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Source: Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016 Critical Reasoning; #4


Which of the following, if true, most seriously

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the editorial’s argument?

1 Explanation


John Robertson

Question: What answer choice most seriously weakens the editorial argument that "small nails/departing from building code=severe consequences"

Supporting info: New-ish building collapses from snow. The building met all codes except for smaller than required nails. Editor thinks this caused the collapse

Task: Find an answer that weakens the editor's strict argument of code failure=cause of collapse (I think it's important not to make a huge leap in reasoning that he's not implicating anything else other than these small nails, that comes up in Answer choice D)

A: WRONG: This supports, not weakens his argument. Other roof collapses were old buildings built under less exacting codes, which in my mind threw the current collapse into the same group as these buildings. Supports the old (read- less exacting) codes = safety failures argument of the editor.

B: CORRECT: This one was a bit of a stretch for me, but upon further review of other questions its the only answer that serves as a defense against the argument that code failure=safety failure. Basically, the snow was so great that exceeded the safety codes. So even if the building used big enough nails, who's to say it wouldn't have collapsed either way. With this argument, there's no way to prove the editor's conclusion, unless an identical building was built at the same time, but with bigger nails, and it didn't collapse.

C: WRONG: I was thinking about this one, but it's wrong. I think it wants you to make the leap that office building codes being more stringent than equipment-storage codes means that this building, as it wasn't an office building, was failed by it's less stringent codes....But it didn't follow those codes in the first place. Also, the paragraph makes no mention of different set of codes, just that the building followed all local codes except for the nails. So it's trying to fool you to think that this weakens the argument, but its a non-sequitur.

D: WRONG: This could weaken the argument if the editor's argument was about the various parties at fault for this collapse, but he just talks about the nails. It's irrelevant to what actually caused the collapse. Sure, someone signed off on it, but a Northtown employee didn't jump on the roof continuously until it collapsed. I think the GMAT is trying to make you take a false leap here.

E: WRONG: Great news that the building was empty, but it still collapsed, and doesn't even address why it collapsed.

Dec 18, 2016 • Comment

Sam Kinsman

That's correct, John. Good job! :D

Dec 19, 2016 • Reply

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Section 8.4 Critical Reasoning

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