Reasoning Skills Success in 20 Minutes a Day

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    Reasoningskills

    successin 20 minutes

    a Day

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    n e w y o R k

    Reasoning

    skillssuccessin 20 minutes

    a Day

    3rd Edition

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    Copyright 2010 LearningExpress, LLC.

    All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.Published in the United States by LearningExpress, LLC, New York.

    Library o Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Reasoning skills success in 20 minutes a day.3rd ed.

    p. cm.

    ISBN 978-1-57685-726-7

    1. Reasoning (Psychology) I. LearningExpress (Oranization) II Title: Reasoning skills success in twenty minutes

    a day.

    BF442.R44 2010153.4'3dc22

    2009030907

    Printed in the United States o America

    9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    First Edition

    ISBN-13 978-1-57685-720-5

    For more inormation or to place an order, contact LearningExpress at:

    2 Rector Street

    26th Floor

    New York, NY 10006

    Or visit us at:

    www.learnatest.com

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    contRibutoRs ix

    How to use tHis book xi

    PRetest 1

    lesson 1 cRitical tHinking anD Reasoning skills 15

    What Are Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills?

    Denition: The Dierence between Reason and Emotion

    Justiying Your DecisionWhy Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills Are Important

    In Short

    lesson 2 PRoblem-solving stRategies 21

    Denition: What Is a Problem?

    Identiying the Problem

    Breaking the Problem into Its Parts

    Prioritizing Issues

    Relevance o Issues

    In Short

    lesson 3 tHinking vs. knowing 27

    Denition: Fact vs. Opinion

    Why the Dierence between Fact and Opinion Is Important

    Tentative Truths

    Fact vs. Opinion in Critical Reasoning

    In Short

    c

    v

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    v

    contents

    lesson 4 wHo makes tHe claim? 33

    Denition: What is Credibility?

    How to Determine Credibility

    Recognizing Bias

    Special Case: Eyeswitness CredibilityIn Short

    lesson 5 PaRtial claims anD Hal-tRutHs 41

    The Trouble with Incomplete Claims

    Test and Studies

    Averages

    In Short

    lesson 6 wHats in a woRD? 47

    Euphemisms and Dysphemisms

    Biased QuestionsIn Short

    lesson 7 woRking witH aRguments 53

    Inductive Reasoning

    Deductive Reasoning

    Indentiying the Overall Conclusion

    In Short

    lesson 8 evaluating eviDence 61

    Types o Evidence

    Is the Evidence Credible?Is the Evidence Reasonable?

    In Short

    lesson 9 Recognizing a gooD aRgument 67

    Clear and Complete

    Free o Excessive Subtle Persuasion

    Credible and Reasonable Premises

    Sucient and Substantive Premises

    Considering the Other Side

    In Short

    lesson 10 Putting it all togetHeR 73

    Lesson 1: Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills

    Lesson 2: Problem-Solving Strategies

    Lesson 3: Thinking vs. Knowing

    Lesson 4: Who Makes the Claim?

    Lesson 5: Partial Claims and Hal-Truths

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    contents

    Lesson 6: Whats in a Word?

    Lesson 7: Working with Arguments

    Lesson 8: Evaluating Evidence

    Lesson 9: Recognizing a Good Argument

    lesson 11 logical allacies: aPPeals to emotion 77

    Scare Tactics

    Flattery

    Peer Pressure

    Pity

    In Short

    lesson 12 logical allacies: tHe imPostoRs 83

    No In-Betweens

    Slippery Slope

    Circular ReasoningTwo Wrongs Make a Right

    In Short

    lesson 13 logical allacies: DistRacteRs anD DistoRteRs 89

    Ad Hominem

    Red Herring

    Straw Man

    In Short

    lesson 14 wHy DiD it HaPPen? 97

    RelevanceTestability

    Circularity

    Compatibility with Existing Knowledge

    In Short

    lesson 15 inDuctive Reasoning: PaRt i 105

    The Science o Inductive Reasoning

    Elementary, My Dear Watson

    In Short

    lesson 16 JumPing to conclusions 107

    Hasty Generalizations

    Biased Generalizations

    Non Sequitur

    In Short

    v

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    v

    contents

    lesson 17 inDuctive Reasoning: PaRt ii 113

    Determining Cause

    Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

    The Chicken or the Egg?

    In Short

    lesson 18 numbeRs neveR lie 121

    First Things First: Consider the Source

    The Importance o Sample Size

    Representative, Random, and Biased Samples

    Comparing Apples and Oranges

    In Short

    lesson 19 PRoblem solving RevisiteD 129

    Common Sense

    Evaluating EvidenceDrawing Conclusions rom Evidence

    In Short

    lesson 20 Putting it all togetHeR 135

    Lesson 11: Logical Fallacies: Appeals to Emotion

    Lesson 12: Logical Fallacies: The Imposters

    Lesson 13: Logical Fallacies: Distracters and Distorters

    Lesson 14: Why Did It Happen?

    Lesson 15: Inductive Reasoning, Part I

    Lesson 16: Jumping to Conclusions

    Lesson 17: Inductive Reasoning, Part IILesson 18: Numbers Never Lie

    Lesson 19: Problem Solving Revisited

    Congratulations!

    Posttest 141

    aPPenDix How to PRePaRe oR a test 153

    Two to Three Months beore the Test

    The Days beore the Test

    Test DayCombating Test Anxiety

    Time Strategies

    Avoiding Errors

    Ater the Test

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    crr

    Elizabeth Chesla is the author oTOEFL Exam Success, ACT Exam Success, GED Success, Reading Comprehension

    Success, Write Better Essays, and many other writing and reading guides and test preparation books. She lives in

    South Orange, New Jersey.

    Tamra Orr is a ull-time educational writer living in the Pacic Northwest. She has written several test prepara-

    tion books and works or a dozen o the nations largest testing companies. She is the author o more than 70

    books, mother o our, and wie o one.

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    this book is designed to help you improve your critical thinking and reasoning skills in 20 short lessonsthat should take 20 minutes a day to complete. I you read one chapter a day, Monday through Friday,and do all the exercises careully, you should see dramatic improvement in your ability to think criti-cally and to solve problems logically and eectively by the end o your month o study.

    Although each lesson is designed to be a skill builder on its own, it is important that you proceed through

    this book in order, rom Lesson 1 through Lesson 20. Like most other skills, critical thinking and reasoning

    develop in layers. Each lesson in this book builds upon the ideas discussed in those lessons beore it.

    Each lesson provides several exercises that give you the opportunity to practice the skills you learn through-out the book. To help you be sure youre on the right track, youll also nd answers and explanations or these

    exercise sets. Each lesson also provides practical suggestions or how to continue practicing the taught skills

    throughout the rest o the day and weekand the rest o your lie. In addition, two special review lessons go over

    the key skills and concepts in each hal o the book and provide you with practice applying them in practical,

    real-lie situations.

    To help you gauge your progress, this book contains a pretest and a posttest. You should take the pretest

    beore you start Lesson 1. Then, ater youve nished Lesson 20, take the posttest. The tests contain dierent ques-

    tions but assess the same skills, so you will be able to see how much your critical thinking and reasoning skills

    have improved ater completing the lessons in this book.

    b a lr d orr

    To make the most o this text, its important to remember that critical thinking and reasoning skills are necessary

    or just about every aspect o liewhether personal, proessional, or academic. Thats why its so important to

    become an active listener and observer.

    H u th b

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    How to use tHis book

    People oten come to conclusions based on what

    they think or eel rather than on the evidence beore

    them. They make decisions based on what theywant

    to hear rather than what is really being said; they take

    action based on what they imagine to be true ratherthan what is actually the case. But by really listening to

    what people say and how they say it (acial expressions

    and tone oten say much more than words them-

    selves), you help ensure that you will be reacting to

    w

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