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Wrong Answer Choices
In this video, we’re gonna talk about wrong answer choices. Thus far, we’ve talked about plugging up the gap, noticing the holes in the logic that tries to try to tie the premise to the conclusion, and then seeing how that hole is recast in different types of questions, such as weaken, strengthen, assumption, evaluate, etc.
Here, though, we’re simply gonna take a weakening question. So business as usual now, but we’re really going to focus on the answer choices. What makes answer choices incorrect? Now, on the GRE, on the reading comp, and by extension, all of these paragraph arguments, the wrong answers tend to fall into typical buckets. In fact, they’re pretty predictable in what the outline is going to look like, the outline of these answers.
So let’s take a look here first at our paragraph. It says, “In August the Williamstown main city parking garage was completely full every single day of the month”. So remember, I drew out little things here. OK, premise in August: parking lot full.
OK. Again, once you get more adept at these, you can do this mentally in your head. Let us paraphrase the paragraph. The next sentence. “This phenomenon indicates that the main city parking garage in Williamstown is a popular place for parking”. Fair enough, popular place for parking, these are premises. Doesn’t really add to what we have here, so I’m not going to write anything down.
But here’s the conclusion, the big part, therefore Williamstown Parking Garage will be full every day of the month, so that perception September. So because it’s full in August, therefore, full in September.
And there’s a big assumption here. There’s a major hole, and that is what holds true for August holds true for September. it can be a very different month. August tends to be the end of summer — people are on vacation. September — people are back at school.
A very big hole. I think this question’s probably a little bit easier than anything you see on the GRE or maybe there’ll be one paragraph argument question that’s this easy. But, again, the whole point here is to show you how the wrong answers work.
So again, big assumption, big hole. August and September are two things. So we go to the answer choices. The question is cast the most doubt. We have a weakener here, weaken the conclusion. and again the conclusion is, September’s also going to be full every day.
We want to show some one that hey, September’s not going to be that popular of a month. People aren’t going to be there parking. And so that lot will not be full. So let’s start with A. Capeville, a neighboring city, has only one parking garage, though it was not filled every day of the month.
So we’re dealing here with a different city, who cares if it’s neighboring? Notice as well that is says it has only one parking garage and it wasn’t filled every day of the month. And so you may think, “Oh, well, it shows that Capeville isn’t a very popular place to be and maybe next month no one’s gonna come over here to Williamstown”. however, wait a second - Capeville[sp?] could be a completely different city.
Capeville[sp?] could be a boring industrial city that’s next to the nice beach town of Williamstown. We don’t know. It could be all of these things. What it is not is relevant. It is not relevant to the conclusion.
Capeville irrelevant. This is one of the most common types of wrong answers. Sometimes I also use the word, ‘out-of-scope.’ Meaning that there’s a scope of the argument things that are relevant, and then there are those things that are irrelevant, which are out of scope.
So those are the two terms. for here I will use irrelevant. B, in July the Williamstown parking garage was full every day of the month. Notice this is July. What is that going to tell us about September?
Nothing. Again, irrelevant. Let’s get rid of both of those guys. Let’s look at ‘C’. ‘Williamstown is popular a beach town, and tourists across the nation flock to its beaches from June to August, but the city becomes virtually empty come September.
Now you can have already see. Oh, Chris has, you know, you’ve stolen your thunder ‘cause I can see it says answer here. But ignore that for a second. Why is this the answer? Well It’s trying to tell us something about September and how September differs from August.
And now we know it’s relevant. And how does it differ? Well It differs in a very relevant way. It differs in terms of people coming there to park. Tourists across the country come to its beaches. And then — what happens in September?
Virtually empty. Therefore, saying, ‘Oh yeah — September, the parking lot’s going to be full as well is incorrect. And again, we’re casting doubt, so C is the perfect answer. Now let’s look at some other wrong answer types that are a little trickier than the relevant ones, A and B.
B, this coming September the Williamstown city council is inaugurating the first annual September rock festival, which will feature performances throughout the month by popular And so this is clearly doing something. What is it doing?
It’s showing us that September is gonna keep being popular, that people are still going to flock to Williamstown. Yay. don’t circle A. Because we’re not looking for something that strengthens the conclusion that September the parking lot is probably gonna be filled.
We’re looking for something that weakens it. So what and this falls into the opposite. It does the opposite of what we’re doing. If it’s a strengthened question, it weakens. In this case — it’s a weakened question, it strengthens. Finally we have ‘E’ — The Grand Hotel, a popular hotel in Williamstown, expects to have a full garage the entire month of September.
Now, I’ve classified this one as a ‘C’ need to do something, and I think it’s the trickiest one. Usually, when you get adept at these, you can narrow them down to two answer choices. and instead of making it just a 50/50, it’s good to notice that, hey, just because one of the answer choices looks like it’s doing something, it’s definitely pertinent or relevant to the doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the answer.
And so here with the Grand Hotel, what is it telling us? Well, it’s a popular hotel and in September it you know, our parking lot’s gonna be filled. So it’s in the right city. But wait a second. A parking lot, general parking lot and a hotel parking lot are two very different things.
Maybe Williamstown or rather the Grand Hotel, the parking lot is filled every day, every day of the year. We don’t know But just because it’s true for a hotel parking lot doesn’t mean it’s true for another parking lot.
And therefore this does not help us out at. And the answer is
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