On this portion of the exam, you will be expected to evaluate diverse types of content such as graphs and charts. You will be expected to consider two stimuli (text, chart, graph) and compare and contrast their information.
Comparing and contrasting two stimuli will require the ability to understand visual stimuli (charts, maps, graphs) as well as the ability to analyze text.
Using Visual Stimuli
There are different types of techniques for reading visuals. Charts and graphs contain verbal information that is presented in a pictorial way. So these just require careful reading to determine the answers to questions. Maps require that you understand a key. Answering these questions should be straightforward if you have previously used a map.
Analyzing Two Texts
When one is analyzing two texts, the first step is to read the questions to see what you need to be looking for in each text. The questions may ask you to reveal who took the position for/against the main idea. You may be asked to decide the style in which each is written and what the content is about. You could also be required to decide who wrote a stronger/weaker argument in their text.
When analyzing evidence, the first step is to figure out the argument the text presents and what position the author has taken. Then, you must decide if the evidence is relevant and sufficient. Is the author’s argument sound or full of errors? Is it a logical argument?
The Argument and Claims
You must be able to identify the argument that the author is making. This involves finding the main idea of the text and then reading all of the text to find out what position the author is taking. If the author is discussing euthanasia, you must read through his/her arguments to figure out whether the author is for or against its use.
Validity, Relevance, and Sufficiency of Evidence
To analyze the sufficiency of evidence is to decide if the author has given enough reasons for the argument. When deciding if the information is relevant, you must decide how it relates to the author’s claim. Relevance isn’t always yes or no, you may have to really think about the connections between the author’s claim and the author’s evidence. To analyze the validity of the evidence, you must think about the sources. Did the authors use wikipedia, actual research, or did they just make up the evidence?
Quality of Reasoning
Ask yourself if the author’s reasons make sense or if there are unanswered questions about the subject. If, after reading the text, you feel confused, have more questions, or just think the argument is utter nonsense, the quality of the author’s reasoning is likely to be quite poor.
Relationship of Ideas
The ideas presented in the text should be related. When an author is making a point, the details in the text need to relate to that point and to each other. If the relationship is not shown by the author, the argument is weakened.
You must be able to decide if an author’s basis for his/her argument is logical. If an author’s basis for euthanasia is that old and/or sick people are a waste of resources, that isn’t really logical. But, if the author’s assumption is that terminal patients are in a lot of unnecessary pain that euthanasia could eliminate, this would be a logical assumption.
While you will, of course, be expected to comprehend what is explicitly written, you will also need to use logic to find the implicit meanings in the text and visual stimuli.
When drawing conclusions about a text, you must be logical. The conclusions you decide upon must be supported by the text and you must be able to find evidence of that in the author’s words.
Making predictions requires that you know what has happened so far in the text or visual. When given a graph, you could be asked to predict the future trend of the graph. This would involve looking at the graph and deciding which direction the data seems to be following, whether positive, negative, or staying constant. When making predictions about information in a text, you should take the information given and think what the most logical next step would be.
You will be expected to know how to apply information from one situation to another. Example: Suppose you were given a text about how to engage students more in an elementary math class. You could be asked to apply the information learned in order to help high school students be more engaged in their math classes.