If two questions are the same, then both are likely wrong.

Beware: Scope Trap

If you’ve found the main point, you must also identify what is in the range of the argument. Scope is related to more than just the general topic being discussed: it is the narrowing of the topic. Is the article about graduate-school admissions, law school admissions, or helping literature students get into the law school program of their choice? Each step represents a narrowing of the scope.

Let’s look at this critical reasoning question to examine scope.

Apartment building owners argue that rent control should be abolished. Although they acknowledge that, in the short term, rents would increase, they argue that the long-term effect would be a reduction in rents. This is because rent increases would lead to greater profitability. Higher profits would lead to increased apartment construction. Increased apartment construction would then lead to a greater supply of residences, and lower prices would result because potential apartment residents would have a better selection. Thus, abolishing rent control would ultimately reduce prices.

Name an assumption made by the owners:
(Hint: this is a difficult question, but you can eliminate four of the five answers as outside the scope of the argument.)

  • Current residents of rent-controlled apartments would be able to find new apartments once their rents increased.
  • The fundamental value of any society is to house its citizens.
  • Only current apartment owners would profit significantly from market deregulation.
  • New apartment construction will generate a great number of jobs.
  • The increase in the number of apartments available would exceed the number of new potential apartment residents.

Which possible answers are outside of the scope? The scope is the argument that deregulation will increase supply and lower prices. “Name an assumption” means find a direct assumption of the supply/demand argument.

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