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A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 14

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A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 14 [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2014, 06:45
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Question Stats:

55% (02:12) correct 45% (01:25) wrong based on 218 sessions
A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 1428 but before 1430. It couldn’t have been constructed before 1428 because it contains a type of headdress that was not created until later that year. It also could not have been built after 1430 because it contains a type of wood that the Aztecs were known to have stopped using in that same year.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The style in which the Aztecs built tombs did not change between 1428 and 1430.
(B) There is no other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age.
(C) No stocks of the old wood existed after 1430.
(D) The Aztecs did not construct the tomb over the course of many years.
(E) The headdress was familiar to most Aztecs in 1428.


Hi,
I want to know how I can reach to the OA, please.
I can figure out the conclusion and evidence, but I can't reach to the assumption.

OE:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
This question has subtle scope shifts.
Conclusion makes a claim about the entire tomb while evidence talks only about individual components.
It’s true that the headdress had to be added after 1428 and the wood before 1430, but it’s possible that the wood was added before 1428 or the headdress after 1430. The author takes for granted that the tomb was constructed so quickly that the Aztecs’ styles couldn’t have changed during the building process.

Conclusion: Aztec tomb was built between 1428 and 1430.
Evidence: Headdress in the tomb was not created until 1428, and the wood used in the building was not used after 1430.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by goodyear2013 on 26 Mar 2014, 03:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 14 [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2014, 11:52
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goodyear2013 wrote:
A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 1428 but before 1430. It couldn’t have been constructed before 1428 because it contains a type of headdress that was not created until later that year. It also could not have been built after 1430 because it contains a type of wood that the Aztecs were known to have stopped using in that same year.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The style in which the Aztecs built tombs did not change between 1428 and 1430.
(B) There is no other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age.
(C) No stocks of the old wood existed after 1430.
(D) The Aztecs did not construct the tomb over the course of many years.
(E) The headdress was familiar to most Aztecs in 1428.


Hi,
I want to know how I can reach to the OA, please.
I can figure out the conclusion and evidence, but I can't reach to the assumption.

Dear goodyear2013,
I"m happy to respond. :-)

First of all, as you may know, one of the best tests for a good assumption is the Negation Test, discussed here:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/assumption ... -the-gmat/

I have some doubts about this particular question. The set-up doesn't seem realistic. I don't know that we have such precise data on Aztec styles and practices in the middle of the 15th century. The prompt scenario strikes me as highly contrived, to the point that some who is an expert on the Aztec might laugh at it. Many of the GMAT CR questions have a far more realistic feel to them.

Nevertheless, here's an analysis of the answer choices:
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?
(A) The style in which the Aztecs built tombs did not change between 1428 and 1430.
Even if the style changed, it's not clear this would change either the wood they used or the headdresses they put inside. The relevance of this to the argument is not clear. This is incorrect.

(B) There is no other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age.
Maybe there is some other evidence that just wasn't mentioned. Maybe that other evidence would strengthen the argument even further. We don't know. This is incorrect.

(C) No stocks of the old wood existed after 1430.
This is a niggling one. If no stocks of the old wood existed after 1430, that would strengthen the argument. But a strengthener is different from an assumption. Suppose we negate this and say: plenty of stocks of old wood remained after 1430. Technically, the argument says, "It also could not have been built after 1430 because it contains a type of wood that the Aztecs were known to have stopped using in that same year." So, even if they had the wood available in stockrooms, they stopped using the wood in that year. Because of this, we have to say this answer choice is incorrect. First of all, this is unsatisfying because it's a real picayune semantic distinction, and more important, it's 100% unrealistic to the situation --- if the Aztecs had leftover supplies of a certain kind of wood, why on Earth would they stop using it? I can tell the question author intended this to be a wrong answer, but it's not a satisfying wrong answer.

(D) The Aztecs did not construct the tomb over the course of many years.
This is the intended correct answer. If we negate it, and the tomb construction took, say, 20 years, then it very easily could have both the wood and the headdress and still not have a construction located just in that narrow window. Thus, if we negate this, it obliterates the conclusion of the argument. That's the sign of an assumption.

(E) The headdress was familiar to most Aztecs in 1428
It doesn't matter how familiar the headdress was to most Aztecs. Perhaps it was only know to the secret society of priests who presided over the burials. How familiar or popular it was is irrelevant. This is incorrect.

Here's a much higher quality CR assumption question, for practice:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3137

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Magoosh Test Prep

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Re: A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 14 [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2014, 09:18
mikemcgarry wrote:
goodyear2013 wrote:
A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 1428 but before 1430. It couldn’t have been constructed before 1428 because it contains a type of headdress that was not created until later that year. It also could not have been built after 1430 because it contains a type of wood that the Aztecs were known to have stopped using in that same year.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The style in which the Aztecs built tombs did not change between 1428 and 1430.
(B) There is no other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age.
(C) No stocks of the old wood existed after 1430.
(D) The Aztecs did not construct the tomb over the course of many years.
(E) The headdress was familiar to most Aztecs in 1428.


Hi,
I want to know how I can reach to the OA, please.
I can figure out the conclusion and evidence, but I can't reach to the assumption.

Dear goodyear2013,
I"m happy to respond. :-)

First of all, as you may know, one of the best tests for a good assumption is the Negation Test, discussed here:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/assumption ... -the-gmat/

I have some doubts about this particular question. The set-up doesn't seem realistic. I don't know that we have such precise data on Aztec styles and practices in the middle of the 15th century. The prompt scenario strikes me as highly contrived, to the point that some who is an expert on the Aztec might laugh at it. Many of the GMAT CR questions have a far more realistic feel to them.

Nevertheless, here's an analysis of the answer choices:
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?
(A) The style in which the Aztecs built tombs did not change between 1428 and 1430.
Even if the style changed, it's not clear this would change either the wood they used or the headdresses they put inside. The relevance of this to the argument is not clear. This is incorrect.

(B) There is no other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age.
Maybe there is some other evidence that just wasn't mentioned. Maybe that other evidence would strengthen the argument even further. We don't know. This is incorrect.

(C) No stocks of the old wood existed after 1430.
This is a niggling one. If no stocks of the old wood existed after 1430, that would strengthen the argument. But a strengthener is different from an assumption. Suppose we negate this and say: plenty of stocks of old wood remained after 1430. Technically, the argument says, "It also could not have been built after 1430 because it contains a type of wood that the Aztecs were known to have stopped using in that same year." So, even if they had the wood available in stockrooms, they stopped using the wood in that year. Because of this, we have to say this answer choice is incorrect. First of all, this is unsatisfying because it's a real picayune semantic distinction, and more important, it's 100% unrealistic to the situation --- if the Aztecs had leftover supplies of a certain kind of wood, why on Earth would they stop using it? I can tell the question author intended this to be a wrong answer, but it's not a satisfying wrong answer.

(D) The Aztecs did not construct the tomb over the course of many years.
This is the intended correct answer. If we negate it, and the tomb construction took, say, 20 years, then it very easily could have both the wood and the headdress and still not have a construction located just in that narrow window. Thus, if we negate this, it obliterates the conclusion of the argument. That's the sign of an assumption.

(E) The headdress was familiar to most Aztecs in 1428
It doesn't matter how familiar the headdress was to most Aztecs. Perhaps it was only know to the secret society of priests who presided over the burials. How familiar or popular it was is irrelevant. This is incorrect.

Here's a much higher quality CR assumption question, for practice:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/3137

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)



Why B is wrong ????the conclusion says : Aztec tomb must have been created after 1428 but before 1430.
if you negate B .... "There is other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age". Wouldn't that make the conclusion weak ?
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Re: A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 14 [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2014, 10:52
Expert's post
shagalo wrote:
Why B is wrong ????the conclusion says : Aztec tomb must have been created after 1428 but before 1430.
if you negate B .... "There is other evidence in the tomb that can be tested accurately for age". Wouldn't that make the conclusion weak ?

Not necessarily. Maybe that other evidence would give a date of precisely 1429, which would enormously strengthen the argument. Or, maybe it would give a date to some year before or after the period mentioned, which would weaken the argument. That's just it. We don't know. Something that could be a weakener is not a very strong weakener.
Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Magoosh Test Prep

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Re: A newly unearthed Aztec tomb must have been created after 14   [#permalink] 11 Jun 2014, 10:52
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