Question: Emperor Penguins

Comment on Emperor Penguins

I'm not too clear on why B isn't the answer.Where in the passage does it say that age and size have a relationship?
gmat-admin's picture

The last sentence says that smaller penguins are typically younger than larger penguins.

Your way of teaching is incredible,using higher level reasoning. Thank you.
gmat-admin's picture


Hello Brent,
i dont understand why "Smaller P's Typically younger" is considered to be a premise as the "since" in front of the sentence showcases that it's there to explain why size is not a factor.
gmat-admin's picture

I'm not sure why the word "since" diminishes the validity of the premise that smaller penguins are typically younger. Can you elaborate?

what i am saying is the folowing :

SIze is not a Factor Because "Smaller P's typically younger".
It seems to me that the main point here is that size is not a factor ilustrated by the fact that they have different ages.
So how can we give the same weight to
P : SIze is not a factor
P : Smaller P's are typicaly younger.

Therefore i am not clear why B is not the right answer
gmat-admin's picture

One of the premises is that smaller penguins are typically younger, and answer choice B says that there's no relationship between size and age.

Here's the basic idea of the passage: Scientists found that most of the dead penguins were large. So, the conclusion was that the larger penguins were more susceptible to dying. However, the author suggests that the larger penguins (which are older) may just be dying from old age.

Ok Thanks

While going through the answer choices, I initially chose B since it referred to 'the 3-month period', which points to 'the coldest 3 months of the year' in the passage as opposed to 'a 3-month period' in any of the other answer choices (which may refer to any 3-month period in the year). Could you point out why this thinking is incorrect?

After watching the complete video, I do understand why the answer is C and not B, but I am still confused why my thinking as above is incorrect.
gmat-admin's picture

Answer choice B is incorrect because we're looking for a conclusion that MUST be true.

In the last sentence of the passage we are told that smaller penguins are typically younger than the larger ones. Given this information, we cannot conclude choice B with certainty.

Does that help?


Is this a 600 lvl question?
gmat-admin's picture

This one is pretty tricky. I'd say the difficulty level is around 700.

Hi Brent,

Love your teaching style. The negation test for the really helped in solving the assumption based questions.

Could you please explain this question using the version of Negation test, as mentioned in the earlier video?

Would be of great help.


gmat-admin's picture

Thanks for the kind words!

Great question!!

When it comes to Conclusion/Inference questions, the Negation Technique isn't nearly as powerful as it is when applied to Assumption questions. In fact, in my video lesson, I say "The negated conclusion that contradicts the premises the most is PROBABLY the correct answer."

As you might guess, the utility of the Negation Technique depends largely on how conclusive the answer choices are. For this particular example, the correct answer (C) isn't very conclusive. It says "a difference in size MAY NOT indicate a difference in chances of survival."

This is a weak conclusion. So, when we negate it we get an equally weak conclusion: Among emperor penguins of the same age, a difference in size MAY indicate a difference in chances of survival over a three-month period.

Given how weak this negated conclusion is, it really doesn't contradict any of this premises.
As such, the Negation Technique isn't very effective for this particular question.

That said, it can be a very powerful technique when the answer choices are more conclusive.

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