Day 15 – CARS Question Types: Application

Today, we up your CARS practice to three passages per day. So every day this week, you’ll do three passages, resetting the timer after each one. By now, you should be close to finishing your passages on time or hopefully with a little bit to spare. Make sure that if you’re still having trouble finishing on time that you don’t allow yourself to go back to the passage after your first read through. Our topic for today is the application question type. Let’s get to it!

The Application Question Type:

The application question type is on one of the most common question types on the CARS. The first four question types we covered make up roughly 43% of the questions (22 questions) on the CARS, whereas the application question type makes up roughly 20% of the CARS or around 10 questions. You’re going to see a lot of these questions on test day, but if you practice now, you’ll find them to be some of the easiest when you get to taking the real thing!

Application questions require you to apply information provided in the passage to a new set of circumstances. Sometimes these questions will require you to select which position the author would be most likely to support. Another version of the application question type will ask you to select what the author’s most likely response would be to newly introduced information. Finally, the third most common version of the application question asks you to predict an outcome or consequence of some new situationbased on information given in the passage.

The key to application questions is to identify the connection between the new case or situation and the passage or the author’s position. There will always be a point of connection. Always. Look for similarities between answer choices and the passage. If you cannot find a strong point of connection upon which the application relies, then the answer choice is wrong. The connections for application questions have to be clear cut. One of the best ways to attack application questions is to try and get inside the author’s head and adopt his or her worldview. As you read the passage, try to formulate a picture of the author. What does she look like? What interests her? What political party does she belong to? What issues are important to her? As you formulate this image, you’ll be better equipped to make predictions in applying the passage information to new situations.

If you find yourself being asked to predict a particular outcome, look for causal language in the passage, where particular results must follow from particular causes. Noticing cause and effect language is critical to answering these types of questions.

Examples of Application Question Stems:

The author would be most likely to AGREE with which of the following positions?

It was determined that most first year Ph.D. candidates cry during class at least once. The author would most likely respond to this new information by:

Suppose that most pirates did not want to be a pirate when they were young. Based on the passage, the author would be most likely argue in response to this that:

Which of the following budget proposals would the author be most likely to support?

The author would be most OPPOSED to which of the following assumptions commonly made about robot pirates?

Which of the following situations would the author most likely characterize as similar to the economic conditions that led to the economic downturn of 2008?

If the author is correct concerning the development of social norms in early human societies, the most likely consequence of the author’s position in regards to early childhood development would be:

Tips for Application Questions:

– Application questions require you to reason outside of the passage. The key is to take the positions outlined by the author in the passage and apply them to new situations. For there to be a possible application, however, there must be similarities. If you’re able to identify the similarities, the ways in which the old is similar to the new, you’ll be able to see correct and incorrect applications more clearly.

– Develop a mental image of the author as you read the passage. Have a sense of how the author feels about the material in the passage, but also how he or she might approach different issues broadly conceived. Would the author be more likely to watch Fox News or MSNBC? Is the author religious or an atheist? A scientist or a philosopher? Try to figure out his values or her beliefs about the world. This will allow you to make a better prediction about what he or she might think about something new.

– How does the new information in the question stem connect to the passage? There has to be a point of connection, or the answer choice can’t be correct. It’s that simple.

– When the CARS gives you a large question stem with a quote or a lot of new information in it, it’s sometimes better to skip ahead to the end of the question where the colon or question mark is to figure out what the question is actually asking you to do. If you know you’re supposed to be looking for something that opposes this new information right from the beginning; you won’t waste any time having to read and reread the long question stem a few times to make sense of it.

– Words and phrases like suppose, consider, assume, imagine, or “it was determined that”, are dead giveaways that you’ve got an application question. Breakdown the question stem into two parts, having clear in your mind 1) what’s the question asking me to do and 2) what’s the new information? Sometimes application questions are very long, and they are easy to get lost in if one isn’t careful from the start!

Ok, we’ve only got a few more days left of question types, so we’re getting there! I know this is boring stuff, but it’s going to pay off. Keep doing your keyword review of your passages, especially now that you’ve upped your daily dose to three passages! We’re really starting to get you there. Before too long, you’re going to be an expert. How’s your timing going? Don’t forget you have the SDN Testing Solutions CARS Guide Forum available to you if you have any questions! Thanks for reading and see you back here tomorrow!

Today’s Assignment: Do Three CARS Passages Individually, Under Timed Conditions

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
– Napoleon Hill

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