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The quality of unrefined olive oil is not actually defined [#permalink]
19 Jul 2004, 10:17
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The quality of unrefined olive oil is not actually defined in terms of acidity, yet extensive tests have shown that the less free oleic acid an unrefined olive oil contains per liter, the higher its quality. The proportion of free oleic acid that an olive oil contains is an accurate measure of the oil ' s acidity.
If the statements above are all true, which of the following conclusions is best supported by them?
A. When an olive oil is refined, the concentration of oleic acid in the oil is reduced.
B. The quality of an unrefined olive oil can be determined only by accurately measuring its acidity.
C. If an unrefined olive oil is intermediate in acidity between two other unrefined olive oils, it will also be intermediate between them in quality.
D. Free oleic acid is the only acid that unrefined olive oil contains.
E. People who judge the quality of unrefined olive oils actually judge those oils by their acidity, which the judges can taste.
B--> makes an absolute kind of a statement. I eliminate this choice only based on the use of "ONLY" - usually such extreme words cannot be used by GMAT test makers, even if it is explicitly mentioned in the argument, because, as per Princeton, some fool might come up and say, well...I have a different method of determining quality!
C--> comes very close, but as quality of oil is NOT determined by acidity, this option cannot be true. The statement in the argument only tells us that if the acidity is less, the quality is better, but does not state that ONLY acidity is an indicator of quality. for instance, it is like saying the better the quality of fuel, the better a car runs. But if there is a problem in the engine itself, the car might not even run at all - even with the best of fuels!
D & E--> D is out, because of the use of "ONLY" and E, if I were to be the judge, probably my criteria would not be the same, so, this is out!
Let A, B and C designate the three types of unrefined oil we are comparing. We know that
acidity(A) < acidity(B) < acidity(C)
Because "proportion of free oleic acid that an olive oil contains is an accurate measure of the oil's acidity" we can conclude that
proportion of oleic acid in A < proportion of oleic acid in B < proportion of oleic acid in C
Because "the less free oleic acid an unrefined olive oil contains per liter, the higher its quality" we can conclude that
quality(C) < quality(B) < quality(A)
So, B is intermediate between A and C in quality
I agree with Vithal and Lastochka that the quality of oil IS NOT DEFINED BY ACIDITY but we do not need to presuppose that. The passage establishes a CORRELATION between the proportion of oleic acid and the quality and THAT IS ALL WE NEED