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 cornflakes
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: Feb 19, 2021
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#85717
Hi Powerscore - I actually prephrased an answer where I would be looking for some sorta of contrapositive reasoning structure to describe what the author did.

I narrowed it down to C thru process of elimination and initially eliminated A because I could not understand what it was doing because it was describing the elements in such an abstract, indirect, muddled way. Interestingly enough, I actually detected the flaw in C before going with it, as the skeptic showed the necessary condition was NOT met, not the that it was. Yet, for some reason unknown, I still went with C - I believe it was because I could not understand A.

Taking a step back and doing the problem untimed, its a lot easier to attribute the abstract terms they use in the answer choice to actual items in the stimulus. In real time, however, this is a daunting task. Do you have any tips for students struggling to attach the items in the stimulus to abstract descriptors under time pressure?

Thanks.
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 3809
  • Joined: Apr 14, 2011
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#86351
The first thing I would say, cornflakes, is that in a question like this it's dangerous to try prephrasing the correct answer, because the correct answer could be just about anything so long as it is not a required assumption of the argument. Instead, you should be prephrasing what the four wrong answers will say. In this case you would want to think about things like almost everyone knowing that it works, and having access to it, and not having better options, and not having some compelling reasons not to use the mixture. That's all the answers that you need to eliminate, and the right answer should stand out simply because you did NOT prephrase it.

If you find yourself with a confusing answer choice, you must keep it as a contender rather than reject it. The reason why is simple enough: if you don't understand the answer, then you cannot know that it's wrong. There are of course some exception, as there can be answers that are confusing but which you can clearly see do not contain an essential element, but the general rule is valid and you should never reject an answer that you are unsure about. Confusing answers frequently turn out to be the correct answers.

Finally, since this is an Assumption-EXCEPT question, you can test the contenders by negating them. What if there are not enough doses for almost everyone with a cold to get some? Then the fact that not everyone is using it tells you nothing about what people think about it or whether it works, because it may work and they all want it but just can't get it. Negating answer A ruins the argument and proves that it is a required assumption, thus making it a wrong answer in this case.

I'm not sure that answers your question about matching items in the stimulus to things in the answers, but for that I like to think of the stimulus and answer choice as a sort of checklist or matching game. If the answer talks about "a phenomenon," I ask myself what the phenomenon in the stimulus is, and if there isn't one that answer won't match and is a loser. Just play the matching game, step by step, and see if you can layer the details from the stimulus over the abstract descriptors in the answer and get something that matches what you are looking for or if you get something unhelpful or messy and missing things.

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