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# As an experienced labor organizer and the former head of one

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As an experienced labor organizer and the former head of one [#permalink]  11 Feb 2010, 19:46
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As an experienced labor organizer and the former head of one of the nation’s most powerful labor unions, Grayson is an excellent choice to chair the new council on business-labor relations.
Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the conclusion above?
(A) The new council must have the support of the nation’s labor leaders if it is to succeed.
(B) During his years as a labor leader, Grayson established a record of good relations with business leaders.
(C) The chair of the new council must be a person who can communicate directly with the leaders of the nation’s largest labor unions.
(D) Most of the other members of the new council will be representatives of business management interests.
(E) An understanding of the needs and problems of labor is the only qualification necessary for the job of chairing the new council.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA after discussion.

Please explain the options you choose.
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  11 Feb 2010, 20:08
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Kaplan Method for Critical Reasoning.
Step 1: Analyze the question stem.
"Strengthen" makes it clear we're dealing with a strengthen question; we'll need to find evidence, conclusion, and assumption.

Step 2: Untangle the stimulus
Evidence: Greyson has experience in unions and labor organzation.
Conclusion: Greyson will do well in business labor relations.

We're dealing with a classic scope shift here; the evidence discusses experience in one job, the conclusion predicts success in another. So, the assumption is:

"Greyson's experience as a labor leader will make him good at business relations."

For a strengthener, the prediction is straightforward--we're looking for an answer that shows us how Greyson's experience at his past job qualifies him for this new one.

Step 4: Evaluate the answer choices.

(B) Matches our prediction exactly--Greyson's experience as a leader helped him with building good relationships.

There are several tempting answer choices, but each has its own pitfalls. (C) introduces communication; while we may presume that communication is vital for the job, this isn't necessarily the case. It's out of scope. (E), meanwhile, is too extreme--understanding labor is probably helpful in this new council position, but it's certainly not the only qualification.
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Prepare with Kaplan and save $150 on a course! Kaplan Reviews Senior Manager Joined: 21 Jul 2009 Posts: 366 Schools: LBS, INSEAD, IMD, ISB - Anything with just 1 yr program. Followers: 15 Kudos [?]: 113 [0], given: 22 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 12 Feb 2010, 08:20 This question is from the 1000 CR series and the OA given there is different. _________________ I am AWESOME and it's gonna be LEGENDARY!!! Intern Joined: 19 Dec 2009 Posts: 37 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 10 [2] , given: 8 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 12 Feb 2010, 08:42 2 This post received KUDOS BarneyStinson wrote: As an experienced labor organizer and the former head of one of the nation’s most powerful labor unions, Grayson is an excellent choice to chair the new council on business-labor relations. Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the conclusion above? (A) The new council must have the support of the nation’s labor leaders if it is to succeed. (B) During his years as a labor leader, Grayson established a record of good relations with business leaders. (C) The chair of the new council must be a person who can communicate directly with the leaders of the nation’s largest labor unions. (D) Most of the other members of the new council will be representatives of business management interests. (E) An understanding of the needs and problems of labor is the only qualification necessary for the job of chairing the new council. Please explain the options you choose. E. Explanation: Premise: an experienced labor organizer and the former head of one of the nation’s most powerful labor unions. Conclusion: excellent choice to chair the new council on business-labor relations. The correct answer will assist in establishing the conclusion / fix a weakness in the argument. The argument is flawed in that it assumes that his role as a labor leader will prepare him for business relations. E. strengthens the argument by basically confirming that assumption. Negating E will weaken the argument by making him look under-qualified. As far as B, I would say PowerScore would describe it as a shell game answer. It doesn't support this conclusion per se, but it looks like it does. Kaplan GMAT Instructor Joined: 25 Aug 2009 Posts: 644 Location: Cambridge, MA Followers: 72 Kudos [?]: 206 [3] , given: 2 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 12 Feb 2010, 11:59 3 This post received KUDOS Expert's post On further examination, I was hasty in eliminating (E). (E) certainly strengthens the answer--"only" makes it too extreme to be an assumption, but the argument is strengthened indeed if the only qualification necessary is the one he has. That being said, the reason that I eliminated (E) was that there isn't actually anything wrong with (B); it directly reaffirms the assumption. Once I saw that it matched our prediction perfectly, I hastily assumed that the others had to be wrong. I suppose in this case an argument could be made that is strengthens the argument 'less' than (E) does, because of the introduction of the idea of business "leaders". However, (B) directly bridges that gap between the evidence (Grayson's work as a labor leader) and the conclusion (his ability to work in business-labor relations.) The real GMAT never has answers that 'strengthen less' and 'strenghten more'; there will be four answers do not strengthen the argument, and exactly one that does. I've heard a lot of complaints about the quality of the 1000 CR questions, and I think this is another example. Still, Suvorov, thanks for pointing out my hastiness with (E)! _________________ Eli Meyer Kaplan Teacher http://www.kaptest.com/GMAT Prepare with Kaplan and save$150 on a course!

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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  12 Feb 2010, 12:17
KapTeacherEli wrote:
The real GMAT never has answers that 'strengthen less' and 'strenghten more'; there will be four answers do not strengthen the argument, and exactly one that does.

That's good to know.

Coming from LSAT background I pretty much expect three throw away answers, one correct and one "really close but not really" type answers.
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  12 Feb 2010, 19:36
IMO E

because it is given "An understanding of the needs and problems of labor is the only qualification" and Grayson is an experienced labor organizer, former head
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  14 Feb 2010, 21:37
After reading the options, I eliminated it down to B or D. I initially chose answer D.

I chose D because I thought that labor union rep was necessary because the council already had business management reps. After reading the other comments, I now see that D is incorrect because like Suvorov said, "the argument is flawed in that it assumes that his role as a labor leader will prepare him for business relations." Also, I made bad assumptions because I let my opinions interfere.

I eliminated B because it gave more facts about the evidence (Grayson had good relations with business leaders when he was a labor union leader) and did not strengthen the conclusion (excellent chair choice).

A & C were easy to eliminate. I also hastily eliminated E because after reading E, I thought it was too simple an answer (looked like an easy throw out) and did not even try to test if it strengthened the conclusion.

I change my answer to E because it links the evidence to the conclusion by fixing the flaw. It mentions understanding the needs/problems of labor, which Grayson has from his experience as a labor union leader (evidence) and strengthens Grayson as an excellent selection to chair the council (conclusion).

+1 to Suvorov for an excellent explanation.
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  15 Feb 2010, 20:47
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Hey All,

Not trying to start any turf war, but I'd like to weigh in on precisely how you can avoid falling for a trap like B. If you argue that "there's nothing wrong with it", you're missing the point of strengthen/weaken questions. In these questions, it's entirely common for multiple answer choices to strengthen or weaken. It's your job to determine which does it the most. Let's talk through all five here and consider the effect they have on the conclusion:

(A) The new council must have the support of the nation’s labor leaders if it is to succeed.
Effect: No effect. We're trying to talk about Grayson here, not the council.

(B) During his years as a labor leader, Grayson established a record of good relations with business leaders.
Effect: Small strengthen. He has some good relations. This doesn't speak to his knowledge or experience on the business side of things (notice how it still says "during his years as a labor leader").

(C) The chair of the new council must be a person who can communicate directly with the leaders of the nation’s largest labor unions.
Effect: No effect. We know Grayson has experience, but we don't know if he can "communicate directly with the leaders of the nation's largest labor unions", so this doesn't strengthen.

(D) Most of the other members of the new council will be representatives of business management interests.
Effect: Tiny strengthen. You could argue that Grayson's lack of business knowledge will be made up for by the rest of the council...but that's a stretch.

(E) An understanding of the needs and problems of labor is the only qualification necessary for the job of chairing the new council.
Effect: Huge strengthen. Now we know that the knowledge Grayson has is ALL he needs to be good at his job.

Make sure, when you're practicing, to think deeply about how each answer choice relates to the conclusion. Even stretches (as with D) will help you really think through the question, and will seldom lead you to the wrong answer.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  15 Feb 2010, 22:40
Expert's post
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey All,

Not trying to start any turf war, but I'd like to weigh in on precisely how you can avoid falling for a trap like B. If you argue that "there's nothing wrong with it", you're missing the point of strengthen/weaken questions. In these questions, it's entirely common for multiple answer choices to strengthen or weaken. It's your job to determine which does it the most. Let's talk through all five here and consider the effect they have on the conclusion:
Similarly, I didn't want to start a Kaplan/Manhattan turf war, so rather than use our materials I turned to the Official Guide. I spent about 45 minutes skimming through the answers and explanations for an example of a "slightly strengthens, but not enough" wrong answer, and I couldn't find a one; every Strengthen/Weaken I saw had four wrong answer choices that were out of scope or 180 degree wrong, and only one choice that Strengthened or Weakened. I stand by my statement that the actual GMAT won't have a trap like (B).
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Prepare with Kaplan and save $150 on a course! Kaplan Reviews Manager Joined: 26 Nov 2009 Posts: 178 Followers: 3 Kudos [?]: 53 [0], given: 5 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 16 Feb 2010, 01:30 I chose E as well Manhattan GMAT Instructor Affiliations: ManhattanGMAT Joined: 21 Jan 2010 Posts: 354 Location: San Francisco Followers: 359 Kudos [?]: 833 [0], given: 11 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 16 Feb 2010, 11:05 I think the total answer is somewhere between the two of us. I in no way want to contradict a fellow instructor, and Eli is correct in that there should always be one answer choice that strengthens or weakens MUCH more strongly (making the others looks wussy and out of scope in comparison with its awesomeness). However, it is simply not true that there will NEVER be other answer choices that also strengthen or weaken. There's a reason the question is worded as it is: "Which of the following, if true, would MOST strengthen the conclusion above?" [emphasis mine] Inherent in that "most strengthen" is the idea that multiple answer choices could strengthen the argument, but if they do, one will strengthen MORE. I shouldn't have to prove this, because the wording of the questions is very straightforward on this subject, but there are indeed MANY questions with slight strengthens or slight weakens. This is merely the first question we teach in our strengthen/weaken section. It's from the OFFICIAL Guides (Verbal Guide - #23) -- Answer choice A definitely strengthens, but C strengthens more: Near Chicago a newly built hydroponic spinach “factory,” a completely controlled environment for growing spinach, produces on 1 acre of floor space what it takes 100 acres of fields to produce. Expenses, especially for electricity, are high, however, and the spinach produced costs about four times as much as washed California field spinach, the spinach commonly sold throughout the United States. Which of the following, if true, best supports a projection that the spinach-growing facility near Chicago will be profitable? (A) Once the operators of the facility are experienced, they will be able to cut operating expenses by 25 percent. (B) There is virtually no scope for any further reduction in the cost per pound for California field spinach. (C) Unlike washed field spinach, the hydroponically grown spinach is untainted by any pesticides or herbicides and thus will sell at exceptionally high prices to such customers as health food restaurants. (D) Since spinach is a crop that ships relatively well, the market for the hydroponically grown spinach is no more limited to the Chicago area than the market for California field spinach is to California. (E) A second hydroponic facility is being built in Canada, taking advantage of inexpensive electricity and high vegetable prices. Now C is clearly better here, but that doesn't change the fact that A DOES strengthen (operating expenses are quite high, so if operating expenses get cut, that should help the factory be profitable). There are many other similar examples throughout the OG. Hope that helps! _________________ Tommy Wallach | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | San Francisco Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Reviews Intern Joined: 08 Nov 2006 Posts: 3 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 0 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 16 Feb 2010, 11:43 1 This post received KUDOS I thought the answer as C. ((A) The new council must have the support of the nation’s labor leaders if it is to succeed. As said in one of the comments above, the conclusion is about Grayson and not council. And Grayson is not a labor leader anymore. (B) During his years as a labor leader, Grayson established a record of good relations with business leaders. The evidence given is about his labor experience and I think the argument concluded based on his labor experience and not his relationship with business leaders. Also the evidence and conclusion don't say that the new council needs good relations with business leaders. (C) The chair of the new council must be a person who can communicate directly with the leaders of the nation’s largest labor unions. The evidence said he was a labor organizer which suggested me that he organized labor unions/meetings earlier and hence I thought he would be able to communciate with the leaders of labor unions. If this was true I think this would most strengthen the conclusion that he is an excellent choice. (D) Most of the other members of the new council will be representatives of business management interests. This doesn't explain how his labor organizing and leading experience helps in choosing him. (E) An understanding of the needs and problems of labor is the only qualification necessary for the job of chairing the new council. I thought If this was the "only" qualification needed, then anyone could be the choice why only Grayson and that too an excellent choice? Probably because he also was labor organize and leader of labor union but again we don't know what is the need of the new council for Grayson to be an excellent choice. Please give your comments on my explainations. Thanks. Manhattan GMAT Instructor Affiliations: ManhattanGMAT Joined: 21 Jan 2010 Posts: 354 Location: San Francisco Followers: 359 Kudos [?]: 833 [0], given: 11 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 16 Feb 2010, 12:26 Hey Vikuba, C says that the person MUST have a skill that we are not sure from the passage Grayson has. Look specifically at the difference between what we're told about him, and what answer choice C says the position requires. They ARE NOT the same thing. E is way more specific. It says that the person who fills the post must have EXACTLY the skills the passage itself tells us Grayson has. Hope that helps! _________________ Tommy Wallach | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | San Francisco Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Reviews Kaplan GMAT Instructor Joined: 25 Aug 2009 Posts: 644 Location: Cambridge, MA Followers: 72 Kudos [?]: 206 [0], given: 2 Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink] 16 Feb 2010, 13:35 Expert's post TommyWallach wrote: Near Chicago a newly built hydroponic spinach “factory,” a completely controlled environment for growing spinach, produces on 1 acre of floor space what it takes 100 acres of fields to produce. Expenses, especially for electricity, are high, however, and the spinach produced costs about four times as much as washed California field spinach, the spinach commonly sold throughout the United States. Which of the following, if true, best supports a projection that the spinach-growing facility near Chicago will be profitable? (A) Once the operators of the facility are experienced[, they will be able to cut operating expenses by 25 percent. Now C is clearly better here, but that doesn't change the fact that A DOES strengthen (operating expenses are quite high, so if operating expenses get cut, that should help the factory be profitable). There are many other similar examples throughout the OG. Hope that helps! I'm afraid I have to disagree; this situation isn't comparable to the 1000 cr question problem in the original post. The difference is that in this problem, A) seems to strengthen the answer, but actually doesn't. Note the bolded part--with the information in (A), we will have spinach that begins costing four times as much as other spinach, and ends up at three times as much as regular spinach. (A) could be said to weaken the argument, since it makes it less likely that the fancy spinach will drop to a price comparable to that of regular spinach. In the original question, (B) bridges the logical gap in the original argument--that experience leading labor organizations qualifies Grayson to manage relations between business and labor. (B) is neither definitive nor conclusive, but it does strengthen that unstated assumption. In other words, (B) is wrong only because (E) is better, and if (E) weren't an answer choice, (B) could be correct. On the GMAT, each answer choice will be correct or incorrect in and of itself. Once you've found a correct answer you will never have to read the rest to make sure there isn't a second one that's even more correct. _________________ Eli Meyer Kaplan Teacher http://www.kaptest.com/GMAT Prepare with Kaplan and save$150 on a course!

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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  16 Feb 2010, 14:06
I think we agree in the main, though we disagree about the details. I do think there are shades of strengthen/weaken in many questions (hence the way in which the questions are asked.

In the case of the spinach question, the "costs four times" refers to the cost to consumers, hence the following phrase comparing it to California field spinach being "sold". If they meant to say it costs four times as much to produce, it would say that. Instead it says "the spinach produced costs about four times as much". Thus the problem is whether or not anyone will be willing to pay this ridiculous cost (which is why C is the right answer). However, if operating expenses are cut, it still strengthens the notion that the factory might be profitable (Profit = Revenues - Expenses). Thus this strengthens, however slightly.

In the Grayson example, his experience with business leaders does not lead us to the conclusion. Having "good relations" does not necessarily make you good at the job (plenty of great businessmen and politicians have difficult relationships with people they work with). That's an inference that they're hoping to force on the question. Only D relates to the premise as it's actually stated.

Well matched, my friend. Have the last word if you like, but I think I've said all I can say on this one.

Hope everyone enjoyed the lively debate!
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  16 Feb 2010, 16:44
Against my own promise, I wanted to point out at least one question in the OG that does feature two answer choices that both strengthen (and so could both stand alone as correct answers, if not for the other). Question 21 in Critical Reasoning in the 12th edition of the OG. In the explanation for the question, GMAC it says describes a wrong answer choice (E) thusly:

"This statement provides an example of learned bird behavior, and so provide a little additional support for the conclusion, but not as much additional support as does B." (emphasis mine)

There are plenty more where that came from, but even one should be enough to end this debate.
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  17 Feb 2010, 07:34
Tommy, Thanks for the reply. I see now why E is the answer. E is the assumption made and this would strengthen the conclusion.

Thanks.
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  17 Feb 2010, 13:46
Let me end this discussion now. The OA is for certain E.
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Re: Grayson to chair the new council [#permalink]  03 Jul 2010, 01:19
Extremely informative and well-meaning, well-reasoned discussions between the two experts. My kudos on your spirit. Exactly as Eli reasoned following the exact same steps as he did, I chose B. I wasn't convinced however - again exactly as Eli pointed out that GMAC would build ambiguity in choices. If a choice is wrong/incorrect/inappropriate - there's got to be a solid reason behind it. Looking at B - while it does well to bridge the gap - it further requires TWO more assumptions - 1) That the good relations Grayson maintained with the business leaders during his last tenure - would mean he would be able to do so in the current tenure also. This may or may not be the case and hence he may or may not be an appropriate choice now.
2) In fact he may not be an appropriate choice now even, because he might have done well in his last assignment but may have simply lost the touch to be a good leader now.

Choice E states that past experience in understanding of the labor problems is the ONLY prerequisite for the job. This immediately obviates the need for the two assumptions cited above - viz - that he should have good relations even now (or be able to forge good relations now)
and that he be good at his job even now (because this is clearly discarded as a prerequisite by choice E).
Re: Grayson to chair the new council   [#permalink] 03 Jul 2010, 01:19

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