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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Chat Transcript: 7/26/2017

Q: Not only did the systematic clearing of forests in the United States create farmland (especially in the Northeast) and gave consumers relatively inexpensive houses and furniture, but it also caused erosion and very quickly deforested whole regions.

A. Not only did the systematic clearing of forests in the United States create farmland (especially in the Northeast) and gave consumers relatively inexpensive houses and furniture, but it also

B. Not only did the systematic clearing of forests in the United States create farmland (especially in the Northeast), which gave consumers relatively inexpensive houses and furniture, but also

C. The systematic clearing of forests in the United States, creating farmland (especially in the Northeast) and giving consumers relatively inexpensive houses and furniture, but also

D. The systematic clearing of forests in the United States created farmland (especially in the Northeast) and gave consumers relatively inexpensive houses and furniture, but it also

E. The systematic clearing of forests in the United States not only created farmland (especially in the Northeast), giving consumers relatively inexpensive houses and furniture, but it

I want to know when can we use but also without not only


A: Here’s the way I would think of it: if you see a "not/but" construction, you should be worried about parallelism, right? So in any answer choices in that particular question that have the not/but going on, check to see if it’s parallel. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t use "but also" without a "not only" -- and you obviously could use "but" by itself without any trouble at all. In other words: if you see a "but" or a "but also", don’t assume that you need a "not only."
In (A), there’s a subtle parallelism problem: "Not only did the clearing create farmland... and GAVE..." It should be "give" in this case. (A) is out.
The modifier "which" doesn’t make sense in (B).
(C) isn’t a sentence at all, since the subject "systematic clearing" has no verb.
No problems at all with (D) -- the subject "it" refers back to the subject of the first clause, "clearing." And again: just because there’s a "but" doesn’t mean that you need a "not only"
(E) botches the parallelism: not only created (verb), but it (noun)
So not a lot of reason to doubt (D), since the others have reasonably clear errors. They don’t all SOUND wrong... but sound really doesn’t have much to do with anything on this silly test.


Q: but you told in last chat here the stem is - not only did - in option A and parallel elements are create and gave both in past tense.

A: it’s a funny structure with a helping verb. Think of it this way: "Souvik did create a great MBA essay." "Souvik did gave a great admissions interview." Does that help?

Q: Bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, whose repertory, views on musical collaboration, and vocal style were influential on generations of bluegrass artists, was also an inspiration to many musicians, that included Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from his own.

(A) were influential on generations of bluegrass artists, was also an inspiration to many musicians, that included Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from

(B) influenced generations of bluegrass artists, also inspired many musicians, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music differed significantly from

(C) was influential to generations of bluegrass artists, was also inspirational to many musicians, that included Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music was different significantly in comparison to

(D) was influential to generations of bluegrass artists, also inspired many musicians, who included Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, the music of whom differed significantly when compared to

(E) were an influence on generations of bluegrass artists, was also an inspiration to many musicians, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia, whose music was significantly different from that of

I don’t get why A is wrong. And how could we correct it? will removing "was" from "was also" make this sentence correct?


A: Subject-verb eliminates (C) and (D) quickly.
(E): check out the pronoun "that" at the end of the underlined portion. If you’re not sure what to do with the pronoun "that", read this article: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 43686.html
In (A), "that included" -- especially after a comma -- is much clunkier than "including. Plus, "influenced... artists" is MUCH more clear and direct than "were influential on... artists." And: Monroe "inspired" in B, vs. "was an inspiration to" in A. That last one isn’t a DEFINITE error or anything, but everything points in the same direction: B is clearer


Q: is "that" never preceded by comma GMATNinja ?

A: I see that question fairly often. Sure, when "that" is used as a modifier, it’s usually not preceded by a comma, but there are other uses of "that." Even as a modifier, there’s no reason why you couldn’t have "that" as part of a list of some sort -- and then it might be preceded with a comma...
"I believe that Santa Claus is real, that the Knicks will win the 2018 NBA title, and that aliens control the White House." --> no problem, we have three parallel subordinate clauses

Q: The irradiation of food kills bacteria and thus retards spoilage. However, it also lowers the nutritional value of many foods. For example, irradiation destroys a significant percentage of whatever vitamin B1 a food may contain. Proponents of irradiation point out that irradiation is no worse in this respect than cooking. However, this fact is either beside the point, since much irradiated food is eaten raw, or else misleading, since _______.

Which of the following most logically completes the argument?

A. many of the proponents of irradiation are food distributors who gain from food’s having a longer shelf life
B. it is clear that killing bacteria that may be present on food is not the only effect that irradiation has
C. cooking is usually the final step in preparing food for consumption, whereas irradiation serves to ensure a longer shelf life for perishable foods
D. certain kinds of cooking are, in fact, even more destructive of vitamin B1 than carefully controlled irradiation is
E. for food that is both irradiated and cooked, the reduction of vitamin B1 associated with either process individually is compounded

I dont get what the question is asking me to find in the answer choices :x :(


A: First order of business: what sort of thing goes in the blank? We want something that supports the idea that "this fact" is either irrelevant or misleading.
So then... WTF is "this fact"? "irradiation point out that irradiation is no worse in this respect than cooking" -- meaning that irradiation is no worse than cooking in terms of its lowering of a food’s nutritional value.
And if you’ve read our CR guide for beginners (long-winded thing available here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 43170.html
you’ve heard me ramble about "modifiers." You always want to ask yourself if there are any tweaks of language that catch your eye.
I don’t know if it’s actually important, but their example says that irradiation destroys "a significant percentage" of whatever vitamin B1 a food may contain. Hm. OK, so "a significant percentage" is a pretty deliberate word choice. Maybe it doesn’t matter -- we’ll see.
So the blank needs to do the following: show that it’s either irrelevant or misleading when we say that "irradiation is no worse than cooking" when it comes to lowering "the nutritional value of many foods."
Where I’m not 100% clear: "in this respect" could, I suppose refer to the lowering of nutritional value in general, or the destruction of vitamin B1 in particular. I wish they’d made that clearer in the passage, but there’s not much we can do about that.
Anyway, let’s hit these answer choices.
I can’t for the life of me understand why (A) is relevant. That doesn’t tell us why the claim about nutrition is irrelevant or misleading. A is out.
In a weird, limited way, (B) actually sort of supports the idea that irradiation causes other trouble. And doesn’t tell us why the claim about nutrition is irrelevant/misleading. B is out, too.
I can’t see why (C) matters, either. Why would that make the claim about nutrition misleading or besides the point? C is out.
(D) is a little bit more interesting, right? Now we’re actually getting to some relevant stuff. We want to know why the comparison with cooking is misleading or irrelevant. And (D) is saying that cooking can be really, really bad. But wait: doesn’t that make the claim about nutrition -- i.e., that cooking can be worse than radiation -- a little bit stronger, if anything? (D) doesn’t make that claim seem irrelevant or misleading. So (D) is out, too.
Crap, I hope we like (E), or else we’re starting over.
And this is nice: (E) makes sense. If (E) is true, then irradiation still causes all sorts of trouble: with or without cooking, irradiation will harm nutrition. So who cares if cooking can be worse than irradiation? That’s really not important, since irradiation still lowers the nutritional value of the food. So (E) definitely supports the idea that the claim is besides the point or misleading.


Q: In countries where automobile insurance includes compensation for whiplash injuries sustained in automobile accidents, reports of having suffered such injuries are twice as frequent as they are in countries where whiplash is not covered. Some commentators have argued, correctly, that since there is presently no objective test for whiplash, spurious reports of whiplash injuries cannotbe readily identified. These commentators are, however, wrong to draw the further conclusion that in the countries with the higherrates of reported whiplash injuries, half of the reported cases are spurious: clearly, in countires where automobile insurance doesnot include compensation for whiplash, people often have little incentive to report whiplash injuries that they actually have suffered.

In the argument given, the two boldfaced portions play which of the following roles?

A: The first is evidence that has been used to support a conclusion that the arguemnt criticizes; the second is that conclusion
B: The first is evidence that has been used to support a conclusion that the arguemnt criticizes; the second is the position that the argument defends
C: The first is a claim that has been used to support a conclusion that the argument accepts; the second is the position that the argument defends
D: The first is an intermediate conclusion that has been used to support a conclusion that the argument defends; the second is the position that the argument opposes.
E: The first presents a claim that is disputed in the argument; the second is a conclusion that has been drawn on the basis of that claim.


A:Here’s the heart of the passage: "These commentators are, however, wrong to draw the further conclusion that in the countries with the higher rates of reported whiplash injuries, half of the reported cases are spurious"
In some sense, the author is arguing for two things: 1) "Some commentators have argued, correctly, that... spurious reports of whiplash injuries cannot be readily identified." 2) "These commentators are, however, wrong to draw the further conclusion that in the countries with the higher rates of reported whiplash injuries, half of the reported cases are spurious"
The commentator is criticizing the 2nd BF statement.
And the 1st BF is something that the writer agrees with... but at the same time, the fact that there’s no objective test for whiplash is used by others as support for that 2nd BF statement.
And the 1st BF is something that the writer agrees with... but at the same time, the fact that there’s no objective test for whiplash is used by others as support for that 2nd BF statement.
I don’t want to beat this one to death, so I’ll move through pretty quickly:
(A) looks OK. The 2nd isn’t the conclusion of the entire passage, but it is a conclusion -- made by other commentators -- that the passage criticizes. And the 1st BF supports that conclusion.
(B) the overall argument definitely doesn’t defend the 2nd BF. (B) is out.
For the same reason, (C) is out
(D) is tempting, to be honest. But I don’t really see how the 1st is an intermediate conclusion -- "there is presently no objective test for whiplash" is a fact, not an intermediate conclusion. And it also hasn’t been used to support a conclusion that the argument defends -- it supports the 2nd BF, which the argument OPPOSES. (D) is out.
(E) is out, because the argument definitely doesn’t dispute the 1st BF.


Q: Can you please suggest how to time yourself for Verbal Practice?

A: try starting with this thread: https://gmatclub.com/forum/strategy-of- ... 38048.html We’ll post something more comprehensive about verbal timing at some point, but that one should get you started.

Q: I am little confused now. Very basic question. I understand conclusion is what author is trying to say, and argument ideally should support authors conclusion. right?

A: Sure. "Argument" is a pretty generic term that basically refers to the logical structure of the passage.

Q: GMATNinja, how long it will take me to ace my verbal part if have gone through the basic ones?

A: "ace" the entire verbal section? That’s exceedingly rare. And there’s no answer to that question -- it just depends on your reading and grammar and reasoning abilities. Here, this one might help, too: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41004.html

Q: The first is evidence that has been used to support a conclusion that the argument criticizes; the second is that conclusion. Can you please help me break this down?

A: the second BF is the conclusion being criticized by the argument -- NOT the overall conclusion of the passage.

Q: can there still be hope if you spend double the time you usually do for the initial 10 verbal questions on test day?

A: no. Why would you change what you normally do on test day?!? Practice doing things EXACTLY how you’re going to do them in the actual exam. Why would you suddenly slow down like that? it’s actually a really important question, and something that gets ignored on quant, too. The key to success on the GMAT is being 100% consistent in your approach to questions, 100% of the time -- EVERY time you practice. Whenever I hear of anybody who walks into the testing room and tries to do something different on test day, that story always ends badly.
That said... well, it’s really hard to get faster at verbal. Your reading speed basically is what it is once you reach adulthood. (With an asterisk for non-native speakers who are still fundamentally improving at English.)
So the way I always want everybody to think about verbal is that you’re working on maximizing your EFFICIENCY, not your speed. If you try to read faster, that’s probably not going to work, because you’ll probably read more sloppily. All of those beginner’s guides are basically designed to help you think about maximizing accuracy and efficiency -- and sometimes, that requires investing some extra time in the passage itself, so that you waste less time on the answer choices.


Q: one quick question could I have solved that last question without knowing the meaning of the word spurious? I’m not a native speaker and words like that really disturb me especially on exam day if I don’t know the meaning

A: ooh, that’s another good question. What to do about vocabulary? Honestly, the GMAT isn’t really trying to test vocabulary. In a whole lot of cases, you can get around the "tough" word that’s in a passage or sentence... but not always. And there’s no magical vocab list out there that will be a good use of your time. If a shaky vocabulary is causing you HUGE problems, then you probably want to back up and just spend a whole lot more time reading good, hard material in English.

Q: Actually, the GMAT I took was one of the first that you could reorder the sections. However, since I had done 5 practice tests with the AWA IR Quant Verbal order I kept the same order, even though I think many would be tempted to put Quant first.

A: yeah, it’s an interesting issue. Personally, I’m starting to see more people for whom the original order (AWA/IR/Q/V) is best, just because it gives you time to settle into the testing room before anything actually matters. But everybody is different. Personally, the hardest thing about the GMAT for me is that I’m out of steam -- and I stop caring as much -- by the end of the test, so I’d prefer to do verbal earlier. But that’s just me -- and I also take the exam for different reasons than almost anybody else in here. Not an MBA applicant. :) For most of our students? If I’m at all worried that they’ll get nervous, I think they should use the original order.

OK, that’s all we have time for today! We’ll be back in here next week at the same time. YouTube live webinars will be back in September.

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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warriorguy wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:

Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days.

A. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and
B. ushering in a seasonably cool air mass into the region and a broad area of high pressure will build that
C. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass to the region, a broad area of high pressure building, and
D. ushering a seasonably cool air mass in the region, with a broad area of high pressure building and
E. to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, which will

I love it when the GMAT changes its mind about stuff! No problem, we'll cover this tomorrow. See you then!



Hello GMATNinja,

Apologies to dig up this question again. Can you please explain a bit more on the parallelism issue (in option A.)?

No worries! Though I do have to admit that I kind of hate this question. I wish the GMAT would establish a consistent set of rules and stick to them, but sadly, that's not really the way it works. :(

The parallelism isn't totally awful in (A), but it seems just a little bit weird to me, meaning-wise: "...a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days." The two verbs are parallel to each other, and that's grammatically perfectly fine, but for it to make sense, you'd have to assume that the two actions are not dependent on each other, and that's not quite true here. The building of high pressure causes the fair and dry weather. So this isn't an absolute rule, but it's not ideal to have "build" and "bring" as parallel verbs here.

My preference would be something like this: "Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, bringing fair and dry weather for several days." That would make the dependent relationship clearer. But that's not an option. (E) is the best we can do, I guess.
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Chat Transcript: 8/2/2017

Q: Can we discuss something regarding assumption questions in CR SECTION AND HOW TO APPROACH

A: Starting point for weaken (like the Hollywood Restaurant question), strengthen, assumption questions is the same: find the conclusion. Then make sure you’ve found the conclusion EXACTLY in the author’s words -- not your words. If you miss a modifier or paraphrase, you might tweak the meaning of that conclusion a little bit. And if that happens, then you’ll be trying to strengthen or weaken or find an assumption that reinforces the wrong conclusions. And then you’re in trouble.
Related advice available here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 43170.html
It’s the heart of CR: most errors come from imprecise reading, not faulty logic, though sometimes the latter happens, too.
If you have a strengthen or weaken question, the logic is really, really straightforward. Find the conclusion EXACTLY in the author’s words, pay close attention to the author’s word choice ("modifiers", as we called them in the CR Guide), make sure you understand the author’s supporting argument... and then find that four answer choices that are wrong. Nothing fancy.
Assumptions really aren’t all that different from a strengthen question. You’re looking for something that will reinforce the conclusion -- and job #1 is to make sure that you have the RIGHT conclusion. From there, the only thing is that the assumption might be something that only subtly reinforces the conclusion. And the important part: it has to be necessary. Not just a strengthener, but a necessary one. Without it, the conclusion wouldn’t hold. But logically, that’s the only real difference.


Q: Colorado subalpine meadows, nonnative dandelions co-occur with a native flower, the larkspur. Bumblebees visit both species, creating the potential for interactions between the two species with respect to pollination. In a recent study, researchers selected 16 plots containing both species; all dandelions were removed from eight plots; the remaining eight control plots were left undisturbed. The control plots yielded significantly more larkspur seeds than the dandelion-free plots, leading the researchers to conclude that the presence of dandelions facilitates pollination (and hence seed production) in the native species by attracting more pollinators to the mixed plots.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the researchers’ reasoning?

(A) Bumblebees preferentially visit dandelions over larkspurs in mixed plots.

(B) In mixed plots, pollinators can transfer pollen from one species to another to augment seed production.

(C) If left unchecked, nonnative species like dandelions quickly crowd out native species.

(D) Seed germination is a more reliable measure of a species’ fitness than seed production.

(E) Soil disturbances can result in fewer blooms, and hence lower seed production.


A: Conclusion here is: "the presence of dandelions facilitates pollination (and hence seed production) in the native species by attracting more pollinators to the mixed plots."
Supporting evidence: control plots (with dandelions left undisturbed) "yielded significantly more larkspur seeds than the dandelion-free plots."
(A) Bumblebees preferentially visit dandelions over larkspurs in mixed plots. --> I can’t even see why this is relevant. The conclusion is that dandelions facilitate pollination in native species. In the study, the larkspur was pollinated better in the presence of dandelions; who cares what the bees prefer? (A) is out.
(B) In mixed plots, pollinators can transfer pollen from one species to another to augment seed production.
--> just explains why the conclusion holds, but doesn’t undermine it.
(C) If left unchecked, nonnative species like dandelions quickly crowd out native species. --> that’s unfortunate, but the conclusion is very narrowly limited to pollination, so this is irrelevant, and doesn’t weaken the conclusion.
(D) Seed germination is a more reliable measure of a species’ fitness than seed production. --> That’s great, but the conclusion is narrowly limited to pollination, not overall fitness.
(E) Soil disturbances can result in fewer blooms, and hence lower seed production. --> winner. They dug up dandelions in the treatment group, so that might have created lower seed production.



Q: At present the Hollywood Restaurant has only standard-height tables. However, many customers come to watch the celebrities who frequent the Hollywood, and they would prefer tall tables with stools because such seating would afford a better view of the celebrities. Moreover, diners seated on stools typically do not stay as long as diners seated at standard-height tables. Therefore, if the Hollywood replaced some of its seating with high tables and stools, its profits would increase.

The argument is vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it gives reason to believe that it is likely that

(A) some celebrities come to the Hollywood to be seen, and so might choose to sit at the tall tables if they were available.
(B) the price of meals ordered by celebrities dining at the Hollywood compensates for the longer time, if any, they spend lingering over their meals.
(C) a customer of the Hollywood who would choose to sit at a tall table would be an exception to the generalization about lingering
(D) a restaurant’s customers who spend less time at their meals typically order less expensive meals than those who remain at their meals longer
(E) with enough tall tables to accommodate all the Hollywood’s customers interested in such seating, there would be no view except of other tall tables.


A: It’s funny, the passage isn’t really explicit in connecting the evidence to the conclusion. The evidence is just that 1) "customers... would prefer tall tables with stools because such seating would afford a better view of the celebrities." 2) "diners seated on stools typically do not stay as long as diners seated at standard-height tables." So we’re left to assume that this would lead to higher profits because 1) more customers would be attracted to the restaurant to watch celebrities, and 2) the diners wouldn’t stay as long, so the restaurant could serve more people. But the passage isn’t explicit about connecting the reasoning to the conclusion about profits.
The question is funky, too. "The argument is vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it gives reason to believe that it is likely that..." So yes, it’s a weaken question, but not quite. The argument "gives reason to believe" that something is likely -- and the "something" will weaken the argument. Tricky!
(A) some celebrities come to the Hollywood to be seen, and so might choose to sit at the tall tables if they were available. -> First, there’s no reason why the passage "gives us reason to believe" this. Plus, I don’t know why it would undermine profits. (A) is gone.
(B) the price of meals ordered by celebrities dining at the Hollywood compensates for the longer time, if any, they spend lingering over their meals. --> again, the passage does not "give us reason to believe" this. Plus, this wouldn’t weaken anything. (B) is gone.
(C) a customer of the Hollywood who would choose to sit at a tall table would be an exception to the generalization about lingering --> hm, yeah -- the passage definitely gives us reason to believe that this is likely. After all, it’s the reason why customers come to the restaurant -- to watch celebrities. And if this is true, then the restaurant wouldn’t "turn tables" quickly, and profits would be hurt. Looks good.
(D) a restaurant’s customers who spend less time at their meals typically order less expensive meals than those who remain at their meals longer --> temping, because this sounds like it would harm profits. But remember the exact phrasing of the question! The correct answer "gives reason to believe that it is likely that..." And there’s no reason why this would be likely based on the passage. Plus, it’s not clear that the cheaper meals would offset the effects of shorter dining times. (D) is out.
(E) with enough tall tables to accommodate all the Hollywood’s customers interested in such seating, there would be no view except of other tall tables. --> again, we have no reason to think that this is likely, and the impact on profits is a little bit murky, too. For (E) to be correct, we’d have to assume that this actually chases customers away somehow, and that isn’t clear.



Q: According to findings derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the area of the brain in which a second or third language is stored depends on the age of the language learner; whereas each language occupies a distinct area of the brain in an adult learner, language areas overlap in a young child.

(A) whereas each language occupies a distinct area of the brain in an adult learner,
(B) whereas for adults each language occupies a distinct area of the brain and
(C) each language occupies a distinct area of the brain when they are learned by an adult, while
(D) each language in adults occupied a distinct area of the brain, while
(E) each language occupying a distinct area of the brain for an adult learner, and


A: I immediately notice the semicolon, but I don’t think it’s doing anything terribly consequential. The "each" jumps out at me, because it makes me think that we’ll have a plural vs. singular thing, maybe. And I see some parallelism ("and") and another "they" lurking in (C). So plenty of nice, mechanical stuff to work with, at least in the beginning.
(A) whereas each language occupies a distinct area of the brain in an adult learner, --> looks OK to me, at least at a glance
(B) whereas for adults each language occupies a distinct area of the brain and --> the parallelism doesn’t feel quite right to me. "...and language areas overlap in a young child" is a clause, and I guess it’s parallel to "for adults each language occupies a distinct area of the brain," but it doesn’t seem quite right to me. If I’m being honest: I would keep this at first, to be safe. Why not be conservative on that first pass? I don’t see any DEFINITE errors, just stuff that doesn’t seem quite right. Keep (B), too.
(C) has an easy pronoun error
The verb tenses make no sense in (D). Why is "occupied" in past tense for adults, but "overlap" is present for the kids?
(E) is a clear mess. :)



Q: Researchers hypothesize that granitic soil is the ideal construction material for the desert tortoise because it is not so hard that it makes burrowing difficult or so soft that it could cause tunnels to collapse.

A. so hard that it makes burrowing difficult or so soft that it could cause
B. hard enough to make burrowing difficult or soft enough as to cause
C. so hard as to make burrowing difficult or soft enough so it causes
D. as hard as to make burrowing difficult or as soft as to cause
E. too hard, making burrowing difficult, nor too soft, so as to cause


A: Always start by looking for a trigger. "And" in many cases, "or" in this sentence. Then ask yourself: what follows the trigger? Here, it’s "so soft that it could cause" (in A). That’s nicely parallel to "so hard that it makes burrowing difficult." Same exact structure.


Q: Responding to the public’s fascination with - and sometimes undue alarm over-possible threats from asteroids, a scale developed by astronomers rates the likelihood that a particular asteroid or comet may collide with Earth.


A. a scale developed by astronomers rates the likelihood that a particular asteroid or comet may
B. a scale that astronomers have developed rates how likely it is for a particular asteroid or comet to
C. astronomers have developed a scale to rate how likely a particular asteroid or comet will be to
D. astronomers have developed a scale for rating the likelihood that a particular asteroid or comet will
E. astronomers have developed a scale that rates the likelihood of a particular asteroid or comet that may


A: (A) and (B) are out quickly. "Responding to the public’s fascination..." Has to be the astronomers, not the scale. https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 39780.html
(C) vs. (D) is tough.
So in these situations, you want to be super-precise about finding EVERY difference between the two answer choices, and then figuring out how, exactly, those little changes might affect the meaning in particular.
C. astronomers have developed a scale to rate how likely a particular asteroid or comet will be to
D. astronomers have developed a scale for rating the likelihood that a particular asteroid or comet will
Really just one change here. In (C): "...scale to rate how likely (an asteroid) will be to collide with Earth." In (D): "...scale to rate the likelihood that (an asteroid) will collide with Earth."
It makes sense to say that we’d "rate the likelihood" that something will occur. Doesn’t seem quite right to say that the scale rates "how likely an asteroid WILL BE to collide with Earth." It’s subtle, but that doesn’t seem right.

Q: How to get a question right in the exam given the pressure?

A: yup, you’re not alone. Under pressure, instincts take over, and that’s when test-takers tend to select the one that "sounds good" or "feels right" -- instead of taking the extra 15 seconds to coldly ANALYZE the difference between those last two answer choices in terms of their literal meaning.
I don’t know if this is helpful, but sometimes under time pressure, we all have an instinct to "save time" by rushing through that last little step. But that final, careful comparison of two answer choices might only take 15 seconds. That’s nothing. 100% worth the investment if it gets you an extra question right, even if it only happens on one question out of, say, every five or six. Basically, you don’t want to "save time" on anything that doesn’t really take that much time. :)


Q: Appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix) is potentially fatal; consequently, patients with symptoms strongly suggesting appendicitis almost have their appendix removed. The appropriate surgery is low-risk but performed unnecessarily in about 20 percent of all cases. A newly developed internal scan for appendicitis is highly accurate, producing two misdiagnoses for every 98 correct diagnoses. Clearly, using this test, doctors can largely avoid unnecessary removals of the appendix without, however, performing any fewer necessary ones than before, since ____________

A. the patients who are correctly diagnosed with this test as not having appendicitis invariably have medical conditions that are much less serious than appendicitis
B. the misdiagnoses produced by this test are always instances of attributing appendicitis to someone who does not, in fact, have it
C. all of the patients who are diagnosed with this test as having appendicitis do, in fact,have appendicitis
D. every patient who is diagnosed with this test as having appendicitis has more than one of the symptoms generally associated with appendicitis
E. the only patients who are misdiagnosed using this test are patients who lack one or more of the symptoms that are generally associated with appendicitis


A: key is: "without, however, performing any fewer necessary ones" --> you need to be sure it’s never true that people who actually have appendicitis are misdiagnosed as not having it (and we know there are some misdiagnoses), and that’s what B says.

OK, last bits of housekeeping. Next week is our last Wednesday verbal chat for a month! After that, we’ll be taking a one-month summer break. Starting in mid-September, we’ll be back, but with some format changes: we’ll alternate weeks, with old-school chat room one week, and YouTube live sessions the next.

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Q: On Earth, among the surest indications of sunspot cycles are believed to be the rate that trees grow, as seen in the rings visible in the cross sections of their trunks.

A. On Earth, among the surest indications of sunspot cycles are believed to be the rate that trees grow
B. On Earth, among the surest indications of sunspot cycles are, it is believed, the rate of tree growth
C. On Earth, the rate at which trees grow is believed to be among the surest indications of sunspot cycles
D. Among the surest indications on Earth of sunspot cycles, believed to be the tree growth rate
E. Among the surest indications on Earth of sunspot cycles is believed to be the rate at which trees grow

A: Among other things, this one is flipping the subject and the verb around in a way that isn’t completely intuitive.
I think (C) is defensible, but it’s not correct, sadly. But I guess this is a good "inside the mind of the GMAT" sort of moment.

Q: What’s the difference between the usage of on earth in options C and E?

A: It’s really, really subtle, but the placement of "on Earth" tweaks the meaning a little bit. The sentence is concerned with "the surest indications on Earth" of sunspot cycles. In (C), "on Earth" seems to be describing the whole sentence, and that’s less clear.
Also, I think the heart of the sentence is hidden a little bit in C. What do we really care about? "the surest indications of sunspot cycles", right? That’s the phenomenon we’re trying to explain. (C) takes forever to mention the sunspot cycles at all. (E) cuts right to the heart of the issue.
Plus, that non-underlined portion at the end of the sentence is modifying the "rate at which trees grow" -- and it’s placed correctly in (E), but not in (C). Not a huge issue necessarily, but definitely clearer in (E).
I don’t think (C) is terrible, and it’s not WRONG. It’s just not as good as E in the GMAT’s eyes. I can see their point, I guess -- three small issues that all point toward (E), mostly in terms of clarity and meaning.
The annoying thing is that it’s hard to extract much from this question that will help on others. I guess the question is telling us to pay really, really close attention to modifier placements. (Both the "on earth" and the non-underlined portion.)


Q: For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

(A) providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(B) providing them with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces
(C) provided with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(D) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces
(E) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, Holstein cows will produce


A: the parallelism isn’t quite right in A. Hang on, let me repost a couple of these answer choices side-by-side...
For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

(A) providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(E) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, Holstein cows will produce

OK. So in (E), we have "cool (adjective), provided with high-energy feed (adjective), and milked regularly (adjective)..." And that makes sense. The farmer is keeping the cows "cool, provided..., and milked..."
In (A), "providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly" are are also modifiers, but now they’re not parallel to "cool." I suppose "providing... and milking..." could modify the entire phrase "for the farmer that takes care to keep them cool", but that wouldn’t make any sense meaning-wise.
in this case, yes -- "For the farmer who takes care to keep them... provided with high-energy feed." Sounds weird in isolation, but it’s fine. The farmer "keeps the cow provided with high-energy feed."
For more details refer: https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-chat- ... l#p1886827


Q: i have gone thru this link:https://gmatclub.com/forum/150-hardest-and-easiest-questions-for-sc-204136.html --> it’s 150 hardest and easiest questions, what i have found is that almost all of the difficult questions are from test prep companies and almost all of the easiest ones are from official guide or gmatprep. My question is: if we stay away from testprep questions then from where to get official hard questions for practice?

A: So here’s the thing: those difficulty levels are determined by the results of those timers, if I’m not mistaken. People struggle on hard questions, but they also struggle on flawed questions. And it’s hard to know which is which, to be honest. And it’s hard to know which is which, to be honest. I think some people do benefit from doing those non-official questions, since they can give you extra repetition on certain concepts and stretch your supply of official questions. But when I see a discussion that’s raging on the forums on a non-official verbal question, it’s usually because of a flaw in the question.
The GMAT itself is inconsistent enough with its "rules" (or lack of rules). Non-official questions can make it harder to feel firm in your understanding of how things really work. So use official stuff whenever possible... but yeah, there’s not as much official stuff as we’d like, so I acknowledge that particularly hard-working students end up in a tough spot. Do you repeat official questions, or use non-official ones? I don’t have a great answer to that.


Q: Can you discuss about verb tenses?

A: OK, so in a lot of the test-prep books, the verb tense chapters basically list every verb tense that exists in English. As if you have to memorize them all or something. That seems unbelievably painful to me, unless you’re just learning English. So I’ve always believed in a minimalist approach to verb tenses: which ones do you REALLY need to understand? Like, which ones do you need to understand deeply to do well on the GMAT? Honestly, I think it’s only the past perfect tense. ("Had been" or "had studied" or "had + verb".) That one causes all sorts of trouble, partly because it has very specific rules, and partly because we use it incorrectly in everyday speech, at least here in the U.S.
Beyond that, when I look at most verb tense questions, they’re basically checking to see if you can match the tenses with the meaning. Seeing if you’re paying attention to what, EXACTLY, the sentence is trying to say. The verb tenses themselves aren’t so bad -- again, other than past perfect, which tends to cause trouble for native speakers. My non-native speakers seem to do just fine with it.
The more common mistake I see is this...
People will look at a sentence and decide that there’s a problem -- maybe "bad parallelism" or something -- if the verb tenses don’t match. And that’s not necessarily correct. We mix verb tenses constantly in real life. We’re always comparing the past to the future, or the present to the past. That’s totally fine, as long as it matches the meaning.
Silly example: "Amber studied ballet as a child, studies Pilates now, and will study cooking someday."
A very common wrong reaction: "that’s not parallel!" Sure it is: "Amber (verb), (verb), and (verb)." Structurally, parallelism has nothing to do with verb tense. Mixing verb tenses is fine... as long as it actually makes sense with the meaning! And that’s the #1 thing the GMAT is trying to test. Memorizing a crapload of verb tense rules usually isn’t useful -- unless, of course, you’re still working on your English fundamentals.
So yes, study past perfect tense if you’re not 100% comfortable with it. (We’ll post a topic of the week on it in the fall.) Otherwise? When you see shifting verb tenses, think about meaning.
Favorite not-super-hard example coming in a moment...


Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market, stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily bought directly.

(A) stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily

(B) stockbrokers are helping many people who are turning to them for help in buying stocks that they could easily have

(C) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help from them to buy stocks that could be easily

(D) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help to buy stocks that easily could have been

(E) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be


OK, so easy elimination on (A) and (B), right? Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market, stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily bought directly.

(A) stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily

(B) stockbrokers are helping many people who are turning to them for help in buying stocks that they could easily have

"Not trusting themselves... stockbrokers..." --> nope, the stockbrokers trust themselves just fine.
So... in (C) and (E), "could be easily" or "could easily be" are present tense. (Conditional, but still present tense.) In (D), "could have been" is in the present perfect conditional (ugh, what a terrible term) -- basically, we’re referring to stocks in the past, not just the present. And that doesn’t really make sense. Why is it that many people "are turning to stockbrokers" for help purchasing stocks... in the past? That’s the problem with (D). Subtle! All about meaning.


The company announced that its profits declined much less in the second quarter than analysts had expected it to and its business will improve in the second half of the year.

A) had expected it to and its business will improve
B) had expected and that its business would improve
C) expected it would and that it will improve its business
D) expected them to and its business would improve
E) expected and that it will have improved its business


"we need perfect past tense right? because analysts expected before announcement. Also D doent have "that" and E has "will"" --> yup, that’s spot-on. The announcement is in simple past, the expectations must have happened before that -- so we need past perfect in this case. For whatever it’s worth, the pronoun "it" in (E) could just refer to "company." That seems fine. In (D), "them" could refer to profits -- that seems fine, too. I think the parallelism is clearer in (B) than in (D) -- "that its business would improve" is more clearly parallel to "that its profits declined." But I’m not 100% sure that the parallelism in (D) is wrong -- just really, really suspect. The verb tenses seem like the bigger issue.


Q: any posts on modifiers that you think is very useful?

A: Refer: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 39780.html
https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 43686.html


Q: It is expected that you be here or it is expected that you should be here? Which is correct?

A: Definitely not the latter. "Should" is a value judgment of sorts, so it doesn’t work with "expected." The former is OK, I guess, but "you are expected to be here" is better.

Q: When can we use simple present in reported speech?

A: simple present just indicates a general characteristic. "Hurricanes destroy millions of homes." --> This doesn’t exactly mean that it’s happening right now; it’s just a general characteristic of what hurricanes do.

OK, I’m out. For a month! We’ll be back in mid-September with a mix of YouTube live webinars and these old-school chat sessions. QOTDs will continue, though. And feel free to post questions on the chat thread: https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-chat- ... 78-20.html
We’ll get to them in September, and love taking requests.

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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2017, 17:02
souvik101990 GMATNinja bb

I hope we are starting 'season 2' of learnings with chat and youtube videos sooner.
Missing nuggets of wisdom from experts and active participation of community members.

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2017, 06:41
Coming soon, adkikani! I'm back in the office today for the first time in about a month, and we're just working out which days and times will work best for the return of the verbal chats and YouTube live webinars. Stay tuned!
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OK, I think we're still confirming the exact time, but we'll be starting back up next Wednesday, September 20. We'll start with an old-fashioned chat room discussion, and then we'll start alternating between YouTube live webinars and chat-room sessions. More details to come, once the scheduling maestros figure out what works best for everybody.

Looking forward to restarting these chats! Always one of my favorite times of the week.
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
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Hi guys, after finding this wonderful chat with GMATNinja , I decided to collect all the information and arranged them based on specific topics.

Just to help those who overwhelmed with a lot of information here!

(I counted 53 pages of word document only from chat transcript between May 17-August 8 :oops: :oops: )

This summary only covers SC part : let me know if summary in CR and RC also needed.

God bless!

PS : big thanks to Vyshak who wrote down the chat transcript, so those who could not join still can study.
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How to break the bottleneck and improve your score greatly?

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2017, 21:29
septwibowo wrote:
Hi guys, after finding this wonderful chat with GMATNinja , I decided to collect all the information and arranged them based on specific topics.

Just to help those who overwhelmed with a lot of information here!

(I counted 53 pages of word document only from chat transcript between May 17-August 8 :oops: :oops: )

This summary only covers SC part : let me know if summary in CR and RC also needed.

God bless!

PS : big thanks to Vyshak who wrote down the chat transcript, so those who could not join still can study.

Holy crap, this is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for compiling this, septwibowo!!

I can't wait to get back to these chats this week. See you all on Wednesday!
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
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Need an expert reply?
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How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
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YouTube verbal webinars:
"Next-level" GMAT pronouns | Uses of "that" on the GMAT | Parallelism and meaning | Simplifying GMAT verb tenses | Comparisons, part I |
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2017, 23:29
GMATNinja wrote:
septwibowo wrote:
Hi guys, after finding this wonderful chat with GMATNinja , I decided to collect all the information and arranged them based on specific topics.

Just to help those who overwhelmed with a lot of information here!

(I counted 53 pages of word document only from chat transcript between May 17-August 8 :oops: :oops: )

This summary only covers SC part : let me know if summary in CR and RC also needed.

God bless!

PS : big thanks to Vyshak who wrote down the chat transcript, so those who could not join still can study.

Holy crap, this is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for compiling this, septwibowo!!

I can't wait to get back to these chats this week. See you all on Wednesday!


The stack of questions is already full. Please snack on some protein before the class. :grin:

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2017, 08:42
warriorguy wrote:

The stack of questions is already full. Please snack on some protein before the class. :grin:

I have the intravenous caffeine drip ready to go, too. :dazen
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
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Need an expert reply?
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How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99... in any section order

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Chat Transcript: 09/20/2017

Q: In no other historical sighting did Halley’s comet cause such a worldwide sensation as did its return in 1910-1911.

A. did its return in 1910-1911

B. had its 1910-1911 return

C. in its return of 1910-1911

D. its return of 1910-1911 did

E. its return in 1910-1911


A: The annoying thing about this question is that most of the answer choices make logical sense -- and in a majority of tougher comparison questions, the key is to think really, really literally about what EXACTLY the comparison is saying.
the thing being compared here is what happened in the comet’s various historical sightings.
"in no other historical sighting [did Halley’s comet cause such a worldwide sensation as]..." Well, we need the next phrase to start with "in (some other historical sighting)" in order for this to make sense.


Q: Sorry to ask for basic one. Actually when we use "did", when we use "had" also makes me confused. What is the proper verb here? Is it the same?

A: no, that’s not basic at all! In this question, I can’t figure out why we would want to mix "had" and "did". Check out this phrase: "In no other historical sighting did the comet cause..." "Did" is a helping verb here. To keep the comparison parallel, there’s no reason why we would suddenly switch to "had", as in answer choice (B).

Q: return of 1910-1911 doesn't sound right. Is that grammatically correct ? If i were to go with C

A: I think that "return of 1910-11" sounds like garbage. It makes sense to talk about "the return of Michael Jordan to the Bulls." But "its return of 1910-11" strikes me as unidiomatic, and it sounds funny. But "sounds funny" is NOT a good reason to eliminate anything... and idioms are really, really tricky in English, and they lack clear rules.
More on those here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41848.html
In other words: I don’t like the idiom in (C), but if I’m not CERTAIN that it’s wrong, then I can’t eliminate it. And it turns out that (C) does the best job of making the comparison parallel.


Q: By the same techniques used for genetically enhancing plants, making them disease- or pest-resistant, researchers have been able to increase the amount of protein in potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tobacco.

A. By the same techniques used for genetically enhancing plants, making them
B. With the same techniques to genetically enhance plants, so that they are
C. Employing the same techniques used to genetically enhance plants so that they are
D. Employing the same techniques to genetically enhance plants, which makes them
E. Employing the same techniques for genetically enhancing plants that make them


In option E, what "that" refers to? Is it the case for modify distant noun?

A: The use of "that" is really confusing in (E). "that make them disease- or pest-resistant" seems to be modifying "plants", and that doesn’t make sense. So the next question is: could this be an exception to the "touch rule"? I guess that could work ("same techniques... that make them... resistant"), but it’s not ideal here. (C) avoids that problem entirely. And in (C), the causality is much, much clearer: "employing the same techniques... so that they are disease- and pest-resistant."

Q: in gmat should we always prefer ’to’ to ’for’

A: I don’t think that’s a rule at all, but in this case, it "to" is arguably clearer in (C): "techniques used to accomplish X" more clearly establishes causality than "techniques for accomplishing." I’m not sure that it’s a great reason to choose (C), though. I think the noun modifier "that" is the biggest problem in (E) -- I just don’t think that we have a great reason to "reach back" behind the prepositional phrase there.

Q: Can you discuss on the timing?

A: I think we’ve maybe discussed it in an earlier chat, but the crappy thing about verbal is that there isn’t much you can do strategically. If you’re a slow reader, then life is hard. I could say that you should read an RC passage in X minutes, but then how does that help you? If you need X+1 minutes to read it well, then you’ll spend the X minutes, and then get annihilated by the questions. You can’t "speed up" on verbal just because you want to. It stinks, but that’s reality.
Over time, you can become a faster reader, perhaps. And on EVERYTHING, you can become more efficient if you’re really doing things the right way. But rushing through passages -- or sentences -- just doesn’t help. It makes things worse, because you could miss a really easy question, and then you’re in huge trouble on an adaptive test.


Q: There are rumors that the RC's are getting harder

A: those rumors of "harder passages" seem to come around every once in a while, and I can assure you that they’re garbage. The test is far too tightly controlled for that: the GMAT’s job is to ensure that a test-taker’s experience in September 2017 is the same as that of a test-taker in February 2013. Otherwise, the scores aren’t comparable or fair. So I can promise you that the test isn’t fundamentally getting harder, and neither are the RC passages.

Q: Suppose I am able to answer only the first 30 questions in the stipulated time, then its not wise to guess the last 11 right? How to handle such scenarios so that we can manage the time efficiently

A: in that case... well, the bad news is that you’re in trouble if you’re chasing an elite score, and you can only answer 30 questions in 75 minutes. It’s a terrible thing to say, but if you’re in that situation, then you’re facing the long, hard task of simply becoming a better, faster, more efficient reader (and SC-analyzer). It stinks, but there’s no strategy that can help you much in that case.

Q: giving up on Verbal is not easy since we have spent lot of time reading it and understanding , unlike quant. So is there a way we can make an educated guess and move on? Or when is it right time to give up on a question or how can we get an incorrect question wrong faster

A: That’s exactly the terrible thing about verbal: by the time that you realize that you’re in trouble, you’ve already spent something like 80% of the time you’ll need to answer the question. Guessing doesn’t save you much on verbal, and there’s really no way to glance at the question and quickly determine that it’s hard for you. (In quant, of course, it might take you only 20 or 30 seconds in some cases to realize that you have no idea what to do.) I wish I had a better answer to this, but there’s no way to save time by guessing, really. Sure, if you’re torturing yourself over those last two answer choices, then at some point, you’ll have to surrender and move on. But it might take you two minutes to get to that point -- which is why I generally tell people that there’s not much you can do in terms of timing strategy, other than working on your skills (and efficiency!) in general, and then guessing a little bit at the very end of the section if you have to.
This is a little bit academic, but I’ve been watching average GMAT scores change radically over the ~17 years I’ve been doing this stuff. Composite scores are up by about 40 points. Quant scores? Up by a ton -- 6-8 points, something like that. Verbal scores? Haven’t budged. Test-takers are working harder than ever at the GMAT, and it pays off on the quant section, on average... but verbal is really hard to improve. Part of it is that you can’t recognize a hard question until you’ve done most of the work to answer it. It’s awful.
One quick thing you CAN do for timing strategy: you might want to count your RC passages when you take a verbal test. Why? Well, you’ll always see 4 passages on an official test. And personally, I find them intimidating if I’m running out of time -- or just getting tired. If I’m on question #33 and I know that I still have one more RC passage, that’s useful information. If you’re running out of time but you’re good at RC, then you might guess a couple of times so that you can tackle the RC passage. Or the opposite might be true: if you’re running out of time but RC is a relative weakness, maybe you spend your energy being accurate on the others, and prepare to guess your way through the RC passage.
The crappy thing about verbal is that there aren’t a lot of "tricks" that work. There aren’t even all that many things that are "always wrong" on SC -- most of the things presented as "always wrong" in a test-prep book have an occasional exception. So verbal is absolutely about A) precision of reading, and B) logic. Grammar is important, sure -- but notice that the verbal section isn’t called "reading and grammar." It’s called "verbal reasoning", and that tells us something about what the test-makers are thinking.
Those "beginner’s guides" to RC, CR, SC that I linked to earlier are mostly focused on technique, skills, and logic. No real "tricks" in there. The GMAT is a very well-designed test, and it’s pretty much impervious to "tricks." (I have huge reservations about WHAT the test measures and how it’s used by MBA programs, but it’s really, really well-designed.)


Q: Myth or Fact: If we get 7-10 700+ level questions incorrect in Verbal, then the chances of getting a V40+ are few.

A: I would think of it this way: as most of you know, the number of questions you miss on the GMAT doesn’t really determine your score. The important thing is WHICH questions you miss. So if you miss 7-10 really easy ones, you have ZERO chance at a 40+. If you nail all of the easier ones, but you ONLY miss 7-10 really tough ones, then you’ll still have a really good chance at a 40.

Q: I am confused about this: somebody gets Q50, V40 gets 710 whereas someone else with the same breakup gets 730 or even 740? Why is there so much fluctuation?

A: Basically, there’s a lot of rounding going on here. Test-taker #1 gets a 49.5Q/39.5V, and test-taker #2 gets a 50.49Q/40.49V. Both round to 50Q/40V, but the performances are different enough -- especially at that elite end of the scale -- to give them different composites.

Q: I understand that but i didn’t take any CATs before my actual GMAT exams. Quant has improved so in order to tackle verbal in a month what’s the best strategy. I am mid 30’s in Verbal (pretty positive)

A: it sounds like there’s a lot of variation in your verbal scores. That’s a sign of some inconsistent approaches to things. I suspect that you’re missing some easier questions on one day, and then getting them right on the next... unless the verbal scores you mentioned earlier weren’t from GMATPreps or official tests
if somebody has only one month to improve verbal, then the biggest area of focus should probably be SC. That’s the easiest thing to improve quickly. I’m not suggesting that you should neglect RC and CR, but if your reading precision isn’t great -- and that’s the most important thing on RC/CR -- then it might take more than a month to really improve.
"7 reasons your GMAT score fell article" should contain some insights. One reason you might consider LSATs: they’re really, really consistent in terms of difficulty, so your performance on each set of 25 Qs should be about the same. If not, it’s a sign that the inconsistency is really ingrained in you somehow.
LSATs aren’t perfect -- and you’ll find them difficult -- but they might give you some ideas on the consistency thing. More here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 39365.html


Q: What abut IR section.. What kind of strategy we need to follow for IR.. it’s a hard part...

A: I don’t want to spend too much time on IR here (it’s not really verbal, exactly), but it’s actually an interesting thing: for the first 5-6 years that IR has been around, MBA programs really didn’t care about it. (That’s very slowly beginning to change now.) So I told my students not to waste energy on it, since it was at the beginning of the test (and that’s changed, too, with the section selection options). I told everybody to skip an IR question if it looked annoying, and just concentrate on carefully, accurately, methodically answering the 8-9 questions that look easiest on IR -- since IR is NOT adaptive. That’s the only thing I ever said about it, really. And my students scores tended to go up on it. So take that with a grain of salt, but I would concentrate on answering 8-9 questions really, really well... because it’s almost impossible to answer 12 of them carefully in 30 minutes. IR is super-time-pressured, unless you’re a ridiculous beast.
I’d also argue that a lot of what you’re studying on quant and CR will help you on IR. So unless you have a compelling reason to score a 7 or 8 on it, I’m still not sure that it’s worth spending much study time specifically on IR questions. But that’s just my opinion -- some people do have specific reasons why they need to do really, really well on it.


Q: I seem to have exhausted all the GMATPrep official tests, and I want to have a rough estimate of my score before I take the GMAT exam. Is there anyway I can get a good estimate? I generally rely on Veritas practice tests as a reliable indicator.

A: here’s not much you can do to get a reliable score -- especially on verbal -- once you’ve exhausted all 6 GMATPreps. It’s unfortunate, but there’s not much you can do. For some people, the scores from Veritas or MGMAT or wherever will be accurate, but in general, they really aren’t the same thing at all... though they can certainly be worthwhile for practicing your timing and stamina and all of that.
GMAT Verbal has a finite number of concepts tested. If you *really* review enough official questions and internalize them, you will see a sizeable improvement in your score. Here’s the thing - the only way to test if you have truly internalized a concept is to come back to a a list of questions that you attempted, say, two weeks back. If you do not have a 100% accuracy, you should give yourself some hard time.

Q: But how would that work? If i get back to same verbal questions, i would know the answer.

A: If you did 50 verbal official questions and got 15 of them wrong (GMAT Club workbook is fantastic to track them), try to go back to those 15 questions 10-15 days later. You shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t get a 100% hit rate on those. That way, you will be able to triangulate the areas that you *really* need to work on.

Q: Any tips on making study notes for SC.

A: I don’t have a good answer to it, though. SC is mostly about logic, but there are some grammar fundamentals that are helpful -- though perhaps fewer than some people may think, since there aren’t all that many absolute rules on this test. Study notes might help with those fundamentals, but I don’t have any particular advice on what those notes should look like. Just don’t let SC turn into a memorization game: logic and meaning matter far more in the long run. More here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/ultimate-sc- ... 44623.html

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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How about a topic of Tenses and Comparison for the next week?
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Chat Transcript: 10/04/17

Q: The hognose snake puts on an impressive bluff, hissing and rearing back, broadens the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does, feigning repeated strikes, but, having no dangerous fangs and no venom, eventually, if its pursuer is not cowed by the performance, will fall over and play dead.

(A) broadens the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does, feigning repeated strikes, but, having no dangerous fangs and no venom,
(B) broadens the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does and feigns repeated strikes, but with no dangerous fangs and no venom,
(C) broadening the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does and feigning repeated strikes, but it has no dangerous fangs and no venom, and
(D) broadening the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does and feigns repeated strikes, but with no dangerous fangs and no venom, and
(E) broadening the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does, feigning repeated strikes, but with no dangerous fangs and no venom, and

A: identifying the stem is important, but it’s never your first step: first, you’ll want to find the word or phrase that follows the parallelism trigger -- and then figure out what, exactly, is parallel to that word or phrase. If nothing is structurally parallel, then you don’t even have to worry about the stem. In (A), notice that there’s no parallelism trigger at all before "feigning." So what the heck are the words "broadens" and "feigning" even doing there? It makes no sense. (D) is clearly not parallel, right? "broadening... and feigns" (E) has a similar problem to (A): there’s no parallelism trigger at all before "feigning" so we’re down to (B) and (C) Here’s (B) again: "broadens the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does and feigns repeated strikes, but with no dangerous fangs and no venom,..." OK, "and" is followed by "feigns", which seems to be parallel to "broadens". Sounds good, right? But what comes before that? What’s the "stem"? If you put it all together, we get: "The hognose snake puts on an impressive bluff, hissing and rearing back, broadens the flesh behind its head the way a cobra does and feigns repeated strikes..." in (B) there are no good reasons any good reason to have those three verbs parallel: "the hognose snake puts... broadens and feigns." (C) makes more sense, because the "broadening and feigning" is describing that impressive bluff. Those aren’t separate, equal-weight actions.


Q: What is a parallelism trigger and what words act as triggers?

A: By "parallelism trigger", I mean something that indicates a parallel list. The mistake I see all the time is that people will decide that parts of a sentence "need to sound the same." And the GMAT is never about sound anyway, but more importantly, you need to have a good reason for something to be parallel. "And" or "or" would be the most obvious parallelism triggers; if you see one of those, something HAS to be parallel. No exceptions. "Not/but" constructions always require parallelism. So do certain comparisons, but those aren’t terribly interesting. "Like X, Y..." Well, of course X and Y are parallel to each other -- but you mostly need to be worried that the two things are logically comparable whenever you see a comparison. If they’re logically comparable, they’re almost certainly parallel. In some sense, if you ensure that the comparison is logical, you’ve already ensured that the elements are structurally parallel. "and" is the trigger; the screwy thing about the hognose snake question is that in the correct answer, you have TWO consecutive modifying phrases ("hissing and rearing" and "broadening and feigning"), each of which has its own parallelism. Those phrases both modify the stem earlier in the sentence "the hognose snake puts on an impressive

Q: what to do if you’re stuck in the 20s/30s on verbal?

A: errors come from two very broad sources: 1) poor "technique" (more on that in a moment), and 2) bad reading skills. And in those beginner’s guides to CR & RC, that’s a pretty big theme: hey, if your reading skills aren’t up to par, then you just have to go through the long, arduous process of becoming a better reader. It stinks, but it’s just reality. Poor readers will never come close to a 40V. And some of the guys that go from V20 to V40 (I’m thinking of abhimahna at the moment) spend literally years practicing, and much of that improvement comes from improving their fundamental reading skills in English. And sometimes, poor verbal scores are rooted more in poor "technique" than in bad skills. For example: if you read an RC passage, and you aren’t thinking about the structure and purpose of the argument, then you’re just blindly reading "factfactfactfactfact", and that’s not going to get you anywhere. If you’re vomiting out pages and pages of disengaged notes about the details of the passage, you’re going to miss the main idea questions -- and you’re going to waste a ton of time. Those would be examples of "bad technique" -- and those things are fixable.Grammar is the easiest part -- that’s learnable. But if you struggle to understand the differences in meaning between two SC answer choices, that might be an issue of your underlying reading skills again. Not fun. And the most frustrating thing is that we can take somebody who is scoring in, say, the 20s on quant, and with enough practice, they can get into the 40s. That’s a huge jump, and it won’t happen overnight, but math is very, very learnable. So is verbal, I suppose, but it can take a really, really long time to become a better reader -- if that really is the main issue.

Q: Is looking for splits in SC considered as a bad technique:

A: I guess I do regard blindly looking for splits as bad technique. You see this all the time on the GMAT: there’s a clear 2-3 split at the beginning of the underlined portion. But it’s irrelevant: neither split is necessarily wrong, and the heart of the issue lies elsewhere. So if you obsess over that particular split, you might miss a much more important error -- or worse, make up a random rule that doesn’t really exist, and then eliminate the right answer!

Q: Few points about usage of 'with

A: Here’s the thing with "with": it’s a reasonably specific preposition that has a reasonably specific meaning... it’s just hard to explain clearly. "With" always suggests some sort of accompaniment. For example: "I ate peanut butter with jelly this morning." (I didn’t, actually. I’m American, but I’m not THAT American.) Or "I went to Ukraine with my wife and family." But the GMAT will stick "with" in random places, treating it like a conjunction -- almost as if it’s an "and" or something like that. I wouldn’t think of this as an absolute rule, but whenever you see "with" in an answer choice... well, first you’ll want to see if there are more DEFINITE errors somewhere else, because "with" is slippery. And if you’re completely forced to deal with the "with", ask yourself: does this really make sense? Is there any sort of accompaniment happening here? In the Bethlehem Steel question (which we won’t go through here. And most of you have heard this before, but the goofy thing about SC is that there are very, very few absolute rules. "That" and "which" have tons of exceptions. We’ve discussed some specific exceptions -- and even THOSE exceptions have exceptions. It’s frustrating, but the GMAT’s writers will tell you that SC isn’t a test of your knowledge of rules. The section is called "verbal reasoning", not "reading and grammar" -- so you’re just looking for the answer that’s the best. It will often still have flaws, and might even violate a "rule" that appears in a test-prep book somewhere. It’s frustrating, but that’s just how it works, sadly.

Q: What should i do in order to practice if i have exhausted all the official questions ?

A: I first came across the "brutal SC" compilation almost a decade ago, and it was a hot, hot mess. Errors in at least 1/2 of the questions. Really bad errors. So stay away from that one. If there’s a better version out there, that’s cool, but it was probably cleaned up by some test-prep person, which means that the questions are not the same as the originals. Same idea applies to the 1000 SC collection, which also has its roots in official questions, but has too many irregularities to be completely trustworthy. that’s the worst thing ever. For RC & CR, LSAT might be your best bet. Those are limitless. Full discussion here . You can also use older editions of the GMAT OGs to squeeze out some new questions. For example, there’s only about 40% overlap between OG 12th edition and the 2018 OG.If you’ve already done the GMATPrep tests -- and you’re sure that you aren’t going to do them again -- then there are some compilations of ALL GMATPrep questions floating around on GMAT Club. carcass has generally been the heroic fellow that puts those together. Just be careful, because those files can ruin your GMATPrep experience. For SC, if you’re really desperate, you can go through every official question -- even the ones you’ve done before -- and find EVERY error in EVERY answer choice. It’s a good exercise that can help you get the most out of the available questions... but obviously, it’s not the same as going through some good, fresh SC meat
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2017, 21:51
NandishSS wrote:
How about a topic of Tenses and Comparison for the next week?

Both would make fantastic YouTube webinars -- we'll add those into our plans. :)
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2017, 22:20
GMATNinja wrote:
NandishSS wrote:
How about a topic of Tenses and Comparison for the next week?

Both would make fantastic YouTube webinars -- we'll add those into our plans. :)


That is really Awesome :-)
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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2017, 07:28
And we're back in the good old-fashioned chat room today! We'll be back on YouTube Live next week. Come join us for an informal chat in about one minute!
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2017, 07:29
GMATNinja wrote:
And we're back in the good old-fashioned chat room today! We'll be back on YouTube Live next week. Come join us for an informal chat in about one minute!


Why Sir Charles :/ Youtube webinar is better :|
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Chat Transcript: 10/11/17

Q:Geologist: The dominant view that petroleum formed from the fossilized remains of plants and animals deep in the earth’s crust has been challenged by scientists who hold that it formed, not from living material, but from deep carbon deposits dating from the formation of the earth. But their theory is refuted by the presence in petroleum of biomarkers, molecules indicating the past or present existence of a living organism.

Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the geologist’s argument?

(A) Fossils have been discovered that are devoid of biomarkers.
(B) Living organisms only emerged long after the earth’s formation.
(C) It would take many millions of years for organisms to become petroleum.
(D) Certain strains of bacteria thrive deep inside the earth’s crust.
(E) Some carbon deposits were formed from the fossilized remains of plants.

Source: LSAT


A:we have a weaken question, so job #1 is to find the conclusion. Basically, the conclusion is "their theory is refuted by the presence in petroleum of biomarkers, molecules indicating the past or present existence of a living organism."Next thing is probably to figure out what, exactly, is the theory that "is refuted". We’re basically talking about refuting the scientists’ theory at the end of the first sentence: "scientists who hold that it formed, not from living material, but from deep carbon deposits dating from the formation of the earth." And just to make this totally confusing: the scientists’ theory challenges the "dominant view that petroleum formed from the fossilized remains of plants and animals..."So this is a hot mess: dominant view is challenged by the scientists, and then the scientists’ view is "refuted" by the geologist.Basically, the geologist is supporting the dominant view: that petroleum formed from the fossilized remains of plants and animals. Evidence: petroleum contains biomarkers that indicate present or past existence of a living organism. And we’re trying to weaken the geologist’s argument -- or, equivalently, strengthen the scientists’ claim that petroleum is formed from deep carbon deposits dating from the formation of the earth.I think we can happily eliminate (A). The issue is that petroleum DOES contain biomarkers -- suggesting the presence of an organism. The fact that there are fossils without biomarkers certainly doesn’t help us weaken the conclusion.(B) is totally irrelevant. It doesn’t really matter when living organisms showed up on earth -- we’re interested in figuring out whether petroleum is made from the little buggers, not WHEN life began on this planet.(C) is also irrelevant. Sure, it would take millions of years. But that wouldn’t do anything to help us figure out whether petroleum is made from living things, or from carbon from the early days of the earth.(D) is tough, but it might actually weaken the argument. If the scientists -- with their theory that petroleum comes from carbon from the formation of the earth, not living creatures -- are right, then we have to find a way to explain why those biomarkers DON’T actually refute their theory. And (D) would do the trick: the petroleum from deep in the earth’s crust could be formed by carbon from the earth’s formation -- in contrast to the geologist’s argument -- and the bacteria are just some "pollution" that has nothing to do with how the petroleum was formed. It’s subtle, but (D) would weaken the geologist’s claim.(E) is irrelevant, because we’re not really concerned about the formation of "some carbon deposits." We’re trying to figure out how petroleum -- a very specific carbon-based substance -- is made. So the answer is (D).

Q: Pertaining to above argument, how can bacteria weaken the argument of biomarker?
A: bacteria are alive! Let’s come back to the scientists’ opinion: "scientists who hold that it formed, not from living material, but from deep carbon deposits dating from the formation of the earth." If there are bacteria "deep inside the earth’s crust", as (D) says, then it’s possible that the scientists are right: petroleum was formed from deep carbon deposits, and the bacteria down there had nothing to do with the formation of the petroleum. The bacteria are just hitching a ride with the petroleum -- and that would explain why there are biomarkers, without undermining the view that the petroleum isn’t actually formed from living things. In other words: (D) gives us a case in which the biomarkers are in the petroleum, but really don’t indicate what the geologist thinks they indicate.Option D definitely casts doubt on the geologist’s conclusion. Geologist draws a direct link from biomarkers to the origins of petroleum; if there’s an alternate explanation for the biomarkers, it weakens the geologist’s argument.

Q: are percentage questions frequent on GMAT. any tactics you advice for %tage and hard numbers together in argument
A: You’ll almost never see a verbal question that requires you to do any real thinking about percentages. Sure, you’ll occasionally see a number or a percentage in a CR question, but a lot of test-prep companies write very mathematical CR questions... and those don’t actually exist on the actual exam.

Q:The percentage of households with an annual income of more than $40,000 is higher in Merton county than in any other county. However, the percentage of households with an annual income of $60,000 or more is highest in Sommer county.

If the statements above are true, which of the following can properly be concluded on the basis of them?

A. No household in Merton county has an annual income of $60,000 or more.
B. Some households in Merton county have an annual income between $40,000 and $60,000.
C. The number of households with an annual income of more than $40,000 is greater in Merton than in Sommer county.
D. Average annual household income is higher in Sommer than in Merton county.
E. The percentage of households with an annual income of $80,000 is higher in
Sommer than in Merton county.

A: Basically, we’re trying to resolve a discrepancy of sorts: how is that Merton county has a higher percentage of households with annual income of $40,000+ than "any other county," but the percentage of households with $60,000+ incomes is higher in Sommer? The question asks us to find something that can be concluded based on these facts -- but the facts seem almost contradictory.You definitely can’t conclude (A): there certainly could be at least one household with an annual income of $60,000+(B) seems pretty good -- of course there would have to be some households in Merton with $40-$60,000 incomes, or else it would be impossible for Merton to be #1 in incomes over $40,000, but behind Sommer county in the percentage of households with $60,000+ incomes. And notice the deliberately weak language here: "SOME households..." Sure, that seems true enough.(C) switches us from percentage to NUMBER. The entire passage talks about the percentage of households, but we can’t make any sort of conclusions about the number of households unless we know something about the relative size of the counties.(D) We can’t conclude this one, either. Knowing something about the relative percentages of high-income households doesn’t allow us to say anything definitive about overall average incomes. A single Warren Buffet type can skew the whole thing pretty severely, for example(E) We don’t know anything about households over $80,000. So we’re left with (B). Key word: "some."

Q: do you always ’dislike’ extreme words in inference answer choices?
A: Does this strategy work good for assumption Qs too (esp word should in answer choices)" The answer is a very strong no. "Extreme" words should always catch your eye immediately, because they’re useful. It’s pretty easy to prove or disprove something if the language is extreme. But there’s no reason why extreme language is necessarily wrong. For example, extreme language can be exactly the BEST way to strengthen or weaken an argument.Put another way: extreme language is wrong about 80% of the time on CR. So is everything else

Q: Tip to handle EXCEPT Qs:
A: you’ll want to start by writing the following, with the blank filled in: "Cross out anything that _____________" The most common error I see on EXCEPT questions is that you’ll start out just fine. Let’s suppose that the question says "each of the following would strengthen the argument EXCEPT." You’ll knock down two or three answer choices that strengthen. And then when you start going back and forth between the last few choices, you’ll start racking your brain to figure out which one of the final answers strengthen. And you’ll go back and forth, and back and forth. And let’s say that you’re down to (B) and (D), and it’s really hard. And then you get it! (B) strengthens! So (B) is your answer! Except that it isn’t: (D) would be the winner in that case. So make sure that the phrase "cross out anything that _______" is looking you square in the eye
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