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# What does LEAST WEAKEN actually mean? I took it to mean

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What does LEAST WEAKEN actually mean? I took it to mean [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2010, 15:22
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95% (hard)

Question Stats:

29% (01:24) correct 71% (01:13) wrong based on 21 sessions

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What does LEAST WEAKEN actually mean? I took it to mean anything that has no impact on the argument to strengthening the argument? If something strengthens an argument is that also not in the category of least weaken? Same thing with the LEAST strengthen, if something weakens an argument would that not be least strengthen? So

LEAST WEAKEN = [LESS WEAKEN.. NO IMPACT... STRENGTHEN]
LEAST STRENGTHEN = [LESS STRENGTHEN.. NO IMPACT.. WEAKEN]

Please clarify. Examples will help. Here is one below that I do not understand.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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16 Sep 2010, 15:43
Anything that goes against the assumption of the statement will weaken the statement. What is the assumption ? High quality instruction, hence, Belmont has higher success rate (conclusion).

A, B, D & E all suggest that it is not the quality of instruction that makes the school so good.

A - competitive school, only 9% acceptance rate, hence, high quality students. So all the credit can not be given to the instructors.

B - Spends more money on pupil. Hence, maybe better facilities etc. Weakens the assumption that instructors are good.

D - Students are super intelligent. Hence, weakens the assumption that only instruction is awesome, coz the students are awesome too.

E - They are focusing on other courses too. Hence, can weaken that the instruction is good quality, because maybe the fact that they require students to take other courses is important factor is the students success.

You left with C.

BTW, this is POE. I personally feel POE is the most powerful method of solving CR problems. Even if one is unsure, it helps reduce the possible choice, hence, increasing the probability of picking the right choice.
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16 Sep 2010, 16:17
But what I don't understand is this - say for example E - what does taking business class have to do with music, why are they even related? I would E makes no difference to the assumption and could pick that.. The quality of instruction concerns music isn't it?

So let's say there was an option here F. The quality of music instructors at Belmont is the best in the entire nation. Now this would seem to strengthen the assumption? Would I pick F? This strengthens and hence weakens the least?
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16 Sep 2010, 21:22
mainhoon wrote:
But what I don't understand is this - say for example E - what does taking business class have to do with music, why are they even related? I would E makes no difference to the assumption and could pick that.. The quality of instruction concerns music isn't it?

So let's say there was an option here F. The quality of music instructors at Belmont is the best in the entire nation. Now this would seem to strengthen the assumption? Would I pick F? This strengthens and hence weakens the least?

[STRONGLY WEAKENS ........ LESS WEAKEN.. NO IMPACT...LESS STRENGTHEN ......... STRONGLY STRENGTHEN]

Option A would strongly weaken the argument.
Option B -- Doesn't strongly weakens and hence a candidate.
Option C -- Weakens but to what degree is debatable.
Option D -- Out of scope since the 99 percentile scored is not sure when. Before joining Belmont or after graduating???
Option E -- Seriously out of scope.

Narrowing down to option B and C. Including option F here.
Option F -- The quality of music instructors at Belmont is the best in the entire nation. -- The instructors could be the best in their domain but the quality of instructions offered by them is not explicitly noted and may or may not be great. Hence we could rule out this option.

Between B and C, option C seems to be best bet since option B has stronger wordings in it -- more money per pupil [highlight]than all of its rival schools[/highlight].
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16 Sep 2010, 21:35
I actually think it would be D as the intelligence of the students is a direct relation to the quality of instruction.

Choice A - Does not address quality of instruction.
Choice B - Actually calls into question the quality of instructors
Choice C - Offers the odds of commercial / professional success, while related its not the strongest
Choice E - doesn't address the quality of instruction.

I think D is the best answer as test scores are highly correlated with quality of instruction. This would least weaken it. C also shows that only 2 have been successes which actually calls into question since if there are 10,000 students 2 successes is pretty crappy.

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16 Sep 2010, 21:59
I guess my fundamental question is this. If there were an option in the list (and I provided F thinking it would be one such) that strengthens the hell out of the argument, say the quality of Belmont instruction is the absolute best in the entire universe - I mean nothing zip nada no qualifiers, ok, right? Then would you pick F. This strengthens, so must weakens least?

As regards E, I don't know what relation it has to the argument, so why not pick that, seems to have no impact.. C says that well Belmont had some role to play in the 2 fellows success... Can someone clearly explain.. Thanks
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17 Sep 2010, 02:47
Least weaken in GMAT land would usually mean NO IMPACT at all.

I can't fathom how E is gonna impact at all, there's nothing linked between business and musical.

E should be the answer. C is my choice before E, but E clearly have no impact at all.

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17 Sep 2010, 02:55
mainhoon wrote:
I guess my fundamental question is this. If there were an option in the list (and I provided F thinking it would be one such) that strengthens the hell out of the argument, say the quality of Belmont instruction is the absolute best in the entire universe - I mean nothing zip nada no qualifiers, ok, right? Then would you pick F. This strengthens, so must weakens least?

As regards E, I don't know what relation it has to the argument, so why not pick that, seems to have no impact.. C says that well Belmont had some role to play in the 2 fellows success... Can someone clearly explain.. Thanks

Although I don't recollect having seen such a situation before, but if I were faced by it, I would probably pick the option which "strongly strengthens" the argument. Hopefully, in the real test, you will not get a CR which is as ambiguous, and most likely 4 out of 5 options will just weaken the argument in a straight forward manner.

I dont know the source of the question, but seems like one of those typical loosely argued CR ones. One justification I can think of for picking C over E is that the original argument is of the form :

The school has achieved X (more successful students). This is most likely due to action Y (better instruction).

Now (e) has seemingly nothing to do with all this, but it is an action carried out by the school, and hence can replace Y. Almost as if the choice (e) ought to be "This must be due to being the first school ..."
In case of (c), it merely comments on the quality of the students, which is neither a reflection on their relative skill to other students nor is it an action by the school

Its not clear cut at all
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17 Sep 2010, 04:37
Is there a least strengthen question too? Does that also refer to no impact at all?

gautrang wrote:
Least weaken in GMAT land would usually mean NO IMPACT at all.

I can't fathom how E is gonna impact at all, there's nothing linked between business and musical.

E should be the answer. C is my choice before E, but E clearly have no impact at all.

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17 Sep 2010, 05:45
List weaken means ans choice either strengthen the argument or neutral i.e, doesn't effect the argument.

Hence correct ans should be
[Reveal] Spoiler:
E
, which is out of scope and does not effect the argument.

Whats the QA?

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17 Sep 2010, 06:36
Well according to the prep company, C is the OA. There reasoning is very similar to that offered by adishail. However, I am beginning to think that perhaps least weaken keeps us confined to [Less weaken... No impact] and does not encroach into the strengthen domain, for if it did, then the question becomes a strengthen question and hence would ask it in that manner? Can some experts opine? Whiplash? Ian?
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17 Sep 2010, 07:02
I was leaning towards B due to quality of instructors. What is the source of the question?
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17 Sep 2010, 09:09
800score is the source.. C is the OA

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17 Sep 2010, 15:06
mainhoon wrote:
But what I don't understand is this - say for example E - what does taking business class have to do with music, why are they even related? I would E makes no difference to the assumption and could pick that.. The quality of instruction concerns music isn't it?

So let's say there was an option here F. The quality of music instructors at Belmont is the best in the entire nation. Now this would seem to strengthen the assumption? Would I pick F? This strengthens and hence weakens the least?

Actually if you want, E is out of scope. Hence, E is out.

As far as "F" goes, GMAT isn't about tricking you, it is about testing. A question that is asking you about "least weaken" will not have something that will strengthen the conclusion. It is like saying that a normal weakening question has all choices that strengthen the conclusion; not possible.

As far as C goes, it is slightly damaging the conclusion that the success rate is twice than pupils form other school because with C we are saying that only 2 students have achieved international success.
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18 Sep 2010, 08:54
You won't see a real GMAT question that asks which answer 'weakens least', since the question doesn't really make sense. If one answer choice strengthens the argument, and another is simply irrelevant, how could we choose between them? Logically you can't; neither would weaken the argument at all, so one doesn't weaken any less than the other. What you *do* see on the GMAT are questions which ask: "All of the following weaken the argument above EXCEPT:" In that case four answers will clearly weaken the argument, and one will not (either because it has no bearing on the argument or because it strengthens the argument).

I strongly dislike the question in the original post, and agree with shrouded1 above that it's one of those 'loosely worded' and 'ambiguous' CR questions that test prep companies so often produce. In real life terms, I can't begin to imagine how you'd measure the 'success rate' of a pianist in the first place, let alone how you could determine that the success rate at one school is 'twice that' of another school, so the initial setup seems nonsensical to me. As for the answer choices, E here is irrelevant to the argument (unless we're supposed to assume that knowledge of business will increase the 'success rate' of pianists, an absurd assumption to make based on what's true in the real world), so certainly doesn't weaken it. It's a fine answer to their question. I can understand that C is a good answer as well; we already know that Belmont is 'twice as successful' as other schools, so taking this information literally, assuming it applies to international successes, if Belmont has 'only' produced two international successes (per X students), then other schools should have produced only one international success (per X students). The argument is neither weakened nor strengthened if this is true. The meaning of answer choice D is completely ambiguous. Does 'aptitude' refer to skill (something that might have been taught by the school), or does it refer to 'innate ability' (something the students possessed before they joined the school)? If it refers to innate ability, then D does weaken the argument; the instructors might not be the reason for the school's results. If instead it refers to skills taught by the instructors, then D clearly does not weaken the argument.

In any case, since there are two answer choices which in no way weaken the argument (and possibly a third, depending on how you interpret D), there are at least two perfectly good answers here. I find this an exceedingly poor question, and don't think it warrants study.
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18 Sep 2010, 09:41
Thanks Ian.. So we would never see a least weaken or least strengthen statement in GMAT then?

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18 Sep 2010, 14:03
Thanks Ian

Ian, could you please confirm that the MGMAT Critical Reasoning Guide-6 is not a good source of study material. I found their reasoning to sample questions really weird. The explanation just didn't make any sense. I believe this particular question about pianist is from 800 score.

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09 Feb 2011, 07:20
Anything that goes against the assumption of the statement will weaken the statement. What is the assumption ? High quality instruction, hence, Belmont has higher success rate (conclusion).

A, B, D & E all suggest that it is not the quality of instruction that makes the school so good.

A - competitive school, only 9% acceptance rate, hence, high quality students. So all the credit can not be given to the instructors.

B - Spends more money on pupil. Hence, maybe better facilities etc. Weakens the assumption that instructors are good.

D - Students are super intelligent. Hence, weakens the assumption that only instruction is awesome, coz the students are awesome too.

E - They are focusing on other courses too. Hence, can weaken that the instruction is good quality, because maybe the fact that they require students to take other courses is important factor is the students success.

You left with C.

BTW, this is POE. I personally feel POE is the most powerful method of solving CR problems. Even if one is unsure, it helps reduce the possible choice, hence, increasing the probability of picking the right choice.

What is meant by POE ?

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11 Feb 2011, 15:09
medanova wrote:
What is meant by POE ?

You'll likely see the acronym 'POE' a few times on this forum. It stands for 'Process of Elimination' - that is, arriving at the correct answer by ruling out the other four wrong answers. It's certainly worth trying if the logic of the question doesn't immediately make sense, and the correct answer is thus not immediately apparent.
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12 Feb 2011, 01:08
IanStewart,
Thanks !
My initial answer was also E. Hope I won´t see such a question on my gmat.
It would be nice if there were a tag for good/bad qualiy questions so that we don't practise in vain some non-gmatlike questions.

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Re: Least Weaken   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2011, 01:08
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# What does LEAST WEAKEN actually mean? I took it to mean

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