What makes Main Point questions difficult?

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mcat4life87

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What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby mcat4life87 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:25 pm

What is it about main point questions that makes them tough? For some people, the main point sticks out very obviously, but for others, they consistently identify the wrong lines as the main point or pick an answer choice that doesn't match what they had correctly identified as the main point. Does it mainly boil down to poor comprehension of the stimulus? Other factors?

Mikey

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby Mikey » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:45 pm

Main point questions shouldn't be as difficult as you're claiming them to be. They test your ability to pick apart the stimulus and know the difference between the conclusion(s) and premises, which in turn, is what you do with the evidence/conclusion for other question types. There can be sub-conclusions, but those are not the main conclusion/main point. When doing a MP question, look for what seems to be a strong opinion about something. If you're able to spot that out, you're in good shape because you found your main conclusion.

"Most people believe in supernatural forces because of recent studies. But they are mistaken in believing so." The author will then give premises as to why this belief is mistaken among most people. The main point is that what most people believe about supernatural forces is mistaken. Simple as that. Now the premises might says something that attacks the truth to these recent studies, but even then, the main point can still look something like "People's beliefs of supernatural forces are mistaken because these studies are not accurate", or something along those lines.

Tips:
1. The main point is usually NEVER the last sentence for these questions. If there is a "thus" in the last sentence, it is most likely a sub-conclusion and a trap answer choice.
2. The main point can be the first sentence of the stimulus, or after a word like "but, yet, however". These words indicate that opinion I mentioned before.
3. Like the example I gave above, if the context of the stimulus says something like "many people believe, some people say, researchers hypothesize, etc.", then the chances of the author saying something after it like "But they are wrong, they are mistaken" are very high. Therefore, you will know that the main conclusion of the stimulus is that the author think that those people are wrong/mistaken, etc.

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Deardevil

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby Deardevil » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:24 pm

I'm assuming you're talking about main points in RC and not LR since they are pretty fairly straightforward in the latter.

Mikey nailed it on this one.
Main point answer choices will always have similar phrasing and words from the passage.
The idea is to identify the "passage map" so that you know where to refer for certain information.
Given a four-paragraph passage, you need to read each one very carefully and figure out what the purpose for each is.

The main point is either usually in the very beginning or towards the end in either the first or last paragraph.
Often, it is easily distinguished by "however" because the author is giving his/her alternative/actual conclusion.
The chunks in between are supporting pieces of evidence or counterexamples.

mcat4life87

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby mcat4life87 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:25 pm

Deardevil wrote:I'm assuming you're talking about main points in RC and not LR since they are pretty fairly straightforward in the latter.

Mikey nailed it on this one.
Main point answer choices will always have similar phrasing and words from the passage.
The idea is to identify the "passage map" so that you know where to refer for certain information.
Given a four-paragraph passage, you need to read each one very carefully and figure out what the purpose for each is.

The main point is either usually in the very beginning or towards the end in either the first or last paragraph.
Often, it is easily distinguished by "however" because the author is giving his/her alternative/actual conclusion.
The chunks in between are supporting pieces of evidence or counterexamples.


Yes, I'm referring to LR. I think they are jsut as easy as you and Mikey say; but I'm wondering why some people have a lot of trouble with them.

Mikey

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby Mikey » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:28 pm

Deardevil wrote:I'm assuming you're talking about main points in RC and not LR since they are pretty fairly straightforward in the latter.

Mikey nailed it on this one.
Main point answer choices will always have similar phrasing and words from the passage.
The idea is to identify the "passage map" so that you know where to refer for certain information.
Given a four-paragraph passage, you need to read each one very carefully and figure out what the purpose for each is.

The main point is either usually in the very beginning or towards the end in either the first or last paragraph.
Often, it is easily distinguished by "however" because the author is giving his/her alternative/actual conclusion.
The chunks in between are supporting pieces of evidence or counterexamples.

Wait, now I'm confused af, my explanation was for LR MP questions since OP said "stimulus", lol. I guess it can go for RC main point questions as well, but for RC they'll have to see I guess "the bigger picture" in a more broad way for the whole passage.

Mikey

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby Mikey » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:32 pm

mcat4life87 wrote:
Deardevil wrote:I'm assuming you're talking about main points in RC and not LR since they are pretty fairly straightforward in the latter.

Mikey nailed it on this one.
Main point answer choices will always have similar phrasing and words from the passage.
The idea is to identify the "passage map" so that you know where to refer for certain information.
Given a four-paragraph passage, you need to read each one very carefully and figure out what the purpose for each is.

The main point is either usually in the very beginning or towards the end in either the first or last paragraph.
Often, it is easily distinguished by "however" because the author is giving his/her alternative/actual conclusion.
The chunks in between are supporting pieces of evidence or counterexamples.


Yes, I'm referring to LR. I think they are jsut as easy as you and Mikey say; but I'm wondering why some people have a lot of trouble with them.

People who do poorly on these questions probably need to just practice more of picking apart the stimulus and looking for shifts in language. Also, they probably don't really know keywords to look for like "but, yet, however". Or the fact that the last sentence of the stimulus is usually going to be a trap answer choice.

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Deardevil

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby Deardevil » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:37 pm

TheMikey wrote:Wait, now I'm confused af, my explanation was for LR MP questions since OP said "stimulus", lol. I guess it can go for RC main point questions as well, but for RC they'll have to see I guess "the bigger picture" in a more broad way for the whole passage.


Oh, bad reading on my part LOL.

In that case, it's hard to say. Perhaps they've just started out.
I mean, main point and conclusions are pretty much the basis for any other LR question.
If one thinks main points are hard, strengtheners, weakeners, and assumptions won't be easy as well.

RC main points make more sense since some can be pretty boggling;
I hate when I get the main point wrong while everything else is right.

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scalawag

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby scalawag » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:10 pm

I don't have a problem with Main Point questions but the ones that might take me a little longer are the ones that have intermediate/subsidiary conclusions.

For these you take your two conclusions and the one that sounds right with 'therefor' in front of it (when the two are read together) is your main conclusion/answer. This is from the Manhattan book, which I would strongly recommend if you need to increase your LR score.

I try to read recognizing premises and conclusions by how the premise leads to the conclusion in the argument. I find when I do this I comprehend the argument more, not just in a reading comprehension sense but in a logical sense as well. This is another thing taught in the Manhattan book, they kind of gleam over indicator words.

For this question type I think it's less necessary but I would still recommend doing it. For one thing your main conclusion could be lacking an indicator word and you could not be paying enough attention to pick up on the other conclusion. For another it's harder to read LR like this but it's good for your brain. It gets the logical thought processes going and hopefully the more you do it the easier and more second nature it begins.

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Blueprint Mithun

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Re: What makes Main Point questions difficult?

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:40 pm

mcat4life87 wrote:What is it about main point questions that makes them tough? For some people, the main point sticks out very obviously, but for others, they consistently identify the wrong lines as the main point or pick an answer choice that doesn't match what they had correctly identified as the main point. Does it mainly boil down to poor comprehension of the stimulus? Other factors?



I've seen a couple of tricky main point questions before where the correct answer choice isn't something that was explicitly mentioned in the stimulus, but heavily suggested and logically deductible from the given premises. Don't expect to find an answer that lines up exactly with something you saw in the stimulus - try and break down the structure of the argument, and be clear on which statements support other statements, and which require support.



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