The correct answer is E.

See the question again >


When reading a Critical Reading question, make sure you start from the question stem, not the stimulus ("stimulus" is test lingo for the initial portion of the question, which usually formulates an argument). Starting with the question stem is part of the method we teach. Here, the stem tells us we are looking for the assumption of the argument. We have a whole system of analyzing assumptions in Critical Reasoning questions, because assumptions are central to so many of them. We can't cover it all in this brief space, but we'll note that in an "assumption" we are looking for missing facts that are necessary for the author's conclusion to logically follow.

Proceeding according to our method, we'll search for the conclusion of the argument as a way to ferret out the assumption. In this case, the last sentence, that the firm's cost will rise, is the conclusion (the word 'certainly' gives it away). So what is necessary but missing for the judge's ruling in the first two sentences to raise their cost? Well, if they don't want to pay for real celebrities, but can't hire imitators any more, they could stop doing celebrity ads entirely! The author's conclusion about rising prices is true only if celebrity ads are the sole option for this firm. That "only if" clues us in that we have found the assumption—what we were looking for.

So, we've predicted the answer, and now we just need to find a match. Since (E) matches the assumption we've predicted perfectly, it is the correct answer.