Weaken questions

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PrezRand

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Weaken questions

Postby PrezRand » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:09 am

Can anyone give me any guidance on how to tackle this type of question? I have read the chapter in the LR powerscore book and have covered the questions from PT 7-18, but still get many of them wrong.

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freekick

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby freekick » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:29 am

PrezRand wrote:Can anyone give me any guidance on how to tackle this type of question? I have read the chapter in the LR powerscore book and have covered the questions from PT 7-18, but still get many of them wrong.


What's your step by step approach to W Qs?

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Walliums

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby Walliums » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:08 am

Curious to know your step by step approach as well. Here is mine (and it's the same for strengthening questions, just one point where you flip what you do):

1. Read question stem, identify as weakening question
2. Read stimulus, and identify conclusion and premises
3. Analyze the conclusion and premises, understand the support between getting from the premises to the conclusion (it is usually flawed)
4. Think about how to attack the support between premises and conclusion (for strengthening questions, look to buff up the support -- and you do this in steps 5 and 6 instead)
5. Eliminate answer choices that do not attack the support between premises and conclusion (wrong answer choices could attack the conclusion, attack the premises, or amazingly have nothing to do with the issue at hand).
6. Select answer choice that does attack support between premises and conclusion

This of course is not what I am consciously thinking when I address weakening questions, but it's the general progression of how I work.

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby Mikey » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:25 am

I got this helpful "cheat sheet" for weaken questions that I saw someone make on 7sage's forum. Unless someone else posts it before me, I'll post it when I get a chance to turn on my laptop!

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby Mikey » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:08 am

Here it is:

(1) Causation: almost always flawed due to correlation -> causation (A corr B, therefore A cause B). So in order to weaken..
1. A exists, B doesn't (and vice versa) 
2. B cause A (flip) 
3. C cause A or B (3rd cause)
4. A corr B is actually spurious (this type of answer choice is very rare though).

(2) Assumption: usually involves a shift in scope like SA or NA questions (idea X -> idea Y). These types rely more on your intuition and answer choices will almost always address the jump.

(3) Phenomenon-Hypothesis (an observation is explained by a single hypothesis). So in order to weaken..
1. Alternative hypothesis that explains away the observation. An important thing to note is that the alternative hypothesis must explain the phenomenon FULLY, not partially. Treat these like RRE answer choices.
2. Show that the proposed hypothesis is incomplete. Something in the line of "ok, but what about this observation?"

And as a rule of thumb, always watch out for trap answer choices that SEEM to attack the premise but are actually not really doing so. These answer choices usually contain quantifiers (some and most), and words that indicate the degree of something that can go EITHER way. 

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freekick

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby freekick » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:51 am

[quote="Walliums"]
4. Think about how to attack the support between premises and conclusion"


For attacking the reasoning and answer choices, I find it really helpful to actually say to myself: "So one of the answer choices is going to tell me that given all the evidence, the conclusion may still not follow."
This in turn helps stay loyal to the reasoning and stay clear of premise attacks/out of scope answers. When stuck b/w two choices, take each and ask again: Given the evidence, does this answer choice make the conclusion less believable?

Conversely, for Strenghen Qs, I would say: So one of the answer choices is going to tell me that read with the given evidence, the conclusion is more believable".

There are of course a variety of ways in which arguments are flawed, the most common of which are mentioned in the cheat sheet above.

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Walliums

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby Walliums » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:55 pm

Mikey wrote:Here it is:

(1) Causation: almost always flawed due to correlation -> causation (A corr B, therefore A cause B). So in order to weaken..
1. A exists, B doesn't (and vice versa) 
2. B cause A (flip) 
3. C cause A or B (3rd cause)
4. A corr B is actually spurious (this type of answer choice is very rare though).

(2) Assumption: usually involves a shift in scope like SA or NA questions (idea X -> idea Y). These types rely more on your intuition and answer choices will almost always address the jump.

(3) Phenomenon-Hypothesis (an observation is explained by a single hypothesis). So in order to weaken..
1. Alternative hypothesis that explains away the observation. An important thing to note is that the alternative hypothesis must explain the phenomenon FULLY, not partially. Treat these like RRE answer choices.
2. Show that the proposed hypothesis is incomplete. Something in the line of "ok, but what about this observation?"

And as a rule of thumb, always watch out for trap answer choices that SEEM to attack the premise but are actually not really doing so. These answer choices usually contain quantifiers (some and most), and words that indicate the degree of something that can go EITHER way. 


This is a fantastic list - I feel like the alternate hypothesis is the go-to when you can't seem to grasp why the conclusion shouldn't follow after the premise(s).

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Walliums

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby Walliums » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:57 pm

freekick wrote:
Walliums wrote:4. Think about how to attack the support between premises and conclusion"

For attacking the reasoning and answer choices, I find it really helpful to actually say to myself: "So one of the answer choices is going to tell me that given all the evidence, the conclusion may still not follow."
This in turn helps stay loyal to the reasoning and stay clear of premise attacks/out of scope answers. When stuck b/w two choices, take each and ask again: Given the evidence, does this answer choice make the conclusion less believable?

Conversely, for Strenghen Qs, I would say: So one of the answer choices is going to tell me that read with the given evidence, the conclusion is more believable".

There are of course a variety of ways in which arguments are flawed, the most common of which are mentioned in the cheat sheet above.


I'm pretty good with strengthen/weaken already but I am going to start internalizing that question you ask yourself! Sounds like a great way to not get trapped

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PrezRand

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby PrezRand » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:33 pm

freekick wrote:
PrezRand wrote:Can anyone give me any guidance on how to tackle this type of question? I have read the chapter in the LR powerscore book and have covered the questions from PT 7-18, but still get many of them wrong.


What's your step by step approach to W Qs?

1. Read the question
2. Read the stimulus and then underline the conclusion
3. Ask myself where is the gap in logic between the stimulus conclusion
4. Look for the answer
5. Answer it incorrectly lol

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PrezRand

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby PrezRand » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:53 pm

Walliums wrote:Curious to know your step by step approach as well. Here is mine (and it's the same for strengthening questions, just one point where you flip what you do):

1. Read question stem, identify as weakening question
2. Read stimulus, and identify conclusion and premises
3. Analyze the conclusion and premises, understand the support between getting from the premises to the conclusion (it is usually flawed)
4. Think about how to attack the support between premises and conclusion (for strengthening questions, look to buff up the support -- and you do this in steps 5 and 6 instead)
5. Eliminate answer choices that do not attack the support between premises and conclusion (wrong answer choices could attack the conclusion, attack the premises, or amazingly have nothing to do with the issue at hand).
6. Select answer choice that does attack support between premises and conclusion

This of course is not what I am consciously thinking when I address weakening questions, but it's the general progression of how I work.

I think I have figured out my problem. I normally attack the conclusion and try to find an answer as to why it is flawed.

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Shakawkaw

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Re: Weaken questions

Postby Shakawkaw » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:04 pm

I think the biggest mistake people make is attacking the premises or conclusion - you have to take everything the test writers say as "fact."

What you can do is attack the support, by asserting inferences or taking away inferences.

HTH.



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