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This was a hypothetical reaction in which he told us that the reaction was an elementary and second order reaction. We were only able to assume this because he told us that it was. I don't believe that we would be able to assume this if he had not told us.
We didn't just assume that it was the elementary step. He gave us the rate law initially and because the rate law is solely dependent on the slow step, you can determine which of the elementary steps is the slow step by matching that steps rate law to the rate law that was given initially
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