Haziness between "outside" and "common" knowledge

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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:54 pm

Haziness between "outside" and "common" knowledge

Postby upandup » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:13 am

Maybe this test is just getting into my head at this point, but I feel as if I have been seeing more questions lately that make me wonder about what exactly constitutes "outside knowledge". The Powerscore books say, for instance, that the location of major cities is something which could be brought in to factor into a question. I was reminded of that when I saw this question from a PT I took today:

According to current geological theory, the melting of
ice at the end of the Ice Age significantly reduced the
weight pressing on parts of the earth’s crust. As a
result, lasting cracks in the earth’s crust appeared in
some of those parts under the stress of pressure from
below. At the end of the Ice Age Sweden was racked
by severe earthquakes. Therefore, it is likely that the
melting of the ice contributed to these earthquakes.

Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens
the argument above?

(A) The earth’s crust tends to crack whenever there
is a sudden change in the pressures affecting it.
(B) There are various areas in Northern Europe that
show cracks in the earth’s crust.
(C) Evidence of severe earthquakes around the time
of the end of the Ice Age can be found in parts
of northern Canada.
(D) Severe earthquakes are generally caused by
cracking of the earth’s crust near the
earthquake site.
(E) Asteroid impacts, which did occur at the end of
the Ice Age, generally cause severe

I just feel like this question is begging for the "Sweden is so far north! It's certainly plausible that it had glaciers that receded at the end of the last Ice Age!" voice to keep hammering away in one's mind when reading the question. To me this seems to be more along the lines of common knowledge or a plausible assumption that it could be at least possible that Sweden had glaciers which then receded, as opposed to actually knowing for a fact that Sweden was at one point covered in glaciers and then using this information in the question. The OA, D, invites this use of geography even more with the "near the earthquake site", i.e. Sweden, part of the AC (thereby making the answer choice stronger if it is more reasonable that the location of the earthquake and the place where the described geological effect could have happened are one in the same). Also interesting to note that other regions, Northern Canada and Northern Europe, are brought into play here in other incorrect ACs, where knowledge of geography would change the relative strength of these ACs.

Can anyone help me out on situations like these? Anyone else come across a question that they have found to be particularly difficult to determine about just what exactly they should bring into the question? One thing I know for certain is that I don't want to be dealing with this potential distraction/error on October 1.

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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Haziness between "outside" and "common" knowledge

Postby HellOnHeels » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:52 am

I don't think it matters what location is used in the answers. Change all the locations to "Africa" and it still doesn't change why they are wrong.
(a) is a restatement (summary?) of the premise.
(b), you have mention of cracks in the crust, but how does that relate to cracks to earthquakes? It doesn't.
(c), you have mention of earthquakes, but not the cracks.
(d), you have mention of cracks and earthquakes being related (correct answer?!!).
(e), what does astroid impacts really have to do with relating earthquakes to cracks in the earth? You'd have to assume that an astroid impact would cause cracks in the earth and then relate that to the earthquakes.

Hope this helps!

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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:58 pm

Re: Haziness between "outside" and "common" knowledge

Postby jvaugh57 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:02 am

Last edited by jvaugh57 on Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:26 pm

Re: Haziness between "outside" and "common" knowledge

Postby kahechsof » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:09 am

I don't like any of the answers.

The statement requires an assumption that Sweden had these cracks, and that cracks cause earthquakes.
None of the answers supply both of these assumptions. I actually picked B, since I am more comfortable using my outside knowledge that cracks cause earthquakes (which is missing from B).
OP says the real answer is D, which requires making an assumption that Sweden had these cracks.

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