An “explain the paradox” question is one that asks you to identify a good explanation for a paradoxical or confusing set of facts. (These questions are also called “resolve the paradox questions” and “explain the discrepancy questions.”) The question stem for an explain the paradox question might read:
- Which of the following, if true, most helps to reconcile the discrepancy indicated above?
- Which of the following, if true, would most contribute to an explanation of the paradoxical situation described above?
- Which of the following if true, most helps to resolve the apparent discrepancy presented above?
We solve these questions by following two steps:
- Identify what the paradox is (what needs to be explained in the stimulus).
- Choose the answer that provides a reasonable explanation for the paradox.
Let’s take a look at each step.
Identify the Paradox
The paradox is the thing that needs to be explained. What’s confusing about the stimulus? What might someone be surprised about the facts given? The clearer you are about what the paradox is, the easier the question will be for you.
Choose the Answer
Choose the answer that helps to resolve the confusing situation. You don’t need to fix the problem entirely; you just need an answer that would make a reasonable person think “Oh, that makes more sense now.” Choose the answer that, if true, would make the stimulus a lot less confusing.