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Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality

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Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2015, 13:08
1
6
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

Difficulty:

  45% (medium)

Question Stats:

59% (01:31) correct 41% (01:46) wrong based on 253 sessions

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Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality. The most compelling pieces of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Maas that are superior, since Maas, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, obviously must have plagiarized the superior ones.

The argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which of the following grounds?

(A) It simply ignores the existence of potential counter-evidence.
(B) It generalizes from atypical occurrences.
(C) It presupposes what it seeks to establish.
(D) It relies on the judgment of experts in a matter where their expertise is irrelevant.
(E) It infers limits on ability from a few isolated lapses in performance.

Plz explain why each option is wrong/right? especially option A and C
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Re: Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2015, 23:06
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Veritas Prep OE

This question asks for a criticism of the argument. As a test-taker, you can approach this question in one of two ways: as a Weaken question or as a Method of Reasoning question. Because you’re asked to describe the flaw, you can either look to expose the flaw (Weaken) or to describe the argument (Method of Reasoning), but when you have a choice it’s best to approach these questions as Weaken variety questions. In doing so, you’ll read skeptically, and the flaw in the passage will tend to stand out more because you’re looking critically to find it.

Here, the author concludes in the first sentence that Maas is, at best, an average writer. We know that this is the conclusion because the next sentence seeks to provide “…evidence for this”, signifying that the previous sentence is a conclusion based on that evidence.

In the evidence, however, the author only presents:

Maas has written a few superior articles
These articles must have been plagiarized, because:
Maas is only an average writer
Looking at the evidence, you should see a problem – the author uses his own conclusion as evidence! Take that unsupported opinion out and the only evidence that the author has is that Maas has written only a few superior articles – hardly evidence that he is “only capable of being average”. Choice C accurately reflects this flaw, saying that the author presupposes what he seeks to establish – he uses his conclusion to prove itself.

Perhaps more interesting are the incorrect answer choices, many of which are wrong only because of small flaws:

A) While the author does not allow the counterevidence – Maas’ superior articles – to interfere with his argument, he does not, as the choice says “simply ignore” them. He actually addresses them head on, and just says that they must be plagiarized. He deals with them, and does not “simply ignore” them, so A is incorrect.

B) The author certainly does “generalize” about Maas’ abilities, but he makes those generalizations from the typical occurrences, his wealth of average articles, and not the “atypical” occurrences as the choice says. The atypical occurrences are the superior articles, and the generalization is that he’s only average.

C) Correct.

D) Choice D is fairly far out of scope, as the passage does not talk at all about expert judgment, so this one should be quickly eliminated.

E) Much like choice B, this choice is wrong but not by much. The author certainly does “infer limits on abilities”, but not from “a few isolated lapses”. Those lapses, the atypical occurrences, are his great articles, not his many average articles, so choice E is incorrect in the basis for the author’s inference on Maas’ abilities.

As you can see from this question, difficult Critical Reasoning questions require you to read the answer choices quite carefully, as one or two words can change the meaning of an answer choice. When you’re asked for a description as an answer choice, your description must fit the flaw exactly, so be sure to read each answer choice and be prepared to revisit subtle changes in direction to ensure that you don’t miss a key word that decides correct from incorrect.


This is also a direct lift of another GMAT question. Here's the link.

In Simpler words

(A) is not bad but the counterevidence is not ignored. The argument doesn't just ignore the fact that Cotrell has produced articles of superior quality. The argument claims that these were plagiarized.
(B) is unsupported. The argument doesn't generalize from atypical examples, but rather describes why those atypical examples should be dismissed.
(D) is unsupported. There are no experts involved in this argument.
(E) is unsupported. These are not isolated lapses in performance, but rather routinely bad performance is contrasted with a few exceptions of superior quality which are dismissed as plagiarized.
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Re: Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2015, 02:17
I think the conclusion is "obviously Mass must have plagiarized the superior ones." Since "Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality." I think the first statement is a fact stated by the author and second statement is evidence supporting the first statement.

If my understanding is correct than choices C, D, E can be eliminated. Either A or B can be correct but B is better of the two.

Experts please prove me wrong :)
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Re: Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2018, 04:36
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
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Re: Maas is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality &nbs [#permalink] 05 Apr 2018, 04:36
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