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To reason analytically is to break down a thought (passage) into its constituent parts. Then discover how those parts are related to one another and thereby better understand the whole thought (passage).
This process rests on the premise that you are more familiar with (better understand) the parts than the whole thought. For an analogy, we can again use the example, in the chapter The Three Step Method, of dismantling an engine to better understand how it works. Once we have separated the starter, generator, radiator, pistons, etc., from the engine, it would be more enlightening if we knew how each of the parts functioned and how they related to one another. This is where premises and conclusions come in. They are the parts of an argument. Although the conclusion is often said to follow from the premises, we will study conclusions first, because the first step in analyzing an argument is to identify its conclusion.


Note: In common jargon, an argument means a heated debate between two people. However, as used on the MCAT, a passage argument is a formal presentation of facts and opinions in order to support a position.


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