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# Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,

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Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2018, 10:57
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70% (01:46) correct 30% (01:51) wrong based on 171 sessions

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Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle, historically, cattle ranchers have minimized purchases of these grains in order to minimize costs due to spoilage. This year, however, fresh oats and corn have become the best-selling foods for cattle—a clear sign that cattle ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of concerns about costs due to spoilage.

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

A) Last year, processed cattle feed outsold fresh oats and corn by a wide margin.

B) No cattle ranchers have reported in surveys that they are attempting to purchase more nutritious fodder for their herds.

C) Cattle ranchers are attempting to counter recent claims about the health risks associated with eating beef by becoming more conscious of the nutritive quality of the meat they are producing.

D) Because of crop failures, all types of cattle fodder—including fresh oats and corn, processed cattle feed, and frozen nutritional supplements—were more expensive this year than in previous years.

E) Because of agricultural innovations, fresh oats and corn spoil much less quickly than in previous years, while the purchase price for such fodder has remained constant.

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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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04 Mar 2019, 23:28
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Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle, historically, cattle ranchers have minimized purchases of these grains in order to minimize costs due to spoilage. This year, however, fresh oats and corn have become the best-selling foods for cattle—a clear sign that cattle ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of concerns about costs due to spoilage.

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

A) Last year, processed cattle feed outsold fresh oats and corn by a wide margin.

B) No cattle ranchers have reported in surveys that they are attempting to purchase more nutritious fodder for their herds.

C) Cattle ranchers are attempting to counter recent claims about the health risks associated with eating beef by becoming more conscious of the nutritive quality of the meat they are producing.

D) Because of crop failures, all types of cattle fodder—including fresh oats and corn, processed cattle feed, and frozen nutritional supplements—were more expensive this year than in previous years.

E) Because of agricultural innovations, fresh oats and corn spoil much less quickly than in previous years, while the purchase price for such fodder has remained constant.

PRINCETON REVIEW OFFICIAL EXPLANATION:

If you’re like most people, you raced through the argument, glanced at the question, and went straight to the answer choices. You may have even jumped back and forth several times from the passage to the answer choices, wasting time, and perhaps not even ending up with the best answer. There’s a better way to tackle these argument problems.

The Four-Step Approach
It doesn’t do much good to read the argument before you know what you’re looking for. In our Four-Step Approach, you read the question first so you know what sorts of things to look for. You start by answering the questions in your own words, and by aggressively using POE to eliminate wrong answer choices. To introduce you to the Four-Step Approach, we’ll work through the argument above together.

Yes, that’s right. Skip over the argument entirely and go straight to the question. Why? Because reading the question will tell you what to look for in the passage. Once you know that, you can read through the argument with a purpose, and you’ll get more out of the argument by knowing what you’re looking for. Here’s the question again:

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

Now we know what we’re looking for—a way to weaken the author’s argument. We might find that the author has come to a conclusion that he does not support with facts, or we might determine that, in constructing his argument, the author has neglected to rule out other possible causes or outcomes. He may have included information in the conclusion that’s unsupported or even unmentioned in the body of the argument. We may find his reasoning circular, overly general, hyperbolic, or in some other way illogical. So when we read the argument, we’ll look for weak spots to attack—places in which the reasoning of the argument is flawed. That’s our next step.

Step 2: Break It Down
To break down an argument, we’ll first need to identify the author’s main idea, or point, and then the reasons he cites to support that point. The author’s point, as we mentioned above, is what he’s trying to convince you of—it’s the whole reason why he wrote the argument. If you have trouble determining the point, try asking yourself, “What’s he trying to say? If he were writing a TV commercial, what would he be selling? If he were a politician, what would he be advocating?” The answer to any one of these questions is the author’s point.

You’ll also need to authorities, publications, or popular opinion? Does he bring up historical evidence? We’ll call each piece of evidence the author uses to support his argument a premise.

If you’re having trouble locating the premises in the argument, try using this simple test: State the conclusion, and then ask yourself, “Why?” The information that answers the question “why?” constitutes the author’s premises.

As you read, also keep an eye out for flaws or weaknesses, as discussed above. Okay, here’s the argument again:

[*] Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle, historically, cattle ranchers have minimized purchases of these grains in order to minimize costs due to spoilage. This year, however, fresh oats and corn have become the best-selling foods for cattle—a clear sign that cattle ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of concerns about costs due to spoilage.

All right. What is the author’s conclusion? Go ahead and state it in your own words; and then write it on a piece of scrap paper.

You may have written something like “Cattle ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of cost concerns” or “Cattle ranchers put nutrition ahead of cost.” However you stated the conclusion is fine, as long as you understood that the author is trying to convince you that cattle ranchers care more about nutrition than they do about the cost of feed.

Next, since the question tells us to weaken the author’s argument, we need to examine the premises the author gave in support of his point. Ask yourself “Why does the author believe cattle ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of cost concerns?” Jot down his premises on a piece of scrap paper.

Hopefully you wrote down something like “Fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle. Historically, ranchers haven’t purchased a lot of them because they spoil. This year fresh oats and corn were the best-selling food for cattle.” It is based on the fact that oats and corn are selling so well that the author concludes that cattle ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of cost concerns.

Do you believe the author’s argument, based solely on the information he gives you? Are you just going to take his word for it? No, of course not. The author has left some large gaps in the fabric of his argument, and he’s relying on you to fill them in with assumptions.

Assumptions are unstated factors in an argument; often they can appear to support the conclusion. The farmer’s conclusion, that ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of cost, rests on a single fact: fresh corn and oats outsold other forms of cattle feed this year, even though they have historically been more expensive. The author is depending on you to fill in the gap, to supply the missing information that will make his argument work.

What piece of information could you supply to further support the conclusion? Well, you could provide evidence that demonstrates that nutrition is the only reason cattle ranchers are buying fresh corn and oats this year, or you could rule out other reasons for this phenomenon. In any event, we will focus our attack on this weak point: the gap in his argument where the author expects you to do his work for him by filling in assumptions.

Reread the question (but keep ignoring those answer choices!). It asks us how we might weaken the author’s argument. Did anything strike you as incomplete about the argument as you read it? Does the author’s reasoning seem sound to you? To weaken an argument, we look for flaws or gaps in the author’s reasoning. If we can find another way to reach the same conclusion as the author, or if we can show that the premises the author uses to support his argument are not sound, then we are weakening the argument.

Okay, so we already established that the author expects you to assume that concern about nutrition is the sole reason cattle ranchers are buying more fresh feed. He draws his conclusion, that ranchers are putting nutrition ahead of cost concerns, based on only one piece of evidence: Fresh oats and corn have become the bestselling food for cattle. If the author were sitting right in front of you, what would you say to refute his argument? Can you think of any other reason why corn and oats might be selling better this year?

You can probably think of a few reasons, such as a higher birthrate among cattle, resulting in more stock to feed, or a lower availability of other foodstuffs. Or you might have said that previous concerns about spoilage had been alleviated, or that the price had dropped to such a degree that ranchers were more willing to risk spoilage. There are a number of possible reasons that fresh corn and oats might have become best-selling foods, besides the author’s stated reason. All right—now you’re ready to attack those answer choices.

Step 4: Apply Process of Elimination
Since we’re going after the weak spots, or assumptions, in the argument, let’s look for an answer choice that will drive a wedge between the conclusion and the premises. In fact, as you read each answer choice, you can ask yourself, “Does this weaken it?” If you answer no, eliminate it.

We’ll read all five answer choices below. All you know about the fascinating topic of cattle feed is what you’ve been told by the argument, so make sure you keep your thinking narrow. Let’s start.

[*] Last year, processed cattle feed outsold fresh oats and corn by a wide margin.

No. We are trying to weaken the argument, so what happened last year does not matter. We want to know what happened this year. Eliminate this answer choice.

[*] No cattle ranchers have reported in surveys that they are attempting to purchase more nutritious fodder for their herds.

No. This answer choice actually argues against the conclusion, which is (perhaps surprisingly) never a valid way to weaken an argument. All you do when you argue against the conclusion is set up another line of reasoning that might be just as flawed as the original argument. In this case, for instance, there are all kinds of problems with the validity of surveys, and that alone makes this attack particularly weak. We’re better off attacking the issue of whether or not large corn and oat purchases signal that ranchers value nutrition more highly than cost savings.

[*] Cattle ranchers are attempting to counter recent claims about the health risks associated with eating beef by becoming more conscious of the nutritive quality of the meat they are producing.

No. This answer choice, in fact, strengthens the position that nutrition is the sole reason cattle ranchers have increased their purchases of fresh fodder. Remember that we’re trying to weaken the argument by citing a reason (besides nutrition) that cattle ranchers are buying different feed this year. Eliminate it.

[*] Because of crop failures, all types of cattle fodder—including fresh oats and corn, processed cattle feed, and frozen nutritional supplements—were more expensive this year than in previous years.

No. Though this answer choice states that all types of feed are more expensive, it doesn’t tell us that the cost of fresh oats and corn was surpassed in cost by the other feeds. It is more likely that oats and corn are still proportionally more expensive than the other feeds. This answer choice doesn’t tell us anything about nutrition either, so this doesn’t help us weaken the argument. Eliminate it.

[*] Because of agricultural innovations, fresh oats and corn spoil much less quickly than in previous years, while the purchase price for such fodder has remained constant.

Okay, that sounds more like it. Now that corn and oats do not spoil as quickly, costs (related to spoilage) are lower. Ranchers may or may not value nutrition more highly than monetary savings, but the costs associated with corn and oats have decreased. Cost is no longer a barrier to buying better food, and finally we have a reason, besides nutrition, that cattle ranchers are buying fresh fodder. So, choice (E) is the correct answer. Even if we didn’t immediately see why (E) was what we were looking for, we would have picked it anyway because there was something provably wrong with the other four answer choices.
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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2018, 11:17
Ans is E. It's because of oats and corn spoil less quickly than previous due to innovation. Ranchers are using it. Not for nutrition

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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2018, 15:04
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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 07:34

Dear experts,

Can anyone please explain why not option C? I also got the same question whose option C was different -"Higher temperatures and increased rain this year have led to quicker spoilage of fresh oats and corn than in previous years when fresh oats and corn sold poorly to cattle ranchers".

I selected this because I thought I need to show a different reason which boosted the sale. I thought as the spoilage was quicker, so the farmer had to buy more oats. So the sale was more.
regards,
Arup
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Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 10:52
2
ArupRS,

(C) is wrong for two reasons in my mind. The first is that they are trying to do something. Who says they are going to accomplish this task? Second, you are making an assumption that food eaten correlates to healthier meat and this is the reason for the farmers' choice. But who is to say this is accurate? And even if it is, how do we know that it works, or that consumers will know/understand/appreciate it? You cannot make an assumption to help yourself arrive at an answer. Use the information at hand.
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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 11:13
ArupRS,

(C) is wrong for two reasons in my mind. The first is that they are trying to do something. Who says they are going to accomplish this task? Second, you are making an assumption that food eaten correlates to healthier meat and this is the reason for the farmers' choice. But who is to say this is accurate? And even if it is, how do we know that it works, or that consumers will know/understand/appreciate it? You cannot make an assumption to help yourself arrive at an answer. Use the information at hand.

Regards,
Arup
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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 12:26
Why B is wrong??
I think it is weakening the conclusion
I am confuse between B and E

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Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 12:46
2
78ab,

The reason (B) is wrong is because we do not care that they are not reporting it. Seriously, who cares? All we care about is the fact that they are purchasing it, which is stated in the question stem. We do not need to know if they are reporting their purchases. Further, how would this weaken the argument? We would need to make an assumption about why they are not reporting it, which is not the correct approach for CR questions, as it will lead you to wrong answers every single time.
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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,  [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2018, 12:54
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Now I understood thanks.

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Re: Although fresh oats and corn are the most nutritious foods for cattle,   [#permalink] 20 Dec 2018, 12:54
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