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Struggling with Necessary Assumption Questions

TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member

Ok, so I am almost done with the NA portion of the CC and I am lost. I am hit and miss on the "assumption" made in each question. While understanding the conclusion helps, I still can't consistently connect the dots each time. I'm not even timing myself at this point and am still missing theses questions. My mind either can't seem to make even remotely close predictions of what the assumption may be or I just overlook answer choices that I want to hit myself after checking for the correct one because they are so obvious.

Any tips that helped you overcome NA questions?


  • TheMikeyTheMikey Alum Member
    4196 karma

    Focus on the conclusion of the argument and how it connects to the premises given (which you should be doing for all argument based LR questions anyways). These are the bridging type that JY talks about. The others are more intuitive-based, I feel, since they go a little beyond just connecting premise and conclusion.

    Look for an answer choice that does not sound strong, but in fact look for one that sounds weak. As opposed to sufficient assumption questions where choosing a strongly worded answer choice usually is the way to go.

    When drilling, ask yourself these questions:
    What does the conclusion state? why does it state this from the premise(s)? What is the gap between the P and C? From this gap, what is absolutely necessary for the conclusion to follow from the premise(s)?

  • apublicdisplayapublicdisplay Alum Member
    edited March 2017 696 karma

    I don't even worry about connecting any dots on Necessary assumption. It's not like Sufficient assumption where you have to be active in finding a gap. There was a post on here recently where many agreed that anticipating an answer choice is not always the best way to go about answering questions, especially with questions like Nec. assumption where there are a whole range of answers that are just as likely to be correct as any other. If the gap is blatant and you're able to spot it, then that's great. But, that definitely will not always be the case and it's not necessary to be able to spot the most minute gap to get the correct answer. I usually just make sure I have a very clear understanding of the stimulus and then evaluate the answer choices accordingly. I find Nec. assumptions to be very similar to Must Be True questions. If something is a necessary assumption, then you know it must be true. To figure this out, make considerable use of the negation test.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    edited March 2017 1723 karma

    Thank you @TheMikey and @apublicdisplay for your help! I agree with the conclusion part. It has been a focus of mine to better understand those on LR across the board and it has helped tremendously.

    I think it is an interesting approach not to predict an answer choice since I seem to be wasting a lot of time trying to figure out the gap beforehand and not observing what options are presented to me in the AC's.

    I think I will give that a shot and see what happens. I have been looking for a new approach in general since what I was doing on the medium to hard questions wasn't working.

    Thanks again y'all!!!

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