Recognize the following items:
- Basic argument structure
- Properly drawn conclusions
- underlying assumptions
- well-supported explanatory hypotheses
- parallels between structurally similar arguments
Analyze a given argument and to recognize such things as:
- factors that would strengthen or weaken the given argument
- reasoning errors committed in making the argument
- aspects of the method by which the argument proceeds
Formulating and Evaluating a Plan of Action
Recognize the following items:
- the relative appropriateness, effectiveness, or efficiency of different plans of action
- factors that would strengthen, or weaken, the prospects of success for a proposed plan of action
- assumptions underlying a proposed plan of action
Main Idea Questions
This kind of question asks you to recognize an accurate statement of the main idea of a passage, to identify the author's primary purpose in writing the passage, or to assign a title that accurately summarizes the main idea developed in the passage.
Supporting Idea Questions
Questions about supporting ideas ask you to determine the meanings of individual sentences and paragraphs that CONTRIBUTE to the meaning of the passage as a whole. One way to think about these questions is to see them as asking for the main point of one small part of the passage.
To answer inference questions, you may have to carry statements made by the author a step beyond the direct messages they convey. When you read a passage, therefore, you should concentrate not only on understanding the author's words, but also on determining what further conclusions or subtle meanings are implied by those words. You may have to ask yourself, for example, if one were to accept the truth of what the author says, what else would have to be—or would most likely be—true? You might also be asked to infer, based on context, the intended meaning of a word used figuratively or in a nonstandard way in a passage.
The strategies used in application questions are many and varied. A question of this kind might, for example, describe a hypothetical situation and ask you to infer from the passage what the author's opinion of that situation would most likely be. Others might ask you to recognize a situation or concept that is analogous to a situation or concept expressed in the passage, to apply a principle expressed or implied in the passage to a different situation, or to recognize implications a bit of new, hypothetical information would have for the reasoning in the passage.
Logical Structure Questions
These questions measure your ability to comprehend what a passage says and to evaluate it critically and understand how its parts function in relation to one another. These questions do not rely on any kind of formal logic, nor do they require that you be familiar with special terms of logic or argumentation. You can answer these questions using only the information in the passage and careful reasoning.
Style and Tone Questions
Style and tone questions may apply to one small part of the passage or to the passage as a whole. To answer them, you may have to ask yourself what effect the words of a passage have—or are intended to have—beyond merely conveying information. Were the words selected because of their emotional content, or because of particular connotations, or because a particular audience would expect to hear them?