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I'm not sure if this rule applies in this class, but my TA gave out a worksheet today in which we were supposed to approximate that subtracting X from a concentration doesn't change the concentration. The worksheet asks for you to check if the concentration of the product, or X, was less than 5% of the original concentration of the reactant, and I think this works as a sanity check. If you finish the problem and find out that the product formed was less than 5% of the original concentration of the reactant, then it seems reasonable that you assumed subtracting X did not significantly change the concentration of the reactants.
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