Question Type XI — Inference (Advanced)
These questions ask you to go beyond the passage. The answer won’t be stated directly in the text; it’ll just be implied. To answer this question type, you must be able to get inside the author’s mind and understand how he or she would react to a given situation. Inference questions are especially difficult because they combine both the macro and micro elements of the passage.
How to identify ‘Inference’ questions:
- With which of the following would the author most likely agree?
- Based on the details in the passage, which position would the author find most objectionable?
- What does the author imply about military history?
Hint, imply, suggest . . . these are words that signal inference.
How to tackle them: Think about which answer is best supported by the facts of the passage alone. On inference questions, outside knowledge can confuse your understanding of the intention or implication of the passage.
Vulcan Mind Meld and Reading Comprehension
In the science-fiction series Star Trek, the Vulcan mind meld occurred when a Vulcan said “your mind to my mind” and pressed his hand to the subject’s head. The subject’s thoughts were then transferred. Inference questions are often the most challenging reading comprehension questions because they ask you to make logical conclusions based on the author’s way of thinking. Because of this, you need to be open to the author’s point of view and learn how to “meld” with it.