Answer Criteria

So far we have looked at how to extract criteria from the question stem and turn them into questions we can ask the passage about. We will continue to practice that skill, but for now let’s work on a different skill, pulling out important information from the answer choices.

While the question stem criteria are the most important when answering CARS questions we will want to be able to pick out ideas from answer choices too. This allows us to check if we are on the right track when we go back to the passage and if you aren’t sure what the question is asking or if the question is extremely general the answer choices can give you additional questions to ask the passage and help you find the starting point for the question in front of you.

The process of pulling out information from the answer choices is similar to extracting important information out of the question stem except we aren’t going to care if the passage addressed the information in the answer choices at this stage. Instead we will break down every part of an answer choice and treat each piece as important.

For example let’s consider the answer choice below:

A) decreasing the risk of theft by increasing surveillance

For this answer I would break it into three parts. The bit about decreasing risk, the piece about theft, and the piece about surveillance.

  • Crime risk
  • Theft
  • Effects of surveillance

From this I would be wondering what the passage tells me about each idea. Again we can rephrase these ideas as a series of questions as seen below:

  • What decreases or increases risk of crime?
  • Is there anything specific about the risk of theft?
  • What does surveillance do?

Now for practice sake let’s look at another example.

D) Paintings provide a window into their creator’s lives

For this answer I would break it into two parts. The first piece about paintings and the second piece about creator’s lives.

  • Paintings as a window
  • Creator’s lives

Again I would wonder what the passage tells me about each idea. Here these are rephrased as questions.

  • What sorts of information can paintings provide?
  • How do we learn about creator’s lives and what role do painting play in this process?

Now that you have seen a couple of example try practicing this skill on your own.