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In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...

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GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V35
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith... [#permalink]

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I always shoot myself in the foot by over-thinking on RC. Although I managed a 51/51 on critical reasoning and 44/51 on SC, a 23/51 on RC destroyed my verbal score on the real GMAT - ended up getting a 35 on verbal despite scoring high on the other sections.

That being said, question 2 is a good example of silly mistakes I make and I was hoping for some clarification.

It is stated on numerous platforms that inference questions will never restate the answer but rather paraphrase it. Thus I never expected E to be correct because it basically restates the point almost word for word. This is the only reason I went for A. I assumed that since historians ignored the actual language used in business dealings (language that promoted trust rather than self interest) and thus the impact such language had on business dealings, said historians are not crediting the impact business had on moral values and beliefs.

RC is truly frustrating me because it is the only obstacle preventing me from achieving a 700+ and these stupid mistakes stemming from overthinking constantly brings my score down.

Anyways, point of this post is to understand how the correct inference answer is almost an exact restatement from the passage. Thanks in advance.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith... [#permalink]

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yousefalj wrote:
I always shoot myself in the foot by over-thinking on RC. Although I managed a 51/51 on critical reasoning and 44/51 on SC, a 23/51 on RC destroyed my verbal score on the real GMAT - ended up getting a 35 on verbal despite scoring high on the other sections.

That being said, question 2 is a good example of silly mistakes I make and I was hoping for some clarification.

It is stated on numerous platforms that inference questions will never restate the answer but rather paraphrase it. Thus I never expected E to be correct because it basically restates the point almost word for word. This is the only reason I went for A. I assumed that since historians ignored the actual language used in business dealings (language that promoted trust rather than self interest) and thus the impact such language had on business dealings, said historians are not crediting the impact business had on moral values and beliefs.

RC is truly frustrating me because it is the only obstacle preventing me from achieving a 700+ and these stupid mistakes stemming from overthinking constantly brings my score down.

Anyways, point of this post is to understand how the correct inference answer is almost an exact restatement from the passage. Thanks in advance.

So this might sound silly, but it's actually a really common problem on CR and RC: what, exactly, does the word "inference" or "infer" really mean?

By definition, an inference is something that's NOT stated directly in the passage. But if you think about that definition really strictly and literally, it leaves tons of wiggle-room. Sure, sometimes a correct inference is several steps removed from the passage, and maybe you have to walk through several logical steps to go from the EXACT language of the passage to the correct inference. Maybe you had to work pretty hard to draw a conclusion from the facts given, and that conclusion could qualify as an "inference."

But sometimes, an inference can be a fairly simple restatement of something given in the passage. Sometimes, that inference is so obvious that it seems really, really stupid. But as long as the language is slightly different, it qualifies as an inference, and not something that was directly stated. Consider the following:

    Passage: Charlie has a gigantic appetite. He enthusiastically eats at least eight sizable meals a day, and spends most of his waking hours eating, cooking, thinking about food, or making friends with chefs.
    Inference: Charlie eats large quantities of food.

Pretty dumb, right? Of course Charlie eats large quantities of food -- he eats at least eight sizable meals a day, and has a gigantic appetite. But the phrase "Charlie eats large quantities of food" wasn't directly stated. This can count as an inference, as dumb as that may sound.

So here's the right way to approach inference questions: find the four answer choices that are LEAST supported by the passage. The remaining answer choice will be correct by default, regardless of whether it's a simple, silly restatement of something in the passage -- or a more involved conclusion that you derived only after several long, sweaty minutes of heavy thinking. (For whatever it's worth, this general approach might sound familiar if you've read our beginner's guides to RC or CR.)

So don't overthink the inferences, and you'll be fine. :-)

I hope this helps!
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...   [#permalink] 22 Jan 2018, 13:27

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