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Relationship of ideas | Worked example

Video transcript

- [Instructor] For short passages with a single question, I find that it sometimes makes sense to read the question first and see how that drives our reading of the passage. So, I'm gonna start by reading this question. Which of the following best describes the relationship between the two paragraphs in the passage? So you can see they're divided by line breaks, and we're gonna be looking for the relationship between them. So I'll read aloud these two paragraphs, then we'll see how they relate to one another, like what's going on in each one. Here we go. Paragraph one. The world's best professional athletes all have one thing in common, innate talent. Some studies have shown that athletes with exceptional natural talent often outperform their competitors, even those who practice. Paragraph two. However, I'm gonna circle however, practice is still a key ingredient to success in sports. Okay, so Paragraph one, talent is very important, Paragraph two, so far, yeah that's true, but also practice is also important. Careful dedicated practice can elevate one's skill, regardless of genetic predisposition. In other words, athletic skill can be learned, at least to an extent. Only by honing natural talent through diligent practice can an athlete elevate their performance to truly elite levels. Okay, so Paragraph one, talent is powerful, perhaps even more powerful than practice. But Paragraph two complicates that and says, yes that's true but practice is still important and, if you apply diligent practice to natural talent, you get something truly elite. So I'm gonna say, yes but practice can make talent better. So as we go through the choices, we want to look for something that contains a contrast. Paragraph one has an idea, Paragraph two contrasts it in some way. So let's just make a quick run-through and see what we can eliminate just based on those grounds, leave in stuff that contains a contrast, take out stuff that omits any reference to a contrast. Choice A, Paragraph two refutes an argument presented in Paragraph one. That's a kind of contrast, we'll leave that for now. Paragraph two makes a qualification to an argument presented in Paragraph one. So that's like a complication, not necessarily completely undercutting it but making it more complicated. So I'm gonna star that one as well. Paragraph two provides supporting examples for an idea introduced in Paragraph one. This doesn't mention a conflict or a contrast at all. I don't think this is an option for us. Paragraph two examines the drawbacks to a system proposed in Paragraph one. That's kind of like a contrast, that's kind of a conflict, examining drawbacks, so we'll leave that for now. And then option E, Paragraph two suggest an action plan based on a theory mentioned in Paragraph one. I'm just not seeing that. I don't think that there's a theory mentioned in the first paragraph. There's stuff that's supported by studies, but there's not really an. If you were really squinting, you could pull out, ah yes, my action plan for this would be, if I'm really talented I should practice, but I think that's a stretch, so I'm going to eliminate E. So now we have three choices left, A, B and D. We've used our little working model, Paragraph one, talent is powerful, Paragraph two, yes but practice can make talent better, to eliminate two possible choices. And now let's go through the remaining choices and see what we can eliminate. So returning to option A, the word refutes, which means completely disagrees with, rebuts, goes against in opposition, I'm not sure that this is the right word to describe the relationship between the two paragraphs. Ask yourself what would the passage look like if the relationship between the two paragraphs did look like this option. So if Paragraph two refuted an argument presented in Paragraph one, so Paragraph one's argument is, talent is powerful, sometimes even more powerful than practice, in order to refute or completely deny that argument, the message of Paragraph two would have to be, no, practice is powerful, and sometimes more powerful than talent. And that's a little bit too strong for what is actually said because we have this yes but, however practice is still a key ingredient to success. It's not denying that pure talent in athleticism isn't very important and cannot be a main driver of success. So I think refutes, a single word, taints this option, it's too strong. I'm gonna cross it off. Option B, Paragraph two makes a qualification to an argument presented in Paragraph one. And as we said before, a qualification isn't necessarily an attempt to knock down the argument. It's an attempt to infuse it with some nuance. And I think that's what's going on. So if Paragraph one says talent is powerful, Paragraph two says, yes it's powerful, but we also have this other thing going on with practice. Practice can make talent even greater. So I want to leave this in for now. I don't see anything that's going to knock this out. Finally, option D, Paragraph two examines the drawbacks to a system proposed in Paragraph one. So the reason I left this in initially is because I saw the word drawbacks, and examining drawbacks seems like a kind of contrast relationship between two paragraphs. However, looking at it again more closely, I'm not sure I see a system proposed in Paragraph one, unless they're talking about, broadly, the system of international professional athletics, which isn't, that's again a stretch. And you won't be asked to make those kinds of stretches. The answer will fit or it won't. But more specifically, does Paragraph two examine drawbacks to a system? Does Paragraph two explore the drawbacks to talent? And the answer is no. It says, here's what we can do to make talent better is diligent practice. So D is not our answer, and that means that B is. So, to recap the strategy, what I did was I went through these two paragraphs in the passage, and then I summarized and boiled down the arguments from each paragraph and tried to figure out how they related to each other. Do they contradict each other? Do they agree with each other? Is one vague and one more specific? When you're doing these boiled down summaries, try to get away from the specifics or the details of each passage and instead focus on what the paragraphs within the passage are doing in relation to each other. So, for example, we could take out the word talent and call it factor X and then compare it to, instead of practice, call that Y. X is powerful, but Y can make X better. And, in doing that, subbing in these mathematical variables if you want, can help you think more abstractly about the function of the argument. Because what you know or believe about athletics or sports or talent is kind of irrelevant to the question. Don't let your personal biases or understandings of the way the world works play into the way that you answer these questions because everything that you need to answer the question correctly is contained inside the passage. So, come up with a model in your own words of how the two paragraphs of the passage interact, knock out answers that don't conform to that model and then, with the remaining choices, try to test them against the passage as it exists. Try and reimagine what the passage would look like if it matched each choice.