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# V03-14

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Math Expert
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
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16 Sep 2014, 01:59
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65% (01:47) correct 35% (01:24) wrong based on 43 sessions

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The popular belief that a snake's age can be determined by counting the number of layers of scales on its body is generally true. However, to help regulate its internal temperature, the outermost layers of scales of the Black Mamba snake often peel away when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the snake with fewer layers of scales than it would otherwise have. So only if the temperature in the Black Mamba's environment never exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit will its layers be a reliable measure of the snake's age.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument is based?

A. The growth of new layers of scales in a snake is not a function of levels of its basal metabolic rate.
B. Only the Black Mamba loses layers of scales because of excessive heat.
C. One day of temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the Black Mamba snake to lose a layer of scales.
D. The layers of scales of all snakes are of uniform thickness.
E. The number of layers of scales that will be lost when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit is not predictable.

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16 Sep 2014, 01:59
Official Solution:

The popular belief that a snake's age can be determined by counting the number of layers of scales on its body is generally true. However, to help regulate its internal temperature, the outermost layers of scales of the Black Mamba snake often peel away when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the snake with fewer layers of scales than it would otherwise have. So only if the temperature in the Black Mamba's environment never exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit will its layers be a reliable measure of the snake's age.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument is based?

A. The growth of new layers of scales in a snake is not a function of levels of its basal metabolic rate.
B. Only the Black Mamba loses layers of scales because of excessive heat.
C. One day of temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the Black Mamba snake to lose a layer of scales.
D. The layers of scales of all snakes are of uniform thickness.
E. The number of layers of scales that will be lost when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit is not predictable.

The argument concludes that one will only be able to determine the age of a Black Mamba by counting its layers of scales if the temperature in the snake's environment never exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Argument makes this conclusion on the fact that the snake loses layers of scales when the temperature exceeds the level. However, if the number of layers of scales lost by a Black Mamba at high temperatures could be predicted, then it might be possible to determine the age of a snake even if the temperature exceeds 120 degrees. The argument actually assumes that it is not possible to predict the number of layers of scales lost when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. Choice A : The argument says nothing about basal metabolic rate. This answer choice is out of scope since it would require a number of other assumptions to make it relevant to the argument's conclusion.
2. Choice B : Whether other snakes share this feature is irrelevant; the argument focuses only on the Black Mamba.
3. Choice C : This choice says that one day of temperatures above 120 degrees = one ring lost. If this is true, then we could actually be able to predict the number of layers of scales lost (if we also know on how many days the temperature exceeded 120 degrees). This damages the author’s argument; therefore, it cannot be an assumption on which the author depends.
4. Choice D : The thickness of the layers of scales is irrelevant.
5. Choice E : Correct. The argument’s conclusion is that the layers of scales will be a reliable measure only if the temperature never exceeds 120 degrees. This is true only if there is no way to predict how many layers of scales would be lost when the temperature does exceed 120 degrees. (If it were possible to predict this, one might be able to assess the age of a snake using its layers of scales even if the temperature had exceeded 120 degrees.)

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06 Oct 2016, 22:33
Para states that : the outermost layers of scales of the Black Mamba snake often peel away when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Outermost layer could only be one at a time

How is E correct then?
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07 Oct 2016, 05:34
puto wrote:
Para states that : the outermost layers of scales of the Black Mamba snake often peel away when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Outermost layer could only be one at a time

How is E correct then?

Not necessarily - 3 outermost layers imply the top 3 layers. If singular "layer" is used then what you are saying is valid.
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07 Oct 2016, 05:41
Thanks...
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29 Nov 2016, 02:43
I think people should be very careful when they want to rule out an answer choice because they believer it's "outside the scope". In a strengthen/weaken question, answer choices are taken to be true/given and allowed to talk about things that have not been said. I mean, otherwise, what you think an assumption is? So why people simply say the answer A is " outside the scope"? Bunuel, could you please elaborate on this?
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01 Dec 2016, 07:41
14razy wrote:
I think people should be very careful when they want to rule out an answer choice because they believer it's "outside the scope". In a strengthen/weaken question, answer choices are taken to be true/given and allowed to talk about things that have not been said. I mean, otherwise, what you think an assumption is? So why people simply say the answer A is " outside the scope"? Bunuel, could you please elaborate on this?

An assumption should link the premise with the conclusion. If an additional piece of information does not work as the link, then it is alright to say that the information is out of scope. There is no problem with the OE given for option A.
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05 Dec 2016, 21:19
Sayantanc2k, I think what you mean is if the answer choice A were to read as "the snake's age is not a function of base metabolic rate "(it's a funny assumption), then A would become appealing because now that it rules out a possible alternate cause/determinant of a snake's age. The reason I'm sweating "outside the scope" is that I want to learn to distinguish it from "ruling out an alternate explanation". In this particular question, "Only if" in the last sentence of the argument implies the argument/way a snake's age is calculated won't apply if the temperature goes above 120 degree. In that sense, yes, the argument seems to limit the conclusion to a below 120 degree situation.
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03 Nov 2018, 10:14
1
Hi,

My opinion is that C is the best answer here. The argument states that if temp NEVER exeeds 120 degrees, then age based on scales is accurate. However, it seems like if this temperature is exceeded for 1 day, 1 hour, etc. then all hope is lost to determine an accurate age.
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11 May 2019, 02:17
Bunuel wrote:
Official Solution:

The popular belief that a snake's age can be determined by counting the number of layers of scales on its body is generally true. However, to help regulate its internal temperature, the outermost layers of scales of the Black Mamba snake often peel away when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the snake with fewer layers of scales than it would otherwise have. So only if the temperature in the Black Mamba's environment never exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit will its layers be a reliable measure of the snake's age.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument is based?

A. The growth of new layers of scales in a snake is not a function of levels of its basal metabolic rate.
B. Only the Black Mamba loses layers of scales because of excessive heat.
C. One day of temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the Black Mamba snake to lose a layer of scales.
D. The layers of scales of all snakes are of uniform thickness.
E. The number of layers of scales that will be lost when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit is not predictable.

The argument concludes that one will only be able to determine the age of a Black Mamba by counting its layers of scales if the temperature in the snake's environment never exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Argument makes this conclusion on the fact that the snake loses layers of scales when the temperature exceeds the level. However, if the number of layers of scales lost by a Black Mamba at high temperatures could be predicted, then it might be possible to determine the age of a snake even if the temperature exceeds 120 degrees. The argument actually assumes that it is not possible to predict the number of layers of scales lost when the temperature exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. Choice A : The argument says nothing about basal metabolic rate. This answer choice is out of scope since it would require a number of other assumptions to make it relevant to the argument's conclusion.
2. Choice B : Whether other snakes share this feature is irrelevant; the argument focuses only on the Black Mamba.
3. Choice C : This choice says that one day of temperatures above 120 degrees = one ring lost. If this is true, then we could actually be able to predict the number of layers of scales lost (if we also know on how many days the temperature exceeded 120 degrees). This damages the author’s argument; therefore, it cannot be an assumption on which the author depends.
4. Choice D : The thickness of the layers of scales is irrelevant.
5. Choice E : Correct. The argument’s conclusion is that the layers of scales will be a reliable measure only if the temperature never exceeds 120 degrees. This is true only if there is no way to predict how many layers of scales would be lost when the temperature does exceed 120 degrees. (If it were possible to predict this, one might be able to assess the age of a snake using its layers of scales even if the temperature had exceeded 120 degrees.)

Hi,
The passage gives a general fact regarding snakes, but suddenly jumps to explain the specific exception, i.e., the black mamba, and this is what made me choose B. Any thoughts on this?

TIA.
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Re: V03-14   [#permalink] 11 May 2019, 02:17
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# V03-14

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