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# Flaw Questions: Steps to take when you cant see the flaw

Monthly Member Sage
2978 karma

Hi All,

I had the chance to do an LR question again for a recent tutoring session and noticed a few things that could be helpful for your prep. One question I find a lot of students asking me is, "What do I do if I don't see the flaw?" Let's use this FLAW question as a model for possible approaches. (Try doing it on your own if you haven't. The answer is below)

PT 59 S3 20:

P: the lightest moths with the greatest contrast were most likely to be eaten
C: therefore, the darkest moths were least likely to be eaten

At first glance, the argument looks solid. If you're like me and don't know much about moths, you probably thought, "ok yeah of course dark moths would be more likely to survive than light moths...what's the issue? obviously, there's something I'm missing here."

It'd be great if you can immediately diagnose the flaw (authors assumes a false dichotomy). But what do you do if you can't see the flaw? You gotta find ways to finesse!

Let me suggest how:

(1) Start with the big picture: Focus on improving your comprehension of the argument by simplifying it into your own words. The battle is always won in the stimulus, and an argument is always a conclusion being supported by premises. Make sure you get to the core of it.

(2) Zoom in on the details: Next, look to the descriptor words and consider what is being compared to get your clues. At least for this particular question, ​the author is comparing the Darkest/Lightest moths, with the Greatest contrast, and arguing which among them is Most/Least likely to be eaten.

These words indicate extremes--colors and probabilities. Hmm...if there is a darkest/lightest, then there has to be varying degrees of color in between, right?" HA I see it now! Before, I assumed that there was a dichotomy between ​dark vs light moths. Now I realize, oh! there has to be a spectrum between the darkest to lightest! There must to be moths of varying degrees of darkness and lightness in between. Perhaps grey shaded moths have higher rates of survival! Got it.

And that's why D is the answer.

How did we get here? We started with the big picture, zoomed in to the details, and focused on the most relevant parts of the argument to improve our comprehension, then found clues that led us to the flaw.

I hope this helps you find new steps to take next time you're stuck wondering what to do next!

Show Related Discussions

• #### For RC questions that ask you to add a sentence to the end of the passage or start a new paragraph..What is the best way to approach these types of questions? I'm not completely sure how I should think about them.

• Alum Member
481 karma

Thanks for this! In my experience, zooming in on the right details is easy to overlook but can be such a lifesaver in terms of getting a handle on the question

• Monthly + Live Member
2119 karma

Thank you for your post. I'd appreciate it if you could make this a series!

• Alum Member
855 karma

Great post and tips! Enjoyed the read and insights from this one

• Monthly Member
127 karma

Also do you have a link to a good quizlet? For light review? I take it Sunday, and I want to relax a bit and just look over some general stuff tomorrow.

• Monthly Member
103 karma

Oooh this is a great Plan B to keep in your mental toolbox while doing LR questions! Thanks so much for the concrete steps @Mike_Ross !!!

• Monthly + Live Member
22 karma

Thank you so much for your practical tactic!! I think (2) Zoom in on the details is the most useful but difficult part for me. I think I should practice this more!

• Alum Member
481 karma

I just came across PT61 S2 Q18, the barn owls question, and I think it's a great example of practicing these steps to get to the right answer choice when you're not sure what's going on (first getting a good handle on the big picture of the argument and then zooming in on the relevant detail).

• Alum Member
855 karma

I think another way to zoom in on flaw questions even if you feel like you have maybe missed it in the first read is remember “the reasoning is faulty and the jump from the premise to conclusion has a flaw.” I’ve used this many times to cope with a potentially hard-to-understand stimulus, where I may have been prone to error in my understanding.

• Monthly Member Sage
2978 karma

@gabes900 said:
I think another way to zoom in on flaw questions even if you feel like you have maybe missed it in the first read is remember “the reasoning is faulty and the jump from the premise to conclusion has a flaw.” I’ve used this many times to cope with a potentially hard-to-understand stimulus, where I may have been prone to error in my understanding.

This is definitely a good heuristic--remind yourself that obviously something has gone wrong---what am I missing here?

For me, the phrase I would repeat to myself when I was stuck between answers was "be sensitive to the support". This was my way of reminding myself that the flaw had to address that relationship between the premise and conclusion, or as you say, the flaw that describes "the jump from the premise to conclusion"

The trick is knowing what steps to take and then knowing when to disengage. The mistake I tend to see is test takers who just keep reading and re-reading the same answer choices without any gains in comprehension.

I always remind the students I tutor that if you are going to attempt another read, make sure you take the steps that count--the ones that help improve your comprehension of the argument and the relationship b/w premises and conclusion. If no gains in comprehension are made, time to let go and come back later, knowing you have done everything you could at this moment. Get it in round 2.

• Alum Member
855 karma

@Mike_Ross said:

@gabes900 said:
I think another way to zoom in on flaw questions even if you feel like you have maybe missed it in the first read is remember “the reasoning is faulty and the jump from the premise to conclusion has a flaw.” I’ve used this many times to cope with a potentially hard-to-understand stimulus, where I may have been prone to error in my understanding.

This is definitely a good heuristic--remind yourself that obviously something has gone wrong---what am I missing here?

For me, the phrase I would repeat to myself when I was stuck between answers was "be sensitive to the support". This was my way of reminding myself that the flaw had to address that relationship between the premise and conclusion, or as you say, the flaw that describes "the jump from the premise to conclusion"

The trick is knowing what steps to take and then knowing when to disengage. The mistake I tend to see is test takers who just keep reading and re-reading the same answer choices without any gains in comprehension.

I always remind the students I tutor that if you are going to attempt another read, make sure you take the steps that count--the ones that help improve your comprehension of the argument and the relationship b/w premises and conclusion. If no gains in comprehension are made, time to let go and come back later, knowing you have done everything you could at this moment. Get it in round 2.

Hi @Mike_Ross , thanks for the comment and time! I really appreciate it.

I completely agree with the point you make on comprehension. I have noticed in my own long, laborious prep that I used to take way too much time in the answer choices when, instead, I should have spent more time in the stimulus--which is a habit I do now.

• Monthly Member Sage
2978 karma

@gabes900 said:

@Mike_Ross said:

@gabes900 said:
I think another way to zoom in on flaw questions even if you feel like you have maybe missed it in the first read is remember “the reasoning is faulty and the jump from the premise to conclusion has a flaw.” I’ve used this many times to cope with a potentially hard-to-understand stimulus, where I may have been prone to error in my understanding.

This is definitely a good heuristic--remind yourself that obviously something has gone wrong---what am I missing here?

For me, the phrase I would repeat to myself when I was stuck between answers was "be sensitive to the support". This was my way of reminding myself that the flaw had to address that relationship between the premise and conclusion, or as you say, the flaw that describes "the jump from the premise to conclusion"

The trick is knowing what steps to take and then knowing when to disengage. The mistake I tend to see is test takers who just keep reading and re-reading the same answer choices without any gains in comprehension.

I always remind the students I tutor that if you are going to attempt another read, make sure you take the steps that count--the ones that help improve your comprehension of the argument and the relationship b/w premises and conclusion. If no gains in comprehension are made, time to let go and come back later, knowing you have done everything you could at this moment. Get it in round 2.

Hi @Mike_Ross , thanks for the comment and time! I really appreciate it.

I completely agree with the point you make on comprehension. I have noticed in my own long, laborious prep that I used to take way too much time in the answer choices when, instead, I should have spent more time in the stimulus--which is a habit I do now.

Yes! the battle is won in the stimulus, not bouncing around in the ACs!

• Alum Member
855 karma

@Mike_Ross said:

@gabes900 said:

@Mike_Ross said:

@gabes900 said:
I think another way to zoom in on flaw questions even if you feel like you have maybe missed it in the first read is remember “the reasoning is faulty and the jump from the premise to conclusion has a flaw.” I’ve used this many times to cope with a potentially hard-to-understand stimulus, where I may have been prone to error in my understanding.

This is definitely a good heuristic--remind yourself that obviously something has gone wrong---what am I missing here?

For me, the phrase I would repeat to myself when I was stuck between answers was "be sensitive to the support". This was my way of reminding myself that the flaw had to address that relationship between the premise and conclusion, or as you say, the flaw that describes "the jump from the premise to conclusion"

The trick is knowing what steps to take and then knowing when to disengage. The mistake I tend to see is test takers who just keep reading and re-reading the same answer choices without any gains in comprehension.

I always remind the students I tutor that if you are going to attempt another read, make sure you take the steps that count--the ones that help improve your comprehension of the argument and the relationship b/w premises and conclusion. If no gains in comprehension are made, time to let go and come back later, knowing you have done everything you could at this moment. Get it in round 2.

Hi @Mike_Ross , thanks for the comment and time! I really appreciate it.

I completely agree with the point you make on comprehension. I have noticed in my own long, laborious prep that I used to take way too much time in the answer choices when, instead, I should have spent more time in the stimulus--which is a habit I do now.

Yes! the battle is won in the stimulus, not bouncing around in the ACs!

For sure!!