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# Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such

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CEO
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Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 17 Jul 2019, 19:24
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Difficulty:

75% (hard)

Question Stats:

50% (01:35) correct 50% (01:53) wrong based on 1906 sessions

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Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming ever more dependent on information-based industries.

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming

(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy that becomes

(C) lack of math skills is so large as to be difficult to absorb them into a city’s economy that becomes

(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy becoming

(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming

https://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/25/nyregion/students-poor-in-math-pose-job-problem.html

Many of New York City's public school students are so lacking in mathematics skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a rapidly changing city economy becoming ever more dependent on information-oriented industries, educators and economists say.

Originally posted by walker on 14 Dec 2007, 00:26.
Last edited by gmat1393 on 17 Jul 2019, 19:24, edited 2 times in total.
Reformatted
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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20 Apr 2010, 18:11
21
15
Hey All,

Lots of great conversation surrounding this one. At MGMAT, we use this question to demonstrate a fundamental rule of sentence correction, namely that the correct answer often sounds terrible. The reason the correct answer here sounds so bad (and why many of you didn't pick it), is because of the use of the rare idiom so X as to Y, and the present participle. I'll explain:

Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming ever more dependent on information-based industries.

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming
PROBLEM: So x as to Y is the idiom, as many of you pointed out. Also, the subject of "to absorb" is highly unclear. Who's absorbing them?

(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy that becomes
PROBLEM: "large enough degree that" is not idiomatic. "City's economy" makes it seem that there is some specific city, which is odd (though not inherently wrong). Finally "becomes" makes it seem as if this hasn't happened yet, but the point is that it is happening at present.

(C) lack of math skills is so large as to be difficult to absorb them into a city’s economy that becomes
PROBLEM: You can't really have a "large" "lack of math skills". Same two points at the end as before.

(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy becoming
PROBLEM: Again, the so X as to Y is wrong. City's economy remains weird.

(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming
ANSWER: So X as to Y is correct. Becoming is a present participle modifying city economy, and it makes it clear that this is currently happening.

For what it's worth, all of these answer choices also have an ambiguous pronoun ("them" could be math skills or students), but apparently GMAT figured it wasn't important here. Silly GMAT.

Hope that helps!

-tommy
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2007, 05:56
1
walker wrote:
Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to adsorb them into a city economy becoming ever more dependent on information-based industries.

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to adsorb
them into a city economy becoming

(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to adsorb into a city's economy that becomes

(C) lack math skills is so large as to be difficult to adsorb them into a city's economy that becomes

(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to adsorb into a city's economy becoming

(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to adsorb them into a city economy becoming

Between A & E for me. I pick E because in A the idiom is 'such X as to Y' where as to my knowledge the correct idiom is 'so X as to Y'. E correctly uses the idiom 'so X that Y'.
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2007, 09:53
Thanks. OA is E.

SC is from OG.

In D OG says: so much....as to be difficult is not a correct idiomatic expression.
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 03:22
2
1
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey All,

Lots of great conversation surrounding this one. At MGMAT, we use this question to demonstrate a fundamental rule of sentence correction, namely that the correct answer often sounds terrible. The reason the correct answer here sounds so bad (and why many of you didn't pick it), is because of the use of the rare idiom so X as to Y, and the present participle. I'll explain:

Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming ever more dependent on information-based industries.

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming
PROBLEM: So x as to Y is the idiom, as many of you pointed out. Also, the subject of "to absorb" is highly unclear. Who's absorbing them?

(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy that becomes
PROBLEM: "large enough degree that" is not idiomatic. "City's economy" makes it seem that there is some specific city, which is odd (though not inherently wrong). Finally "becomes" makes it seem as if this hasn't happened yet, but the point is that it is happening at present.

(C) lack of math skills is so large as to be difficult to absorb them into a city’s economy that becomes
PROBLEM: You can't really have a "large" "lack of math skills". Same two points at the end as before.

(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy becoming
PROBLEM: Again, the so X as to Y is wrong. City's economy remains weird.

(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming
ANSWER: So X as to Y is correct. Becoming is a present participle modifying city economy, and it makes it clear that this is currently happening.

For what it's worth, all of these answer choices also have an ambiguous pronoun ("them" could be math skills or students), but apparently GMAT figured it wasn't important here. Silly GMAT.

Hope that helps!

-tommy

Wow, looks like you really know what you are talking about. Thanks a lot for your great explanation.
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 09:10
3
Hey Cano,

Nice of you to say that, but I realize I kept referring to the idiom as "so X as to Y" when the sentence itself uses it as "so X that...", which is also legit. : )

-tommy
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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03 May 2010, 08:26
Hey Tommy,

for option D

(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy becoming

PROBLEM: Again, the so X as to Y is wrong. City's economy remains weird.

>>> I have read that "so X as to Y" is correct form.. I understand that "city's economy" is weird but I am not sure if "so X as to Y" is wrong. Would appreciate if you can explain this?
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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03 May 2010, 11:13
2
1
Hey Seek,

The problem here is that the idiom is NOT in the form you described. The idiom is "so X as to Y".

D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy becoming

But this says "They are X so much as to Y". The "so" needs to go BEFORE the X (in this case, "lacking".

-tommy
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2010, 04:24
11
3
B has two problems. 1.- lack to a large enough degree - is not an acceptable form of idiom; 2. they will be difficult to absorb do the students absorb or beabsorbed ? – they will be difficult to be absorbed - will be better.

In E is better because; 1. Apt idiom used. - so lacking that -. 2. - A city economy becoming- describes the ongoing activity better than –becomes - in B. The - it – in - it will be - is a place holder and hence needs no reference,
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2010, 21:11
daagh wrote:
B has two problems. 1.- lack to a large enough degree - is not an acceptable form of idiom; 2. they will be difficult to absorb do the students absorb or beabsorbed ? – they will be difficult to be absorbed - will be better.

In E is better because; 1. Apt idiom used. - so lacking that -. 2. - A city economy becoming- describes the ongoing activity better than –becomes - in B. The - it – in - it will be - is a place holder and hence needs no reference,

But in case of E, the placement of "so" does not seem to be quite correct to me. What is the problem with D?
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2010, 04:46
2
(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city's economy becoming

D has the problem of using an unidiomatic expression - so much x ....as to be y.

At best the right idiom could be so x as to be y, with out the word much. Some people even object to this

Difficult to absorb is also a problem. Difficult to be absorbed is a better expression
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2011, 03:02
2
whichscore wrote:
Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to
make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming
ever more dependent on
information-based industries.
(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a
city economy becoming
(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to absorb into a
city’s economy that becomes
(C) lack of math skills is so large as to be difficult to absorb them into a city’s economy
that becomes
(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city’s economy
becoming
(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming

A. Such is used here as an intensifier.So Large is redundant...2. should be city's economy
B 1. large enough degree is awkward.. enough is misplaced 2. simple present (becomes) indicates fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future , thus changes the meaning of original sentence
C.simple present (becomes) indicates fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future , thus changes the meaning of original sentence
D. ABSORB is a transitive verb thus requires an object
E.should be correct
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2012, 23:07
1
103. Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to
absorb them into a city economy becoming
ever more dependent on information-based industries.
(A) lack math skills to such a large degree as to make it difficult to absorb them into a city economy
becoming Meaning. Their lack of math skills does not directly cause the difficulty.
(B) lack math skills to a large enough degree that they will be difficult to absorb into a city's economy that
becomes "Large enough" changes the meaning of the sentence. There is no threshold implied.
(C) lack of math skills is so large as to be difficult to absorb them into a city's economy that becomes "So...as" is incorrect. Should be "so...that"
(D) are lacking so much in math skills as to be difficult to absorb into a city's economy becoming "So...as" is incorrect. Should be "so...that"
(E) are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy becoming Ok
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2012, 00:47
2
A - such a large degree as - wrong idiom used
B/C - that becomes - changes the meaning as in it is not happening now as we speak.
D - So X ... as to be - wrong idiom

Lacking is right in E as it speaks of something that is happening now or an ongoing action and hence the present participle.

IMO E.
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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24 Aug 2012, 12:27
2
A good way to determine between (A) and (E) is to look at the verbiage:

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree VS. (E) are so lacking in math skills that

The latter (so...that) is far more concise and is the idiomatic way to express "to such a large degree" without directly stating it.

Therefore, (A) is wordy and (E) it is!
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2016, 23:32
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Confused why E is right over C
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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28 Jul 2017, 09:53
deepudiscover wrote:
Confused why E is right over C

Hello deepudiscover,

Let me present the structure of this official sentence with Choice C:

Students in the metropolitan school district
lack of math skills is so large
as to be difficult to absorb them into a city's economy
that becomes ever more dependent on information-based industries.

The way the above-mentioned sentence is structured, the word lack is no more the verb for the subject students. The word lack is the subject for the verb is now. Hence, there is no verb for the subject students per choice C.

Also, this choice uses the idiom so large as to be... which fails to communicate the intended meaning of the sentence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2019, 17:10
With all the options its difficult to see whether it is the students or the skills that are to be absorbed. E clears that up quite well.
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Re: Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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14 Nov 2019, 02:36
At first I excluded (E) because of the non-referential pronoun "it", which I think is not very preferable in GMAT.
But in the end, I chose (E) because it is the best one of the five.

The use of "it" in this question reminds me of another question in which choices including non-referential pronoun "it" are out.
https://gmatclub.com/forum/while-it-cos ... 34755.html
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Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such  [#permalink]

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16 Nov 2019, 22:35
ChrisLele wrote:
A good way to determine between (A) and (E) is to look at the verbiage:

(A) lack math skills to such a large degree VS. (E) are so lacking in math skills that

The latter (so...that) is far more concise and is the idiomatic way to express "to such a large degree" without directly stating it.

Therefore, (A) is wordy and (E) it is!

I would have never thought "students are so lacking in math skills" would ever be the correct choice on a GMAT SC question. That just sounds off. But I guess on the harder questions, that's what it comes down to. Trusting your ears and understanding the meaning is not enough. You need absolute mastery of all the subtopics to get these questions correct.
Students in the metropolitan school district lack math skills to such   [#permalink] 16 Nov 2019, 22:35

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