Which one of the following statements most accurately characterizes a difference between the two passages?

delaenajoy on February 4, 2020

Logical Reasoning Question Types Strengthen vs. Must Be True

I've been having a hard time distinguishing logical reasoning questions types Strengthen and Must Be True. When going through the flashcards, I often believe a question type to be Strengthen when it's actually Must Be True, or vice versa. I've so far been unable to determine any clear distinguishing features between the example questions in the flashcards, as even several Must Be True questions use term like 'strengthen' or 'most' that I would usually associate with Strengthen questions. Would anyone be able to help me with the difference between Strengthen and Must Be True question types? Thanks!

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Ravi on February 4, 2020

@delaenajoy, happy to help. Strengthen questions are always asking you for an answer choice that will make the argument stronger. Must be true questions are always asking you for an answer choice that HAS TO BE TRUE give the information in the stimulus. Strengthen questions don't necessarily have to be true, whereas must be true questions always have to be true.

If you could provide the specific question stems that are throwing you off, we can take a look at the distinguishing characteristics that make the question a strengthen vs. must be true question type.

Let us know if you have any other questions!

delaenajoy on February 5, 2020

Thank you for the clarification! I really appreciate the help.

I have a few example question stems I've taken from the flashcards so I can better demonstrate what I'm referring to. I've been able to distinguish questions like "Which of the following, if true, supports the conclusion in the passage?" - clearly strengthen - and "Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?" - must be true. However the question stems I've written out below, among a few others, have given me some trouble:

1. "The statements above, if true, would provide the strongest support for which one of the following hypotheses?"

2. "Which one of the following, if true, supports the conclusion in the passage?"

The first question I listed is a must be true question stem, whereas the second question is a strengthen question stem. To me, they seem really similar, and I've had difficulty figuring out the distinction in cases like these. Are there any distinguishing features between these question stems that you might be able to point out?

Thanks, again!

Ravi on February 5, 2020

@delaenajoy, let's take a look.

For the first question you listed, it's asking us which answer choice is most strongly supported by the statements in the stimulus. If you think about it, it makes sense to think of this as a must be true question because we're looking for the answer choice that can be 'pushed out' from one or more statements in the stimulus. In other words, how do those statements come together to allow us to push out an inference?

For the second question, it's asking us to pick the answer choice that'd support the passage's conclusion. This is different from what the first question is asking us, since the first question you listed is PROVIDING us with hypotheses/conclusions, whereas with this question, we've already been given the conclusion in the passage—we're just trying to beef it up and make it stronger.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you'd like further clarification!

delaenajoy on February 9, 2020

Thanks, that makes a lot more sense now! I think I'll be able to take that approach and apply it to the other question stems I was struggling with.

Thanks again for the help.

Ravi on March 17, 2020

@delaenajoy, great! Let us know if you have any other questions!