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#15 - A survey of historians shows that most believe written

mrcheese
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The answer choice I originally chose was E. Now I see that is terrible, but I think I have a problem with the correct answer (C).

The conclusion in the stimulus says that "many" important repositories are ignored.

The answer choice (correct - C) says that the assumption ("takes for granted") of the conclusion is that there are NO SOURCES for historical understanding that are neither considered best by historians nor neglected by them.

Hypothetically, if there was just one source in the arts that was described as, "not the best, but definitely not neglected" then it would still allow for the stimulus conclusion to follow that the historians are neglecting "many."

"Many" isn't as strong as "all." It seems to leave some wiggle room.

Please give me some clarification on this. I appreciate all that you guys do. :)
mrcheese
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I looked at the situation again.

I think the "many" refers to the other situations (the arts) and the reason it could not say "all" was necessary because they at least didn't neglect the historical writings.

This question seems terribly worded. I would like to understand how to not be defeated by this type of wording.
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, Mr. Cheese,

Yes, this is a difficult question to parse! A couple pointers to consider:

  • Did you have a strong prephrase here? Once you identify the conclusion at the end of the stimulus and consider the support offered, it's important to pause a beat to consider just what's wrong with the argument. You might come up with something like:

      "Wait, just because the historians don't think that stuff is the most important thing doesn't mean they don't value it. They might use it, but just not as much as the written texts."
    With this kind of prephrase, you can confidently attack the answer choices to separate them into contenders and losers.
  • When you come across something difficult to follow, like answer choice (C), consider just leaving it in as a contender to deal with later. Get rid of the clear losers, the stuff you know is wrong for a good reason, then return to these confusing contenders to consider them in more detail.
  • Now, parse out the remaining answer choices to understand precisely what they say. For instance, with answer choice (C) you might do something like this:

      "the argument takes for granted that" = "the author assumes"
      "there are no sources for historical understanding" = "there aren't any sources"
      "that are neither considered best by historians" = "that historians don't think are best"
      Pause here.
      "the author assumes that there aren't any sources that historians don't think are best." This must be referring to the other stuff, not the written texts.
      Continue.
      "nor neglected by them" = "and are also not ignored by them."
      Put it all together.
      "The author assumes that there aren't any sources that historians don't think are best and are also not ignored by them."
      Okay so this is saying the author thinks the historians thing that all those sources, like paintings and music, that the historians don't think are the best thing are also things that the historians totally ignore. This matches the prephrase!

This is a difficult process that takes practice, but work through these hard problems step by step to increase your speed and skill. It will get easier!

Keep up the good work!
mrcheese
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I never prephrase. It seems like a really hard skill. Sometimes I do it without thinking about it, but that is just because the stimulus was easy.
I'll admit.. It was easy to see that this answer was very susceptible to prephrasing. I still don't think that "many" should lead to they "took for granted" that "there are no sources... that are neither best nor taken of granted by them"

Seems like there could still be a few. Pre-phrasing is my only hope here?
mrcheese
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The question doesn't seem that hard now. The other answers are worse than the correct answer. I just take issue with the correct answer a little bit. I can definitely understand why the others are absolutely wrong.