Jumps in Reasoning
Jumps can occur between the premises and the conclusion or between each premise. Here is a jump between premises:
1. Our school requires some of the highest tuitions in the country.
2. High tuitions in any school discourage poor students from attending.
3. Discriminatory schools cannot attract the best and the brightest students.
Therefore, our school cannot attract the best and the brightest students.
The first and second premises are related, but not perfectly: schools that impose the highest tuitions do not necessarily impose high tuitions – only tuitions that are higher than other schools. That said, it is not unreasonable to assume that a school with some of the highest tuitions in the country would have high tuitions. So this is a jump, but it is a small one. The second and third premises makes a larger jump: a school discourages poor students from attending is not necessarily a discriminatory school.
So in a sufficient assumption question, the correct answer for this argument would likely link these last two phrases together by saying that “any school that discourages poor students from attending is a discriminatory school” or “only discriminatory schools discourage poor students from attending.” Note that both expressions say the same thing because any means if and only means then.
Prompts for sufficient assumptions:
• The conclusion relies on which one of the following assumptionps?
• The argument presupposes which one of the following?
• The conclusion does not follow unless
Before you look at the answers:
1. Pinpoint the main conclusion in the passage. (Read my previous Main Point post.)
2. Separate the premises from everything else. After you find the main point, don’t assume that all the other statements are premises; they might include opposing viewpoints, background information, and concessions.
3. Are there any jumps between the premises and the conclusion or between each premise? To find these jumps, look for any concepts that are discussed only once. There often two such concepts in the same passage. Unlike the jumps in sufficient assumption passages, however, the jumps in necessary assumption passages are often less obvious.
Look for the answer that must be true for the conclusion to stand.
1. Ask yourself, “Does this answer have to be true?” Or could the conclusion still be true without it? In other words, if the answer were not true, would it undermine the conclusion? Is it an assumption that the conclusion depends on?
2. Negate your last two best answers choices. The negated answer that undermines the conclusion is the correct answer.
3. If you spot any jumps, the correct answer will often link those two concepts together.
Negating an answer choice
Imagine you are eating ice cream anyour friend asks you how it tastes. You reply, “It is sweet.” The negation of this statement is that the ice cream “is not sweet.” The complete opposite of this statement is that the ice cream “is sour.”
When you negate an answer, just negate it. Try not to turn it into its opposite. Also, negate either the verb or the quantity, but not both.
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