A puzzle on the ASVAB

I was linked to this on another forum. No instructions were given, apparently—just this picture. What’s the deal?

It seems to me the answer is clearly C, not A as the test indicates; and the members in the original thread appear to agree. However, attempted justifications of A have been made, none of which are very convincing to me—mainly because if there are no instructions and an obvious answer, there’s not really any benefit for them to reward a different interpretation, which would almost certainly involve arbitrary assumptions regarding the rules they really want you to apply.

Trick questions on exams seem to rely on failure to pay close attention to instructions, or insufficiently rigorously apply rules; when there are no instructions, what justification would anyone have for not choosing the most obvious interpretation? Any could be right!

What do the geniuses here at MoreRight think?