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Complete Question Explanation

The correct answer choice is (E).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B):

Answer choice (C):

Answer choice (D):

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice.

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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Hi PowerScore crew,

I just completed my first practice RC passage in the RCTT book, the June 1991 Medicine Passage in chapter 9, the humanities chapter. I'm happy to say that I got all of the questions for this passage correct, and the prephrase exercise yielded positive results (with the exception of question 25, which I felt I simply couldn't make a prephrase for). In other words, the lessons I learned in the RCB thus far are seemingly paying off!

However, there was one question in this passage, namely question 26, that provided me with two answer choices that I was HORRIBLY torn between. I ultimately chose E because it closely followed my prephrase. At the same time, however, I'm still left wanting a solid explanation as to why choice A is incorrect.

Is it because "eager that the work of...physicians be viewed from a new perspective" assumes that, in general, MOST PEOPLE view physicians' work as a trade when there's only evidence in the passage that SOME do, as in "consumer groups and others...redefine medicine as a trade rather than a profession, and the physician as merely a technician for hire under contract?"

Thank you in advance for your help. I feel like I need the explanation for A's incorrectness so that I know to avoid similar answers for similar questions in the future.

All the best!
 James Finch
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Hi Stanley,

Excellent job using a strong Prephrase to choose the correct answer choice among two contenders! That's exactly how it should work!

As for why (A) is incorrect, it is simply too narrowly focused; the passage deals with the professions as a whole, and their origins as a separate class of work from other, non-professional livelihoods. The career of physicians is only used as an example for the larger group, not as the main subject of the passage as a whole. The main point of the passage is to argue a point that is true for all professions, not just doctors or lawyers. Contrast this to (E), which deals with a point made about the broader scope of all professionals, not just physicians.

Hope this clears things up!
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I should have known! It so often comes down to scope. Thank you for the clarification. Much appreciated.

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Is A also wrong because the author is not really asking for medical professionals to be seen from a new perspective? The author isn't focused on the specifics of their work and more on how they approach their work from an ethical/moral perspective. In this way, A slightly misses the mark. Is that a fair assessment?
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 Ryan Twomey
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I agree with your first reason: "Is A also wrong because the author is not really asking for medical professionals to be seen from a new perspective?" You are correct here in your reasoning; the author does not want them to be seen from a new perspective. The new perspective referenced in the passage was that professionals be seen merely as technicians, which the author pushes strongly against. This is probably the worst answer choice out of the 5 in my opinion for this reason.

I disagree with your second reason for eliminating A: "The author isn't focused on the specifics of their work and more on how they approach their work from an ethical/moral perspective. In this way, A slightly misses the mark. Is that a fair assessment?" This does not seem to be relevant in my opinion. Your first reason was on the money.

Further, the correct answer is correct because it is impossible for the author to disagree with: E: "certain professionals confess a commitment to ethical ideals." We have examples of teachers, lawyers, and doctors having a commitment to ethical ideals. That is enough to back up answer choice E. I would be focusing more on the correct answer here than the specifics of why A is wrong, because you can explicitly back up E in the passage.

I hope this helps.
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Hi! I understand why A is wrong, but it's so subtle and E just doesn't seem right for the similarly subtle reasons. So A is wrong because it says that the "work" is should be viewed from a "new perspective". This is wrong because i) it's not about their work but mores about how we view the medical profession itself and ii) because it's not viewing it from a *new* perspective since the switch from profession to trade is recent.

The problem is that on tricky answers we eliminate things because they are so subtly different than what the passage is saying. However, E is subtly different too? The first line of the last paragraph says that "professing oneself a professional is an ethical act"- however to profess yourself a professional isn't the same thing as saying "professionals actually do this professing". I'm just so confused because I feel like we split hairs on so many tricky AC's but then other AC's splitting hairs leads to overanalyzing and getting it wrong. Can someone explain to me how I could know why E is more correct than A? And in general, how do we know when something is okay even if it doesn't line up, despite the fact that we need to be on guard for even the most subtle discrepancies between the passage and AC's.
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 Jeff Wren
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Hi sqmusgrave,

This question is a great example of the power of prephrasing. Prephrasing simply means coming up with an answer before looking at the answer choices. It is especially helpful in Reading Comp.

Here, the question is asking about the author's attitude toward professionals (not towards physicians, and this distinction is important). Before looking at the answers, you should go back to the passage and locate where the author weighs in on what truly makes professionals professionals.

It's important to realize that not everything stated in the passage about professionals reflects the author's viewpoint. The author includes several views with which the author actually disagrees. A huge part of reading comp is correctly tracking/diagramming the different viewpoints in any given passage.

In lines 20-22, the author defines a profession as "an activity or occupation to which its practitioner publicly professes, that is, confesses, devotion." The author, however, then goes on to claim that a profession is more than just the public announcement part.

After examining some incorrect views (according to the author) of what makes something a profession, such as the learning/knowledge (line 26) or the prestige/honor (line 39), the author eventually reveals the key element of a professional in lines 55-67.

One key part of the passage is "Being a professional is thus rooted in our moral nature and in that which warrants and impels making a public confession to a way of life. Professing oneself a professional is an ethical act ..." (lines 55-59).

A few lines later, the author describes a profession as "an activity in service to some high good" (lines 63-64).

These lines should provide you with a prephrase that is very similar to Answer E.

Note also that the correct answer to question 23 (regarding the main point of the passage) is Answer D "the correct reason that physicians are professionals is that their work involves public commitment to a high good." You may be wondering why I'm mentioning question 23. Often, you can use the answers to other questions, especially main point questions (assuming that you got those questions correct) to guide you.

In other words, since the entire main point of the passage is that the reason physicians are professionals is their public commitment to a high good, it makes sense that the author's view of professionals would be they confess a commitment to ethical ideals, as these are getting at the same idea.

As for Answer A, it doesn't match our prephrase and is not directly supported by the passage. For one thing, the author doesn't just feel that physicians should be singled out and viewed differently than other professions. When the author describes the key elements of professionals at the end of the passage, it is not specific only to physicians. Physicians are discussed specifically as an example, but are not contrasted to other professions.

For another thing, nowhere in the passage is the author's view of professionals identified as a "new" perspective, and you don't want to assume this.

Lastly, while it may seem like a small detail, the word "eager" in Answer A doesn't quite fit. While it's a positive word and the author certainly has a positive view of professionals, it's just not quite right (perhaps too emotional). Again it's not the word that I would have prephrased.

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