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Alternate Cause - A weakener or not

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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2013, 02:08
Hi Chiranjeev,

Thank you for such a post to help us understand more about weakener questions.

I always have troubles with CR questions and I find it so difficult to completely understand what you mentioned here. What is the goal of figuring out X led/can lead/will lead/leads to Y? Is that the way for us to further recognize weaken question types, particular those with causal effect (which is heavily applied in CR part)?

1- If that's the case, later, whenever I see "led" I can automatically choose the alternate causes with the relevant information?; whenever I see "can/will lead" I have to be cautious to pick up the answer choice relating to alternate causes and rather, I should figure out how the context change might weaken the conclusion?
2- If understanding structure of conclusion can help to answer related questions, why should I follow the 3P that I am now trying to internalize as I am eGMAT customer?

When I attempted to answer your first 3 questions, I tried my best to strictly follow the 3P method provided by eGMAT. I tried to understand the meaning of argument to find the solution. And I found that my analysis totally differs from what you mentioned here. I am not sure if it's a good approach in this type of question (especially when there is a shortcut with "X led to Y" presented in this article). Please help me figure out if I am right or wrong and please help me to comment on my following analyses:

1. Question 1:
Premise 1: Particle accelerators (at mj. research institutions) were out of service 2 years ago.
Premise 2: the number of articles (experiments - particle accelerators) reduced last year (compared to previous years)
Conclusion: (P1 + P2) decline of # of Particle accelerators (2yrs ago) --> decline of # of last year articles presenting result of those particle accelerators.
==> Assumption: all other factors affecting articles' publishing procedure remain the same last year as in the previous year
==> weaken: negate of assumption. --> answer for your question is: Yes!

2. Question 2:
Premise 1: Couples have mismatched sleeping and waking cycles --> share fewer activities + have more violent arguments THAN do couples with matched ones.
Conclusion: mismatched sleeping and waking cycles --> jeopardize a marriage
Assumption: sharing fewer activities btw couples and having more violent arguments are the two most important factors attributing to jeopardize a marriage.
Answer choice: Married couples in which both spouses follow the same sleeping and waking patterns also have arguments that can jeopardize the couple's marriage
Answer analysis: answer choice present again what mentioned in the premise --> wrong.

3. Question 3:

Premise 1: Pundra was weak twice in the past.
Premise 2: Pundra's weakness made (2 things): 1) DM products a bargain + 2) D exports an increase
Conclusion: Politician: pundra weakness will lead to similarly sized increase in exports.

Assumption: to assure similarly sized increase in exports, the condition at the time that the past two Pundra's weakness happened should be satisfied in the future.
Given answer: A sharp improvement in the efficiency of Darfir's manufacturing plants would make Darfir's product a bargain on world markets even without any weakening of the pundra relative to other currencies.
Answer analysis: Sharp improvement in the efficiency might make D a bargain but even that D have a bargain might not lead to increase in exports (. There is no such a relationship mentioned in the argument) --> wrong answer.

I am sorry if you think those questions are stupid and I am annoying you. Thank you so much!

Best regards,
Lucy
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2013, 18:50
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Hi Lucy,

Thanks for your appreciation. Here are my comments on your questions/queries:

LucyDang wrote:
Hi Chiranjeev,

Thank you for such a post to help us understand more about weakener questions.

I always have troubles with CR questions and I find it so difficult to completely understand what you mentioned here. What is the goal of figuring out X led/can lead/will lead/leads to Y? Is that the way for us to further recognize weaken question types, particular those with causal effect (which is heavily applied in CR part)?


The goal of the article was just to dispel a common misconception that alternate cause can be a weakener in "X will/can lead to Y". Since, alternate cause is indeed a weakener in "X led to Y" cases, so I combined both of these things in the article.

The purpose is not to further segment weaken type question, nor it is to use the takeaway of this article as tricks to be applied without understanding the question. We, at e-GMAT, never emphasize on using tricks in GMAT CR.

LucyDang wrote:
1- If that's the case, later, whenever I see "led" I can automatically choose the alternate causes with the relevant information?; whenever I see "can/will lead" I have to be cautious to pick up the answer choice relating to alternate causes and rather, I should figure out how the context change might weaken the conclusion?


As I explained above, the article should not be taken as providing a couple of tricks applicable in a particular scenario. Logic prevails over everything else in GMAT CR. The best way to make use of this article is to understand why an alternate cause is a weakener in some situations and why it is not in other situations. This way, you'll be building up your understanding and reasoning capability, which are tested in GMAT CR.

LucyDang wrote:
2- If understanding structure of conclusion can help to answer related questions, why should I follow the 3P that I am now trying to internalize as I am eGMAT customer?

As you can see, we are talking here about very specific conclusion structures and even in that case, we are not talking about a process to approach these questions. You need to follow the 3-step process as outlined in the e-GMAT CR course.

LucyDang wrote:
When I attempted to answer your first 3 questions, I tried my best to strictly follow the 3P method provided by eGMAT. I tried to understand the meaning of argument to find the solution. And I found that my analysis totally differs from what you mentioned here. I am not sure if it's a good approach in this type of question (especially when there is a shortcut with "X led to Y" presented in this article).

Even if we consider what is written in this article as an approach, this approach cannot produce different results from another approach which is also equally correct. Probably, you need to sit back and reflect where you went wrong. As far as the 3-step approach is concerned, this approach is applicable to every CR question. So, you shouldn't worry about the applicability of the process. Just pay attention to the gaps in your understanding.

LucyDang wrote:
Please help me figure out if I am right or wrong and please help me to comment on my following analyses:

1. Question 1:
Premise 1: Particle accelerators (at mj. research institutions) were out of service 2 years ago.
Premise 2: the number of articles (experiments - particle accelerators) reduced last year (compared to previous years)
Conclusion: (P1 + P2) decline of # of Particle accelerators (2yrs ago) --> decline of # of last year articles presenting result of those particle accelerators.
==> Assumption: all other factors affecting articles' publishing procedure remain the same last year as in the previous year
==> weaken: negate of assumption. --> answer for your question is: Yes!


Correct Analysis! Good job :)

LucyDang wrote:
2. Question 2:
Premise 1: Couples have mismatched sleeping and waking cycles --> share fewer activities + have more violent arguments THAN do couples with matched ones.
Conclusion: mismatched sleeping and waking cycles --> jeopardize a marriage
Assumption: sharing fewer activities btw couples and having more violent arguments are the two most important factors attributing to jeopardize a marriage.
Answer choice: Married couples in which both spouses follow the same sleeping and waking patterns also have arguments that can jeopardize the couple's marriage
Answer analysis: answer choice present again what mentioned in the premise --> wrong.


Why do you say that the answer choice provides the same information as in the premise?

LucyDang wrote:
3. Question 3:

Premise 1: Pundra was weak twice in the past.
Premise 2: Pundra's weakness made (2 things): 1) DM products a bargain + 2) D exports an increase
Conclusion: Politician: pundra weakness will lead to similarly sized increase in exports.

Assumption: to assure similarly sized increase in exports, the condition at the time that the past two Pundra's weakness happened should be satisfied in the future.
Given answer: A sharp improvement in the efficiency of Darfir's manufacturing plants would make Darfir's product a bargain on world markets even without any weakening of the pundra relative to other currencies.
Answer analysis: Sharp improvement in the efficiency might make D a bargain but even that D have a bargain might not lead to increase in exports (. There is no such a relationship mentioned in the argument) --> wrong answer.

I am sorry if you think those questions are stupid and I am annoying you. Thank you so much!

Best regards,
Lucy

Your assumption is correct but your reason for rejecting given option statement is not. Even though it is not very explicitly stated, there is an intended causality in the passage between "Making a product a bargain on the world market" and "increase in exports". Think about it.

How would a weak Pundra will lead to increase in exports, as given in the passage?

By making Darfir's product cheaper compared to other countries; in other words, by "making Darfir's product a bargain on the world market".

This causality, even though not very explicit, is quite clear from the given line in the passage:

"Both times a weak pundra made Darfir's manufactured products a bargain on world markets, and Darfir's exports were up substantially."

So, even though the option statement given with this passage is incorrect but it is not incorrect for the reason as explained in the article.

Hope this helps :)

Let me know if you have any doubts.

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2013, 21:04
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Another interesting official question:

A drug that is highly effective in treating many types of infection can, at present, be obtained only from the bark of the ibora, a tree that is quite rare in the wild. It takes the bark of 5,000 trees to make one kilogram of the drug. It follows, therefore, that continued production of the drug must inevitably lead to the ibora’s extinction.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?

(A) The drug made from ibora bark is dispensed to doctors from a central authority.
(B) The drug made from ibora bark is expensive to produce.
(C) The leaves of the ibora are used in a number of medical products.
(D) The ibora can be propagated from cuttings and grown under cultivation.
(E) The ibora generally grows in largely inaccessible places.

Let's see how many get this right :)

-Chiranjeev
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2013, 22:01
egmat wrote:
Another interesting official question:

A drug that is highly effective in treating many types of infection can, at present, be obtained only from the bark of the ibora, a tree that is quite rare in the wild. It takes the bark of 5,000 trees to make one kilogram of the drug. It follows, therefore, that continued production of the drug must inevitably lead to the ibora’s extinction.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?

(A) The drug made from ibora bark is dispensed to doctors from a central authority.
(B) The drug made from ibora bark is expensive to produce.
(C) The leaves of the ibora are used in a number of medical products.
(D) The ibora can be propagated from cuttings and grown under cultivation.
(E) The ibora generally grows in largely inaccessible places.

Let's see how many get this right :)

-Chiranjeev



I'll go for D.
Con: continued production of the drug must inevitably lead to the ibora’s extinction.
continued production------>Ibora's extinction
if we show that continued production does not necessarily lead to ibora's extinction the conclusion will fall apart.
D does exactly the same. it says that Ibora can grown under cultivation therefore making the drug out of Ibora's bark does not lead to Ibor's extinction, since cultivated Ibora can be used instead of natural one.
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2013, 18:17
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Bibinaz wrote:
egmat wrote:
Another interesting official question:

A drug that is highly effective in treating many types of infection can, at present, be obtained only from the bark of the ibora, a tree that is quite rare in the wild. It takes the bark of 5,000 trees to make one kilogram of the drug. It follows, therefore, that continued production of the drug must inevitably lead to the ibora’s extinction.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?

(A) The drug made from ibora bark is dispensed to doctors from a central authority.
(B) The drug made from ibora bark is expensive to produce.
(C) The leaves of the ibora are used in a number of medical products.
(D) The ibora can be propagated from cuttings and grown under cultivation.
(E) The ibora generally grows in largely inaccessible places.

Let's see how many get this right :)

-Chiranjeev



I'll go for D.
Con: continued production of the drug must inevitably lead to the ibora’s extinction.
continued production------>Ibora's extinction
if we show that continued production does not necessarily lead to ibora's extinction the conclusion will fall apart.
D does exactly the same. it says that Ibora can grown under cultivation therefore making the drug out of Ibora's bark does not lead to Ibor's extinction, since cultivated Ibora can be used instead of natural one.


Hi Bibinaz,

You are absolutely correct.

Sorry for the late reply. I forgot about this completely.

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2014, 03:34
Hi Chiranjeev,

Just a short query on the alternative clause, What would be the weakener for X does not leads to Y ?

Thanks Nitin
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2014, 21:11
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Nitinaka19 wrote:
Hi Chiranjeev,

Just a short query on the alternative clause, What would be the weakener for X does not leads to Y ?

Thanks Nitin


Hi Nitin,

Think about it. Any statement that suggests "X leads to Y" would be a valid weakener for "X does not lead to Y". For example:

1. If a statement says that X leads to Z and Z leads to X. In such a case, indirectly though, X leads to Y. Hence, this statement will be a valid weakener.
2. Also, you can weaken this conclusion "X does not lead to Y" not by directly attacking the conclusion but by challenging the assumption or the logic of the argument. For example: If the argument relies on some study results, you can weaken the conclusion by saying that the study was actually biased.

We can think of even more ways to weaken "X does not lead to Y".

Does it address your query?

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2014, 07:02
Hi,
I have read your article but was not able to understand following point:

alternate-cause-a-weakener-or-not-155034.html

The argument 2 is of the type X can lead to Y (X: Mismatched sleeping and waking cycles, Y: jeopardizing the marriage). So, this argument is talking about a generic case that X can lead to Y. Remember, in this argument, Y has not occurred in the past and the argument is not trying to explain the reasons for its occurrence.

Here you are saying the argument is not trying to explain the reasons for its occurrence, but in each of your example there is reason of occurrence.
Ex given by you :
12 years ago and again 5 years ago, there were extended periods when the Darfir Republic's currency, the pundra, was weak: its value was unusually low relative to the world's most stable currencies. Both times a weak pundra made Darfir's manufactured products a bargain on world markets, and Darfir's exports were up substantially. Now some politicians are saying that, in order to cause another similarly sized increase in exports, the government should allow the pundra to become weak again.

Here conclusion is week pundra will lead to similar size increase in export.
According to me reason is: a weak pundra made Darfir's manufactured products a bargain on world markets. thus reason for occurance is already in the argument. similarly we can find reason in other arguments too.

I did not understand why you said the argument is not trying to explain the reasons for its occurrence? Please highlight this.
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 20 Feb 2014, 03:02
Expert's post
Quote:
Hi,
I have read your article but was not able to understand following point:

alternate-cause-a-weakener-or-not-155034.html

The argument 2 is of the type X can lead to Y (X: Mismatched sleeping and waking cycles, Y: jeopardizing the marriage). So, this argument is talking about a generic case that X can lead to Y. Remember, in this argument, Y has not occurred in the past and the argument is not trying to explain the reasons for its occurrence.

Here you are saying the argument is not trying to explain the reasons for its occurrence, but in each of your example there is reason of occurrence.
Ex given by you :
12 years ago and again 5 years ago, there were extended periods when the Darfir Republic's currency, the pundra, was weak: its value was unusually low relative to the world's most stable currencies. Both times a weak pundra made Darfir's manufactured products a bargain on world markets, and Darfir's exports were up substantially. Now some politicians are saying that, in order to cause another similarly sized increase in exports, the government should allow the pundra to become weak again.


Dear Karan,

Thank you for your post :) .
In order to productively respond to your query, I would like to request you to kindly fully address the point that you want to emphasize in argument 2. In your post, you point toward the second argument but then go on to talking about the third argument for reference. Unfortunately, the link between the two does not come out as clearly as you may have intended. In addition to this, could you also please share your understanding of the word reason with respect to causal arguments.

Look forward to your response :).
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2014, 01:00
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Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to share that we have posted solutions to 20 of the hardest official CR questions on our blog. We hope you learn from and enjoy them.

Here's the link:

https://e-gmat.com/blogs/?cat=21

If you like them or have any feedback, please feel free to post on this thread :)

All the best for your preparations :)

Regards,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Alternate Cause - A weakener or not   [#permalink] 04 Mar 2014, 01:00
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