Knewton Brutal Challenge (Verbal Edition) – Week 20

by on August 18th, 2010

Written by Joanna Bersin.

Step right up! This SC question is as brutal as ever. No shirt this week, but the thrill of the first correct explanation is very much in play:

Lagging by an average of 20% if they are administered to patients within a year of contracting tuberculosis and by almost 30% if they are administered after a year, tuberculosis treatments in African countries have success rates that continue to be far less than those in other countries, according to the statistics recently released by the World Health Organization.

(A) Lagging by an average of 20% if they are administered to patients within a year of contracting tuberculosis and by almost 30% if they are administered after a year, tuberculosis treatments in African countries have success rates that continue to be far less than those in other countries, according to the statistics recently released by the World Health Organization.

(B) If administered within a year of patients’ contracting tuberculosis, treatments have success rates in African countries lagging behind those in other countries with an average 20% lower, and if administered after a year, they lag by an average 30% lower, according to the World Health Organization’s recently released statistics.

(C) The World Health Organization’s recently released statistics indicate that treatment success rates for tuberculosis in African countries continue to lag far behind those in other countries, by an average of 20% if treatments are administered within a year of patients’ contracting the disease and by almost 30% if they are administered after a year.

(D) Recently released by the World Health Organization, statistics about treatment success rates for tuberculosis indicated that African countries were lagging by an average of 20% behind those of other countries when treatments were administered to patients within a year of contracting the disease; the average rates for these countries lagged by almost 30% behind when administered after a year.

(E) The World Health Organization recently released statistics indicating that African countries display a treatment success rate for tuberculosis that lags far behind other countries, displaying an average 20% lower if treatments are administered within a year of patients’ contracting the disease and almost 30% lower when administered after a year.

21 comments

  • Pick D

  • In D, the opening phrase modifies the noun "statistics" correctly.proper comparison of " Success rates of African countries is Comapred with "Success rate of Other nation" correctly.

    "when" is used to introduce the timeperiod of "one year " promptly.

    Second clause is introduced properly by a semicolon (;). That gives the signal that second clause clause has started. Average rates is the subject of the second clause.

    lets see other options :
    In A, the modifier "according to the statistics recently released by the World Health Organization." reference is NOT clear.

  • In A, the modifier starting with "Lagging by an average of 20% if they ......" is supposed to refer to "Success rates". But here it refers to " tuberculosis treatments ". This altogrther changes the meaning.

    Moreover option A uses " they". There is no reference for the pronoun. So Pronoun Refernce error is also there.

    So we have Modifier & Pronoun reference & Change in Intended Meaning Error in A

  • Answer seems like 'C'.
    Following things made me pick C.
    1)"recently released statistics indicate that " ..."following things are happening"
    I did not pick these options.

    E) "recently released statistics indicating that "
    D) "World Health Organization, statistics about treatment ".
    A and B did not make any sense to me.

    Surya

  • Hey Surya, I was abt to say C makes better fitment ...

    Moreover parallelism is there in C...My bad..i was hasty

    • D uses passive construction is one half and then shifts to active voice in the second half..that creates a error in D.

      C should be the answer... I was bit confused if "statistics is "singular or plural"..and that made me to negate C...

      But Passive voice construction in D is too costly to be the rigght one..

  • One more error in D : in the second half " these" is used. There is no NOUN reference to this pronoun. so that makes C to be the winner.

    My bad...I was not sure whether Statistics is singular or plural..

  • I vote for C because of the following errors in other answer choices.

    Choice A has a problem with misplaced modifier. "Lagging by an average ..." seems to modify "tuberculosis treatments" when the participial phrase should have referred to "success rates".

    In choice B, "they" in the second half of the sentence seems to refer to "treatments". However, it is illogical to say that "the treatments lag by an average ...", while the first half of the sentence correctly indicates "success rates" to be the one lagging behind those in other countries.

    Choice D incorrectly compares "African countries" with "those of other countries". Additionally, in the second clause separated by semicolon, it is not clear what was administered.

    Finally, choice E incorrectly compares "success rate displayed by African countries" with "other countries".

    • C it is.

  • answer is C which is concise and correctly placed the modifier

  • IMO C.

    A. “Lagging” refers to “success rate” whereas “they” refers to “treatments”. Therefore, it is not clear which noun should be modified by the modifying phrase “Lagging by an … after a year”.

    B. Present participle phrase without a comma modifies the noun just before the participle. “lagging behind…countries” seems to modify “African countries”.

    Parallelism is an issue. If administered within a year….treatments have success rates LAGGING behind……, and if administered after a year, they LAG by an...

    “patients’ contracting tuberculosis” has a possessive modifying a gerund. GMAT does not favor this style.

    C. “patients’ contracting” is still there, but this is only a style issue, not a grammatical issue.

    D. “were lagging” is a wrong verb tense. The statistics revealed something that is true as a general rule. A simple present, “lag”, should be used.

    “those” has no clear antecedent.

    E. Wrong comparison. "treatment success rate for tuberculosis" is compared with "other countries.

  • I would go with C!

  • Great job, guys! The best answer here is in fact C.

    Govardhan- though you were hasty in choosing the incorrect D, I'm glad to see that you changed your mind : )

    Say this question came up on test day. What would you notice about it? Well, the entire thing is underlined AND it makes a comparison.

    Sentences that are completely underlined typically jumble the order of the clauses, causing MODIFIER errors and LOGIC errors. Watch out for misplaced modifiers and for sentences that don't express what's going on clearly. Pick out the subject-verb pair and think: DOES THIS make SENSE? Make sure that participial phrases describe the correct noun.

    The comparison. Comparisons must be correctly formed, and what's compared must be logical. Watch out for the way that numerical quantities are expressed; look out for redundant expressions. Especially on tough questions, the GMAT will make these errors really difficult to spot.

    So, why C? Well, let's eliminate other options, as you should on test day when such a sentence is totally underlined and you cannot look for one specific construction.

    A: As most of you noted, choice A contains a misplaced modifier. As Ron put it: Choice A has a problem with misplaced modifier. "Lagging by an average ..." seems to modify "tuberculosis treatments" when the participial phrase should have referred to "success rates".

    B: Creates an illogical and redundant sentence. As GMATatSea put it: In choice B, "they" in the second half of the sentence seems to refer to "treatments". However, it is illogical to say that "the treatments lag by an average ...", while the first half of the sentence correctly indicates "success rates" to be the one lagging behind those in other countries. Lag and lower are redundant. Lag...with is unidiomatic.
    Pick out the subject and verb that express what's going on: "Treatments have success rates lagging" is a much less direct, logical thing to say than C's "treatment success rates continue to lag..."

    Choice D is a tempting option, but C is much better. In D, the "African countries" are not what is lagging, and "those" does not have a clear referent. "Lagging by an average of 20% behind..." is an awkward expression. As Ron also notes, the second clause isn't logically and clearly connected to the first; what's administered?

    Choice E contains an illogical comparison; as Vivek notes: "treatment success rate for tuberculosis" is compared with "other countries. The redundant "lag...lower" also plagues this sentence.

    Bottom line: Long underlined portions- watch out for misplaced modifiers and illogically connected clauses. Spot subject-verb pairs and think: what SHOULD be going on?
    Comparisons- Eliminate unidiomatic comparisons and illogical comparisons. Watch out for redundancy in sentences about numerical quantities.

    Great job Surya for answering first! The shirts will be back soon, I promise!

    Joanna, Knewton

    • many Thanks Joanna!My biggest problem is Haste...and plz suggest me a killer technique to overcome that. I using "forced" symbol method that makes me to go through all the options before freezing one.

  • Correct Ans. is A.
    Lagging by an average of 20% if they are administered to patients within a year of contracting tuberculosis and by almost 30% if they are administered after a year, tuberculosis treatments in African countries have success rates that continue to be far less than those in other countries, according to the statistics recently released by the World Health Organization.

    Lagging by X and by Y, tubersulosis treatments (main subject) have success rates that (naun clause 'less...than those structure), According to.....

    I think C is not correct because,
    1. ''continue to lag far behind those in other countries'' === lag far behind ????
    2. ''within a year of patients’ contracting the disease '' --Patients's ???
    3. ''by almost 30% if they are'' -- who is ''they'' "?

    • Actually, I wrote that comment 'before' looking at answer. So, I can get idea about my mistakes !

  • C is the right option. btw whats the answer ??

  • My answer is C - i think it clearly states the relations between all the modifiers and antecedents

  • The obvious answer here is C.

  • My pick is C.
    Correct meaning is conveyed.

  • The answer is definitely C.

Ask a Question or Leave a Reply

The author Chris Black gets email notifications for all questions or replies to this post.

Some HTML allowed. Keep your comments above the belt or risk having them deleted. Signup for a Gravatar to have your pictures show up by your comment.