Reasoning Beyond the Text Basics
If you've already read the MCAT 2015 test information, then you're familiar with the fact that the exam tests your skills in a number of different ways. On the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section, the skills assessed fall into three separate categories. This article explains the third skill: Reasoning Beyond the Text. Click the CARS link above to find information about the other two.
- Skill 1: Foundations of Comprehension
- Skill 2: Reasoning Within the Text
- Skill 3:Reasoning Beyond the Text
The content on the CARS section with the explanations of specific terms, illustrations and examples will be enough for you to answer the questions presented; you will not need to study any additional content to prepare for this portion, which is much different from the sciences sections. Rather, you'll need to practice your reading comprehension so you can answer questions that ask you to complete the specific tasks.
Unlike the first two types of skills in the CARS section, Reasoning Beyond the Text only asks you to do two things:
- Apply concepts from the passage to new situations
- Assess the impact of incorporating new information to the passage
This skill is difficult because you'll need to take into account the author's tone, voice and support along with the main ideas in the passage as a whole in order to select a valid answer choice. Here, the answer choices may all seem reasonable at a glance, but the correct answer is the one that blends the most seamlessly, causing the LEAST amount of change to the ideas presented.
The questions that relate to the Reasoning Beyond the Text skills will refer to a passage of text that precedes them. Here's a sample question taken from the AAMC MCAT 2015 preview guide:
In Indian society, as I see it, there’s a constant struggle between two distinct attitudes toward life: the spiritualism of the renunciatory Vedanta philosophy and its opposite, the materialistic, hedonistic charvakas. It can be seen in the stark white simplicity of the ankle-white cloth worn by men versus the richly colored silk sari of the Indian woman; the culinary asceticism of the vegetarian versus the complexity of the most varied and subtle cuisine on earth; the tradition of non-violent resistance versus the militarism of a nuclear power with the fourth largest army on earth.
The most basic duality of all is that between India and Bharat, which is the name of the country in Hindi. India has shot satellites into space and boasts a business capital with the highest commercial rents in the world. It has had the most rapid televisual growth of any country on earth. But Bharat (the indigenous India that speaks Hindi) lives in village huts, plows fields, and has no phones.
Bharat is winning over India in the naming game—re-naming cities and landmarks to wipe away vestiges of past British rule. Forbidding the use of the name Bombay for any official purposes, officials of one state have renamed their capital Mumbai. This strikes me as the equivalent of a well-known brand jettisoning its name in favor of a new, obscure one. Bombay, which comes from the Portuguese term for “good bay,” has already entered the global discourse (in Bombay gin and The Bombay Company furniture) and enjoys name recognition that many cities in the world would pay millions to acquire. Madras was renamed Chennai, despite the famous cloth that bears its name. Yet it turned out Chennai was the name of an English colonial governor and Madras had an impeccably Indian pedigree. So bad history is worse lexicography, but in India-that-is-Bharat it can prove to be good politics. What’s in a name, Shakespeare asked? Are we Indians so insecure in our freedom that we need to prove to ourselves that we are free? Is it necessary to confer a new name on cities in the same way that, in parts of the country, it is customary for a bride to take on a new surname and first name—chosen by her husband’s family?
In today’s India, billboards offering Western goods are striking testimony to the globalization of Indian life. In the past, national self-respect seemed to require that we make everything we needed here, however badly. But one of the lessons of history is that you can learn the wrong lesson from history.
We used to be unfriendly to foreign investors. But not today. Those few people who offered violent resistance in a bid to close down Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in India might consider that Indian farmers profit by selling their chickens to KFC at dollar-inspired rates. Those Indians who object to call centers for multinational information technology companies are like the buggy-whip manufacturers who protested the invention of the automobile, because it would deprive them of work.
We will not become any less Indian if our country lets foreign winds blow through our house. The strength of “Indianess” has always consisted in its ability to absorb foreign influences and to transform them into something that belongs on Indian soil. The language in which this book is being published in India is just one example of this. We can drink Coca-Cola or write in English without becoming colonized.Source: Adapted from S. Tharoor, “India: From midnight to the millennium.” ©2000 Shashi Tharoor.
According to the passage, those people who comprise Bharat would be most likely:
A. to realize the fact that the origins of Chennai are English.
B. to protest the existence of Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets.
C. to market Bombay gin and Bombay Company furniture.
D. to support the wearing of very colorful saris.