Over 40,000 lead seals from the early Byzantine Empire remain today. Apart from the rare cases where the seal authent...

Andrew on January 4, 2023

A problem I don't know if I can ever fix

When I read this prompt and understood "seal" I was thinking of the seal that authenticated its sender, sealed the letter, and guaranteed that the letter had not been opened. So when I read this I thought "So the seals that authenticated a document of special importance were never opened? That doesn't make any sense." I had to stare at this question for a few seconds after taking the timed section and seeing I got it wrong to understand the seal they were talking about was placed on the document like a stamp and not like a seal as in "sealing the letter shut." I think the prompt saying the important documents used a seal twice, one as a stamp of authentication, and one to seal the document shut. But I would guess the seal that seals the document would also be a sign of authenticity. I honestly have no idea how I can get better at resolving ambiguity in the prompt. And I also really don't think I understand how the prompt is describing the different use of seals.

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Andrew on January 4, 2023

I just finished reading the explanation and it sounds like the explanation understands the stimulus the way I initially understood it. Why would an important document not be opened? We know that when a seal served its purpose and was opened, the lead was recast. It has to be talking about two different seals on the same document.

Emil on January 5, 2023

I don't think it had to be talking about two different seals. I think that after a document is written, we put a seal on it to ensure it has not been opened and is legitimate. If that document is opened, the seal is broken and discarded, and often melted and recast. However, perhaps some important documents are never opened (imagine owning a legitimate original version of the Declaration of Independence, I certainly wouldn't want to open it and break the seal). We don't really need to care about the specific motivation for not opening it, as the passage tells is it did happen.

Andrew on January 5, 2023

I'm sorry Emil, I'm just having trouble understanding the logic behind the stimulus. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding the stimulus itself.
Is the negation test useful in general strengthen questions? Would it be useful here?