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#20 - To date, most of the proposals that have been endorsed

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Complete Question Explanation

Parallel Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (E)

Here the author considers past events and draws the conclusion that the future will therefore likely be
the same: In the past, the author provides, most Citizens League-endorsed proposals were passed by
the city council. Based on this trend the author concludes that any proposal endorsed by the Citizens
League in the future will also probably be passed by city council:

    Premise: The majority of proposals that were endorsed by the Citizens League in the
    past were passed by city council.

    Conclusion: Therefore any future proposal endorsed by the Citizens League will probably
    also be passed by city council.

The question that follows asks for the answer choice that most closely parallels this line of
reasoning—that past events provide a fairly reliable indication of the future.

Answer choice (A): This incorrect answer choice starts in the right direction but quickly goes off
track: The majority of Vasani grants that were given in the past were given to academic biologists.
Therefore, this choice concludes, if most of next year’s Vasani grants go to academics, then the
majority of that majority will probably be biologists.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice does draw a broad conclusion based on related information:
based on an attribute of most individual trees on coastal islands (they are “deciduous”), the conclusion
is drawn that most tree species found on the islands are probably deciduous. Since this choice does
not draw a conclusion about the future based on past events, however, it can be ruled out.

Answer choice (C): This choice provides that most of the editors working for local newspapers have
been unsympathetic to the local farmers. Thus, the author concludes, if the next hire is sympathetic,
the newly hired employee will probably not be hired as an editor. Unlike the stimulus, in which
the author draws a conclusion that the future will probably look like the past, this choice draws a
conclusion regarding what will probably not happen in the future.

Answer choice (D): Like the stimulus, this choice deals with past and future events. Based on the
fact that most late entries to the photography contest were rejected, the author concludes that those
who were rejected will probably get their entries in ahead of schedule this year. Unlike the stimulus,
in which the author concludes that the future will probably be similar to the past, this choice
concludes that the future will probably be different from the past.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice, and the one which most closely parallels
the reasoning found in the stimulus: Since most of the stone artifacts found at the site have been
domestic tools, the next stone artifact found at this site probably will also be a domestic tool. When
we break this down, it looks very much like the argument from the stimulus:

    Premise: The majority of the stone artifacts that have been found in the past at this site
    are domestic tools.

    Conclusion: If the next (future) artifact found here is stone, it will probably be a domestic
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I wanted to know the difference between answer choices C and E.


- Arindom
David Boyle
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Arindom wrote:Hi,

I wanted to know the difference between answer choices C and E.


- Arindom

Hello Arindom,

I am guessing you are referring to question 20 from the June 2011 test, section III. If so, then answer C is a sort of contrapositive: "Editors hate farmers, so a hire who likes farmers won't be an editor." But E is just a "time shift assumption" issue as in the stimulus. The stimulus says, "Most CL-endorsed proposals passed, so a future one probably will." And answer E says, "Most stone artifacts found are domestic tools, so a future stone artifact probably will be a domestic tool too."

Hope this helps,
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Got it. Thanks, David!

- Arindom
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Hi Powerscore,

Could you explain why answer choice A is incorrect? It also uses past events to predict the future event, right?

Thank you!

Adam Tyson
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You're right about that time shift in answer A, chian9010, but that's not enough to make it the best answer choice. Answer A also does something that neither the stimulus nor the correct answer do, and that is introduce another "most" in the conclusion - "if most of the Vasani grants awarded next year...". Our conclusion was about any future proposal that is endorsed, which means all such proposals, not just most of them. Answer E also has that same level of inclusion and certainty - not just most of the next stone artifacts to be found, but the next one. That small difference is enough to make E a better choice, and A a very attractive contender!

It's little things like that which can make a fairly simple Parallel Reasoning question tougher, and why we have to be careful to first sort the answers into losers and contenders and then, if we have two or more contenders, compare them to each other to discern what makes them different from each other so we can determine how that difference makes one better than the others.

Keep pounding!
Adam M. Tyson
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