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A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects

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A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?

(A) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels.

(B) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance.

(C) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults.

(D) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.

(E) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.

Originally posted by marshpa on 28 Jul 2008, 12:25.
Last edited by hazelnut on 13 May 2018, 06:13, edited 2 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2012, 05:32
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now figured it out.
All attended atleast 12 concerts . as all attended atleast one concert per week.
so bottom 20 attended 12 concerts each. ( at least )
middle 170 have to attend atleast 1 more than the least number that is 12 and one less than the highest number. That is they attended 13 atleast.
top 10 has to attend atleast one more that the middle 170 that is they attended atleast 14 ..
Hence more that 6 people attended atleast 14 concers
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2008, 13:41
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marshpa wrote:
A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the
fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?
Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels.

During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance.

Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults.

More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.

At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.

Please post answers with explainations.


I personally think this question would never show up on the GMAT, but here is my take on it.

The key is to recognize that the passage refers to 3 groups of people who attended different numbers of concerts - the 'greatest' group of 10, the 'not mentioned - middle' group of 170, and the 'fewest' group of 20.

Combine this with the fact that the students at minimum have to attend 12 concerts (1 per week) we get =>
Fewest group => at least 12 concerts
middle group => at least 13 concerts
greatest group => at least 14 concerts

If we know the greatest group have attended at least 14 concerts, then we know D) is true.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Oct 2010, 11:16
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Orange08 wrote:
A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?

a) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels.
Possible candidate.

b) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance.
This certainly cannot be inferred. Option eliminated.

c) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults.
Could be true again not a must be true type option.

d) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.
Possible candidate.
e) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.
This certainly cannot be inferred. Option eliminated.


To choose between A and D.

Option A: Among the 200 students we have the data only for the top 10 and bottom 20. However it is not clear with the data about the rest of the 180 students who form the majority. Hence this option is ruled out.

Option D wins.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2010, 05:52
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Orange08 wrote:
A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?

a) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels.

b) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance.

c) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults.

d) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.

e) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.


(D) is the only one which makes sense, but I don't really like it. The logic is that everyone was required to attend at least 12 concerts. They then differentiate between the 20 who attended the fewest, the 10 who attended the most, and the 170 who are in between. So, at the very least, the 20 who attended the fewest went to the bare minimum 12 concerts, while the other 180 all went to 13 or more concerts. Since they distinguish the specific 10 who went to the MOST concerts, these 10 must have gone to at least 14.

You can also arrive at this from process of elimination. The other four clearly don't fit the MUST be true criteria. For A, you don't know what their original emotional states/stress levels were, so you can't determine that they decreased - perhaps they all went up! For B, you don't know whether the participants set aside work time for the concerts or just used their spare time that would have been spent playing Playstation. For C, like A, you can't draw the conclusion, especially with the qualifier "the majority". And E is just totally off base.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2010, 08:38
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Orange08 wrote:
A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?

a) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels. Stimulus doesn't say that most of the students improved, in fact it never talked about the improvement overall... all it said is about the levels of 10 and 20 students our of 200 participated... so eliminated

b) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance.stimulus did not talk about the academic work, so eliminated

c) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults.Again, Stimulus doesn't talk about this in general, it only mentions about state of 10 and 20 students from the pool of 200... so eliminated

d) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.Stimulus says 12 hours is minimum for all 200 folks, and each session is 2 hour length... so, the next greatest number of hours is 14... and we see that at least 10 folks (which is greater than 6 in this answer) have taken the greatest number of hours... So, this can not be eliminated

e) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.again, nowhere stimulus talks about the cost of the program, so eliminated

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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2012, 17:41
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mandyrhtdm wrote:
now figured it out.
All attended atleast 12 concerts . as all attended atleast one concert per week.
so bottom 20 attended 12 concerts each. ( at least )
middle 170 have to attend atleast 1 more than the least number that is 12 and one less than the highest number. That is they attended 13 atleast.
top 10 has to attend atleast one more that the middle 170 that is they attended atleast 14 ..
Hence more that 6 people attended atleast 14 concers

Well explained, mandyrhtdm!

Inference problems--characterized by language in the question stem like "based on the evidence presented above"--ask you to accept the information in the stimulus as fact, and draw conclusions from it. When the facts are abstract or complex, it can be very difficult to predict an answer. But when there are numbers in the stem, it's often the case that the correct answer presents itself to a little mathematical reasoning!

Here, because we have "20" attending the "fewest" number of concerts, and "10 attending the "most" number of concerts, we have to have the remaining 170 somewhere in the middle. And since the fewest possible number of concerts is 12, the middle 170 must have each attended at least 13 concerts--and, accordingly, the remaining 10 have each attended an absolute floor of 14 concerts. (D) is correct.

For the record: (A) isn't supported--we have information on 30 out of 200, so there is no way we can support a "most" claim. (B) is out of scope; we don't know where the hours come from, not to mention that it's possible students are studying at the concerts! (C) also goes may beyond the scope of the stimulus. Finally, (E) speculates baselessly on the motivation of students. This is a reasonable supposition, but it's not actually based on anything in the text!

Best of luck studying!

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New post 29 Jan 2014, 10:27
I sort of get why D is the OA. But isn't the statement open-ended? "more than" seems a little broad. Someone please tell me what I'm missing.
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New post 29 Jan 2014, 14:05
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Abdul29 wrote:
I sort of get why D is the OA. But isn't the statement open-ended? "more than" seems a little broad. Someone please tell me what I'm missing.


It is a must be true question.

Fact 1: Everyone attended at least 12 concerts
Fact 2: There are 20 people who attended the least number of concerts = 12 concerts
Fact 3: There are 10 people who attended the greatest number of concerts

Now, how many concerts these 10 people have attended ? [possible numbers: 14, 15, 16...].
It cannot be 13, because between top 10 and bottom 20, we have a middle group (the left out 170).

So we can say, at least 10 people attended 14 or more concerts.

The option says more than 6 people, which fits to at least 10 people zone.

Hope it is clear.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2015, 19:50
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Fact #1: Each of the 200 participants attended "at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week" over the 12 week semester. Thus, each participant, at a minimum, viewed 12 concerts (or 24 hours of concert time, since each concert was two hours long).

Fact #2: Ten students attended "the greatest number of concerts." Thus, these students must have attended more than the minimum 12 concerts.

Fact #3: The 10 students from fact #2 reported "lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives." However, we are not offered a comparison group, so we don't know with whom these students are being compared.

Fact #4: Twenty students attended the "fewest number of concerts." This indicates that there must be at least three levels of concert goers: "Fewest" = 20 students (fact #4), "Greatest" = 10 students (fact #2), and "the rest" = 170 students (fact #1)

Fact #5: Most of the 20 students from fact #4 reported "below-average levels of emotional comfort." However, we don't know how many "most" equals, and we aren't certain whether "emotional comfort" is equivalent to "lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives."

Now, let's look at the answers

(A) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels. We have no information about "most of the 200 participants." All we know (from fact #3) is that the ten students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported "lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives."

(B) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance. No information about academic work is offered in the argument.

(C) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults. This is a typical GMAT "attractive distractor" (i.e. an incorrect answer choice the test makers intentionally make attractive.) However, this answer has several faults. First, we have no idea how the "majority" of our concert-goers reacted to the study; we are only given minimal information about 30 of the concert-goers. If we can't even make claims about the majority of concert-goers in the study, how can we make claims about "the majority of young adults." Second, all of our concert-goers in the study listened to classical music for "at least 2 hours per week" (at least for the duration of the study). From those participants that we know about, some reported negative emotional states and some reported postive emotional states. This contradicts the contention that listening to classical music "for at least 2 hours per week" improves emotional well-being.

There are several other problems with this answer, but I want to address this specific answer type more broadly. In general, the GMAT likes to provide a CORRELATION in a text and then claim CAUSATION in an answer choice. This is extremely common on inference/draw a conclusion critical reasoning arguments, and the causal answer choices are almost always incorrect. If you choose an answer choice that claims causation, you MUST be able to prove this causation from the text of the argument.

(D) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment. Our facts have proved that there are at least three levels of concert goers: fewest (20 students), greatest (10 students) and "the rest" (170 students). The fewest attended at least 12 concerts (by definition of the study); thus, "the rest" must have attended at least 13 concerts and "the greatest" must have attended at least 14 concerts. Since "the greatest" includes 10 students, it is true that More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.

(E) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts. We are given no information over the motivations of the students.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 12 May 2015, 18:07
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Just my 2 ¢ - When in time crunch on the exam, never discount the most convoluted option. Also, POE is your best friend. Here is how -

A) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels. - For sure, the passage doesn't say so. Eliminate!

B) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result
of concert attendance. - We don't know. Again, the passage doesn't say so. Eliminate!

C) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of
young adults. - Improved for 10 folks for sure, 10 out of 200 not a majority. Eliminate!

D) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment. - I don't know what the hell is this. Hold now.

E) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts. - Absurd and out of scope. Eliminate!

By POE Hit D and move forward.
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2015, 07:48
A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?

A) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels. cannot be inferred
B) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result
of concert attendance.no information to support this
C) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of
young adults. the study provides information only on undergraduate students, not young adults
D) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment. It's stated that the 10 students who attended the fewest number, in this case more than 12 concerts (1 concert x 12 weeks), reported the beneficial effect of music.
E) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.no information to support this
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Re: A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2018, 16:20
marshpa wrote:
A recent research study of undergraduate students analyzed the effects of music on human emotions. Each of the 200 participants attended at least 1 two-hour concert of classical music per week over the course of 12 weeks of their spring semester. At the end of the experiment, all of the students filled out a questionnaire assessing their emotional state. Based on the results of the questionnaires, all of the 10 students who attended the greatest number of concerts reported lower stress levels and higher satisfaction with their lives. Also, most of the 20 students who attended the fewest number of concerts reported below-average levels of emotional comfort.

Which of the following must be true based on the evidence presented above?

(A) Most of the 200 participants improved their emotional state and lowered their stress levels.

(B) During each week of the experiment, the participants spent at least 2 hours less on their academic work as a result of concert attendance.

(C) Listening to classical music for at least 2 hours per week improves the emotional well-being of the majority of young adults.

(D) More than 6 participants attended at least 14 concerts during the course of the experiment.

(E) At least some of the students participated in the study in order to gain free access to classical concerts.


Official Solution (Credit: Manhattan Prep)



The argument above provides a detailed description of a research study. Note that the question stem contains only factual information and does not have a conclusion. Our task is to provide the most probable conclusion for this argument, i.e. the one that must be true based on the provided evidence. When looking for the most probable conclusion, remember not to make any additional assumptions and choose the answer that directly follows from premises stated in the argument.

(A) This statement does not have to be true. The argument provides evidence about the emotional progress of only 30 participants. The fact that we have no information about the vast majority of participants demonstrates that the statement in this answer choice cannot be justified.

(B) While each participant did spend at least 2 hours each week attending the concerts, there is no information in the argument that would suggest that the students reduced their study time. For example, they could have attended the concerts in their free time.

(C) This statement does not have to be true, since we have no information about the emotional progress of the vast majority of study participants. Note that even if the study did demonstrate a positive effect of classical music on the majority of participants, it would still be uncertain whether this effect would hold for the majority of young adults.

(D) CORRECT. We know that 20 students attended the fewest number of concerts, 10 students attended the greatest number of concerts, and the remaining 170 students attended some other number of concerts in between. The term 'greatest' indicates that there are at least 3 different numbers of concerts attended by the students (as opposed to 'greater' to distinguish between 2 different numbers). Since each of the participants attended at least one concert per week during the 12 weeks of the experiment, all of the study participants must have attended at least 12 concerts. Even if the 20 bottom students attended the smallest possible number of concerts (i.e. 12), it must be the case that the next 170 students in the middle attended at least one more (i.e. at least 13 concerts) and the 10 most active participants must have attended at least one more than the middle group, i.e at least 14 concerts. Thus, it must be true that the 10 most active participants (i.e. more than 6 participants) attended at least 14 concerts, as stated in this answer choice. Note that if the students attended more concerts than the minimum requirement, the number of students with at least 14 concerts attended will be even greater, still validating the accuracy of this statement.

(E) The argument does not explicitly state whether the participants received free access to the concerts or had to pay for admission (e.g. they could have just received a discount). In addition, no information is provided about the motivation of study participants.
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