A student recently wrote us: "Although I can understand why option III is the best answer, I cannot see why option II would NOT be an answer. There is clearly mention of "rewards," as quoted in the passage, "Reaching the rank of eagle warrior or jaguar warrior (three to five or more captives taken, based on the particular city-state) was rare enough that those who attained such rank were granted status equivalent to that of a minor noble." I believe this is strong enough indication to infer that achieving higher ranks is something desirable by these warriors, judging by the "strongest competition" among them. Expectedly, taking away these rewards would incentivize the capturing of prisoners for sacrifice to a lesser degree, and have an even MORE DIRECT effect on improving combat effectiveness. As quoted in the passage, "...goal was not the defeat of the opposing force, but rather the gaining of captives to be sacrificed..." Taking incentives away for the MAJOR GOAL of the war, would undoubtedly shift the focus to something other than sacrifice, perhaps combat."
Maybe your inference would have some merit if the passage provided direct evidence that capturing prisoners specifically for religious sacrifice diminished the warrior's ability to fight. There is really no evidence that this is true in the passage. Fighting the Flower Wars simply re-directed the efforts of the Aztecs from fighting skills to ceremonial things. These wars did not directly weaken these warriors. On the MCAT, be very careful about inferring too much or incorrectly about what is said the passage. Even if your logic could be argued to be supported by the passage, it is unlikely the depth and length of the logic you presented would be expected to answer a question on the CARS section. The logic behind correct CARS answers are often straightforward.
Thanks for your question. I hope this helps!
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