Lesson: Structure Questions

Comment on Structure Questions

Public health expert: INCREASING THE URGENCY OF A PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGE MAY BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. In addition to irritating the majority who already behave responsibly, IT MAY UNDERMINE ALL GOVERNMENT PRONOUNCEMENTS ON HEALTH BY CONVINCING PEOPLE THAT SUCH MESSAGES ARE OVERLY CAUTIOUS, and there is no reason to believe that those who ignore measured voices will listen to shouting.

The two sections in BOLDFACE play which of the following roles in the public health expert's argument?

(A) The first is a conclusion for which support is provided. but is not the argument's main conclusion; the second is an unsupported premise supporting the arguments main conclusion.

(B) The first is a premise supporting the only explicit conclusion; so is the second.

(C) The first is the argument's main conclusion; the second supports that conclusion and is itself a conclusion for which support is provided.

(D) The first is a premise supporting the argument's only conclusion; the second is that conclusion.

(E) The first is the argument‘s only explicit conclusion; the second is a premise supporting that conclusion.

could u pls explain this.
gmat-admin's picture

Many students will like answer choice C, since The first part ("The first is the argument's main conclusion") is correct. However, the second part (" the second supports that conclusion and is itself a conclusion for which support is provided") is incorrect. There is nothing that supports the second boldfaced part.

If we summarize the argument in basic terms, we get:
INCREASING URGENCY MAY BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Here's why: (1) irritates some, (2) UNDERMINE ALL PRONOUNCEMENTS, and (3) who listens to shouting.

If we get even more generic, the structure goes like this:
Conclusion. 3 things that support the conclusion.

Answer: E

Hi Brent,
what's your opinion on the third (650-800)? The OA is definitely confusing (E). IMO D is a more logical answer. Could you explain ?
Thx,
Ben
gmat-admin's picture

You're referring to https://gmatclub.com/forum/scientists-typically-do-their-most-creative-w...

Although many people believe that aging reduces creativity, the author is trying to convince us that this is NOT the case.

The first bold part says "scientists who produce highly creative work beyond the age of forty, a disproportionately large number entered their field at an older age than is usual"

This bolded portion does NOT support the common notion that aging reduces creativity. Instead, it is evidence that the author uses to REFUTE the notion that aging reduces creativity.

Answer choice D says "The first is evidence that has been used to support an explanation that the argument challenges; the second is a competing explanation that the argument favors." In other words, answer choice D says that the 1st bolded part SUPPORTS the notion that aging reduces creativity.

As such, D is incorrect.

For a different take on this question, see Mitch's solution here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/scientists-go-their-work-mostly-before-the-ag...

Hi Brent, I am referring to the question below since i have absolutely no clue why the official answer is B. In the topic explanations there are many controversial opinions.

I picked A because C, D, E are out of scope and B simply doesn't make sense. Answer choice A seems to serve the same function as bolded part, clarifying that "Oxy" water i useless in improving physical performance and its only function is the same as normal water.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/one-of-the-limiting-factors-in-human-physical-performance-is-88662.html

One of the limiting factors in human physical performance is the amount of oxygen that is absorbed by the muscles from the bloodstream. Accordingly, entrepreneurs have begun selling at gymnasiums and health clubs bottles of drinking water, labeled “SuperOXY,” that has extra oxygen dissolved in the water. Such water would be useless in improving physical performance, however, since the only way to get oxygen into the bloodstream so that it can be absorbed bye the muscles is through the lungs.

(BOLDFACE PART STARTS FROM ...SINCE THE ONLY WAY)

Which of the following, if true, would serve the same function in the argument as the statement in boldface?

A. the water lost in exercising can be replaced with ordinary tap water
B. the amount of oxygen in the blood of people who are exercising is already more than the muscle can absorb
C. world-class athletes turn in record performance without such water
D. frequent physical exercise increases the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen
E. lack of oxygen is not the only factor limiting human physical performance

Once again thank you for excellent videos and great explanations.
gmat-admin's picture

The original poster of that question incorrectly stated that the answer is B. The official answer is C.

For two nice solutions (by Marty and Mitch), see http://www.beatthegmat.com/replace-highlighted-text-with-alternate-sente...

Thank you for pointing this out. I took my original question from the recommended by you practice problems. However, the question stems are different for these similar problems. It seems to be that the author of my question replaced the question stem with the bold part in your question.

Anyways, Beatthegmat made it clear, thank you.

Hi Brent,

In Q : http://www.beatthegmat.com/replace-highlighted-text-with-alternate-sentence-t281848.html
I understand why choice C is correct but I am unable to understand on what basis can we eliminate choice D.
Conclusion : SUPEROXY is "useless in improving physical performance".
I need to find a Premise in one of the answer choices that supports this conclusion. Choice D suggests there are other factors that limit physical performance. That means SuperOxy doesn't have a sole say in improving physical performance as other factors affect physical performance.

Thanks & Regards,
Abhirup
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://www.beatthegmat.com/replace-highlighted-text-with-alternate-sent...

The boldface part says: Superoxy's extra oxygen won't be absorbed by the muscle cells. Therefore, the extra oxygen that Superoxy provides won't help improve performance.

NOTE: This conclusion is a little more specific than your conclusion. It's this specificity that helps us eliminate D

We're looking for an answer choice that conveys THE SAME idea.

C) The only way to get oxygen into the bloodstream so that it can be absorbed by the muscles is through the lungs
This also says Superoxy's extra oxygen won't be absorbed by the muscle cells.
Perfect.

D) Lack of oxygen is not the only factor limiting human physical performance
Perhaps, but the argument questions whether Superoxy's EXTRA OXYGEN will improve physical performance.

Does that help?

Cheers,
Brent

Brent, you deserve a statue on your honor. After applying the strategies of method reasoning question this kind of question seems easier now.
gmat-admin's picture

Glad you like the videos!

https://gmatclub.com/forum/scientists-typically-do-their-most-creative-work-before-the-85273.html
please explain
gmat-admin's picture

Hi Brent, are method of reasoning and Parallel argument questions usual to find in the gmat 2019 ?
gmat-admin's picture

Those question types aren't very common on the GMAT. The vast majority of Structure questions are the boldfaced questions.

Hi Brent,

https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-prominent-investor-who-holds-a-large-stake-in-the-burton-tool-compan-10451.html

Since I am not a native English speaker I don't understand the end meaning of this sentence:

"It is doubtful whether an investor’s sniping at management can ever be anything other than counterproductive"

So the sentence conclusion is that:

snipping at management is counterproductive
or
snipping at management is NOT counterproductive

What about the meaning of this sentence:

It is doubtful whether an investor’s sniping at management can ever be anything BUT counterproductive

How can I dissect such sentences so I don't lose the intended meaning?

Thank you in advance,

gmat-admin's picture

Link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-prominent-investor-who-holds-a-large-stake-...

The text: "It is doubtful whether an investor’s sniping at management can ever be anything other than counterproductive"
It's tricky wording, PLUS we have a sort of double negative.

In other words: it's UNLIKELY that sniping at management is anything OTHER THAN counterproductive.

In other words: it's LIKELY that sniping at management IS counterproductive.

Cheers,
Brent

Hi Brent,

Is it similar to multiplication rule :

it's UNLIKELY/DOUBTFUL(-1) that sniping at management can ever be anything OTHER THAN(-1) counterproductive.=(-1)*(-1)=1=is counterproductive

Abiding by this rule the following sentence indicates that sniping is NOT counterproductive→is productive: it's UNDOUBTABLE (+1) that sniping at management can ever be anything OTHER THAN(-1) counterproductive. =(-1)*(+1)=(-1)

Am I right?

What about this sentence(you probably didn't see it in the previous comment): It is doubtful whether an investor’s sniping at management can ever be anything BUT counterproductive.

Is that "can ever be anything BUT counterproductive" has the same meaning as " can ever be anything OTHER THAN counterproductive"

Sorry, that I ask you, this is probably a General English and not GMAT questions,

Therefore, thank you for your time,





gmat-admin's picture

Question 1: NOT counterproductive = productive
Answer: Kind of.
For example, NOT UNLIKABLE doesn't necessary mean LIKABLE.
That said, it's close enough.

Question 2: UNDOUBTABLE isn't a word, so let's go with this:
It's NOT UNLIKELY that sniping at management can ever be anything OTHER THAN counterproductive.
This is the same as: It's LIKELY that sniping at management can be something OTHER THAN counterproductive.
In other words: Sniping at management COULD be productive.

Question 3: Does "can ever be anything BUT counterproductive" have the same meaning as "Can ever be anything OTHER THAN counterproductive"
Yes, those two phrases have the same meaning.

Hi Brent,

Sorry for questioning your answer, but I think there is a mismatch:

Let's consider this sentence:

I believe that sniping at management is anything other than counterproductive" = I believe that sniping at management is counterproductive

yet

I don't believe that sniping at management is anything other than counterproductive" = I believe that sniping at management is not counterproductive

Let's consider your last comment:

"This is the same as: It's NOT UNLIKELY that sniping at management can ever be anything OTHER THAN counterproductive. This is the same as: It's LIKELY that sniping at management can be something OTHER THAN counterproductive. In other words: Sniping at management COULD be productive.

I think this sentence "It's LIKELY that sniping at management can be something OTHER THAN counterproductive." you should have transformed to this one: It's LIKELY that sniping at management can be counterproductive.

What do you think?



gmat-admin's picture

SENTENCE 1: I believe that sniping at management is anything other than counterproductive
If we say "I believe that sniping at management is ANYTHING OTHER THAN counterproductive", we are saying that sniping at management can be good OR productive OR useful OR nice OR green OR happy OR ticklish OR...
Notice that my list includes ANYTHING OTHER THAN "counterproductive"
So, the intent of the that sentence means something like: "I believe that sniping at management is productive"

SENTENCE 2: I DON'T believe that sniping at management is anything other than counterproductive
This is the same as sentence 1, except we've added DON'T.
So, the intent here is to say "I believe that sniping at management is counterproductive"

You wrote: I think this sentence "It's LIKELY that sniping at management can be something OTHER THAN counterproductive." you should have transformed to this one: It's LIKELY that sniping at management can be counterproductive.
But the sentences say that sniping is something OTHER THAN counterproductive.
In other words, sniping is NOT counterproductive.

Does that help?

Cheers,
Brent

Hi Brent,

Great explanation,

I understood your answer very well, thank you for your patience.

Sorry that it took so long for me to grasp this concept,

Thank you again

Hi Brent,

I don't understand this portion of the text,

https://gmatclub.com/forum/historian-newton-developed-mathematical-concepts-and-techniques-that-77798.html

Leibniz’ notes are limited to early sections of Newton’s book, sections that precede the ones in which Newton’s calculus concepts and techniques are presented.

1. What does it mean that notes are limited to a section(They don't have anything new when compared to early section of Newtons's)?
2. sections that precede the ones in which Newton’s calculus concepts and techniques are presented.(don't understand it completely) What important information can you derive from this part of the sentence? How can you paraphrase it
3.A more cautious conclusion than this is called for, however- is it the same as "Moreover" or "However" in terms of the transition.

Thank you in advance,

Sorry if it looks like I am asking basic English language questions, but I am stuck.
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/historian-newton-developed-mathematical-conce...

Here's a breakdown of the series of events:

Leibniz wrote notes about one of Newton’s books (which we'll call Book X).
In Book X, Newton presents some Calculus stuff.
Since Leibniz took those notes BEFORE developing his own Calculus concepts, it MIGHT be the case that Leibniz used Newton's ideas (from Book X) to create his own Calculus.

HOWEVER, Leibniz's notes were about sections of Newton’s book that were BEFORE the sections pertaining to Calculus.
So, for example, it could be the case that Book X had 10 chapters, and the first 5 chapters were all about Geometry, while chapter 9 was devoted to Calculus. So, it's conceivable that Leibniz only read (and took notes on) the first 5 chapters.
In other words, he might not have even read Chapter 9 (on Calculus)

For this reason, "a more cautious conclusion is called for"

In other words, it COULD be the case that Leibniz learned about Calculus from Book X and then developed his own version of Calculus.
Or, it COULD be the case that Leibniz read only the first few chapters of Book X (the chapters that never discussed Calculus), and then went on to develop his own (Newton-free) version of Calculus.

Does that help?

Cheers,
Brent

Yes,

Eye-opening,

Thanks a lot,

The advice has been extremely helpful

Hi Brent,

Could you please explain why the second bold fase part is considered as a premise:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/public-health-expert-increasing-the-urgency-of-a-public-health-messag-201148.html

How do you know that this is a conclusion "Increasing the urgency of a public health message may be counterproductive"

and this is the premise

"It(Increasing the urgency of a public health message) may undermine all government pronouncements on health by convincing people that such messages are overly cautious."

For me, a premise is a fact is not a supposition.

This sounds like a premise(without "MAY") It undermines all government pronouncements on health by convincing people that such messages are overly cautious.

What do you think?
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/public-health-expert-increasing-the-urgency-o...

Great question!

Premises can be expressed in uncertain terms.
For example, a perfectly fine premise could be something like "Joe will either bike or walk to school"
Even though we don't know exactly what Joe will do, the above sentence could be a premise

To help identify the conclusion, let's rephrase the information in terms of X THEREFORE Y
If we have correctly identified the premise and conclusion, X will be a premise, and Y (the conclusion) will follow from X.

Option #1: (Increasing the urgency of a public health message may undermine all government pronouncements on health by convincing people that such messages are overly cautious) THEREFORE (increasing the urgency of a public health message may be counterproductive).
This makes sense.

Option #2: (increasing the urgency of a public health message may be counterproductive) THEREFORE (Increasing the urgency of a public health message may undermine all government pronouncements on health by convincing people that such messages are overly cautious)
This makes no sense.

Does that help?

Hi Brent,

Amazing instruction to identify the premises,

I think if you could do a video about this specific question type other users will benefit from this explanation, but it is up to you of course,
gmat-admin's picture

Hi Kirill,

Good idea. . . except I already cover it at 3:55 in this video https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-critical-reasoning/video/1133

I call it the "Premise-therefore-Conclusion" test :-)

Cheers,
Brent

Hi Brent,

What does 'to qualify' mean?

Thanks,
Erik
gmat-admin's picture

It means to fulfill a necessary condition.

Example: To qualify for the Olympics, all weightlifters must undergo a drug test.

Hi Brent,

I must thank you for the approach to the bold questions shared here.

By giving more time to come up with my understanding of the bold sentences, I am able to select the answer correctly rather than panic after reading every option.

This has helped me solve the harder bold questions which I earlier couldn't dare try.

Thanks,
Erik
gmat-admin's picture

That's great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to share that.

Hi Brent...

For me, it is really tough to find out the correct answer. Maybe I am not understanding the concept I think.

But other types of CR questions are far better than this. At least I can choose the correct answer for a few.

I need your help here. Is there any other way to understand this concept better?
gmat-admin's picture

Structure questions are, by far, the most difficult CR questions. So, you're not alone.

The key to answering Structure questions is to use GENERIC language to describe the method of reasoning to yourself BEFORE checking the answer choices.

Be sure to start with the practice questions (above) labeled as 350-500 and gradually work your way up to the harder questions.

Thank you...

can you please explain to me on what exactly the GENERIC LANGUAGE and METHOD OF REASONING are? if possible please help me with an example...
gmat-admin's picture

Consider this official question: https://gmatclub.com/forum/hunter-many-people-blame-hunters-alone-for-th...

The question asks us to determine the role played by the portion in boldface.
Even though the argument is about hunters, bears, and deer in Greenrock National Forest, none of the answer choices mentions them. Instead, the answer choices use generic language to describe the role played buy the portion in boldface.

(A) It is the main conclusion of the argument.
(B) It is a finding that the argument seeks to explain.
(C) It is an explanation that the argument concludes is correct.
(D) It provides evidence in support of the main conclusion of the argument.
(E) It introduces a judgment that the argument opposes

Given the generic nature of the answer choices, we should use generic language when describing the role to ourselves. That way, we have a better chance of formulating an answer that actually matches one of the answer choices.

For more on this, watch my solutions to the following practice questions:
- https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-critical-reasoning/video/1193
- https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-critical-reasoning/video/1194

Please let me understand how to identify the evidence in a passage?
gmat-admin's picture

I think the easiest approach is to first identify the conclusion (what the author is trying to convince us of).
Once you've identified the conclusion, the remaining information is your evidence/premises.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/consultant-ace-repairs-ends-up-having-to-redo-a-significant-number-of-322544.html

The first presents a contrast whose explanation is at issue in the reasoning: Please let me understand this part.

Thank you
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/consultant-ace-repairs-ends-up-having-to-redo...

(D) The first presents a contrast whose explanation is at issue in the reasoning; the second is the consultant's explanation of that contrast

Here's the first boldface portion: Ace Repairs ends up having to redo a significant number of the complex repair jobs it undertakes, but when those repairs are redone, they are invariably done right.

There's a bit of a paradox here. If all of the mechanics are equally-skilled, then the proportion of mistakes made during redos should be approximately the SAME as the proportion of mistakes made originally. HOWEVER, this is not the case. The redos are usually performed perfectly.

So the CONTRAST involves the proportion of mistakes made sharing redos and the proportion of mistakes made originally.
The remainder of the argument EXPLAINS why the redos are performed so much better. .

This is what answer choice D it's saying.

Does that help?

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