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# Negate Test

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05 Jul 2010, 09:34
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Can someone please explain the negate test if you are between two possible answers? Please provide examples if you could. Thanks.
If you have any questions
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06 Jul 2010, 09:12
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The negation test works on CR Assumption questions. Assumptions basically complete the argument (i.e. when verbalized, they become premises), and therefore they support the conclusion. On GMAT Assumption questions, it is common for several choices to support the argument, and often these choices all “sound good.” The trick is to sort out the truly necessary statement from the merely helpful statements.

Rather than being a supporting statement, the correct Assumption is a statement that’s opposite (negation) would kill the argument.

For example, here’s one from GMATPrep.
Attachment:

CR_18.JPG [ 101.34 KiB | Viewed 6012 times ]

Notice the “on which the argument depends” language, not simply “what helps the argument?”

If we mistakenly look for answers that support, we might think the following:
(A) Supports: Large tranquilizer dose. Possible overdose? This does seem to indicate that the tranquilizer is a problem.
(B) Supports: If uncollared females have increasing fertility, then what else would explain the reduced fertility of the tranquilized/collared females? It would have to be the tranquilizer, the only other difference between the two groups.
(C) Supports: Rules out other factors involved in the tranquilizing, and allows us to conclude the reduced fertility is due to a substance in the tranquilizer.
(D) Supports (maybe): At least it suggests that female rhinos are tranquilized more frequently than males, and would be affected more by whatever substance is in the tranquilizer.
(E) Neutral: Just a fact about the tranquilizer.

You can see how unproductive this thought process is! The choices start to sound similar, and you could talk yourself into almost any one.

In contrast, if we negate each statement to see the effect on the conclusion (“some substance in the tranquilizer inhibits fertility”), the correct answer stands out. I’ve put the negated idea/word(s) in caps.

(A) The tranquilizer dose is NOT large. No effect on the conclusion.
(B) The fertility rate of uncollared female rhinos has been STEADY or DECLINING. No effect on the conclusion.
(C) The stress of being tranquilized and handled DOES have a negative effect on fertility. This kills the conclusion that some substance in the tranquilizer is to blame.
(D) Male rhinos lose their collars AS FREQUENTLY as females. No effect on the conclusion.
(E) The tranquilizer used on the rhinos is DIFFERENT than that used on other large mammals. No effect on the conclusion.

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07 Jul 2010, 07:02
Thanks this was a lot of help. For assumption CR questions, is it beneficial to jump right to using the negate technique? The negate test doesn't work for any other type of CR question, correct?
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08 Jul 2010, 05:59
Correct, it only applies to Assumption CR. The same thinking, but not the test itself, could be applied a bit to Weaken the Conclusion questions, on which the correct answer sometimes is the explicit negation of an assumption.

I don't use the test right away, but I don't think it would wrong to do so necessarily. I tend to read the argument and anticipate the needed Assumption, based on whether there is a logic gap, weak premise, etc. For me, that is faster. Only if debating between a couple decent-sounding answers do I use the negation test to decide.
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08 Jul 2010, 13:10
790 Thats an awesome score Emily !

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06 Oct 2011, 01:56
The book CRITICAL REASONING BIBLE develops the concept of SUPPORTER ASSUMPTION, and DEFENDER ASSUMPTION.
the application of this concept is not explained clearly. here I want to share with you some application.

Supporter assumption is easy to realize when you read answer choices. However, you can not realize defender assumption when you read answer choices. The only way to realize defender assumption is the negation test. negate each answer choice to find defender assumption. This process will take much more time and defender is normally a hard question.

the lesion is that when you finish reading 5 answer choices and see no assumption, it is defender assumption and you have to use negation test and longer time.
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11 Nov 2014, 22:25
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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13 Mar 2015, 19:45
esledge wrote:
The negation test works on CR Assumption questions. Assumptions basically complete the argument (i.e. when verbalized, they become premises), and therefore they support the conclusion. On GMAT Assumption questions, it is common for several choices to support the argument, and often these choices all “sound good.” The trick is to sort out the truly necessary statement from the merely helpful statements.

Rather than being a supporting statement, the correct Assumption is a statement that’s opposite (negation) would kill the argument.

For example, here’s one from GMATPrep.
Attachment:
CR_18.JPG

Notice the “on which the argument depends” language, not simply “what helps the argument?”

If we mistakenly look for answers that support, we might think the following:
(A) Supports: Large tranquilizer dose. Possible overdose? This does seem to indicate that the tranquilizer is a problem.
(B) Supports: If uncollared females have increasing fertility, then what else would explain the reduced fertility of the tranquilized/collared females? It would have to be the tranquilizer, the only other difference between the two groups.
(C) Supports: Rules out other factors involved in the tranquilizing, and allows us to conclude the reduced fertility is due to a substance in the tranquilizer.
(D) Supports (maybe): At least it suggests that female rhinos are tranquilized more frequently than males, and would be affected more by whatever substance is in the tranquilizer.
(E) Neutral: Just a fact about the tranquilizer.

You can see how unproductive this thought process is! The choices start to sound similar, and you could talk yourself into almost any one.

In contrast, if we negate each statement to see the effect on the conclusion (“some substance in the tranquilizer inhibits fertility”), the correct answer stands out. I’ve put the negated idea/word(s) in caps.

(A) The tranquilizer dose is NOT large. No effect on the conclusion.
(B) The fertility rate of uncollared female rhinos has been STEADY or DECLINING. No effect on the conclusion.
(C) The stress of being tranquilized and handled DOES have a negative effect on fertility. This kills the conclusion that some substance in the tranquilizer is to blame.
(D) Male rhinos lose their collars AS FREQUENTLY as females. No effect on the conclusion.
(E) The tranquilizer used on the rhinos is DIFFERENT than that used on other large mammals. No effect on the conclusion.

Hi Emily,
Good day.. I have a clarification here.. I understand that it's the the tranquilizers a reason for lowering fertility from C.. But doesn't B breaks the conclusion on negating as well? Because on negating B, we get that B) The fertility rate of uncollared female rhinos is declined. Which means that even the untranquilized ones are also getting negative effect on fertility. So tranqilizers are not the reason. There must be some other... Doesn't this pulls down the conclusion that darts are responsible for fertility decline? Please. Help...

Last edited by sheolokesh on 14 Mar 2015, 10:16, edited 1 time in total.
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14 Mar 2015, 04:17
Hi Esledge,

I like your thought process for the below question. I like the negate the statement approach.

I am struggling with one bit... where exactly you negate a sentence for example...

'Sam goes to university in a bus along the riverside'

How do we negate the above sentence..

1. Sam does not go to uni

or

2. Sam does not go in a bus to Uni.

or

3. sam's bus does not go along rivver.

With many other negations coming up, I find it a bit hard to crack some CR question.

Please could you help me with negation approach.

esledge wrote:
The negation test works on CR Assumption questions. Assumptions basically complete the argument (i.e. when verbalized, they become premises), and therefore they support the conclusion. On GMAT Assumption questions, it is common for several choices to support the argument, and often these choices all “sound good.” The trick is to sort out the truly necessary statement from the merely helpful statements.

Rather than being a supporting statement, the correct Assumption is a statement that’s opposite (negation) would kill the argument.

For example, here’s one from GMATPrep.
Attachment:
CR_18.JPG

Notice the “on which the argument depends” language, not simply “what helps the argument?”

If we mistakenly look for answers that support, we might think the following:
(A) Supports: Large tranquilizer dose. Possible overdose? This does seem to indicate that the tranquilizer is a problem.
(B) Supports: If uncollared females have increasing fertility, then what else would explain the reduced fertility of the tranquilized/collared females? It would have to be the tranquilizer, the only other difference between the two groups.
(C) Supports: Rules out other factors involved in the tranquilizing, and allows us to conclude the reduced fertility is due to a substance in the tranquilizer.
(D) Supports (maybe): At least it suggests that female rhinos are tranquilized more frequently than males, and would be affected more by whatever substance is in the tranquilizer.
(E) Neutral: Just a fact about the tranquilizer.

You can see how unproductive this thought process is! The choices start to sound similar, and you could talk yourself into almost any one.

In contrast, if we negate each statement to see the effect on the conclusion (“some substance in the tranquilizer inhibits fertility”), the correct answer stands out. I’ve put the negated idea/word(s) in caps.

(A) The tranquilizer dose is NOT large. No effect on the conclusion.
(B) The fertility rate of uncollared female rhinos has been STEADY or DECLINING. No effect on the conclusion.
(C) The stress of being tranquilized and handled DOES have a negative effect on fertility. This kills the conclusion that some substance in the tranquilizer is to blame.
(D) Male rhinos lose their collars AS FREQUENTLY as females. No effect on the conclusion.
(E) The tranquilizer used on the rhinos is DIFFERENT than that used on other large mammals. No effect on the conclusion.

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Kudos to you, for helping me with some KUDOS.

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07 Sep 2016, 22:59
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.
Re: Negate Test   [#permalink] 07 Sep 2016, 22:59
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