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Logic : Syllogistic Fallacies and ‘Determine the Best Conclusion’ Questions

The Civil Service Exam – Professional Level is divided into four categories/competency areas – Verbal, Analytical, Numerical, and General Information. Some of the CSE’s Analytical Reasoning Questions will require you to determine the best conclusion which one can logically make based on a given set of statements/premises which are all assumed to be TRUE (This is different from the ‘Determine the Assumption’ and the Reading Comprehension ‘Best Supports the Statement’ questions).

To answer the ‘Determine the Best Conclusion’ type of questions properly, you have to understand the syllogistic fallacies which usually show up in civil service exams. If you are familiar with the fallacies, you can quickly eliminate the wrong conclusions from the answer options provided in the exam.

So, first things first – a syllogism is an argument that has a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. In its basic structure, each of the premises must have a common term in the conclusion. Also, both premises will have something in common – which is the middle term. The middle term does not appear in the conclusion. See the example below.

All dogs are mammals. (Major Premise)
All terriers are dogs. (Minor Premise)
Therefore, all terriers are mammals. (Conclusion)
All A are B
All C are A
Therefore, all C are B.

The Middle term is ‘dogs’, and it is common in both the major and minor premises but it is Not in the Conclusion. It is A.
The Major term is ‘mammals’. It can be found in the Major Premise and it serves as the predicate of the Conclusion. It is B.
The Minor term is ‘terriers’. It can be found in the Minor Premise and it serves as the subject of the Conclusion. It is C.


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About the Author

I'm a Journalism graduate of the University of the Philippines - Diliman and I'm currently taking up units in Professional Education courses. I have written for various blogs, websites, and magazines in the past. Right now, I work as a freelance eBook writer and a mobile app developer.

While I was managing a fledgling online business and being a full-time mom to my four kids - Yana, Yshi, Yza and Vincent Jr., I took the Career Service Examination - Pencil and Paper Test - Professional Level (CSE-PPT- Prof) for the first time in December 2015. I passed and I got lucky enough to be among the Top 10 examinees in my batch, 3rd in the National Capital Region.