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# The Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge #4

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19 Jul 2013, 14:11
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Hi All,

I hope everyone is doing well! Here is the 4th Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge. I thought that this article in the latest economist was very interesting. I hope that you enjoy it too!

Happy Studies,

HG.

PS: For other challenges and for general RC strategy start here: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html?hilit=economist%20reading%20comprehension%20challenge

[url]
http://www.economist.com/news/science-a ... es-dilemma[/url]

Athlete’s dilemma

1. According to the passage, the attitude referred to in the 8th paragraph reflects:

A. The dominant paradigm in drug testing for professional sports

B. A consequence of several failed attempts to overhaul drug testing in professional sports

C. The views of many active professional athletes

D. A departure from the attitude of many of the officials involved in policing professional athletes

E. The attitude of a small but significant minority of individuals who work in professional sports

2. According to the passage, some mathematicians believe that:

A. The penalties for drug violations in professional sports are too low

B. Lack of resources would be the easiest problem to address in drug testing related to professional sports

C. If professional athletes believed they would get caught using performance enhancing drugs then they would refrain from using them.

D. Drug enforcement officials in some professional sports have more authority than officials in other sports.

E. If performance enhancing drugs were legalized then far more professional athletes would use them

3. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. Game theory should not be used as a model for the behavior of professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs

B. For many professional athletes aversion to cheating is greater than the desire to win

C. In some professional sports it is an exception to be an athlete not using performance enhancing drugs.

D. Most athletes are motivated to use performance enhancing drugs for financial reasons which outweigh potential punishments if they are caught using drugs.

E. Some drug enforcement officials do not conduct thorough investigations into some athletes drug use because of the tightly knit nature of the professional sports community.

4. What is the main point of the passage?

A. A new mathematical theory illustrates that professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs use a cost benefit analysis but ultimately consider the benefits of performance enhancing drugs outweigh the costs of being caught.

B. The current system of drug enforcement in professional sports allows the motivations of certain stakeholders to limit the system’s power so that athletes are stuck in a prisoners dilemma which rewards cheating.

C. Given that the proper stakeholders can be identified, mathematical theories can be used as predictors of behavior.

D. A new mathematical theory illustrates that drug use in professional sports is the result of intense competition amongst athletes and their desire to win.

E. A mathematical theory used to predict behavior is only as accurate as the information that the theory is used to interpret.

5. What is the main purpose of the second paragraph?

A. To present a puzzling question which the passage then attempts to answer

B. To provide information about the punishments for getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.

C. To introduce a theory which does not properly predict the behavior being investigated

D. To detail several facts critical to the author’s central argument

E. To introduce a counter argument which is ultimately refuted

6. Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

A. In some instances, reporting an athlete’s negative drug test results is more important than reporting another athlete’s positive drug test results.

B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.

C. Increasing the severity of the punishments for drug violations in professional sports may not solve the problem outlined in the passage but could diminish it.

D. A majority of professional athletes would not cheat if they knew that they could win without cheating.

E. Some mathematicians believe that the current system of drug enforcement in professional sports is adequate to control the problem but will not eliminate drug use completely.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
1.A 2.C 3.C 4.B 5.A 6.B

_________________

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19 Jul 2013, 21:54
these are the answers i could think of , pls correct me if im wrong ;
1) A
2) C
3) C or E( im confused )
4) B
5) A
6) C or D ( im confused)
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20 Jul 2013, 11:17
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Hi HerrGrau,
I absolutely love this article. When I first read the 1st sentence "sportsmen...be prisoners of a different game". I wondered what that game was. Now I know that it's the game theory. Actually, I know very little about game theory, most from the movie "A beautiful mind" I watched years ago about John Nash, so I was eager to see what I was about to read this article. I also love the way the writer use the pronoun "it" in paragraph 1, very very nice writing.
[quote="HerrGrau"]

1. According to the passage, the attitude referred to in the 8th paragraph reflects:

A. The dominant paradigm in drug testing for professional sports
I think the attitude mentioned here is " to test sparingly, expose what is wrong,....rather..." (last sentence in paragraph 7). It's the dominant issues. Correct
B. A consequence of several failed attempts to overhaul drug testing in professional sports
There's nothing about failed attemps to overhaul drug testing. Incorrect
C. The views of many active professional athletes
I think It's the attitude of the inspectors, not athletes (cause it would lead to the outcome testing..), by the way, the views of athletes is that they will not get caught. Incorrect
D. A departure from the attitude of many of the officials involved in policing professional athletes
There's not a departure here. Incorrect
E. The attitude of a small but significant minority of individuals who work in professional sports
What is a small but significant minority here? Incorrect.

2. According to the passage, some mathematicians believe that:

A. The penalties for drug violations in professional sports are too low

Nothing to do with penalties here. Incorrect

B. Lack of resources would be the easiest problem to address in drug testing related to professional sports
They think that the only way out is the resources, both positive and negative, to be reported, so lack of resources may be the problem, but the article does not say that it is the easiest problem to address in. Incorrect.

C. If professional athletes believed they would get caught using performance enhancing drugs then they would refrain from using them.
From paragraph 6. Correct
D. Drug enforcement officials in some professional sports have more authority than officials in other sports.
Not mentioned. Incorrect.
E. If performance enhancing drugs were legalized then far more professional athletes would use them
The legalization of taking drugs is not mentioned. Incorrect
3. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. Game theory should not be used as a model for the behavior of professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs
The author does not say whether game theory should be used nor not. Incorrect
B. For many professional athletes aversion to cheating is greater than the desire to win
From 8th paragraph, The desire to win is greater. Incorrect
C. In some professional sports it is an exception to be an athlete not using performance enhancing drugs.
From the last sentence of the 8th paragraph. Correct
D. Most athletes are motivated to use performance enhancing drugs for financial reasons which outweigh potential punishments if they are caught using drugs.
First, the financial reasons is not mentioned here. Second, they think that they will not get caught. Incorrect.
E. Some drug enforcement officials do not conduct thorough investigations into some athletes drug use because of the tightly knit nature of the professional sports community.
What is the wordy object :"the tightly knit nature of the profession.." mean? I don't know, it should also mention customers (fans and sponsors), by the way. Incorrect.

4. What is the main point of the passage?

A. A new mathematical theory illustrates that professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs use a cost benefit analysis but ultimately consider the benefits of performance enhancing drugs outweigh the costs of being caught.

Well, It's temping to choose this answer, but in my opinion, the athletes do not think they will get caught. Incorrect.
B. The current system of drug enforcement in professional sports allows the motivations of certain stakeholders to limit the system’s power so that athletes are stuck in a prisoners dilemma which rewards cheating.
Yeah...actually, I don't understand fully this answer, I think the stakeholders mentioned here is the inspector's attitude, the customer and the authority...the only thing I know for sure is that there's something that limits the system power and therefore make the sportsmen want to cheat. Correct.
C. Given that the proper stakeholders can be identified, mathematical theories can be used as predictors of behavior.
Well, I think the author does not mention the math.. theories as predictors, these theories are used to explain why the sportsmen cheat, and the main point of this passage should be more than that. Incorrect
D. A new mathematical theory illustrates that drug use in professional sports is the result of intense competition among athletes and their desire to win.
It's not about the intense competition. Incorrect
E. A mathematical theory used to predict behavior is only as accurate as the information that the theory is used to interpret.
The main point should be more than that, and once again, I think the theory is not used to predict behavior but to explain wrong-doing action in the passage, moreover, the accurate of the information is mentioned only in the solution, not to predict behavior. Incorrect

5. What is the main purpose of the second paragraph?

A. To present a puzzling question which the passage then attempts to answer
"Why?". It's a question, and the passage try to answer it. Correct
B. To provide information about the punishments for getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.
It should be more that just providing information. Incorrect
C. To introduce a theory which does not properly predict the behavior being investigated
The 3rd paragraph is the one what introduces a theory, not a 2nd paragraph. Incorrect
D. To detail several facts critical to the author’s central argument
Well, I don't think you can present several critical facts in just 2 sentences. By the way, if this fact is crossed out, we can still understand what the author wants to present. Incorrect.
E. To introduce a counter argument which is ultimately refuted
This argument is not refuted

I think question 6 is the hardest one. I get confused
6. Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

A. In some instances, reporting an athlete’s negative drug test results is more important than reporting another athlete’s positive drug test results.
as mathematicans suggested, The report should be both positive and negative, nothing about the importance here. Incorrect
B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.
I don't think this is a right answer, because if someone takes the action that disqualifies a significant number of participants, the sport may vanish in a hailstorm of disqualifications (paragraph 7)
C. Increasing the severity of the punishments for drug violations in professional sports may not solve the problem outlined in the passage but could diminish it.
The passage has nothing to do with severity of the punishments. Incorrect
D. A majority of professional athletes would not cheat if they knew that they could win without cheating.
According to the passage, they could not cheat if they knew they will be caught, and they cheat because of their desire to win blah blah . But if they knew that they could win without cheating.....???? You can't assure that they will not cheat. Even though they do not cheat, how can you say about majority or minority???
So i think. Incorrect
E. Some mathematicians believe that the current system of drug enforcement in professional sports is adequate to control the problem but will not eliminate drug use completely.
This current system is not adequate to control the problem. Incorrect
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21 Jul 2013, 01:36
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@retailingvnsupernova

for 6 u eliminated all . .D looks good

re read this part . . if they knew that they could win without cheating.

if they can win without cheating and cheating imposes heavy penalties . . why will they cheat . .

i guess you did not like the word majority in first part. but majority is appropriate . . the majority wont cheat(if, they know they can win) and we still have room for few exceptional cases.

B seems out of sync

Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.

First of all whats the dilemma ? "why do athletes take drugs ?" can we solve this by disqualifying a significant number of participants . and is this the only way out ??

from para 7. . . how customers would react if more thorough testing did reveal near-universal cheating, which anecdotal evidence suggests that in some sports it might.

only anecdotal evidence suggests that near universal cheating might exist . . . .and we are talking about disqualifying those near universal number of participants , thinking its only way out to solve a dilemma that athletes face . . .

extremely extreme . . .good for economist article not good for GMAT answer option. . D is best among the lot
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24 Jul 2013, 08:44
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Hi there,

Really stellar work here breaking down all the answers. Awesome job! Here's my take on question 6:

6. Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

A. In some instances, reporting an athlete’s negative drug test results is more important than reporting another athlete’s positive drug test results.
The passage suggests reporting all drug test results but we do not know which results are the most important.

B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.
Yes. Correct. The dilemma is that athletes are incentivized to use drugs. In order to solve the dilemma the article says that the inspectors would need to report all of the drug test results. We are told that reporting all of the results could disqualify a large number of athletes in certain sports. You are right the solution could cause other problems but according to the article transparency is what is necessary to solve the dilemma.

C. Increasing the severity of the punishments for drug violations in professional sports may not solve the problem outlined in the passage but could diminish it.
We do not know this. The problem is not the punishment. That is already severe. The problem is the testing and the transparency.

D. A majority of professional athletes would not cheat if they knew that they could win without cheating.
Maybe, but we do not know this.

E. Some mathematicians believe that the current system of drug enforcement in professional sports is adequate to control the problem but will not eliminate drug use completely.
We do not know this. In fact, the mathematicians mentioned in the passage do not think the current system is adequate.

retailingvnsupernova wrote:
Hi HerrGrau,
I absolutely love this article. When I first read the 1st sentence "sportsmen...be prisoners of a different game". I wondered what that game was. Now I know that it's the game theory. Actually, I know very little about game theory, most from the movie "A beautiful mind" I watched years ago about John Nash, so I was eager to see what I was about to read this article. I also love the way the writer use the pronoun "it" in paragraph 1, very very nice writing.
HerrGrau wrote:

1. According to the passage, the attitude referred to in the 8th paragraph reflects:

A. The dominant paradigm in drug testing for professional sports
I think the attitude mentioned here is " to test sparingly, expose what is wrong,....rather..." (last sentence in paragraph 7). It's the dominant issues. Correct
B. A consequence of several failed attempts to overhaul drug testing in professional sports
There's nothing about failed attemps to overhaul drug testing. Incorrect
C. The views of many active professional athletes
I think It's the attitude of the inspectors, not athletes (cause it would lead to the outcome testing..), by the way, the views of athletes is that they will not get caught. Incorrect
D. A departure from the attitude of many of the officials involved in policing professional athletes
There's not a departure here. Incorrect
E. The attitude of a small but significant minority of individuals who work in professional sports
What is a small but significant minority here? Incorrect.

2. According to the passage, some mathematicians believe that:

A. The penalties for drug violations in professional sports are too low

Nothing to do with penalties here. Incorrect

B. Lack of resources would be the easiest problem to address in drug testing related to professional sports
They think that the only way out is the resources, both positive and negative, to be reported, so lack of resources may be the problem, but the article does not say that it is the easiest problem to address in. Incorrect.

C. If professional athletes believed they would get caught using performance enhancing drugs then they would refrain from using them.
From paragraph 6. Correct
D. Drug enforcement officials in some professional sports have more authority than officials in other sports.
Not mentioned. Incorrect.
E. If performance enhancing drugs were legalized then far more professional athletes would use them
The legalization of taking drugs is not mentioned. Incorrect
3. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. Game theory should not be used as a model for the behavior of professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs
The author does not say whether game theory should be used nor not. Incorrect
B. For many professional athletes aversion to cheating is greater than the desire to win
From 8th paragraph, The desire to win is greater. Incorrect
C. In some professional sports it is an exception to be an athlete not using performance enhancing drugs.
From the last sentence of the 8th paragraph. Correct
D. Most athletes are motivated to use performance enhancing drugs for financial reasons which outweigh potential punishments if they are caught using drugs.
First, the financial reasons is not mentioned here. Second, they think that they will not get caught. Incorrect.
E. Some drug enforcement officials do not conduct thorough investigations into some athletes drug use because of the tightly knit nature of the professional sports community.
What is the wordy object :"the tightly knit nature of the profession.." mean? I don't know, it should also mention customers (fans and sponsors), by the way. Incorrect.

4. What is the main point of the passage?

A. A new mathematical theory illustrates that professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs use a cost benefit analysis but ultimately consider the benefits of performance enhancing drugs outweigh the costs of being caught.

Well, It's temping to choose this answer, but in my opinion, the athletes do not think they will get caught. Incorrect.
B. The current system of drug enforcement in professional sports allows the motivations of certain stakeholders to limit the system’s power so that athletes are stuck in a prisoners dilemma which rewards cheating.
Yeah...actually, I don't understand fully this answer, I think the stakeholders mentioned here is the inspector's attitude, the customer and the authority...the only thing I know for sure is that there's something that limits the system power and therefore make the sportsmen want to cheat. Correct.
C. Given that the proper stakeholders can be identified, mathematical theories can be used as predictors of behavior.
Well, I think the author does not mention the math.. theories as predictors, these theories are used to explain why the sportsmen cheat, and the main point of this passage should be more than that. Incorrect
D. A new mathematical theory illustrates that drug use in professional sports is the result of intense competition among athletes and their desire to win.
It's not about the intense competition. Incorrect
E. A mathematical theory used to predict behavior is only as accurate as the information that the theory is used to interpret.
The main point should be more than that, and once again, I think the theory is not used to predict behavior but to explain wrong-doing action in the passage, moreover, the accurate of the information is mentioned only in the solution, not to predict behavior. Incorrect

5. What is the main purpose of the second paragraph?

A. To present a puzzling question which the passage then attempts to answer
"Why?". It's a question, and the passage try to answer it. Correct
B. To provide information about the punishments for getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.
It should be more that just providing information. Incorrect
C. To introduce a theory which does not properly predict the behavior being investigated
The 3rd paragraph is the one what introduces a theory, not a 2nd paragraph. Incorrect
D. To detail several facts critical to the author’s central argument
Well, I don't think you can present several critical facts in just 2 sentences. By the way, if this fact is crossed out, we can still understand what the author wants to present. Incorrect.
E. To introduce a counter argument which is ultimately refuted
This argument is not refuted

I think question 6 is the hardest one. I get confused
6. Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

A. In some instances, reporting an athlete’s negative drug test results is more important than reporting another athlete’s positive drug test results.
as mathematicans suggested, The report should be both positive and negative, nothing about the importance here. Incorrect
B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.
I don't think this is a right answer, because if someone takes the action that disqualifies a significant number of participants, the sport may vanish in a hailstorm of disqualifications (paragraph 7)
C. Increasing the severity of the punishments for drug violations in professional sports may not solve the problem outlined in the passage but could diminish it.
The passage has nothing to do with severity of the punishments. Incorrect
D. A majority of professional athletes would not cheat if they knew that they could win without cheating.
According to the passage, they could not cheat if they knew they will be caught, and they cheat because of their desire to win blah blah . But if they knew that they could win without cheating.....???? You can't assure that they will not cheat. Even though they do not cheat, how can you say about majority or minority???
So i think. Incorrect
E. Some mathematicians believe that the current system of drug enforcement in professional sports is adequate to control the problem but will not eliminate drug use completely.
This current system is not adequate to control the problem. Incorrect

_________________

"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT vs GRE Comparison

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

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29 Jul 2013, 06:14
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Expert's post
Hi All,

Thank you for participating and great job on this so far! I hope that everyone is finding this helpful and improving verbal scores one Economist article at a time. Here are the answer explanation for this set:

1. According to the passage, the attitude referred to in the 8th paragraph reflects:

A. The dominant paradigm in drug testing for professional sports
CORRECT. This is stated in the previous paragraph. The attitude is what most sports officials subscribe to.
B. A consequence of several failed attempts to overhaul drug testing in professional sports
The passage doesn’t mention several failed attempts.
C. The views of many active professional athletes
We don’t know the views of athletes.
D. A departure from the attitude of many of the officials involved in policing professional athletes
It is not a departure. It is the view of the officials.
E. The attitude of a small but significant minority of individuals who work in professional sports
Who is this small but significant minority? We don’t know.

2. According to the passage, some mathematicians believe that:

A. The penalties for drug violations in professional sports are too low
It is not that the penalties are too low. In fact, the penalties are high.
B. Lack of resources would be the easiest problem to address in drug testing related to professional sports
We know that lack of resources is a problem but we do not know that it is the easiest one to address.
C. If professional athletes believed they would get caught using performance enhancing drugs then they would refrain from using them.
CORRECT. Yes. We are told that according to game theory if the participants believe that they will get caught then they will not cheat.
D. Drug enforcement officials in some professional sports have more authority than officials in other sports.
The passage does not compare the authorities of different sports.
E. If performance enhancing drugs were legalized then far more professional athletes would use them
This is not discussed.

3. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. Game theory should not be used as a model for the behavior of professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs
Not true. In fact, the author seems to support the idea that game theory does make sense as a model.
B. For many professional athletes aversion to cheating is greater than the desire to win
Not true. It is the opposite. Desire to win is greater than their aversion to cheating.
C. In some professional sports it is an exception to be an athlete not using performance enhancing drugs.
CORRECT. Yes. We are told that in some sports it may be that with thorough testing a majority of the athletes would test positive.
D. Most athletes are motivated to use performance enhancing drugs for financial reasons which outweigh potential punishments if they are caught using drugs.
We are told that athletes use drugs to win. We are not told that the reasons are financial in nature.
E. Some drug enforcement officials do not conduct thorough investigations into some athletes drug use because of the tightly knit nature of the professional sports community.
We are not told that the officials practice favoritism because of personal relationships.

4. Which of the following best expresses the main point of the passage?

A. A new mathematical theory illustrates that professional athletes considering taking performance enhancing drugs use a cost benefit analysis but ultimately consider the benefits of performance enhancing drugs outweigh the costs of being caught.
There may be some cost benefit analysis but this is not the main point. It is missing the idea that there are other pressures (the consumer, the sponsors) affecting the system.
B. The current system of drug enforcement in professional sports allows the motivations of certain stakeholders to limit the system’s power so that athletes are stuck in a prisoners dilemma which rewards cheating.
CORRECT. Yes. The system has limited power because there is pressure (from consumers/sponsors) not to expose how deep the problem is therefore cheaters are not punished and so in order to win the athletes must cheat.
C. Given that the proper stakeholders can be identified, mathematical theories can be used as predictors of behavior.
This misses the point. It is not only about identifying stakeholders.
D. A new mathematical theory illustrates that drug use in professional sports is the result of intense competition amongst athletes and their desire to win.
This is partially true but is missing the idea that it is not just about competition but a system that rewards cheating.
E. A mathematical theory used to predict behavior is only as accurate as the information that the theory is used to interpret.
This may be true but is not the main point of this passage.

5. What is the main purpose of the second paragraph?

A. To present a puzzling question which the passage then attempts to answer
CORRECT. Yes. The puzzling question is: Given that the stakes are extremely high if athletes get caught cheating why do so many of them cheat?
B. To provide information about the punishments for getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.
This is present but not the most important part.
C. To introduce a theory which does not properly predict the behavior being investigated
No theory is introduced.
D. To detail several facts critical to the author’s central argument
There are facts and they are important but the main purpose is to present the question.
E. To introduce a counter argument which is ultimately refuted
There is now counter argument here.

6. Which of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

A. In some instances, reporting an athlete’s negative drug test results is more important than reporting another athlete’s positive drug test results.
The passage suggests reporting all drug test results but we do not know which results are the most important.
B. Only by taking an action that could disqualify a significant number of participants in professional sports can the dilemma presented in the passage be solved.
Yes. Correct. The dilemma is that athletes are incentivized to use drugs. In order to solve the dilemma the article says that the inspectors would need to report all of the drug test results. We are told that reporting all of the results could disqualify a large number of athletes in certain sports. You are right the solution could cause other problems but according to the article transparency is what is necessary to solve the dilemma.
C. Increasing the severity of the punishments for drug violations in professional sports may not solve the problem outlined in the passage but could diminish it.
We do not know this. The problem is not the punishment. That is already severe. The problem is the testing and the transparency.
D. A majority of professional athletes would not cheat if they knew that they could win without cheating.
Maybe, but we do not know this.
E. Some mathematicians believe that the current system of drug enforcement in professional sports is adequate to control the problem but will not eliminate drug use completely.
We do not know this. In fact, the mathematicians mentioned in the passage do not think the current system is adequate.
_________________

"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT vs GRE Comparison

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

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Re: The Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge #4   [#permalink] 27 Jul 2016, 23:52
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