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# Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air,

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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06 Oct 2013, 14:07
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imhimanshu wrote:
Thanks Mike for the detailed explanation.
I would have answered this question had the question been Explain the paradox; The paradox being that despite controlled atmosphere, students found the difference in growth rates. And the answer Choice D would be apparent.
But, for Evaluate the argument, I usually apply "Variance Analysis" i.e testing the extremes and then analyzing the behavior of the argument.

Quote:
d. Heavy vehicular traffic such as is found in cities constantly deposits grime on greenhouse windows, reducing the amount of light that reaches the plants inside

Applying variance analysis:

Lets say that Yes. heavy vehicular traffic deposited grime on greenhouses windows, and reduced the light. -> It could be a possible factor in the difference of the growth rates of the plants.

However, if you say that there is no such grime deposited on greenhouse gases, and possibly the amount of light is same in greenhouses, then it is not describing the behavior of the growth rates.
Here, I am getting confused, if it is not the cause of difference in growth rates, then what could possibly be the factor behind the growth rates.

Another doubt is that I have seen evaluate questions comes in two varieties -
First is in which the answer choices starts with "Whether, Would , Were" etc that converts it into a form of question. In such questions, I can easily apply variance analysis.

However, second categories have plain answer choices such as the answer choices in this question.. then is it correct to apply Variance analysis here, or what should be the appropriate strategy.

Thanks

Dear Himanshu,
I'm happy to respond.

To be perfectly honest, forget "variance analysis". Forget any pre-fab, one-size-fits-all rule. The GMAT excels at creating diverse questions ---- each new questions depends on a logical twist unique to that particular situation and unlike anything in any other question. if you try to apply fixed rules to the GMAT CR, it will fool you time and time again. You must forget all general methods, and dive into a critical analysis of what is unique and particular about the individual situation at hand.

In Evaluate the Argument questions, a correct answer need only have impact on the argument if the question is answered one way. Suppose there's a GMAT CR argument, and it's a "evaluate the argument" prompt. Suppose the OA is: "Whether P causes Q?" Now, suppose that, if P does cause Q, that would significantly change the argument, but if P does not cause Q, that would have zero effect on the argument. That's perfectly fine. That's the norm for Evaluate the Argument CR questions. The OA may pose a question that has crucial implications for the prompt argument either way, but that's not necessary ---- as long as one way of answering that question has crucial implications for the argument, then it doesn't matter whether the other answer would not affect the argument at all.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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17 Dec 2014, 01:59
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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08 Oct 2015, 06:36
If you assume that heavy vehicle emit sulfur dioxide and cause grime, only then D will be correct :D
idk whether you can assume upto that
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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08 Oct 2015, 10:02
oishik wrote:
If you assume that heavy vehicle emit sulfur dioxide and cause grime, only then D will be correct :D
idk whether you can assume upto that

Dear oishik,
I'm happy to respond. Think about the structure of the question. The prompt question says:

Which of the following, if true, would it be most important to take into account in evaluating the result?

In other words, the test is telling us to assume that each one of the answer choices is true. For each answer choice, our job is to assume that the information in the answer is 100%, and then see if this new information sheds light on the argument.

When you are considering answer choice (D), not only are you allowed to assume that it is true, but you are supposed to assume that! The question explicitly tells us that it is your job to assume that (D) is completely true, for however long you are considering that particular choice as a possible answer. You don't even get a choice about this: you have to assume that (D) is true to understand this answer choice.

Does this distinction make sense?
Mike
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2016, 12:42
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Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2016, 11:05
I came up with the assumption : Plant growth rate is not affected by Sulphur Dioxide at all and is affected by some other reason. Choice D gave me that reason and hence I selected it. egmat can you comment if my assumption is correct? I assume is it since I was able to select the right choice and none of the other choices are close to the assumption I came up with.
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2016, 11:33
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akhileshdas wrote:
I came up with the assumption : Plant growth rate is not affected by Sulphur Dioxide at all and is affected by some other reason. Choice D gave me that reason and hence I selected it. egmat can you comment if my assumption is correct? I assume is it since I was able to select the right choice and none of the other choices are close to the assumption I came up with.

Dear akhileshdas,

I'm happy to respond. My friend, I would say that you reasoning is excellent. Don't doubt yourself! That was an intelligent and perfectly valid approach to this question.

Mike
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2016, 11:41
Dear mikemcgarry,

Thanks for the encouragement.
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2016, 12:59
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akhileshdas wrote:
I came up with the assumption : Plant growth rate is not affected by Sulphur Dioxide at all and is affected by some other reason. Choice D gave me that reason and hence I selected it. egmat can you comment if my assumption is correct? I assume is it since I was able to select the right choice and none of the other choices are close to the assumption I came up with.

Same with me , I started doubting other factors affecting Plant growth ( One of the factors in my list was soil texture ), however I was content with option (D) putting the blame on the Heavy vehicular traffic.
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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26 Oct 2016, 12:30
This question uses the word 'evaluate' in the question stem, but is really a resolve the paradox question. tag should be changed, how do we do that?
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2016, 09:05
TheLordCommander wrote:
This question uses the word 'evaluate' in the question stem, but is really a resolve the paradox question. tag should be changed, how do we do that?

The tag is alright. Whether option D was taken into account while arriving at the conclusion is the point. It's not that the experiment poses a paradox and then option D explains the paradox. If option D was taken into account then the result of the experiment is correct, if option D was NOT taken into account, then the result may be faulty. Hence the question is an "evaluate argument" type question.
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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22 Dec 2016, 16:28
Good question. D just seemed correct, but I couldn't completely rule out B. Again, D just seemed stronger.
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Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air, [#permalink]

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05 Jan 2017, 16:05
I have read several explanations for this problem across various forums and am not satisfied with any of the answers. So, I decided to think this problem thoroughly and here is my explanation:
Facts:
Urban air SO2 > Rural air SO2
Urban plant growth < Rural plant growth

Is there are relation between SO2 and plant growth?

Experiment is conducted to filter out SO2. "Assuming" we have only one factor that affects the plant growth and that is SO2, then the result of the experiment of growing plants in the greenhouse (for those not from USA and don't know what a green house is: it is a sort of an enclosed garden) in urban and rural areas should be equal plant growth, i.e. a plant would grow 5 cms in urban area and 5 cms in rural area.
However, that is not the case: the plants still grow unequally!!! And this is the conclusion or result of the experiment.

So, now we need to figure out why they are not growing equally and forget the case about finding out whether SO2 affects the plant growth.

Choice A: Irrelevant. Experiments were conducted in greenhouse.
Choice B: This is the tricky one and needs some handling: Remember, previously we wanted to know whether SO2 affects the plant growth, this clearly shows that it does. If you thought that our aim still is to find the correlation, then you would immediately pick this choice. However, remember we have already proved that even after filtering SO2 there is unequal growth between urban greenhouse plant and rural greenhouse plant.
Choice C: Irrelevant.
Choice D: We are trying to evaluate the result of unequal growth between urban greenhouse plant and rural greenhouse plant which have both been filtered SO2. If the vehicular traffic reduced the light on the plants, then obviously the plants would grow slower. And this explains why the urban plant grew slower even after filtering SO2.
Choice E: The rate of filter change should not impact. This choice alludes towards the fact that the SO2 may have seeped in between the filter change. But it would be unsafe to assume that.
Re: Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air,   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2017, 16:05

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# Urban air contains more sulfur dioxide than does rural air,

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