HiSET: Language Arts - Reading : Distinguishing between facts, observations, assumptions, and conclusions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HiSET: Language Arts - Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analysis

Passage adapted from The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (1900)

It is easy to demonstrate that dreams often have the character of blatant wish-fullfillments; so much so that one wonders why the language of dreams was not understood long ago. For instance, there is a dream that I can experience at will, experimentally, as it were. When I eat sardines, olives, or other strongly salted foods in the evening, I am awakened in the night by thirst. But the awaking is always preceded by a dream with the same content: I gulp the water down; and it tastes delicious to me as only a cool drink can when one is dying of thirst; and then I wake up and really have to drink. The cause of this simple dream is the thirst which I feel when I awaken. This feeling causes the desire to drink, and the dream shows me this desire fulfilled. It thereby serves a function which I can easily guess. I am a good sleeper, unaccustomed to being awakened by any need. If I can slake my thirst by dreaming that I am drinking, I don't need to wake up in order to be satisfied. Thus this is a convenience dream. The dream is substituted for action, as so often in life.

Recently this same dream occurred in a somewhat modified form. I had become thirsty even before sleeping and drained the glass of water which was standing on the nightstand next to my bed. A few hours later during the night I had a new attack of thirst which was more inconvenient. In order to get some water I would have had to get up and take the glass standing on my wife's nightstand. I dreamed therefore that my wife gave me a drink out of a vessel. This vessel was an Etruscan funerary urn which I had brought back from a trip to Italy and had since given away. However, the water in it tasted so salty (plainly because of the ashes) that I had to wake up. It is easy to see how neatly this dream arranged matters; since it its only aim was wish-fulfillment, it could be completely egotistical. A love of convenience is not really compatible with consideration for others. The introduction of the funerary urn is probably another wish-fulfillment; I was sorry that I didn't own the vessel any more--just as the water glass beside my wife was inaccessible. The urn also fit the growing salty taste which I knew would force me to wake up.

The bolded and underlined statement is best described as a/an ________________.

Possible Answers:

fact

assumption

observation

synthesis

Correct answer:

assumption

Explanation:

An assumption is a statement that is accepted as true where no proof is given, and Freud doesn't elaborate on how he knows for certain that ashes are the source of the saltiness. 

A fact is a statement that is verifiably true, while there is no way to completely verify this statement.

An observation is a statement made based on something the viewer has seen or noticed, and that does not really apply here.

A synthesis is a process of combining ideas to form something new, such as a theory or new system of belief.

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