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# NA totally wrecks me

Member
in General 127 karma
What is everyone doing to conquer NA? I have a really difficult time on these questions...I'm thinking maybe I need to go back to the curriculum, but even then I'm not sure where to start. Review Assumptions? SA? BOTH? maybe weaken?
Or if not the curriculum, what else is there to do to help me improve?

HELP!
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• Alum Inactive ⭐
3545 karma
How do you approach answering necessary assumption questions?
• Inactive ⭐
edited July 2016 2086 karma
Review the NA portion of the curriculum, do a few of the problem sets (or redo if you've done them all), then drill entire LR sections.
What helps me on NA questions is saying the following right before starting, "What is the author assuming in order to draw their conclusion?" or "What must absolutely be true if I want to help the author prove his/her conclusion to be true?"
• Alum Inactive Sage
1128 karma
If you're having issues, you probably have an imprecise understanding of what the task of the question type is - as @MrSamIam said, review the CC for NA and then if you are still having trouble, let us know.
• Alum Member
106 karma
I was struggling with this too. What I've found to be helpful is to isolate the assumption that the passage makes and then ask, what absolutely must be be true in order for this argument to work. Then as I go through the answer choices I ask myself does this absolutely have to be true. What happens if it isn't true. Does it wreck the argument?
• Alum Member
edited July 2016 1024 karma
MBT test = life

JY would prolly yell at me for saying this but here goes. This may be the one question type where you can run through the answer choices without knowing what to directly look for. Just run the MBT test for every answer.
• Alum Member
916 karma
There is also a recorded webinar for this question type. I haven't reviewed this one yet but I have found value in reviewing webinars for question types I struggle with. I hope this helps!

https://7sage.com/webinar/necessary-assumptions/

• Alum Member
edited July 2016 218 karma
I think of Necessary Assumption as "subtle and weak missing premises". You are trying to locate an answer choice which makes the argument completely valid (no loose strings).
What I mean by "subtle and weak" is: Let's compare NA to Sufficient Assumption (SA). SA are usually very strong missing premises and are clear in stating that a supporting premise is missing. However, remember that the SA does not have to be true (it is not a MUST be TRUE) answer choice. It very STRONGLY helps us make the argument.

Remember what J.Y. says in his syllabus: NA is the answer choice that is required, needed, absolutely must be true. If not, it will wreck the argument in question.

SA is the answer choice that is probably wanted to make the argument very solid and strong.

To conclude:
SA => Strong missing premise to strengthen the argument greatly (conclusion will be satisfied in some way).
NA => Weak missing premise to make the argument valid (without this, the conclusion cannot be satisfied at ALL).

This SA vs NA helps a lot on level 4 and 5 difficulty questions when both of them are in the answer choices.
• Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
10746 karma
For me, it really helps to spend time upfront on the stimulus. I usually try to see the method of reasoning used in the stimulus by comparing the premise with the conclusion and trying to see how the author has structured his argument. for example, is the method of reasoning cause and effect, or an argument by analogy? And once you have this, you can basically go into answer choices knowing what form the right answer might take. For example, if the argument was made by analogy in which two things were similar, so you want an answer choices that basically says that they are not different in an essential manner (blocking an alternative difference) or something like that.
For me, If I don't have an understanding of the Method used by the author, I usually skip it, because I am probably going to get it wrong by chosing one of the sucker answer choices. I might as well spend time on another question, and come back to it again when I have time in the end. Sometimes reading it the second time helps me see what method or reasoning was used to arrive at the conclusion.
• Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
10746 karma
oh and also once you are down to your two answers, or even if you have eliminated all of them, I make it a habit to use the negation technique to make sure that I have the correct answer. This has helped me sometimes realize I have the wrong answer.
• Member
127 karma
@draj0623 Thanks for the reference to the webinars!! I didn't even know they existed!! Watching all..
• Alum Inactive ⭐
3545 karma
I use @McBeck418's method and double-check my answer using the negation test.