A student recently wrote us, "Fluorine is a known exception to the rule regarding electron-withdrawing groups, as its inductive effect (pulling electron density away from the ring) is mitigated by its ability to use its lone pair of electrons to stabilize a carbocation through resonance. Is this effect still not strong enough to consider the group stabilizing?"
This is a good example of the necessity of sticking to the passage on MCAT questions. In fact, background knowledge can sometimes get in the way of your ability to interpret primary research that the passage discusses. In this example, the questions focus on the findings of the researchers (as expressed in the table) rather than on the results of other research (or whatever the textbook might say). Research can be messy! It's always a good bet to take the information on the MCAT at its word and not try to outthink the findings as they are presented in the passage. Unless a question specifically asks you to challenge or complicate (or ... etc.), it's usually a good bet to roll with the information as presented.
I know this type of thing can be frustrating, but I hope this explanation helps!
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