Assumption. The correct answer choice is (A)
The author of this stimulus discusses the efforts of computer manufacturers, attempting to make CPU
chips smaller and smaller. This reduction leads to a proportional increase in the speed of the chip-as
long as the size can be reduced without reducing the degree of sophistication. The author points out
however that the chips can’t be reduced much more in size without also reducing their sophistication.
The author concludes based on this premise that their speed cannot be significantly increased. The
basic components of the argument are as follows:
- Premise: If CPU chip size can be reduced without reducing sophistication the speed of
the chip can be increased.
Premise: CPU chip size cannot be significantly reduced without reducing the chips’
degree of sophistication.
Conclusion: The speed of CPU chips can’t be significantly increased.
stimulus is followed by an assumption question, the correct answer choice will most likely refer to
Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. The author believes that if the size of the
chips cannot be reduced without reducing sophistication, there must be no other way to go about
increasing their speed. If you didn’t happen to pre-phrase this assumption, you could still confirm
this answer choice to be true by applying the Assumption Negation Technique; when negated, the
correct answer choice should weaken the author’s argument. The negated version of this choice is as
- Computers currently can be made faster even if their CPU chips are not made smaller.
Since the negated version of this answer choice completely undermines the author’s argument, this
must be an assumption on which the author’s argument relies.
Answer choice (B): The author has ruled out the possibility of increasing CPU speed based on the
fact that the chips can’t be made much smaller without reducing their sophistication. This does not
rely on the assumption that they cannot be made much smaller in general, so this is not the correct
answer choice. To confirm that this is not an assumption on which the author’s argument relies, you
can negate, or take away, the assumption, and note whether the argument is undermined.
The negated version of this answer choice would be the chips can be made smaller. This does not
undermine the author’s argument, which is concerned with the fact that they can’t be made smaller
without reducing their sophistication.
Answer choice (C): The author is not concerned with decreases in speed; the author is concerned
with the prospects for increases in speed; this is not an assumption on which the author’s argument
Answer choice (D): The author concludes that the CPU chips cannot be made significantly faster—
this does not rely on any assumptions about what the manufacturers believe the prospects to be.
Answer choice (E): The author does not reference or allude to the possibility of increasing
sophistication without increasing size. Regardless, the author’s conclusion is that speed cannot be
increased significantly—this cannot possibly rely on this assumption, which points to the prospect of