Solving “Disagree” Questions
These questions ask you to find something that two people disagree about:
- The statements above provide the most support for holding that Mark and Simon disagree about whether…
- The main point at issue between Michael and Stan is whether…
- On the basis of their statements, the two students are committed to disagreeing over…
Make a Strong Prediction
The keys to Logical Reasoning are 1) actively engaging with each passage before reading the question and 2) making a strong prediction before reading the answer choices.
To spot the disagreement:
- Treat everything in each argument as evidence. Argue with the conclusions, not the premises. Figure out what each person believes, even if they’re wrong or their logic sucks.
- Spot where the two positions overlap and conflict. After reading the vague phrase “I disagree,” students often assume the second person disagrees with the first person’s main conclusion. Don’t fall into this trap! Pinpoint the exact areas of conflict between the two speakers’ positions.
Consider the following example:
Jim: We should pull our troops out of the Persian Gulf because it’s too hot there.
Sarah: I disagree. The weather there is quite nice.
In this exchange, Sarah is not disagreeing with Jim’s conclusion that we should pull out our troops, but with his premise that it’s too hot there. For all we know, she agrees that we should pull out our troops. That’s not the point of conflict.
This might be your prediction: Jim and Sarah disagree over the Gulf’s weather.
What to Look For
As you read each answer, ask yourself two questions:
- What does person A think about this answer? (Agree, disagree, or unknown?)
- What does person B think about this answer? (Agree, disagree, or unknown?)
The correct answer will be something with which one person agrees and the other disagrees. There are plenty of ways an answer choice can be wrong:
- If both agree with that answer, then it’s wrong.
- If both disagree with that answer, then it’s wrong.
- If one person doesn’t say enough for you to know what they think about that answer, then that answer is wrong and you can move on without evaluating what the other person thinks.
Repeat this process for each answer choice.
Occasionally, passages involving two speakers will ask you to pinpoint how the two speakers agree rather than disagree. Follow the same strategy outlined above. For each answer choice, ask yourself what person A thinks about it, what person B thinks about it. Select the answer choice about which both speakers clearly agree.