TSA Past Papers Worked Solutions - Rohan Agarwal - ebook

“Sometimes knowing the answer isn’t enough......you need to know HOW and WHY it’s correct”Whilst doing past papers is great practice- it’s important that you understand how to tackle each question quickly + accurately.Published by the UKs Leading University Admissions Company, this is the only book devoted to helping you solve past TSA questions. Written for the 2018 Entry, it contains detailed explanations for every question from 2008 – 2016 as well as detailed essay plans for section 2. These solutions contain valuable insight on how to approach difficult questions and also walk you through the most efficient methods for rapidly getting the correct answer.Filled with examples of time saving techniques and score boosting strategies, this is a MUST-BUY for anyone using past papers as part of their TSA Oxford or TSA Cambridge preparation.

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Joseph Nelson and Rohan Agarwal



About the Author

The Basics


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Section 2


Section 1

Question 2: C

Question 3: C

Question 4: E

Question 5 :B

Section 2


Your Free Book

TSA Intensive Course

Oxbridge Interview Course

TSA Past Paper Worked Solutions

Copyright © 2017 UniAdmissions. All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-0-9932311-5-5

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information retrieval system without prior written permission of the publisher. This publication may not be used in conjunction with or to support any commercial undertaking without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published by RAR Medical Services Limited


[email protected]

Tel: 0208 068 0438

TSA is a registered trademark of Cambridge Assessment, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this book. The authors and publisher are not affiliated with TSA. The answers and explanations given in this book are purely the opinions of the authors rather than an official set of answers.

The information offered in this book is purely advisory and any advice given should be taken within this context. As such, the publishers and authors accept no liability whatsoever for the outcome of any applicant’s TSA performance, the outcome of any university applications or for any other loss. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions of any kind. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein. This does not affect your statutory rights.

TSA Past Paper

Worked Solutions

Joseph Nelson

Rohan Agarwal


ROHAN IS THE DIRECTOR OF Operations at UniAdmissions and is responsible for its technical and commercial arms. He graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and is a fully qualified doctor. Over the last five years, he has tutored hundreds of successful Oxbridge and Medical applicants. He has also authored ten books on admissions tests and interviews.

Rohan has taught physiology to undergraduates and interviewed medical school applicants for Cambridge. He has published research on bone physiology and writes education articles for the Independent and Huffington Post. In his spare time, Rohan enjoys playing the piano and table tennis.


What are TSA Past Papers?

Thousands of students take the TSA exam each year. These exam papers are then released online to help future students prepare for the exam. Before 2013, these papers were not publically available meaning that students had to rely on the specimen papers and other resources for practice. However, since their release in 2013, TSA past papers have become an invaluable resource in any student’s preparation.

Where can I get TSA Past Papers?

This book does not include TSA past paperquestions because it would be over 1,000 pages long! However, TSA past papers from 2008 are available for free from the official TSA website. To save you the hassle of downloading lots of files, we’ve put them all into one easy-to-access (and free!) folder for you at www.uniadmissions.co.uk/tsa-past-papers.

At the time of publication, the 2017 paper has not been released so this book only contains answers for 2008 – 2016. An updated version will be made available once the 2017 paper is released.

How should I use TSA Past Papers?

TSA Past papers are one the best ways to prepare for the TSA. Careful use of them can dramatically boost your scores in a short period of time. The way you use them will depend on your learning style and how much time you have until the exam date but in general, you should try to do at least 2008 – 2015 once. If time permits, do them twice- practice really does make perfect!

How should I prepare for the TSA?

Although this is a cliché, the best way to prepare for the exam is to start early – ideally by September at the latest for TSA Oxford and by October for TSA Cambridge. 4 weeks of preparation is usually sufficient for the majority of students. If you’re organised, you can follow the schema below:

This paradigm allows you to focus your preparation and not ‘waste’ past papers. In general, aim to get a textbook that has lots of practice questions e.g. The Ultimate TSA Guide (www.uniadmissions.co.uk/tsa-book) – this allows you to rapidly identify any weaknesses that you might have e.g. identifying flaws, spatial awareness etc.

You can geta free copy of The Ultimate TSA Guide for free online (see the back of this book for more details).

Finally, it’s then time to move onto past papers. The number of TSA papers you can do will depend on the time you have available but you should try to do each paper at least once. If you have time, repeat each paper (choose a different essay question). Practice really does make perfect!

How should I use this book?

This book is designed to accelerate your learning from TSA past papers. Avoid the urge to have this book open alongside a past paper you’re seeing for the first time. The TSA is difficult because of the intense time pressure it puts you under – the best way of replicating this is by doing past papers under strict exam conditions (no half measures!). Don’t start out by doing past papers (see previous page) as this ‘wastes’ papers.

Once you’ve finished, take a break and then mark your answers. Then, review the questions that you got wrong followed by ones which you found tough/spent too much time on. This is the best way to learn and with practice, you should find yourself steadily improving. You should keep a track of your scores on the previous page so you can track your progress.

Scoring Tables

Use these to keep a record of your scores – you can then easily see which paper you should attempt next (always the one with the lowest score).

Extra Practice

If you’re blessed with a good memory, you might remember the answers to certain questions in the past papers – making it less useful to repeat them again. If you want to tackle extra mock papers which are fully up-to-date then check out www.uniadmissions.co.uk/tsa-practice-papers for 4 x full mock papers with worked solutions.

These are normally £60 but as thanks for purchasing this book, you can get them for £40 instead. Just enter “TSAWS20” at checkout.



Question 1: C

The passage discusses how measuring wealth relative to average income measures inequality, not poverty. It then goes on to describe a situation where under this flawed definition, a pay rise for some leads to some being described as in “poverty” (where this may not be the case), and how in some societies, there is such widespread poverty that using average income describes very few as being in poverty (though there are many in poverty).

Both A) and C) are valid conclusions from this passage, but we can see that the statement in A) goes on to support that in C). Thus A) is an intermediate conclusion, and C) is the main conclusion of this passage. D) Is a reason given in the passage to support these conclusions, and thus is not a conclusion in itself.

E) is an irrelevant statement, whilst B) is not a valid conclusion as the passage has made no reference to whether there is a suitable definition of poverty, it has simply refuted one possibility. This does not mean there are no others.

Question 2: C

Let a Child fare be C, and an Adult fare be A. We see from the question that 1 adult far plus 2 child fares is £1.20. Thus: A+2C=120(pence)

We also see that C is greater than 0.5A. Thus, 2C must be greater than A, so A must be less than half of 120. Thus, the answer cannot be D) or E), as A is at least half of 120 in both these answers.

We also see that C is less than A. Thus, if A+2C=120, 3 times A must be more than 120. Thus, A must be more than 40. This means the answer cannot be A) or B), because in these answers A is not more than 40. Thus, we can see that the answer must be C).

Question 3: D

The passage discusses how the number of drug-related road deaths has increased more than drink-driving deaths in recent years, and concludes that this means the drink-driving campaigns have been successful, and it is now time to begin campaigns against drug-related driving.

Answer D) correctly points out that this reasoning is flawed. Just because Drug-driving has increased more does not mean the campaigns have been successful. We have no information on how much drink-driving deaths would have increased without the campaigns. This is the information we need to conclude that the campaigns have been successful. Observing that one problem is bigger does not mean another thing is not a problem. B) and E) are completely irrelevant statements, and thus are not flaws.

A) And C) both refer to the possibility that a campaign against driving on drugs may not be as successful as one against drunk-driving. These would weaken the argument, if true, but they are not flaws because they do not mean the argument’s conclusions are invalid. A) and C) could be described as counter arguments, but are not logical flaws with the argument’s reasoning.

Question 4: B

The passage discusses how socialist politicians are often criticised as being hypocritical for objecting to inequalities in wealth whilst enjoying above-average wealth. It then goes on to refute this criticism as invalid by claiming there is no hypocrisy in enjoying high levels of wealth whilst still arguing for a fairer society.

If all these reasons are true, they give us good cause to believe that one therefore can be a socialist (and thus argue for less inequality in wealth) whilst enjoying high levels of personal wealth. Thus, B) is the answer.

E) is the opposite of this conclusion, and directly goes against the thread of the argument, thus E) is not a valid conclusion from the passage.

Equally, the argument makes no claims of what socialists with wealth should do about those in even wealthier positions, so A) is incorrect and cannot be concluded from this argument.

Equally, the argument says nothing about whether wealth inequality is immoral, or who is most effective at fighting it. Thus, C) and D) are also incorrect.

Question 5: D

The passage discusses how the University has implemented improved safety features on areas of its campus, which will help to make those areas safer. It then describes how the council owns the lake, so the University has not been able to implement safety features in this area. It concludes on the basis of these reasons that the lake will be a dangerous area, and should be avoided by lone students at night.

However, this argument is flawed, as it assumes that the only thing making an area safer is the University’s safety measures. The council could have put its own safety features in place, which may be just as good as the University’s and this would make the conclusion invalid. Answer D) correctly illustrates this flaw.

Answers C) and E) are irrelevant. Whether students would pass the lake regularly, or the reasons behind the safety features, do not affect whether the area will be dangerous without the implementation of the safety features. Thus C) and E) do not affect the argument’s conclusion.

Answer B) would actually strengthen the argument. If the council consider the lake as part of the campus it would suggest they have not implemented any safety features of their own, thus reinforcing the notion it may be dangerous.

Answer A) is not an assumption because it does not need to be true for the conclusion to be valid. Even if students do look after their own safety, the notion of avoiding walking around the lake alone at night might still be valid (in fact this may be a measure students could take to ensure their own safety).

Question 6: D

Since the rear wheel is 2.5m in circumference, it will complete a full rotation every 2.5m. Equally, the front wheel will complete a full rotation every 2m.

We know the tyre valves are beginning at the bottom of the wheels, so they will be in this position again after each complete rotation.

Thus, we are simply looking for the lowest common multiple of 2 and 2.5. This will give us the number of metres after which each wheel will have rotated a whole number of times, and will both be at the bottom at the same time.

The lowest common multiple of these numbers is 10. After this distance, the front wheel will have completed 5 rotations, and the rear wheel will have made 4 complete rotations.

Question 7: E

The Question tells us that the last letter of each 5-digit code signifies which item this set of letters represents the code for, and that B represents the Bicycle lock combination. We see that the last 5-digit code ends with a B - D F G C B

Thus, D F G C represents the 4-digit code for the bicycle lock. Now we simply look at each letter and see which letter of the alphabet it is:

- D is the 4th letter
- F is the 6th letter
- G is the 7th letter
- C is the 3rd letter

Thus, we end up with 4673 as our combination. We are told that each 4-letter code is written in reverse with respect to the actual number code, so we know the bicycle lock combination is 3764.

Question 8: A

We can see in the top view a smaller square shape in the centre of the sculpture. This could be either a raised feature, going out of the sculpture, or an indent, going into the sculpture.

We can see from the top view that all the sides are flat, with nothing projecting out of them. However, we cannot see if any of the sides have any indented features, so we cannot judge if this might be the case.

A final thing we can see from the top view is that the edges of the top face, around the central feature on the top are all flat, with no indents or raised features.

View B) is possible, as it simply shows featureless sides, and a raised feature on top, which is possible.

View C) is possible because the top feature could be an indent, which would not be visible from the sides, and the sides could have indents represented by the square seen in view C).

View D) is possible as it shows a raised feature on top, which could be the feature in the top view, and a feature in the sides which could be an indent. This is possible from the information given in the top view.

E) is a possible view because it simply shows featureless sides, and the feature on the top may be an indent, which would not be visible from the sides.

A) is not a possible view because it shows indents along the top edge, other than the central feature. We can see from the top view that apart from the central feature, the top is all featureless, with no indents. Thus A) is not possible.

Question 9: C

The passage discusses how in evolution, organs do not develop to be large unless they are used. Based on this fact, the passage describes how whale brains are much larger than our own, and concludes that sperm whales must therefore possess great intelligence, perhaps beyond our own understanding.

Answers A) and B) are irrelevant. Language does not necessarily equal intelligence (so B) is wrong), and the fact that intelligence is possible without large brains does not mean that large brains do not give intelligence (as implied in the passage).

D) and E) actually strengthen the argument. D), by saying the large brains are not related to the large size of sperm whales, reinforces the idea they might be for intelligence, whilst E) reinforces the notion their intelligence may be beyond our understanding.

C) however, weakens the argument, because if the brains may be used for something else then their size does not necessarily mean they are used for intelligence, thus weakening the argument.

Question 10: C

The passage can be summarised very simply. It argues that Mrs Jackson will resign if Mrs List is promoted, and then argues that if Mrs List is not promoted, Mrs Jackson will not resign.

Answer C) directly contradicts how this reason leads on to this conclusion. It points out that the conclusion is invalid because it does not follow on that Mrs Jackson won’t resign if Mrs List is not promoted. Thus, C) correctly identifies a flaw in the argument.

A), B) and E) are completely irrelevant because they have no effect on the fact that Mrs Jackson will resign if Mrs List is promoted, or whether this means she will not resign if Mrs List is not promoted. Thus, they are not flaws with the argument.

D) is not a flaw because the argument directly states that Mrs Jackson will resign if Mrs List is promoted. Therefore, we assume there is no a chance that she won’t, as it has been directly stated in the argument that she will.

Question 11: D

The passage discusses how there is evidence that Cannabis has therapeutic uses in certain medical scenarios, and that it should thus be legal. It goes on to say this means doctors being allowed to prescribe cannabis would help those with the relevant medical conditions. It then goes on to say legalising cannabis prescriptions would also allow large-scale studies to establish if the supposed benefit is real.

If we accept all of these reasons as true, we have good reason to believe doctors should be allowed to prescribe cannabis. Thus, D) is the main conclusion of the passage.

B) is a reason given in this argument which supports the main conclusion.

A) and C) are not conclusions or reasons given in the passage. Both could be said to strengthen the conclusion, if true, by providing further reasons why current laws should be changed. However, neither can be concluded from the passage, and are thus irrelevant to what the main conclusion is.

E) is an irrelevant statement with no effect on the argument’s reasoning or its conclusion.

Question 12: C

Question 13: E

This question is simpler than it appears on first glance.

We are calculating the number of wins, so we need to combine the away wins and home wins into one figure. Since they are next to each other on the pie chart we can easily do this visually.

Now, if we examine the amount of the chart made up of “wins”, and the amount of the chart made up of “draws” (both home and away combined), we can see that roughly ¾ of the pie chart is made up of some form of “wins”. We can verify this by examining the angle between the boundary of “Home Wins” and “Away Draws”, and the boundary between “Away wins” and “Home Draws”. This angle appears to be 90 degrees. This verifies that ¾ of the pie chart is made up of wins, whilst the other quarter is made up of draws.

Three quarters of 24 is 18.

Question 14: E

We can readily see that when this net is folded up, the face with the cross will be adjacent to the 4 faces with thick grey lines, and that the thin diagonal line will be on the opposite side. Most of the incorrect answers can be discounted in terms of what faces will be adjacent to each other:

Shapes A) and B) cannot be made because the 2 non-diagonal thick grey lines must be located on opposite sides of the box (separated by the cross as seen in the Net) and cannot be adjacent.

Shape C) cannot be made because the face with the thin diagonal line must be opposite the face with the cross, and cannot be adjacent.

Shape D) and Shape E) both present faces adjacent to each other in a possible combination, so we must now examine the orientations these faces will be to each other when folded

Shape D) is not possible because the orientations of the diagonal lines are incorrect. We can see that there are definitely possible combinations in which one of the thick grey diagonal line will be orientated with one of the vertical or horizontal thick grey lines as shown in view D). However, we see that in order for this to be achieved, the thin diagonal line must be perpendicular to the thick grey diagonal line from the viewpoint in question, not parallel as shown in view D).

Shape E) is possible. We can readily see if we turn the net upside down that we now have the Cross, with one thick grey line continuing upwards from the top of the cross, and one thick grey diagonal line radiating away from the bottom-right corner of the cross. This is exactly the view shown in E). Thus, E) is possible. Hence E) is the answer.

Question 15: D

The passage describes how random drug testing in prisons has caused prisoners to switch from Cannabis to Heroin, as it stays in the system for much less time. It describes how since drug testing was introduced, cannabis use has decreases but heroin use has increased. From this, we can conclude that drug testing hasn’t solved the issue of drug use in prisons, because heroin use has increased. Thus D) is a valid conclusion from the passage.

The fact that it hasn’t solved the issue does not mean that it can’t solve the issue, so C) is not a valid conclusion. Equally, we cannot conclude that the method needs to be improved, so A) is incorrect.

The other 2 answers concern incorrect statistical inference. The fact that cannabis has increased and heroin has decreased does not mean heroin use is now higher, so B) is incorrect. Equally, the fact that heroin encourages intimidation doesn’t mean that doubling heroin use will increase intimidation by the same amount (we have no information on how much heroin increases intimidation).

Question 16: D

The passage concludes that doctors must deceive their patients in some medical scenarios. The reasons given to support this are that patients have a right to know the truth, but in some scenarios the patient’s health would be better served by not knowing the truth.

We can see that this reasoning only supports this conclusion if we accept the statement in D) as true. At no point has D) been stated, so it is therefore an assumption on which the argument rests.

E) is the opposite idea to the assumption in D), and if true, E) would invalidate the argument. Thus E) is not an assumption.

C) is irrelevant as it refers to a situation where a patient would be upset, and not where their health would worsen from knowing the truth. B) is also irrelevant in a similar way, referring to a situation where patients would be frightened, not risking their health.

A) is completely irrelevant, as what patients accept about a doctor’s responsibilities does not affect how doctors should respect whether their right to know the truth is more important than their health.

Question 17: A

The passage concludes that tits that tear paper are searching for food, on the basis that they use a similar method to tear paper as they do to strip tree bark and search for food.

However, if we accept A) as true, then it seems the tits are choosing to tear paper instead of taking food which is readily visible and available, weakening the conclusion that tearing paper is a search for food.

B) is not correct because the fact that humans know does not mean that the tits themselves know that no food is forthcoming.

C) is incorrect because the fact that families feed them does not mean that the birds will not search for more food.

D) is an irrelevant statement, and thus incorrect.

E) is not correct because the fact that animals engage in pointless activities does not necessarily mean that this activity is pointless and not functional.

Question 18: E

With a rate of inflation of 10%, a car worth 500 Bols a year ago will now be worth 550 Bols (we assume for this question that the car’s value has not degraded due to damage or wear and tear).

80% of 550 Bols is 440 Bols. Thus he will receive 440 Bols for his old car.

The new car will be worth 550 Bols, as it is an identical model, and with an inflation rate of 10%, something worth 500 Bols a year ago will now be worth 550 Bols.

550-440=110. Thus, Evitan will need to contribute 110 Bols towards purchasing the new vehicle.

Question 19: B

Answering this question first requires understanding how to read the table.

The left-hand side of the table describes the percentage change of industrial growth for the last year. Thus, we only need to consider the Latest figure, as this gives us the percentage change that the question refers to.

The right-hand side of the table describes the percentage of the population unemployed. Thus, to calculate the change in percentage unemployed we need to subtract the current figure from the figure a year ago.

Working these 2 figures out for the UK we see that it had a percentage increase of industrial production of 4.2%, as seen in the table, and that the % of the population unemployed fell from 10 to 8.8, a fall of 1.2.

Thus, we are seeking a country with a percentage increase in industrial production of >4.2, and a percentage fall in unemployed of more than 1.2 (i.e. a percentage change of less than minus 1.2).

We see that all countries except the Netherlands and Belgium had a percentage change in industrial production of more than 4.2. However, of these countries, only Canada also had a fall in the % of people unemployed of more than 1.2

Question 20: B

First we should pick out the distances mentioned for the towns the two drivers have travelled to, in order to get an idea of where the towns are with respect to each other.

Barneyville is 5km West, and 15km South of Abbeytown

Carloston is 5km East of Barneyville.

Denburgh is 5km South of Barneyville.

Easterby is 10km East and 15km North of Denburgh.

We know that Ahmed is in Carloston, and Wayne is in Easterby. From the distances mentioned above, we can work out how far away Carloston is with respect to Easterby:

Carloston is 5km East of Barneyville.

Easterby is 10km East and 10km North of Barneyville (Denburgh is 5km south of Barneyville, and 0km East or West. Easterby is 10km East and 15km North of Denburgh)

Thus, Easterby must be 5km East and 10km North of Carloston.

We know that all roads run directly North-South or East-west, so in order to get between these two towns, one driver must drive a 5km stretch, and then a 10km stretch. Thus, a total of 15km must be driven.

Question 21: D

The passage discusses how a study has found that those with more control over their work have lower levels of a particular stress-related disease. It then concludes that in order to reduce stress-related disease, we must give workers more control over their work.

The argument has confused cause and correlation twice. It has assumed that a lower incidence of heart disease is because of a lower incidence of stress, and not simply correlated with it. Answer D) correctly illustrates this flaw.

Answer A) is not a flaw because the argument does not imply the government is serious, it simply comments on what must happen if it is.

B) is not a flaw because whether workers wish to have more control is irrelevant to whether more control over work reduces stress-related disease.

C) is irrelevant as practical limitations of a policy do not affect what results this police will have if it is implemented.

E) is also irrelevant. Reducing the amount of stress-related disease among white-collar workers would still reduce the overall incidence. Thus, whether other groups are also affected is irrelevant.

Question 22: B

The passage can be summarised as arguing that “A can happen if B happens. B has not happened, so A cannot happen”. Although this is incorrect, we are still able to assess which of the answers follow this pattern.

Answer B) follows this pattern, where “A” is curing a headache, and “B” is being willing to try acupuncture.

Answers A) and C) both follow a pattern of “A can happen if B does. B happens, therefore A will happen”. (In C), “A” is avoiding being overweight)

D) can be summarised as “A happens if B does. A already happens so we do not need B”.

E) can be summarised as “A happens if B happens. A is happening, so B must be happening”.

None of these are the same as the reasoning used in the passage.

Question 23: C

The passage refers to a principle where actions bring more responsibility for a given scenario than a failure to act. This is because when an action is taken, the result would not have happened without the action from the person in question. However, when an action fails to be taken, the consequences would have happened anyway without the existence of the person who failed to act.

Answer C) directly follows this principle, stating that those who break the law are more responsible than those who fail to prevent them from doing so.

Answer A) follows an opposite principle, stating that the government is responsible for high crime rates through its


to act

, rather than through any given action.

Answer B) simply states that a situation is happening, so clearly prisons are failing to prevent this situation. This does not give any claims on whether the prisons are therefore


for the situation.

Answers D) and E) are irrelevant scenarios, which bear no relevance to the principle.

Question 24: D

First we need to work out how many performances will be carried out in the course of 1 full week. We see that there are 6 evening performances (one for each day except Sunday), and that in addition to this there are 3 Matinee performances (Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday). This gives a total of 9 performances in the course of each full week.

Now we need to work out how many complete weeks there are in each month. 7 goes into 31 fully 4 times, with 3 left over. Thus, there will be 4 full weeks each month. This gives a total of 36 performances.

Then, there are 3 leftover days at the end of each month, which will contain extra shows. The maximum number of shows which occur in a 3 day period is either the period from Wednesday to Friday, or the period from Thursday to Saturday. In each of these 3 day periods there are a total of 5 performances.

Thus, the maximum number of performances that can occur in a month is 41.

Question 25: D

To calculate the number of days of labour that peter must pay for, we simply calculate the area of the filled in grey blocks, which represent a number of days of labour, and how many individual workers need to be present for those days. We can see that for all tasks except brickwork, only one row is filled in, so only one worker needs to be present.

Preparing foundation lasts for 6 days, and one labourer, so accounts for 6 days labour in pay.

Brickwork lasts for 9 days, and involves 2 labourers, so accounts for 18 days of labour in pay.

Roofing lasts for 16 days, and involves 1 labourer, so accounts for 16 days of labour in pay.

Glasswork lasts for 10 days, and involves 1 labourer, so accounts for 10 days of labour in pay.

Decorating lasts for 8 days, and involves 1 labourer1, so accounts for 8 days of labour in pay.

This gives a total of 58 days of labour that must be paid for.

Now we examine how many is the maximum number of workers that may be on site at any one time. We can quickly see that there are 2 points when 3 roles are being carried out at the same time (Days 12-13 and Days 20-21)

One of these sets of days (Days 12-13) involves brickwork and 2 other jobs. We have already seen that brickwork requires two labourers, whilst all other jobs require 1 labourer. Thus, at this point there will be 4 labourers on site at 1 time.

Thus the answer is D), 58 and 4.

Question 26: B

This question holds a simple answer, and is designed to test your ability to think logically and clearly under time pressures.

The tile shown has 1 fully rounded curve, and shape made out of straight lines, which looks like a square with part of the corner cut off.

We can immediately see from examining the possible answers that Answer B) shows four tiles (Bottom-left, Middle-left, Bottom-Middle and the Middle tile) which only have rounded curves. Thus, this pattern cannot be made with tiles identical to that shown in the Question.

Question 27: C

The passage discusses how market forces have always limited the adverse effects of the environment on food production. However, it then goes on to say that we are not changing the environment irreversibly, with changes that will be permanent. The passage says how this will cause devastating effects on world agriculture, such that market forces alone cannot prevent a global famine.

Thus, the argument mentions Answers A), B), D) and E) as reasons throughout the passage.

The argument then brings all these reasons together and concludes that some form of planned intervention is necessary. Thus, we can see how answers A), B), D) and E) all come together to support the statement in C). Thus, C) is the main conclusion of this passage, and all the other answers are reasons given to support this conclusion.

Question 28: A

The passage discusses plants being genetically modified to produce pesticides. However, it then discusses how pesticides lose their effectiveness if used continually, thanks to development of resistance in the pests, and that they remain effective only if there are gaps in which they are not used. It then finishes off by saying that the plants which produce pesticide will produce them continuously, without these gaps.

If all these factors are true, we have good cause to believe that the Pesticides produced by these plants will become ineffective against pests. Thus A) is the answer.

Nothing in the passage says anything about plants becoming contaminated with pesticides, so B) is not a conclusion.

All the other answers actually argue weaken the conclusion given in A), or contradict stated reasons in the passage. Thus, none of these are valid conclusions from the passage.

Question 29: D

The passage states that recycling is not the best answer to the problem of garbage disposal. It backs this up by describing how most bottles in America are constructed of PET. It then discusses how this material is not safe when recycled, due to the absorbance of other chemicals which may then leach into food and drink stored in the recycled product.

We can see that this conclusion that recycling is not the best solution relies on an assumption that there is little use for recycled PET other than food/drink containers. If there are other, safe uses, then the potential carcinogenicity described is no longer a reason not to recycle. Since the argument has provided no other reasons why recycling is not the best solution, its conclusion is no longer valid from its reasoning. Thus, D) correctly identifies an assumption in the passage.

The passage says nothing about the pros/cons of burning plastic, reducing plastic production, the exhaustion of landfill space or whether soft drink bottles should be made of other material. Thus, none of the other answers affect the argument’s conclusion, and thus they are not assumptions.

Question 30: B

We can see from the information given that 8 bricks are required to cover an area of 40cm by 40cm.

40cm by 40cm is 1600cm2.

The area of the whole driveway is 550cm by 400cm. This is 220,000cm2

220,000cm2 divided by 1600cm2 is 137.5 (140 times 1600 is 224,000. 2.5 times 1600 is 4000).

Thus, the amount of bricks required will be 8 times 137.5. 140 times 8 is 1120. 2.5 times 8 is 20.

Thus, 1100 bricks will be needed to cover the entire driveway.

Question 31: B

The ratio is currently 1/3 Sand to 2/3 Coir. Thus, there is currently 5kg of Sand present in the mixture, and 10kg of Coir.

The target ratio is 3/5 sand to 2/5 Coir. Since we are only adding sand, the actual amount of coir will stay the same. Thus, 2/5 of the entire weight of the new compost will be 10kg.

If 10kg is 2/5 of the entire weight of the new compost, then the full weight must be 25kg. Since 3/5 is Sand, this means there needs to be 15kg of Sand to make the new mixture.

Thus, 15kg of sand is needed, and 5kg is present. Thus, 10kg of Sand must be added to make the new compost. Hence, the answer is B).

Question 32: E

If the second stage begins with 4 quarter finals then the number of teams progressing through to the second stage must be 8, as there will be 2 teams in each of the 4 quarter finals. To progress through to the next round, you must have won your group, so there must be 8 group winners and hence 8 groups. The teams are divided into equal groups, so the number of teams starting the competition must be a multiple of 8. The two multiples of 8 given as possible answers are 8 and 72. If the competition started with 8 teams then there would be 1 in each group and hence no need for the first stage at all, so this cannot be the answer. Hence the only possible solution of the 5 given is 72. Hence the solution is E.

Question 33: C

The passage argues catalytic converters were created to tackle one kind of pollution, but in fact create another. It argues that converters do this by removing certain pollutants that usually serve to reduce the levels of ground-level ozone. The passage claims that since such ozone is a major cause of choking smogs, people with breathing difficulties affected by it will be worse off if more catalytic converters are used.

We can see that this conclusion (that catalytic converters indirectly cause breathing difficulties) is weakened by the statement in C), which suggests that catalytic converters remove other pollutants that also cause breathing difficulties. If this is the case, it’s overall effect on breathing difficulties may be neutral or a positive one (if the pollutants it removes are more potent than ground-level ozone). Thus C) weakens the argument, and the answer is B).

A), B), D) and E) are all irrelevant in that they do not affect whether increasing the number of catalytic converters in cars will increase the incidence of breathing difficulties, via indirectly increasing the amount of ground-level ozone.

Question 34: A

The passage discusses how membership of the EU has resulted in growth and stability in the EU members. It then discusses how it is desirable for previous Eastern Bloc members to become more prosperous and stable, and concludes that they should therefore join the EU.

Answer A) points out that this conclusion relies on the former Eastern Bloc countries having the same potential as the current EU members. If they do not, there is no guarantee that membership of the EU would have the same effect, and thus the argument’s conclusion is invalid. Hence, the answer is A).

Answers B) and D) appear to be flaws, but are not upon closer inspection. Answer B) relates to other non EU members also being prosperous and stable, whilst D) refers to exclusion from the EU not necessarily resulting in lack of prosperity/stability. Neither of these statements necessarily means that EU membership would not bring prosperity and stability, and thus they do not affect how the argument’s reasons support its conclusion.

C) and E) are completely irrelevant statements which have no effect on whether EU membership brings prosperity and/or stability. Thus they are not flaws.

Question 35: A

The passage argues that the driver’s attempt to disable his main competitor and thus ensure victory was fair. It argues that the other driver would have done the same, that the driver was acting as anyone else would, and that he was defending an earned lead. All of these reasons, if true, give us good cause to believe that the main driver’s actions were not unfair. Thus, A) correctly identifies the main conclusion of this passage.

B) is an irrelevant statement, as the rewards have no effect on whether the driver’s actions were fair, and the fact that there are rewards is simply a stated fact, and not a conclusion.

C) is not a valid conclusion from the passage, and in fact disagrees with the passage, as the passage claims the actions “may have been dangerous and irresponsible”. Thus C) is not a conclusion to the argument, and appears to be a counter-argument to the passage.

D) and E) are both reasons given in the passage to support the main conclusion, which is that given in Answer A).

Question 36: B

Firstly we need to calculate what time the first flight arrives in Dubai, as this is not given. We are told that the wait time in Dubai is 5 hours and 15 minutes, and the flight leaves Dubai at 14:30 on Saturday. Hence the flight from London must arrive at 09:15 Dubai time on Saturday (5 hours and 15 minutes before 14:30).

Now we can work out the time spent in the air for each flight. The first flight departs London at 22:30 on Friday and arrives in Dubai at 09:15 on Saturday, both given in local times. If Dubai is 4 hours ahead of London, then 09:15 in Dubai will be 05:15 in London. Hence the flight is in the air from 22:30 until 05:15 the next morning, London time. This is 6 hours 45 minutes.

The second flight departs Dubai at 14:30 on Saturday and arrives in Kampala at 20:45 on Saturday, both given in local times. If Kampala is 1 hour behind Dubai then 20:45 in Kampala will be 21:45 in Dubai. Hence the flight is in the air from 14:30 until 21:45, Dubai time. This is 7 hours and 15 minutes. The total time spent in the air is hence 6 hours 45 minutes + 7 hours 15 minutes, which is 14 hours. Hence the solution is B.

Question 37: B

If each pen must be accessible from at least one side, the most efficient way to pen the sheep in is to have them in rows of 2, as this means most of the hurdles are being used to pen in more than one sheep. If the sheep are in 2 rows of 8 then 3 lots of 8 hurdles will be needed to pen them in one direction, and 9 lots of 2 will be needed in the other direction as shown below.

Question 38: C

The answer to this question is best illustrated by a diagram:

This is a representation of the ribbon folded in half:

If this is then folded in half again, it will look somewhat like this:

If we cut through the middle of here as shown by the dotted line, and consider the pieces we will get starting from the top left and following the ribbon, there will be 1 of 1m, 1 of 2m, 1 of 2m, 1 of 2m, then 1 of 1m. Hence there will be 3 pieces of 2m and 2 of 1m. Hence the answer is C.

Question 39: E

The passage discusses how ecotourism should provide a sustainable alternative to the overuse of natural resources, but then describes how it actually causes a range of problems in wildlife, such as new diseases, stress and reduced breeding success.

From this information, we can infer that whatever benefits ecotourism provides are outweighed by these negative consequences. This is especially true because the argument implies that ecotourism should provide a sustainable alternative, which carries an implication that in truth it doesn’t. Thus E) can be reliable inferred.

We cannot imply anything about the nature of the changes observes such as new diseases and altered behaviour patterns, so the suggestion in A) that they may not be apparent to a casual observer cannot reliably be concluded from the passage.

C) and D) are irrelevant statements on which we have no information (e.g. we do not know if the stressed dolphins become frenetic when near fishing boats), thus neither of these can be reliably inferred.

Equally, the passage is actually implying that ecotourism projects are not sustainable thanks to the harm caused to wildlife. Thus, B) cannot be reliably inferred.

Question 40: A

The passage claims that his lack of care about winning fully explain why he did not win the open championship.

We can readily see that this conclusion rests entirely on an assumption that if he had cared more about winning, he would have won. If this is not true, then this conclusion that the lack of carefully explains the loss is not valid. Thus A) correctly identifies an assumption in the passage.

B) and C) are both invalid conclusions from the passage. The idea that lack of care was all that stopped Van de Velde winning is not enough to assume that caring enough is sufficient to win major championships. There are probably many other things required, which Van de Velde possessed (such as a good level of skill). Equally, we cannot state that there is nothing worse than losing from the suggestion that this belief needs to be held in order to win championships.

E) is also an invalid conclusion from the passage. The idea that Van de Velde would have won the championship if he’d cared more about winning does suggest that he should have cared more about losing if he wants to win the championship.

D) is an irrelevant statement for which the passage provides no information.

Thus, only A) is an assumption in this passage, and the answer is A).

Question 41: B

The passage describes how extended warranties for electrical items are poor value for money, because the average cost of repair per customer is less than the price of the warranty. It then concludes that customers would be well advised to not purchase the extended warranties due to the poor value for money.

Answers A), C) D) and E) all strengthen this conclusion by reinforcing the notion that the warranties are poor value for money.

Answer B) is the only answer which weakens this conclusion. If the actual cost for many people is 0, then it may be that the average cost of repairs if a repair is needed is greater than the cost of the warranty. Thus, the warranties may actually be good value for money if a repair is required. Thus, B) weakens the argument.

Question 42: C

For a parcel which requires 24c postage, they will require 4 6c stamps.

For a parcel which requires 30c postage, they will require 1 30c stamp

For a parcel which requires 72c postage, they will require 2 6c stamps and 2 30c stamps

(Note: the 30c and 72c postages could be made using other combinations but it is specified in the question that we use the minimum number of stamps on each parcel.

The parcels are sent in about equal numbers, so the proportion of stamps needed will be the proportion that would be needed if 1 parcel of each postage is sent.

If 1 parcel which requires each amount of postage is sent, then 6 6c stamps and 3 30c stamps will be required (adding up the amounts given above). Hence 2 6c stamps are needed for every 1 30c stamp. Hence the solution is C.

Question 43: C

The Goats came 3rd in League B, so they will play in the 4th quarterfinal and hence, if they are to progress to the final, the 2nd semi-final. Hence their opponents in the final must come from the 1st semi-final. In the first semi-final, the winners of the 1st quarterfinal play the winners of the 2nd quarterfinal; hence the teams that could potentially play The Goats in the final are those who play in the first two quarterfinals. This is the winners of League A (The Scorpions), 4th place in League B (The Archers), 3rd place in League A (The Bearers) or the runners up in League B (The Bulls). Hence the teams The Goats may face in the final are The Scorpions, The Archers, The Bearers and The Bulls. Hence the solution is C.

Question 44: E

One piece of carpet is 4m x 6m and the other is 4m x 4m. The total amount of carpet is 40 square metres. We can rule each of the other 4 rooms out in turn.

The Snooker Room is 8m by 6m, 48 square metres, so there is not physically enough carpet to use it in this room, as there would be a 4m x 2m gap somewhere.

The Breakfast Room is 7m by 5m, 35 square metres. Although there is physically enough carpet for this room, carpeting this room with it would require more than one join as whichever way the larger piece of carpet is laid, the smaller piece cannot cover the space that is left without being cut into two pieces.

The Dining Room is 6m by 6m, 36 square metres. Although there is physically enough carpet for this room, carpeting this room with it would require more than one join as whichever way the larger piece of carpet is laid, the smaller piece cannot cover the space that is left without being cut into two pieces.

The Living Room is 8m by 5m, 40 square metres. Although there is physically enough carpet for this room, carpeting this room with it would require more than one join as whichever way the larger piece of carpet is laid, the smaller piece cannot cover the space that is left without being cut into two pieces.

The Library is 9m by 4m, 36 square metres. We can use the carpet for this room because by laying the carpet end to end we can cover both the length and the width of the room with the carpet available, with only one join.

Question 45: A

The passage discusses how a number of farm animals have been found killed in fields, and that the injuries suggest a large predator is responsible, which locals claim is some form of big cat. The passage then discusses how official investigations have refuted these claims, and say that the sightings were of big cats. However, the argument claims the investigations are flawed in that although the sightings may be explained by domestic cats, the injuries cannot be, and concludes that big cats such as pumas must therefore be responsible.

This last statement is supported if we accept all the other reasons in the argument as being true, and thus this is the main conclusion of the passage. Thus A) correctly identifies the main conclusion of the passage.

C) is a reason given in the passage to support this main conclusion, and is not a conclusion in itself.

D) and E) are irrelevant statements which do not affect the argument’s conclusion, and are not conclusions in themselves.

B), meanwhile, is a direct contradiction of the results of the investigations, which is conceded as being true by the passage. Thus, it is not in any way a conclusion from the passage.

Question 46: A

The passage can be summarised as claiming that “A” and “B” are needed for “C”. Although we have “B”, we do not have “A”, so we cannot get/do “C”.

Only answer A) follows this same structure. Here “A” is having enough time to get to the station, “B” is having enough time to find the platform, and “C” is catching the train.

Answer B) refers to a situation where “A” and “B” are both needed for “C”, but in instance neither of “A” and “B” has been provided, so “C” cannot happen. This is different from just one of “A” and “B” being missing, so “C” cannot happen.

Answer E) refers to a situation where either “A” or “B” is sufficient for “C”, but neither have been provided, so “C” can’t happen. Again this is different from the question.

Answer C) refers to a situation where only one criterion needs to be fulfilled (i.e. the tide holding back for long enough for the truck to arrive), but it cannot be. This is different from needing two criteria, as in the question.

Answer D) refers to a completely different setting where one of two options needs to be used to carry out “C”, and one of the options cannot be used, so the other must be.

Hence, the answer is A)

Question 47: B

The passage illustrates a principle where only those who use a certain service should have to pay towards its upkeep, and how nobody who does not use the service should have to pay for it.

Answer B) follows this same principle, suggesting that those who do not visit London should not have to pay towards the subsidisation of the London transport system.

Answers C) and D) both refer to a principle where all people should provide a contribution to services which are beneficial, even if they do not use them themselves. Thus, these two answers illustrate an opposite principle to that in the question.

Answers A) and E) do not really refer to a principle at all, and simply describe possible outcomes from not subsidising art galleries. These answers are probably provided to distract you, and test you ability to focus on the principle at hand (whether people should pay towards a service they don’t use) rather than the situation at hand (art galleries).

Question 48: C

Question 49: D

Energy costs can be considered Gas + Electricity + Coal + Logs. We can add the costs of these up for each month and this elicits:

January: 125

February: 160

March: 40

April: 120

May: 180

June: 80

July: 80

August: 80

September: 0

October: 70

November: 0

December: 85

The highest of these is May, at 180. Hence the solution is D.

Question 50: D

The only boxes on the right hand side as Vinod looks at the boxes are directly in front of Sarah, so this pile of boxes must be 3 high. One of the piles in the middle as Vinod looks at the boxes must be 4 high but none can be more than 4 high, and one of the piles on the left as Vinod looks at the boxes must be 2 high but none can be more than 2 high.

We have already ascertained from the view than Vinod has that the pile of boxes in front of Sarah must be 3 high, so the middle pile as Sarah looks at the boxes must be at least 3 high. Hence D cannot be the view that Sarah sees as the middle pile is only 2 high. Hence the solution is D.



When, if ever, is forgiveness wrong?

This is a complex philosophical question based on an empirical issue. In order to answer this question, which I would not advise unless you have a solid and wide philosophical background, it is vital that one has a sound understanding of the different ways that the term ‘wrong’ can be interpreted. Explore and define this term in as clear a manner as possible (some pointers are given below). Failure to either define this word concretely and clearly, or to stray from the definition introduced in the opening paragraph will result in an essay which is vague and weak in terms of argument – the worst possible characteristics of a philosophy essay.


Definitions - to write a good essay, it is vital that two words are clearly defined, and that the definitions are followed throughout. Those words are ‘forgiveness’ and ‘wrong’

A good idea would be to use a case (if possible from real life) to illustrate your argument – such as, for example, a murder.

Lay out your argument and give a good idea of the direction you are going to take.


Consider a clear definition of forgiveness – for example ‘to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake’.

A good idea would be to explore what forgiveness is in terms of victim and perpetrator– namely that the perpetrator commits an act which in some way harms the victim, and forgiveness is a decision by the victim to accept what had happened.

It might also be a good idea to contrast forgiveness with reconciliation – reconciliation goes beyond forgiveness in that the forgiveness is the acceptance of a bad act, whereas reconciliation is the restoration of good relations.

A key element of forgiveness, which should be explored is the idea of repentance on the part of the perpetrator.


Consider a clear definition of wrong. Explore the idea of wrongness in different senses – for example in the context of justice and the law, or a more personal interpretation.

Possible arguments