Question Explanations For
Question Types (Synthesis)
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question tells you about the location of a family of polar bears in terms of latitude (around 52°N), and asks you to assess how that information fits in with the claims made by Scientist 1 and Scientist 2. Both scientists make claims about the direction that polar bears are migrating (southward or northward), so you’ll need to figure out whether 52°N is south or north of a polar bear’s natural habitat. The passage introduction tells you that polar bears usually live “in or near the Arctic Circle,” which the question tells you begins at 66°N. You know that the North Pole is at 90°N, and the equator is at 0°, so it’s clear that a higher number means a more northern latitude. Thus, polar bears at 52°N are south of their natural habitat. This matches Scientist 1’s view that polar bears migrate southward, so you can eliminate (C) and (D). You should already know that Scientist 2 claims the exact opposite, so his or her view must be weakened by the same discovery, and you can eliminate (A) and choose (B).
The Correct Answer is (G) — This question requires you to find a similarity between Scientist 1 and Scientist 2’s claims. Looking at the graphs in the answer choices, you’ll see that you need to think in terms of number of polar bears seen in different locations. Both scientists claim that polar bears are migrating away from their natural habitat, either northward (Scientist 2) or southward (Scientist 1), so you should look for a graph with relatively few polar bears in their natural habitat—this allows you to eliminate (F). If both scientists are correct, there should also be more bears both south and north of their natural habitat than in their natural habitat, which corresponds with the graph in (G). Both (H) and (J) are incorrect because they only support one of the scientists claims.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This is a complicated question: it asks you to find something in Scientist 2’s passage that would make it hard to believe Scientist 1’s argument. Scientist 1 argues that polar bears are migrating southward due to melting ice. If polar bears are observed migrating northward, as Scientist 2 claims, then this observation would weaken Scientist 1’s argument, and the answer is (D). (A) is incorrect because it is actually an observation made by Scientist 1, so it wouldn’t weaken her argument. If you chose (A), you may have gotten your scientists mixed up. (B) is tempting but incorrect because it is a general observation about polar bears, which “typically reside in or near the Arctic Circle.” It wouldn’t weaken Scientist 1’s argument because polar bears could migrate south and still be found within the Arctic Circle. (C) is incorrect because Scientist 2 states that polar bears do not have white fur, but translucent fur that merely appears white. Furthermore, the color of polar bear fur is irrelevant to Scientist 1’s argument; if polar bears hunt in the icy ocean, as Scientist 1 claims, then their having white fur might actually help them, strengthening Scientist 1’s argument.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question asks you to find the common ground between both scientists’ views. Usually, the introductory paragraphs of a Conflicting Viewpoint passage will only include information that both scientists agree with—in this case, that polar bears are migrating, and are affected by global warming. Sure enough, if you check each scientist’s claims, you’ll find that they both claim that global warming causes polar bears to migrate. While (F) and (G) both say that polar bears migrate, their reasoning only agrees with either Scientist 1’s or Scientist 2’s views, respectively, so you can eliminate them. (J) is incorrect because it says that global warming has no effect on polar bears, which is false.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Scientist 1 says that polar bears need to rest while swimming in order to successfully hunt seals, so the new study presented in this question supports Scientist 1’s argument, which allows you to eliminate (B) and (D). Scientist 2’s argument has nothing to do with swimming or rest, so the new study does not support her argument, and (C) must be wrong.