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We won't necessarily have to be told which step is the fast or the slow one in a problem. We know that the slow step rate must match the observed rate, which means the first step could be the slow step which would match automatically, or the second step could be the slow step (which causes a bottleneck after the first) and we could show that for a given reaction mechanism through the pre-equilibrium approach as seen in the coursereader page 73.
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