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i have a question on a reading comprehension practice sheet that seems to make no sense to me. but i don't exactly know the rules, the how and the why this question is incorrectly written. i would like to be able to explain why no answer is possible.

the relevant text (lines 16-19)

More than 80 percent of high school seniors go on to college, and their success in the college-entrance exam heavily influences which institution of higher learning they will be accepted to. This, in turn, will affect their career track to good jobs in big companies and government agencies.

the question:

Complete the missing information in the sequence of cause and effect below. Base your answers on lines 16-19

(1) Most high school graduates in South Korea_____________
(2) Therefore, ___________________________________________
(3) As a result, they will be able to study at the top universities and get good jobs

a couple of "correct" answers (that still make no sense)

1)
1: go on to college
2: their success in the college-entrance exam heavily influences which college they will be accepted to.

2)
1: go to college
2: they must succeed in the exam.

also, please point out any mistakes in my English.

  • Where did South Korea come from? It was not in lines 16-19. – Jim Dec 12 '18 at 21:58
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The difficult word in the question is 'therefore'. Therefore means 'because of this'.

The confusing part of this question is that the use of 'therefore' in the second part and 'As a result' in the third part suggests a direct cause and effect relationship, when there could be multiple answers to the second part which would not lead to the third part.

For example, a student could take a college entrance exam and perform poorly.

The third part of the question must be changed to reflect that an outcome is not certain.

If I were going to answer this question I would write this:

(1) Most high school graduates in South Korea____go to college.__ (2) Therefore, students must perform well on college entrance exams._ (3) As a result, they will be able to study at the top universities and get good jobs.

Even this isn't completely correct.

The third part of the question needs to say something like, "If students perform well," or "The students with the best scores,".

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Unless if your teacher meant to have it go 1: [Most High School Students] Do well in (exam) and 2: [Therefore] Most high school students get into university, as well as 3: [As a result, they will be able to study at the top universities and get good jobs] then yeah, this question does not make sense. What I've mentioned is pretty unlikely though, and I suggest you point this out to your teacher as this question is most likely formatted incorrectly.

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Answer 1:
(1) Most high school graduates in South Korea go on to college -> correct
(2) Therefore, their success in the college-entrance exam heavily influences which college they will be accepted to. -> while the italicized statement is true on its own, this statement does not logically follow from statement (1), so "Therefore" is the wrong conjunction.

Answer 2:
(1) Most high school graduates in South Korea go to college -> correct
(2) Therefore, they must succeed in the exam. -> this is only correct if we read "they must succeed in the exam" as meaning "it must be the case that they succeed in the exam."

This would be an abbreviated way of making the following logical proposition (which is called a syllogism):
1) in order to go to college, a student must pass the exam
2) most students go to college
3) (therefore) most students pass the exam

The problem is, the result of those two statements is not statement (3), so this answer doesn't make much sense. It's also unlikely that we are meant to read "they must succeed in the exam" as "it must be the case that they have passed the test."

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