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June 2007, Passage 2, Question 14


Question 14, which of the following most accurately characterizes a relationship between the two passages? Now, this is a comparative question, it's a purely comparative question. It's just saying, what is the relationship between these two passages? These are the sorts of questions that, like main point questions, you should probably have the answer to before you get to them.

Because part of reading and understanding the passage is understanding. Well, when there's two passages, it's understanding the relationship between them. And we said earlier that the relationship between the passages is, they're both asking the same kind of question, where did music come from? They don't use the same kind of information to answer that question at all.

They use very different kinds of evidence, and they come up with very different answers. Because passage A says that it was kind of a bonus, it wasn't very important. Passage B says that it was of great importance. So let's look for an answer choice that says that. Answer choice A says, passage A and passage B use different evidence to draw divergent conclusions.

And we'd say, yeah, they do. Passage A talks about brain imaging and stuff like that. Passage B talks about lullabies and ritualized sequential behavior. So they have different evidence, and they draw different conclusions. Passage A says that music evolved not for any particular adaptive reason. Passage B says that it did evolve for an adaptive reason.

So those are divergent conclusions, answer choice A is definitely our answer. Now just for learning purposes, let's see why the others aren't the answer. B says that passage A poses the question that passage B attempts to answer, and we'd say, yes and no. Passage A does pose that question, but it doesn't uniquely pose it, so does passage B, and passage A contains an answer.

It's not like the question is in A and the answer's in B. Both passages have the same question, both passages have an answer, so it's not B. C says, passage A proposes a hypothesis that passage B attempts to substantiate with new evidence. And we'd say, no, they don't have the same hypothesis at all. A has a hypothesis, B has one, and they use different evidence to prove it, it is not answer choice C.

Answer choice D says that passage A expresses a stronger commitment to its hypothesis than does passage B. And that phrase stronger commitment is really the problem. That's a judgement call to say which of these two authors is more into their argument. The test never asks us to make judgement calls.

So there's no evidence here of who has the stronger commitment, so D can't be our answer. E says passage A and passage B use different evidences to support the same conclusion. And we know that it's not the same conclusion, it's different conclusions. So it's not E either, the answer is A.

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