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Most Strongly Supported Questions: I can't seem to "anticipate" an answer choice at all

hjy925soonhjy925soon Legacy Member

My problem with MSS seems to be that I usually can't anticipate an answer choice in advance. Only about one out of five or six times does my my "anticipated" answer choice actually appear. And half the time, it turns out to be a trap anyway.

Unlike Main Conclusion, where I can usually predict the answer, I end up going through every single answer choice and crossing out the wrong ones until one seems viable. Needless to say, it is time-consuming and not very helpful.

I was wondering if anyone had a step-by-step process to anticipate the correct answer.

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    Hi!

    One thing that I have recently found is that you don’t need to predict, and sometimes shouldn’t even try, to predict answer choices. In this sense, MSS is similar to NA because in both question types, they can’t really predict what they are going to do. With NA, they could just pick one little thing (the sun rose in the East) and use that as necessary. With MSS, similarly, you don’t necessarily know what they are going to support as being the MSS answer; they could pick one short premise and make a claim that is supported by that premise, or they could make a broad conclusion on the basis of all the premises. You just don’t know.

    Another thing that helps me with MSS questions (used to be my worst question type) is instead of writing MSS next to the stem, I draw a down arrow. The reason I do this is to remind myself the flow of information is downward. A large portion of questions require you to plug the answer choices back into the stimulus in order to satisfy the stem. We take the answer choices as being true. In other words, the flow of information is flowing upward. In these types of questions, the information is flowing downward because we take the stimulus as being true and we need one answer that can be true given the stimulus (four will be false based on the stimulus). So we need to take all of the information in the stimulus as being true in order to push out a conclusion that is most strongly supported. Because we don’t know which part of the stimulus they are going to use to support their claim, it makes more sense to not predict. Try to keep a general sense of what they are talking about and open mind when you head into the answer choices.

    Hope this helps!

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25697 karma

    Yeah, I'm the same way. I think anticipation can be a good exercise to help you think about some of the different things they might throw at you, but like you, I find that when I actively do it under time I pretty much always go with the wrong thing. This hurts my ability to evaluate the answer choices objectively, and I am highly susceptible to dismissing the correct answer choice simply because it doesn't match my expectations. For question types like SA or MC it works because there really is only one possible answer choice. But for MSS, NA, Strengthen, Weaken, and others, they can just come at you from so many different directions that trying to anticipate the right thing is a total shot in the dark. Instead, I like to read the stimulus carefully to go into the answer choices with a solid understanding of the argument and an open mind. This facilitates a much more creative thought process which really helps to see how things from out of left field can affect the argument. I find that to be a much more effective approach.

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