- Tue May 16, 2017 4:40 pm
You're right, the language in this question stem is a bit confusing. Keep in mind that this from a 1992 test - it was administered 25 years ago! Remember when you review old tests that sometimes the question stems might look a bit different from what you see on current tests (and what you'll see on your test!). That should be a relief, I hope.
But it useful to look at this question stem, as it gets your brain thinking "out of the box." If you've been studying, most of the question stems you encounter will be familiar to you. This question stem doesn't fit neatly into one of our question types. So let's discuss what we're being asked:
Stem (emphasis added): Q's response [Children were punished for being left-handed] serves to counter any use by M of the evidence about 85 to 90 year olds [It is almost impossible to find a person between the ages of 85 and 90 who primarily uses the left hand] in support of which one of the following hypotheses?
Basically, what could M NO LONGER say now that Q has given his evidence? What assertion does M's evidence no longer back up? While this doesn't fit neatly into a question type, you could think of this as a Cannot Be True. Now that we have Q's evidence that children used to be punished for being left-handed, what assertion is no longer valid? Look at answer choices (B) through (E). All of those assertions could be supported by both Q's and M's evidence. But look at answer choice (A) again. While that assertion is supported by M's evidence, it is NOT supported by Q's evidence.
M does not imply all left-handed people over 85 are dead. But his evidence (that's it almost impossible to find left-handed folks in that age range) does support the assertion that "Being born right-handed confers a survival advantage." Q responds with a reason why that might be, and it has nothing to do with survival advantage, but social reasons. So M can no longer claim that "being born right-handed confers a survival advantage." It's not that M made that claim in the stimulus, but the question stem is about POSSIBLE claims/assertions that M might make.
Hope this helps. And if this question still twists you in knots, move on. You are unlikely to see a question stem worded like this in the future.