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GMAT Question of the Day – 9/12/2020

In South America, where pomegranate trees are not native plants, the trees’ flowers have, in the past, been pollinated manually by laborers. This manual process has kept the production of pomegranate fruit unnaturally low. When a variety of snout beetle known to be effective pollinators were introduced into South America five years ago, pomegranate fruit productivity increased by nearly 40 percent, but then decreased sharply last year.

Which of the following statements would best explain last year’s decrease in production?


(A) The price of pomegranate fruit fell over the past five years, following the rise in production and coinciding fall in demand.

(B) Non-native trees often produce more than native trees because the non-native ones have left behind their pests and diseases in their native lands.

(C) Rapid increases in productivity tend to deprive trees of nutrients needed for the development of the fruit-producing flowers. (THIS IS THE CORRECT ONE).

(D) The snout beetle population in South America has remained at about the same level over the past five years.

(E) Before the snout beetle was introduced, another species of insect pollinated the pomegranate trees, but not as effectively as the snout beetle.


The words “would best explain” indicate that this is an Explain question. Expect there to be a paradox or apparent contradiction involving last year’s decrease in production. The answer will explain how both parts of the apparent contradiction can be true.

Untangle the stimulus in an Explain question by paraphrasing the two parts of the apparent contradiction. Here, pomegranate production, which had been unnaturally low due to manual pollination, increased greatly when the beetle was introduced five years ago. But then it decreased sharply last year.

It’s difficult to predict an exact answer for most Explain questions. Just keep in mind that the correct answer will explain why pomegranate production suddenly decreased sharply last year despite the presence of the helpful beetle.

(C) explains why production suddenly dropped and is therefore correct. The introduction of the beetle caused rapid increase in production over the past five years, which ended up depriving the trees of nutrients needed for the development of fruit-producing flowers. The result is that the trees can’t keep up their fruit production anymore.

(A) just describes how production affected prices, but it doesn’t explain why production suddenly dropped.

(B) makes an irrelevant comparison between non-native trees and native trees. The stimulus is only concerned with one tree and its sudden drop in production.

(D) actually deepens the mystery. Had the snout beetle population dropped, it might have been understandable that pomegranate production would drop. But the snout beetle population has remained constant!

(E) pertains to an irrelevant time period – more than five years ago. This has no bearing on why production suddenly dropped in the last year.

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