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# In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that

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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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Hi Xolmuhammad

Note that you need to weaken the conclusion, not strengthen it. E seems to do the latter.
If it’s tough to analyze whether E weakens or strengthens the conclusion, try to evaluate the opposite of E. Change “few” to “many”.

The opposite of E: Most of the sightings on golf courses and lawns occurred when MANY people were present on those golf courses and lawns.

You can see that the reversed choice E looks like choice A. If indeed there were MANY people on those courses and lawns, then the conclusion is weakened. Suppose, there were 100 people and they all saw just one alligator. This means 100 sightings of an alligator, but doesn’t mean 100 alligators. There was only one. So, the opposite of E weakens the conclusion, not E itself. Now take E as it is:

Original E: Most of the sightings on golf courses and lawns occurred when FEW people were present on those golf courses and lawns.

If there were few people, then probably sightings increased NOT because many people see the same alligator, BUT because their population indeed increased. So, this choice seems to strengthen the conclusion. But we need to weaken it.

A helpful tactic: if you can’t see whether a certain choice weakens or strengthens the conclusion, try to analyze the opposite of that choice. Analyzing the opposite is sometimes much easier. If the opposite weakens, then the original can NOT weaken. And if the opposite strengthens, then the original can NOT strengthen.
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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Hi , JonShukhrat, First of all ,thanks for the explanation.

there is one concern left. I exclude A because there is no mention of golf courses or lawns. So should I just assume that when population increases , the people visiting golf courses and lawns increase?
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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Xolmuhammad wrote:
Hi , JonShukhrat, First of all ,thanks for the explanation.

there is one concern left. I exclude A because there is no mention of golf courses or lawns. So should I just assume that when population increases , the people visiting golf courses and lawns increase?

You are right. The increase in the human population doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in the number of golf club people. The number of such people on courses and lawns might have remained the same or even decreased. But these people are not the all people who saw the alligators. In other words, not only golf club people can see alligators on golf lawns. There can be many people who walk around or near those lawns. There can be many buildings near the golf clubs and people in those buildings can see alligators from afar. Most golf lawns border with rivers and alligators actually live in these rivers. So, many people sailing in these rivers can also be the witnesses. So forth and so on.

Do not make the assumption that ONLY people in golf courses and lawns can see the alligators.
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
parkhydel wrote:
In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that the population was dwindling rapidly. Hunting alligators was banned. By the early 1990s, the alligator population had recovered, and restricted hunting was allowed. Over the course of the 1990s, reports of alligators appearing on golf courses and lawns increased dramatically. Therefore, in spite of whatever alligator hunting went on, the alligator population must have increased significantly over the decade of the 1990s.

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

A. The human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s.
B. The hunting restrictions applied to commercial as well as private hunters.
C. The number of sightings of alligators in lakes and swamps increased greatly in Florida during the 1990s.
D. Throughout the 1990s, selling alligator products was more strictly regulated than hunting was.
E. Most of the sightings of alligators on golf courses and lawns in the 1990s occurred at times at which few people were present on those golf courses and lawns.

CR91630.02

We can easily narrow down to options A and E.

A. The human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s.
- This is correct. If the population of Florida increased "significantly", then it is possible that a lot more people are reporting the same sighting incident.

E. Most of the sightings of alligators on golf courses and lawns in the 1990s occurred at times at which few people were present on those golf courses and lawns.
- This option is tempting, but it is also incorrect. We cannot assume that people would be lying, as this is what is required to be assumed for this option to strengthen the conclusion.

Option A is correct.
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
A tricky one!

A. The human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s.
This could probably be the reason for the increased sighting of alligators. Let’s look at the other options to see if we have a contender.

B. The hunting restrictions applied to commercial as well as private hunters.

Very much irrelevant. Was there any difference in the hunting restriction in the given period? Not sure. Eliminate.

C. The number of sightings of alligators in lakes and swamps increased greatly in Florida during the 1990s.
Only supports the conclusion that the alligator population in Florida during the 1990s increased. Eliminate.

D. Throughout the 1990s, selling alligator products was more strictly regulated than hunting was.
Irrelevant. Eliminate.

E. Most of the sightings of alligators on golf courses and lawns in the 1990s occurred at times at which few people were present on those golf courses and lawns.

Does that mean people were lying and the sightings were fake? Assumptions like these could often lead us to wrong answers. Eliminate.

Option A says that the human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s- More people- more sightings of alligators.
This tells us that the population of alligators has not increased but the sightings of alligators have increased because there has been an increase in the human population of Florida. Weakens the argument. Option A is correct.

Vishnupriya
GMAT Verbal SME

Hi, Request your clarification as to why this question is different from the another official question.
The answer to this question is in line with option E here.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/farmer-sever ... 94365.html

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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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Karthik740 wrote:
Hi, Request your clarification as to why this question is different from the another official question.
The answer to this question is in line with option E here.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/farmer-sever ... 94365.html

GMATNinja VeritasKarishma

Hello, Karthik740. I know your query was not addressed to me, and I myself would love to hear what either of the Experts you mentioned have to say on the matter, but I have addressed both questions in response to the same query way back on page one, in this post. I hope it helps to dispel your concerns.

Good luck with your studies.

- Andrew
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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AndrewN wrote:
Karthik740 wrote:
Hi, Request your clarification as to why this question is different from the another official question.
The answer to this question is in line with option E here.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/farmer-sever ... 94365.html

GMATNinja VeritasKarishma

Hello, Karthik740. I know your query was not addressed to me, and I myself would love to hear what either of the Experts you mentioned have to say on the matter, but I have addressed both questions in response to the same query way back on page one, in this post. I hope it helps to dispel your concerns.

Good luck with your studies.

- Andrew

Thank you Andrew. I went through your solution and understand better the solution.
To be honest, I feel that Option A is a very poorly worded weakener and we'd have to make multiple assumptions to link increase in population to increase in reports.

Thanks,
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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Karthik740 wrote:
Thank you Andrew. I went through your solution and understand better the solution.
To be honest, I feel that Option A is a very poorly worded weakener and we'd have to make multiple assumptions to link increase in population to increase in reports.

Thanks,
Karthik

I do not disagree, Karthik. However, we also have to keep in mind the question stem itself, which asks us to pick the answer that most seriously weakens the argument. In other words, this answer, as often occurs on harder CR questions, is allowed to fall into a grey area. It need not be unassailable; it just has to be the least debatable of the five options presented.

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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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Karthik740 wrote:
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
A tricky one!

A. The human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s.
This could probably be the reason for the increased sighting of alligators. Let’s look at the other options to see if we have a contender.

B. The hunting restrictions applied to commercial as well as private hunters.

Very much irrelevant. Was there any difference in the hunting restriction in the given period? Not sure. Eliminate.

C. The number of sightings of alligators in lakes and swamps increased greatly in Florida during the 1990s.
Only supports the conclusion that the alligator population in Florida during the 1990s increased. Eliminate.

D. Throughout the 1990s, selling alligator products was more strictly regulated than hunting was.
Irrelevant. Eliminate.

E. Most of the sightings of alligators on golf courses and lawns in the 1990s occurred at times at which few people were present on those golf courses and lawns.

Does that mean people were lying and the sightings were fake? Assumptions like these could often lead us to wrong answers. Eliminate.

Option A says that the human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s- More people- more sightings of alligators.
This tells us that the population of alligators has not increased but the sightings of alligators have increased because there has been an increase in the human population of Florida. Weakens the argument. Option A is correct.

Vishnupriya
GMAT Verbal SME

Hi, Request your clarification as to why this question is different from the another official question.
The answer to this question is in line with option E here.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/farmer-sever ... 94365.html

GMATNinja VeritasKarishma

Karthik740

The different wordings of the two options will tell you why it works in one and not in the other.

(E) Most of the sightings of alligators on golf courses and lawns in the 1990s occurred at times at which few people were present on those golf courses and lawns.
The sightings occurred at times when few people were around. So all it makes me think is hopefully then, people did not get hurt. I am given that sightings occurred so I do not question whether alligators were actually seen or not.

A word on option (A) here - I was looking for something that told me that alligators are losing their natural habitat. That would explain why they are venturing beyond in search of food etc even though their numbers have not jumped. So my logic for (A) was two pronged - more people means more people around to see when an alligator slides in, and more people also could mean more construction and hence destruction of habitat. Yes, there is a leap involved here but NO other option is viable.

Now let's look at the other question given here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/farmer-sever ... 94365.html

C. No person who claimed to have seen a mountain lion had anyone else with them at the purported sighting.

The option hints that the authenticity may be questionable by saying "no person who claimed to have seen..."
It is not saying no person who saw a mountain lion had anyone else along. If it had said that, the option would have become irrelevant.
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It almost seems like everyone is trying to find reasons to prove the official answer correct rather than thinking about it logically.

Option B,C,D are rejected ofcourse.

Just like in case of:

Option A: the inference is that (population increase) implies (alligators leaving their habitats) implies (more sightings on golf courses and lawns),

one may argue that,

Option E: the inference is that (less people saw the alligators) implies (the reports may not be fully correct because people may be wrong/lying)

I think the options are pretty close. There have been similar questions in the GMAT (remember the mountain lion question???) with E as the logic.
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Re: In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
This got to be the one of the easiest CR question for the fact of the matter it had all boil down to thhe a and E now there are already a truck load of definition as of why all the other answers are wrong let me concentrate on A , what has increased no of population got to do with no of sighthing of animals yes if more no of peop;e are sighting a single crocodile then it means they are not reporting a multiple crocodiles but single crocodile is reported by multiple people , it might be a reason IMO A
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maheswariviresh wrote:
It almost seems like everyone is trying to find reasons to prove the official answer correct rather than thinking about it logically.

Option B,C,D are rejected ofcourse.

Just like in case of:

Option A: the inference is that (population increase) implies (alligators leaving their habitats) implies (more sightings on golf courses and lawns),

one may argue that,

Option E: the inference is that (less people saw the alligators) implies (the reports may not be fully correct because people may be wrong/lying)

I think the options are pretty close. There have been similar questions in the GMAT (remember the mountain lion question???) with E as the logic.

Hello, maheswariviresh. I have to say that the part I have highlighted above seems harsh. Have you read through the thread? In addition to several community responses that touch on (E), I also see those by all of the following Experts:

GMATNinjaThis post discusses that tricky duo, (E) and (A).

Myself—Here I talk about the mountain lion question and how its correct answer differs from what we see in this question.

VeritasPrepHailey—It looks to me as if each answer is treated thoroughly in this post.

CrackVerbalGMAT—The analysis of (E) in this post makes a good point about assumptions.

VeritasKarishma—In the post right above yours, she discusses both answer choice (E) and the mountain lion question.

In short, I am not sure what you mean by your claim. It seems, at best, hastily made. Moreover, I would be curious to hear your own take on either (A) or (E) beyond a four- or five-word commentary. If you do not like (A), fine, but it is the official answer, so the best we can do is to try to understand what makes it work for this particular question.

Good luck with your studies.

- Andrew
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In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
I swear, I truly despise this question....not because it’s bad, but because it is so damn good.

The subtle “GAP” and frameshift written in the passage makes A the obvious choice (once you “see” this frameshift from the facts to the conclusion).

The goal in a lot of the weaken-type questions is to obviously clearly identify the conclusion. This is what we are trying to weaken. But also we want to look for a new fact that makes it seem like the supporting premises......do not really support the conclusion as effectively as they did before we knew this new fact in the answer.

The “jump” from the facts to the conclusion that the argument makes is the following:

The facts mention an increase in the “reports” of alligators roaming lawns and golf courses in the 1990s. The author also introduces information about hunting bans and restrictions to make you look one way while this fact about “reports” is slid right under your nose.

The argument’s fatal logical flaw is that it takes a fact about “reports” having increased in the 1990s to mean that the alligator population itself must have increased.

“Reports” of alligators being seen on lawns does NOT necessarily indicate that there has been an actual increase in the alligator population.

Thus, if we have a lot more people in Florida (a “significant” increase in the population) during the 1990s, then the supporting premise about “reports” of sightings begins to look more suspect.

Perhaps the reason for more reported sightings isn’t because the alligator population increased in the 1990s. Instead, it could be the case that the alligator population remainder the same. The only thing that might have changed was that there were significantly more people filing reports of alligator sightings on lawns and golf courses.

A is the winner

And yes it got me good....

Posted from my mobile device
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Hey AndrewN,

Thank you for the reply.

First things first. Let us please leave out the "manner" in which you might have interpreted my reply. This is a written forum, and I am sure you judged the tone of what I said in your mind, rather than how i meant it to be. Apologize if I hurt sentiments here, but I guess we are all here to learn.

Further to the way you have made your case, that experts have tried to explain it and hence it is correct, is difficult to work with. If more number of experts have said the same thing, does that make the official answer correct? I dont agree with that approach.

I believe that this forum is for discussion, and I have no come across a single question/logic which is refuted by the experts saying that "No. The official anwer is incorrect, because it should be this." It is very hard to believe that out of the hundreds of thousands of questions that have official answers, none of them are incorrect. Beg your pardon if that sounds harsh, but its really hard to take that on face value that everything that the official answer suggests is correct, and has been so over the last 10-15 years, EVERY SINGLE TIME. By no means do I want to suggest that I am right or you are wrong. I just want to contest with the question "What if the official answer was E? Would we not have come up with reasons for the same, or would you have said, "No, the official answer is incorrect" ?

Coming back to the question (sorry I got deviated because the "manner" of questioning was itself in question here) -

The logic: "In choice (A), we are to understand that if the human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s (my emphases), then it would make sense that the number of reported sightings might also logically increase" is almost like "If population around a house deemed haunted increases, the number of reported sightings of a ghost will also increase" thereby implying that "people will always be sound and not go by hearsay." Sounds crazy, no?

Reports of the number of alligator sightings increased in no way implies that the reports are correct, dont you think? If there are lesser people when these sightings are made, even a patch of grass that in the shape of an alligator some distance off might induce someone to run and report an alligator sighting (since they are just thinking about the fact that this is an alligator prone area). I am just asking. Why can't it be true?

Another logic that I've read on the threads is this: "Human population increased>>> more people>>> more sightings of alligators (even if the population of them is same or decreased)"

Again, I see the same flaw. I disagree with the fact that human population increase leads to more people seeing alligators. Is that true in case of blue whales, or maybe other rarely found animal species? We are bringing outside knowledge to answer this question, which we have, as a community decided not to do when answering CR questions.
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Sorry, I hope I don’t step on toes by butting into a conversation that doesn’t involve me.

In some ways, I prefer the LSAT’s approach to formal logic. To me, the answers seem to be more clear cut and the logical fallacies committed by the authors more clearly identifiable.

The GMAT’s approach, though frustrating at times, is really about stepping back and thinking from a “common sense” perspective: making common sense connections between the answer choice to the passage in such a way that we answer the question.

Now where does the line between what is a “common sense” type of connection and what is an “unwarranted assumption” end and begin? On the upper-level questions, this line seems to get blurry.

I still struggle with the urge to want to rip through a lot of the official answers because, as you’ve shown, there are certain times in which it seems as if the answers cut a little close to the “line” I described above.

However, the test is the test. Arguing with the creators’ official explanation isn’t going to result in beating this demon (though it does feel good to vent). In the end, there are identifiable patterns from answer choice to answer choice. I believe finding and spotting these patterns is what makes the upper-level CR questions so difficult. In the end, it really is about learning how to “think like the test makers.”

The way we have to approach this test, if we want to conquer it, is to use the official answers as a kind of roadmap of sorts to navigate through all the little intricacies of each problem. We can learn which types of answers GMAC believes effectively weaken an argument and which do not. If GMAC tells us this is the answer, then this is the answer. If GMAC tells us that dinosaurs still exist, then dinosaurs still exist.

It is frustrating at times because I (and I’m sure everyone else) wish we could obtain a clearer picture or what constitutes an “unwarranted assumption.”

The best hope, I’ve found, is to delve into each official answer meticulously. There are patterns to how the writers of the test seem to “think”. Perhaps I shouldn’t write that in print for everyone to read. Someone from GMAC might read the post and then switch things up entirely to avoid any sort of “pattern” in the correct answers. LOL

The patterns are there. I’m sure there are knowledgeable experts who can pull up official questions in which the premise of “reports of X event changing” is used to support the opinion that X events actually changed. This type of logical flaw has appeared before.

In the end, the best we can do is figure out why the correct answers are what they are. Arguing with what GMAC says is the correct answer is ultimately futile: a fact that has lead to many fits of frustration throughout this personal journey.

By all means we should all question everything. The more questions that appear on this board, the more insight and knowledge we can hope to pull from each question.

However, I had to find out the hard way that arguing with the official answers just doesn’t help. Instead, looking for why each answer is correct will at least help us put together our own roadmap of sorts that will help us find correct answers in the future.

Best of luck to all!

Edit: Throughout my long message I forgot to tie things up with a Main Idea Statement.

Arguing with the official answers puts one on the road to nowhere. It’s the equivalent of repeatedly banging one’s head against the wall.

maheswariviresh wrote:
Hey AndrewN,

Thank you for the reply.

First things first. Let us please leave out the "manner" in which you might have interpreted my reply. This is a written forum, and I am sure you judged the tone of what I said in your mind, rather than how i meant it to be. Apologize if I hurt sentiments here, but I guess we are all here to learn.

Further to the way you have made your case, that experts have tried to explain it and hence it is correct, is difficult to work with. If more number of experts have said the same thing, does that make the official answer correct? I dont agree with that approach.

I believe that this forum is for discussion, and I have no come across a single question/logic which is refuted by the experts saying that "No. The official anwer is incorrect, because it should be this." It is very hard to believe that out of the hundreds of thousands of questions that have official answers, none of them are incorrect. Beg your pardon if that sounds harsh, but its really hard to take that on face value that everything that the official answer suggests is correct, and has been so over the last 10-15 years, EVERY SINGLE TIME. By no means do I want to suggest that I am right or you are wrong. I just want to contest with the question "What if the official answer was E? Would we not have come up with reasons for the same, or would you have said, "No, the official answer is incorrect" ?

Coming back to the question (sorry I got deviated because the "manner" of questioning was itself in question here) -

The logic: "In choice (A), we are to understand that if the human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s (my emphases), then it would make sense that the number of reported sightings might also logically increase" is almost like "If population around a house deemed haunted increases, the number of reported sightings of a ghost will also increase" thereby implying that "people will always be sound and not go by hearsay." Sounds crazy, no?

Reports of the number of alligator sightings increased in no way implies that the reports are correct, dont you think? If there are lesser people when these sightings are made, even a patch of grass that in the shape of an alligator some distance off might induce someone to run and report an alligator sighting (since they are just thinking about the fact that this is an alligator prone area). I am just asking. Why can't it be true?

Another logic that I've read on the threads is this: "Human population increased>>> more people>>> more sightings of alligators (even if the population of them is same or decreased)"

Again, I see the same flaw. I disagree with the fact that human population increase leads to more people seeing alligators. Is that true in case of blue whales, or maybe other rarely found animal species? We are bringing outside knowledge to answer this question, which we have, as a community decided not to do when answering CR questions.

Posted from my mobile device

Originally posted by Fdambro294 on 13 Jun 2021, 10:03.
Last edited by Fdambro294 on 13 Jun 2021, 18:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Hello again, maheswariviresh. Dissenting opinions are fine and should be a part of such a forum. But to make a blanket statement about what every other post in the thread (via "everyone") does or does not achieve, to suggest that not just one, but several Experts may be doing little more than peddling or aping the OA, is bold and most likely misguided. Maybe some of these people got the answer correct the first time because they had insights into the matter that you may not have had—i.e. maybe they were "thinking about it logically" and made an educated decision about separating one trap answer from another, correct answer to this particular question.

Quote:
I have no come across a single question/logic which is refuted by the experts saying that "No. The official anwer is incorrect, because it should be this."

Perhaps you have not spent enough time on the forum. I wrote a post just yesterday in which I debated an OA to a third-party question. I have even seen one post in which Bunuel, whose Quant expertise I do not question, has pointed out that an official GMAT Prep question has an incorrect OA... and has gone on to explain why. (I wish I could find the link.)

I appreciate your outlining your thought process about this question in your response. Nevertheless, there are a few points I would like to touch on so that other readers might not make similar conclusions.

Quote:
The logic: "In choice (A), we are to understand that if the human population of Florida increased significantly during the 1990s (my emphases), then it would make sense that the number of reported sightings might also logically increase" is almost like "If population around a house deemed haunted increases, the number of reported sightings of a ghost will also increase" thereby implying that "people will always be sound and not go by hearsay." Sounds crazy, no?

You have spun my words into something entirely different here. I write my responses very carefully to (generally) avoid using absolute language such as will or always. I said "it would make sense" and "might also." Cautious language is more difficult to challenge than definitive or absolute language, the type that is often found in incorrect answer choices in both CR and RC. In fact, many Experts often point out that a single word such as "never" or even "not" (without a cushioning "may" in front of it) can make all the difference between a correct line of thought and an incorrect one.

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Reports of the number of alligator sightings increased in no way implies that the reports are correct, dont you think? If there are lesser people when these sightings are made, even a patch of grass that in the shape of an alligator some distance off might induce someone to run and report an alligator sighting (since they are just thinking about the fact that this is an alligator prone area). I am just asking. Why can't it be true?

...

I disagree with the fact that human population increase leads to more people seeing alligators.

Of course, people could have seen something other than an alligator and reported having seen one. But we have to come to terms, either way, with why the number of these reports increased dramatically in the 1990s. (E) actually looks worse when you consider that part about few people having been present during sightings. Fewer people around to see alligators, whether real or imaginary, should lead to fewer reports, not more. Meanwhile, more people around to see alligators might reasonably lead to more reports. (This is not a fact.) So, while (E) could be true, against (A), it does not make a more compelling case. One final point on the matter: Do not lose sight of the question itself, which (also) does not deal in absolutes. We are not seeking an airtight, open-and-shut case (as we would in a "Must Be True" question). We are only looking for the answer choice that most seriously weakens the argument.

Again, you are free to disagree with my view. As long as you explain why, it will only benefit the community.

I wish you the best in your preparation. I may not use emoticons (even with friends or family), but my sentiments are just as genuine.

- Andrew
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In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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When we decide to take a standardised test, we have to conform to that standards that it sets. We can chose to question it, using all the intelligence we have, and sometimes rightly so, but, when you have decided to surrender yourself to standardised test, you’ll have to conform to the patterns of its use of logic and structure.

GMAT is to get to a business school. It’s not life, neither, it makes you less intelligent or more IMO, only makes you more attuned to what it demands. Most successful businessmen I know never went to a business school, or took a standardised test, and if we are to believe we are above the test and its maker’s logic, we shouldn’t take the test, I think. The very idea of testing yourself to a third party creation is to conform to its structure and you can only possibly succeed in it is by learning its patterns. There’s no point debating it’s correctness or feeling offended by being told to stick with its structure. This is the fight you have chosen, so you must conform to it. Because if you don’t, it’s ruthless in reminding you that you must.

So yeah, sweating over why official questions are right is better than perspiring over how flawed it is. Because gmat, verbal especially, tests your conformance to its logic pattern, not to a general pattern. A lesson I learned early on.

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In the 1960s, surveys of Florida's alligator population indicated that [#permalink]
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