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In reactions the fast steps occur at such a high rate that overall they contribute almost nothing to the total time of the reaction. Although they do contribute a little we just approximate the rate to be just the slow step only. A way to think about this is if the slow step took a year and the fast step took a couple seconds then overall it's the slow step dictating the rate since a couple seconds is almost nothing compared to a year.
I read an example online that helped me understand the rate determining step: The rate determining step is like a funnel in which only so much substance can pass at a time. The reaction rate is limited by the width of the "funnel", not by the amount of substance being added to the funnel. The slowest step of the reaction would be the funnel in this situation and thus would determine the rate of the reaction.
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