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Knewton Challenge, 1/19/11 (Stone Tablets)

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Adam@Knewton GMAT Instructor
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Knewton Challenge, 1/19/11 (Stone Tablets)

Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:03 am
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    Hey everyone,

    Welcome to the Knewton Verbal Challenge! From 1/19 to 1/25, I'll post a tough GMAT question every day for you to try -- well, every day except Saturday and Sunday Smile

    Read it over, then reply to this thread with your answer and an explanation for how you got it. I'll choose the best explanation at 11 pm EST each day, and the daily winner will get free access to the Beat the GMAT Practice Questions!

    You can enter every day, so be sure to check the CR and SC forums tomorrow for the next question (I’ll post a link to the next question here, or you can search for “Knewton Challenge”).

    Good luck!

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    Question 1.

    Archaeologists propose that some stone tablets excavated from ancient Egyptian sites were designed in accordance with the famous mathematical ratio of 1.618, also known as the “Golden Ratio.” Archaeologists claim that the Egyptian scribes who believed in the divinity of this ratio constructed every symbol on their tablets to preserve it. Mathematicians often oppose this claim, asserting that the ratio was instead discovered by Greek mathematicians and architects, such as Euclid, Phidias, and Pythagoras, hundreds of years later.

    Which of the following, if true about a limestone tablet recently uncovered at an ancient Egyptian burial site, would most strongly support an archaeologist's analysis targeted at disproving the mathematicians' assertion?

    (A) Some Greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts, like the stone tablet found, to determine whether their predecessors had discovered the ratio.
    (B) No art or writing that has used the “Golden Ratio” and that is older than the stone tablet has been found.
    (C) The tablet was signed by a well-known Egyptian scribe, most famous for his contributions to the field of mathematics.
    (D) The burial site from which the tablet was found contained many objects that were made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock that was used to construct the tablet.
    (E) Though the symbols on the tablet are now chipped and broken, the longer half of the first symbol, if complete, would have been 1.618 times longer than the shorter half.

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    mundasingh123 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:20 am
    IMO D
    (A) Some Greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts, like the stone tablet found, to determine whether their predecessors had discovered the ratio.
    Irrelevant.Whatever is the Motivation for the Greek Mathematicians to Measure Ancient Artifacts

    (B) No art or writing that has used the â€"Golden Ratio” and that is older than the stone tablet has been found.
    Doesnt Matter
    (C) The tablet was signed by a well-known Egyptian scribe, most famous for his contributions to the field of mathematics.
    Nothings mentioned about the time when the Egyption Scibe used to Exist

    (D) The burial site from which the tablet was found contained many objects that were made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock that was used to construct the tablet.

    This tells us that the Tablets were designed consistently in accordance with certain Measurements

    (E) Though the symbols on the tablet are now chipped and broken, the longer half of the first symbol, if complete, would have been 1.618 times longer than the shorter half.

    Nearly Every Symbol can be dissected in a way that the upper half is 1.618 times the length of the Lower Half



    Last edited by mundasingh123 on Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:32 am; edited 1 time in total

    mundasingh123 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:21 am
    I find this question Very Tough

    divtargetsGmat Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:56 am
    I would say (D)

    (A) We have to find an argument to prove that the greek mathematicians DID NOT discover the ratio and it was actually discovered much earlier by the Egyptians. Option (A) , if true, would actually oppose the egyptians argument and favour the greek mathematicians since it would prove that the greek mathematicians had discovered the ratio. This is the opposite of what actually has to be proved.

    (B)We are not concerned about whether the golden ratio was known 'before' the stone tablet was found. We just need to prove that egyptian scribes knew about the golden ratio and wanted to preserve it in stone tablets. Whether golden ratio was known to have existed in artifacts older than the stone tablets is irrelevant

    (C) Just because an egyptian scribe who was a mathematician, had signed the stone, it doesnt prove that the egyptian scribes were well aware of the existence of Golden ratio. Also the time during which the scribe had signed is not mentioned. It could have been even during the time when the greek mathematicians existed. So this does not support the problem statement enough.

    (D) This supports the statement in question. As the mathematicians say, If the egyptians were not aware of the golden ratio on the stone tablets, and if the presence of golden ratio on the stone tablets was just a coincidence, how could the rest of the artifacts discovered from the burial site also indicate the same cut of the rock ? This cannot be a coincidence. It is a clear indication of the fact that the ratio was deliberately introduced and the egyptian scribes were well aware of the existence of golden ratio

    (E)The symbols on the tablet have been broken over time due to natural degradation. there is no way that every symbol on the tablet will indicate the existence of golden ratio.Even if any symbol did by chance,it would have occured due to natural wear and the egyptian scribes have no hand in it (they cannot predict in what ratio the natural degradation would occur in future) and hence, they could have never been aware of the golden ratio if (E) was true.

    fitzgerald23 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:28 am
    Lets give this a try. Very hard question.

    I would break down the passage into the following points:

    1. Archaeologists believe that some Egyptian stone tablets were purposely designed with a 1.618 ratio.
    2. They believe every symbol was constructed with that ratio to preserve it
    3. Mathematicians disagree that the Egyptians knew of this ratio.

    We want to find a way to strengthen the point that the Egyptians knew of the ratio.

    A. Incorrect. What the Greek mathematicians did with old artifacts has nothing to do with Egyptians discovering it.

    B. Incorrect. This tells us that there is nobody discovered who came before the Egyptians who used the ratio, but it does not prove that the Egyptians did or did not purposely use it. We need to know what happened in the Egyptian era.

    C. Incorrect. Just because the tablet was scribed by a mathematician it does not tell us anything about the tablet. If the tablet symbols had a 2:1 ratio then we would be weakening the Archaeologists claim since the mathematician would be signing off on a totally different ratio.

    D. Incorrect. Again this answer choice gives us no pertinent information about how the tablet is designed. It does further validate that all the items in the excavation site came from the same people, but that is not what we are concerned with here. We want to know how to prove that the limestone uses the ratio in some manner not that it is made of the same material as other items in the site.

    E. Correct. This is the only selection that tells us that not just some stone tablets had what appeared to be the ratio. This tells us that we now have another tablet from that era of a different material that uses the 1.618 ratio on all the symbols of the tablet, which reinforced the archaeologists point that the Egyptians did use this ratio for their symbols before the Greeks did years later.

    AIM GMAT Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:02 am
    My approach for the question is as follows :-


    Take of Archaeologists :- "Archaeologists propose that some stone tablets excavated from ancient Egyptian sites were designed in accordance with the famous mathematical ratio of 1.618, also known as the â€"Golden Ratio.” Archaeologists claim that the Egyptian scribes who believed in the divinity of this ratio constructed every symbol on their tablets to preserve it "

    Mathematicians view :- " Mathematicians often oppose this claim, asserting that the ratio was instead discovered by Greek mathematicians and architects, such as Euclid, Phidias, and Pythagoras, hundreds of years later. "


    We need to tell about a limestone tablet recently uncovered at an ancient Egyptian burial site, would most strongly support an archaeologist's analysis targeted at disproving the mathematicians' assertion

    key point is Egyptian scribes who believed in the divinity of this ratio constructed every symbol on their tablets to preserve it


    (A) Some Greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts, like the stone tablet found, to determine whether their predecessors had discovered the ratio. [ It doesnt support archeologists , hence its eliminated ]

    (B) No art or writing that has used the â€"Golden Ratio” and that is older than the stone tablet has been found. [Simply Irrelevant , we are not concerned about the time period before the stone tablet.]

    (C) The tablet was signed by a well-known Egyptian scribe, most famous for his contributions to the field of mathematics. [It was signed by XYZ but when is not sure , TIME PERIOD is missing]

    (D) The burial site from which the tablet was found contained many objects that were made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock that was used to construct the tablet. [As archeologist claim that their intent was to preserve the ratio , so exact cut infers that they did so intentionally , and they knew the ratio.]

    (E) Though the symbols on the tablet are now chipped and broken, the longer half of the first symbol, if complete, would have been 1.618 times longer than the shorter half.[We are supposed to support archeologist and this option is not doing so .]



    So IMO D.

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    gnod Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:07 am
    man this one was confusing. i could be wrong but no harm in trying! and can use the practice questions too! Razz

    Which of the following, if true about a limestone tablet recently uncovered at an ancient Egyptian burial site, would most strongly support an archaeologist's analysis targeted at disproving the mathematicians' assertion? [the assertion is that the ratio was discovered by the Greeks . . . hundreds of years later, as opposed to the Egyptians earlier].

    (A) Some Greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts, like the stone tablet found, to determine whether their predecessors had discovered the ratio. [this doesn’t help us to disprove the mathematicians assertion. It could be true that the Greeks did use Egyptian’s ratio to measure, OR that they found it ‘hundreds of years later’ and were using it then.]

    (B) No art or writing that has used the “Golden Ratio” and that is older than the stone tablet has been found. [this doesn’t disprove the mathematicians assertion. Just because it hasn’t been found doesn’t prove or disprove anything]

    (C) The tablet was signed by a well-known Egyptian scribe, most famous for his contributions to the field of mathematics. [this doesn’t disprove the mathematicians assertion. It’s similar to choice B, in that it doesn’t prove or disprove anything.]

    (D) The burial site from which the tablet was found contained many objects that were made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock that was used to construct the tablet. [to me, this was a trap choice - it sounds really good because they found many objects made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock. But I’m interpreting it as that they found exact cut of the rare limestone rock...to me this was worded to be focused on the rarity of the limestone - doesn’t mention anything about the ratio…]

    (E) Though the symbols on the tablet are now chipped and broken, the longer half of the first symbol, if complete, would have been 1.618 times longer than the shorter half. I thought this was the best answer choice - the fact that they found another tablet, probably a different material with the same ratio as the designs found on the first tablet disproves that the Greeks found it hundreds of year later, than the Egyptians.

    answer choice: E

    trangle Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:58 am
    my answer is D

    nikeboy2008 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:00 am
    IMO E - the only choice that talks something about mathematics and the ratio

    RACHVIK Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:16 am
    Hi Adam,

    Nice Job.

    The question stem is basically asking for an evidence (Which of the following, if true - a premise) to strengthen (most support) archaeologist's analysis and thereby disapprove mathematicians' assertion.

    The premise from question states that archaeologists propose that tablets are constructed in accordance with ratio of 1.618 and marked with symbols to preserve this golden ration. Later in the argument, another premise is introduced stating that mathematicians actually discovered this ration hundred of years later.

    Keywords - 'designed in accordance', 'who believed in the divinity of this ratio constructed every symbol on their tablets to preserve it' & 'asserting that the ratio was instead discovered ……. hundreds of years later'.

    Every tablet designed in accordance with ration need not be marked!

    Our task is to find an evidence that either strengthens the premise or weakens the alternative. Basically justify that Egyptians were aware of the golden ration, which would thereby weaken mathematicians claim of discovery hundred years later. Something already known cannot be discovered later!!

    (A) Some Greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts, like the stone tablet found, to determine whether their predecessors had discovered the ratio.

    The question stem focusses on the tablet recently discovered. What greek mathematicians did is irrelevant.

    (B) No art or writing that has used the “Golden Ratio” and that is older than the stone tablet has been found.

    We have to find if golden ration was known prior Greek mathematicians and architects discovered it and not whether anyone knew of it before Egyptian era. Irrelevenat.

    (C) The tablet was signed by a well-known Egyptian scribe, most famous for his contributions to the field of mathematics.

    This does not say anything about the design of tablet or golden ration or nothing related to preserving of ratio. Doesn't add to anything.

    (D) The burial site from which the tablet was found contained many objects that were made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock that was used to construct the tablet.

    This piece of evidence only confirms that the different items belonged to the same time period. Does not say anything about the tablet design or golden ration.

    (E) Though the symbols on the tablet are now chipped and broken, the longer half of the first symbol, if complete, would have been 1.618 times longer than the shorter half.

    This piece of evidence justifies the claim that tablets were designed in accordance with a certain ration. It strengthens one piece of archaeologists claim. Hence E is the correct answer.

    Awaiting your explanation....

    Thanks

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    lilisanei Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:36 am
    A , B and C are definitely wrong, between D and E, I go with E, because D does not prove any thing about Egyptian knowledge about golden ratio.

    My answer is E.

    towerSpider Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:52 am
    Very difficult. Let me try.

    akshatmikku Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:57 am
    ohh boi either i am wayyyyyyy of target or everyone else is ..Smile
    IMO-A
    here is the reason why..

    -from the question stem the archeologists guys ( lets call them AG), who discovered some stone tablet , claim that Egyptians discovered the GOLDEN RATIO where as the mathematician guys ( lets call thm MG) say that this ratio was infact discovered by GREEK mathematicians and architect much later .

    - question asks us to find and option that supports the AG !

    lets looks at the options -

    A) AG Say to MG = hey dude some greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts to determine whether their predecessor discoverd golden ratio or not --- hmmm so now the MG thinks it is possible that greek mathematicians missed these tablets and later from their own independent study discovered the golden ratio when in fact that ratio already existed !
    so this strengthens AG 's assertion and hence my ans !

    b)well even if this is true MG already in the question say that THE RATIO WAS DISCOVERED MUCH LATER! - so out !

    c)well doesn;t really solve the MG VS AG situation .MG can still say so what he was a mathematician ? greek mathematicians discovered the ratio .

    d)well again the MG will say good for you AG ?? but still GREEK MATHEMATICIANS discovered the ratio !!

    e) well again it is out of scope ! doesn't really settle the AG vs MG debate!

    so i mark option A

    mundasingh123 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:05 pm
    akshatmikku wrote:
    ohh boi either i am wayyyyyyy of target or everyone else is ..Smile



    lets looks at the options -

    A) AG Say to MG = hey dude
    LOL.I liked This

    towerSpider Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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    Post Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:29 pm
    AdamKnewton wrote:
    (A) Some Greek mathematicians measured ancient artifacts, like the stone tablet found, to determine whether their predecessors had discovered the ratio.

    The basic problem with this choice is that it does not even come to result. It does not tell what was concluded by the mathematicians. Other reason is that it is not even about the stone in question.


    (B) No art or writing that has used the “Golden Ratio” and that is older than the stone tablet has been found.

    Well it might mean that no one before egyptions had discovered it but IT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT COMPETITION BETWEEN EGYPTIONS AND GREEKS. It could be that egyptians discovered it later in period (after this particular stone) or it could be that no one in egypt knew about it and only greeks discovered it later.

    (C) The tablet was signed by a well-known Egyptian scribe, most famous for his contributions to the field of mathematics.

    Well just because he was mathematician proves nothing. It is possible that he was mathematician with knowledge of golde ration but it is also possible that he was mathematician with out such knowledge.

    (D) The burial site from which the tablet was found contained many objects that were made from the exact cut of rare limestone rock that was used to construct the tablet.

    Well we dont know anythin about this stone . It does not matter in what amount you find it.

    (E) Though the symbols on the tablet are now chipped and broken, the longer half of the first symbol, if complete, would have been 1.618 times longer than the shorter half.

    This one is good. It just confirms that they used this this ratio . Though it could be coincidence but in my opinion this one is comparatively supportive than other option. (E) IS THE ANSWER.

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