Missing a boat load of Assumption and Strengthen/Weaken Questions

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OlegPerry97

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Missing a boat load of Assumption and Strengthen/Weaken Questions

Postby OlegPerry97 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:42 pm

I'm missing roughly 15-ish L.R. questions every practice exam and at least 1/2 of them every time fall under Assumption, Strengthen or Weaken Questions. I understand these categories of L.R. questions require more abstract thinking than say, Resolve the Paradox or Must be True, but I'm very adept at Parallel the Reasoning and Justify the Conclusion type Questions so I'm not sure if it's a lack of understanding the stimulus. I keep looking over what PowerScore says about these Q types and have scoured the Internet as well. For some reason it just doesn't click very well with me, can somebody help explain these Q types in a way to someone who knows the general concept?

Mikey

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Re: Missing a boat load of Assumption and Strengthen/Weaken Questions

Postby Mikey » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:47 pm

Bracket the conclusion of the stimulus and pay attention to the premises that give the conclusion its support. Never pick an answer choice that goes against your premises, that is not the right answer. Pick an answer choice that hurts/supports the "support" between the premise and conclusion.

Here's some tips for weaken questions that I came across and it helped me out. (also works for strengthen questions but it's just the opposite, you obviously want to HELP the arg. not hurt it)

(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?"

so for correlation strengthen questions, you want to pick an AC that BLOCKS any of these above options from existing.
for assumption strengthen questions, the same as it state above.. pay attention to the scope shift and pick an AC that gives the 2 ideas involved in the shift a better relationship, kind of.. don't know how to better explain it lol sorry.
for phen-hyp, to strengthen just pick an AC that avoids an alternate hypothesis, as opposed to weakening the argument and giving an alternate hyp.

I know my final explanations were pretty vague, but I suck at explaining. but if you have any other questions feel free to quote me!

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Blueprint Mithun

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Re: Missing a boat load of Assumption and Strengthen/Weaken Questions

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:10 pm

OlegPerry97 wrote:I'm missing roughly 15-ish L.R. questions every practice exam and at least 1/2 of them every time fall under Assumption, Strengthen or Weaken Questions. I understand these categories of L.R. questions require more abstract thinking than say, Resolve the Paradox or Must be True, but I'm very adept at Parallel the Reasoning and Justify the Conclusion type Questions so I'm not sure if it's a lack of understanding the stimulus. I keep looking over what PowerScore says about these Q types and have scoured the Internet as well. For some reason it just doesn't click very well with me, can somebody help explain these Q types in a way to someone who knows the general concept?



These are definitely some of the tougher LR question types, but they are also fairly common, so it's important to master them. One similarity between Strengthen/Weaken and both types of Assumption questions is that they all test your ability to identify and understand the connections between premises and conclusions. Before you even start reading the answer choices, you should be clear on what the both the premises and conclusions.

You should also keep an eye out for the inconsistencies or weaknesses in the flow of logic. With these question types, there's usually something missing in the support that keeps the conclusion from being foolproof. If you can hone in on what that weakness is, then you'll be closer to finding the answer. In that way, these questions are similar to Flaw questions, but they ask you to move a step further.

One issue I had with the Powerscore LR book (I used it when I originally prepped for the test a few years ago) is that it lumped all Assumption questions into one category, rather than separating them into Sufficient and Necessary Assumption questions. I'm not sure if that's something that's been fixed in a more recent version, but in any case, it's any absolutely vital distinction to make! The two types of Assumption questions are asking for different things, and knowing which one to look for will make these questions a lot more manageable. If you're not aware of the Sufficient-Necessary distinction, let me know and I'll explain it further.

AJordan

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Re: Missing a boat load of Assumption and Strengthen/Weaken Questions

Postby AJordan » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:17 am

Luckily for you, necessary assumption questions are just must be true questions inversed. Look at the answers and think "does this HAVE to be true?" If the answer is no, that's not your answer. If the answer is yes, that's the answer. Oftentimes the answers are worded very weakly with words like "some" "may" "possibly" "could be" and the like.

Sufficient assumption questions are like a jigsaw puzzle with one piece missing. You just need to connect the two pieces with a hole in the middle. That usually means finding the abrupt change in premise and conclusion, which for me usually resides in some new information given in a conclusion that wasn't given in a premise. It can be subtle and sometimes plays on assumptions we hold in day to day life that the argument does not specify. This can also apply to connect two premises in an argument. These answers are usually absolute because they are 100% completing the argument. "must" "is" "requires" and the like.

Strengthen/Weaken questions kind of play the middle ground between the two. They can be weak or strong or somewhere in the middle. Accept the premises. Add or subtract strength to the argument. That's the process for me.



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