Good News: you’ve reached the final lesson in the Critical Reasoning.
Bad News: this is one of the harder question types.

The Paradox questions that we just reviewed weren’t that hard because at least we knew what the question stem specifically wanted. In Explain questions, we aren’t sure about the exact nature of the argument lapse that we need to address. Maybe it’s just a paradox or maybe it’s something else.

CHALLENGE: Explain Away an Argument Lapse

In these questions you’ll find a stimulus exhibiting faulty reasoning and you have to explain how it could be true. Essentially you are supplying a premise to strengthen the overall argument.

  • Which of the following, if true, explains the behavior of the lion mothers as described above?
  • Each of the following could explain the statistical claim cited above, EXCEPT:

How to solve

  1. Read the argument and find the apparent discrepancy, lapse, or contradiction.
  2. State the apparent discrepancy, lapse, or contradiction in your own words.
  3. Use POE (the process of elimination). The best answer will explain how both sides of the paradox, discrepancy, or contradiction can be true. Eliminate answers that are out of scope.
  4. Common trap choices:
    • Information that denies (doesn’t explain) the phenomenon the question wants you to explain.
    • Statements that explain something, but not that specifically discussed in the stimulus.

Video Quiz


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