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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...

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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2014, 10:43
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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the medical doctor's argument?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday.
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Re: Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2014, 10:55
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LaxAvenger wrote:
Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the medical doctor's argument?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday.


The question asks you to strengthen the conclusion.

First we identify the conclusion. "Therefore" is often a big flag of conclusion statements, and that holds true here also. The conclusion is:
"we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours."

Now we look to the preceding sentences (premises). The premise is that sleep deprivation is bad and common.

The typical structure of an argument is Premise + Assumption = Conclusion

Since we've identified the premise and the conclusion, one way to strengthen the conclusion is to prove one of the assumptions, so that the link between premise and conclusion is stronger. Another way is to reinforce a premise.

Let's look at the answer choices:

a) This says overwork causes sleep deprivation. However, there is still nothing that says that overwork is the same as having an inflexible schedule for working hours. Therefore I eliminate this.
b) This one is correct. Some non-native English speakers might be thrown off by the use of "latitude" because this employs the secondary definition of the word, "scope for freedom of action or thought." If this statement were true, then the argument makes more sense: sleep deprivation is bad -> flexible scheduling fixes sleep deprivation -> we should have more flexible scheduling.
c) This seems somewhat irrelevant if not contrary to the premise.
d) This also seems irrelevant. It's taking about a hypothetical situation that doesn't matter for this argument.
e) This answer choice MIGHT make sense if the conclusion was something about shortening the work day. But because the conclusion says nothing about fewer hours (instead it says flexible hours), it is irrelevant.

Correct answer: B
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New post 05 Nov 2014, 19:34
B it is for me... Supporter type strengthen answer....
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Re: Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2015, 11:52
I think such questions cannot appear on the GMAT. It's too direct that you start doubting your take.
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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2018, 05:38
Hi!

I am trying to understand better the weakener on a plan type question.

My question is: would answer A be considered a Weakener of the argument? In GMAT standards could stating a reason like this mean that the proposed flexibility plan would be ineffective? And if so, would it still be a weakener if it just said that it is A cause of sleep deprivation and not THE PRIMARY cause?

Thanks in advance!!
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Re: Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2018, 08:54
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Yeah, good question lguerreromeseguer. A huge thing to keep in mind is that with Plan/Strategy questions, the stated goal or objective is everything. Here this is an older question (I remember teaching this one back in 2003 when I started) so it works okay as a Strengthen-the-argument question, but if you're looking for good "Weaken the Plan" logic let's try this version:

Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. In order to reduce sleep deprivation for their employees, companies should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which of the following most suggests that the plan outlined above will not achieve its goals?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday.


***Note - I changed the intro to the last sentence to make it a valid plan/strategy problem, identifying that the goal is to reduce sleep deprivation.***

When you're doing plan/strategy, make sure you understand the parameters of the goal. Here it's just to "reduce" sleep deprivation, not eliminate it altogether. And that's where choice (A) would get interesting. Even if the primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork, and the plan doesn't address the length of the workday, there could be other causes (like the time of day you wake up, etc.) that the plan would address. So I wouldn't choose (A) in a weaken the plan context...it actually has all the makings of a good trap answer, since it gets you thinking "hey there are bigger causes of this problem we should address" when in reality the goal is just to reduce it, so attacking lesser causes can get you that reduction.

But choice (E) is a pretty good Weakener. If the extent of sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday, that suggests that length of workday is the only driver (it's probably a stronger answer if it says "directly proportional" so that it's really clear that length of workday is the only factor...the longer your workday the more sleep deprived you are). In that case, addressing anything other than the length of the workday just wouldn't have any effect.

(Caveats here...I'm sure you could make a case that you need something stronger like "directly proportional" and not just "proportional" so don't take this one as an official problem if you find fault in E, but for teaching purposes of "what if this were a Weaken the Plan?" I think the above is worth learning from, at least)
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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 12 Nov 2018, 11:36
VeritasPrepBrian, thank you very very much for your response. It has shed light on a couple of issues that confused me quite a bit. Thank you for the perfect response :)

Originally posted by lguerreromeseguer on 12 Nov 2018, 09:30.
Last edited by lguerreromeseguer on 12 Nov 2018, 11:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2018, 09:32
Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the medical doctor's argument?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday

pretty direct.....option...B..if employees are able to manage their work schedule, then they will do that in a way that they pbly get enough sleep and thus no sleep deprivation
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Re: Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,... &nbs [#permalink] 12 Nov 2018, 09:32
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