argument requires. Something that hasn't been said so far, but that if it isn't true, the argument can't possibly work.

Necessary assumptions are the missing pieces of the argument that are needed for the evidence to be able to prove the conclusion. In order to find them, you have to understand the argument, which means that you begin by breaking it down into its conclusion and it's evidence. Here the conclusion comes at the end, and it is helpfully flagged by that conclusory keyword, so.

So the city selected a contractor 60 percent of whose technicians are unqualified, which is an outrage. The evidence that the editorial uses to prove that these technicians are unqualified, well, the first sentence just tells us that there was a contractor. It's a piece of background information. The second sentence is where the evidence lies.

Apparently only 40% of the technicians employed by this contractor are certified by the Heating Technicians Association. If you're wondering, what does the Heating Technicians Association's certification has to do with determining whether someone is unqualified, Wwll, congratulations, you just spotted an assumption. Those two terms are not the same thing.

Maybe this is a great test, maybe it's not. For the arguments of work, we have to believe that it is a great test. Not that it's the best test ever, but that if you can't get certified by it, it does mean that you're unqualified. That's the connection that the argument requires, and we're going to look for it in the answer choices.

So answer choice A, certified technicians receive higher pay, how much we're paying these people doesn't really matter. It's not material to proving that the people who are uncertified are unqualified. This just tells us what happens if you are certified, you get better pay. A's not the answer.

Answer choice B, there are no contractors with fewer than 40% of their technicians certified. This argument is only trying to prove that the firm that the government hired was bad. Not that there weren't any other possible firms that they could have hired or there were, just that they hired a firm that was bad.

So B is not our answer. Answer choice C, technicians who lack certification are not qualified technicians. This is exactly what we wanted. It connects up the concepts that we need to be connected, certification and qualification.

That if you don't have certification, you don't count as qualified. So C was exactly what we wanted. What's wrong with the other answers? Well, D is talking about who installed the heating systems in the first place. Where they came from doesn't matter, this is about the upgrades that we're doing to them.

And then E, be careful with E. Finding out that there was a conflict of interest might seem like it's relevant, but necessary assumptions questions aren't just asking you for something relevant, they're asking you for something needed. We don't need to believe the contractor has personal ties, we don't need to believe that the contractor doesn't have personal ties.

All we need to believe is that the technicians there are unqualified because they didn't get certification from the Heating Technician's Association. So E is not our answer, the answer was C.

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