IMAT 2012 Q4 [Assumption | Television Programmes]

Television programmes that show young people in a school environment continue to feature highly in viewing schedules. Few of the programmes, however, give any emphasis on the time spent studying and the work required for academic success. Many of the actors used are far older than the characters they portray, suggesting attitudes, behaviour and appearances that are inaccurate and sometimes inappropriate. Broadcasters and producers should try to correct this.

Which one of the following must be assumed in the above argument?

A. Young people may feel that their social life is dull compared with that shown in television programmes.

B. It is often impractical to use young people in television programmes given the restrictions on how many hours they can work.

C. It is important to represent school life accurately.

D. Television programmes about other areas such as the police are not accurate.

E. School work and academic success are important to all students.


  1. Identify the question type. Although not phrased in the typical Cambridge format (“What is the assumption in the argument…”) we can easily identify that it is asking for an assumption.
  2. Use Strategy Tool Kit for solving assumptions
  • Find the conclusions
  • Find the reasons
  • Find the unwritten link that the conclusion relies on
  • Discard and decide (use negation test if needed)

First, examine the text and find out what the author is trying to argue. In this case, the author is trying to argue that broadcasters and producers should try to correct the inaccuracy and inappropriateness of school television shows.

Now lets go into the answers to find the assumption on which the argument is based on.

A. The author is not trying to prove that real students should not be disappointed if their social life is incomparable to that of the television shows, he is instead trying to prove that the amount of effort and work required for academic success is not shown by these shows. Therefore this cannot be the assumption.

B. This is an assumption that is not relevant to the argument. We do not know why young people are not used in the show, and the only suggestion for this is because they want actors to have different attitudes, behaviours, and appearances. Therefore B cannot be the answer.

C. If we were to reverse this statement, what would change? If it was not important to represent school life accurately, then it would not matter if there is inaccuracy in these school television programmes. The author believes there is importance to represent school life accurately because if it is not, it gives students watching the false impression that it is easy to do well in school without having to work very hard. Without this assumption, the argument collapses because there would be no need to change the inaccuracies in the show. Therefore C is the correct answer.

D. The text is very specific about school and cannot be generalized to other areas such as the police. This is important because to make arguments about why police shows should be more accurate, you will need to use different kinds of evidence. In our case, it says they are not showing what is needed for academic success in these shows, so we can see how it could be damaging for students. In a police show, this is not applicable, and another reason, like not glamorising violence, would be needed. Therefore D cannot be correct.

E. This is too wide of an assumption. When you see statements with “all” or “none”, make sure you underline and then double-check whether they could be correct or not, because they are often too broad. The text is talking about how there is not enough emphasis on what it takes for academic success in these shows, but it does not say that everyone wants to achieve it. Just because they want to be more accurate with the amount of work you need for success, it can just be so students see what needs to be done, not that everyone is expected to do it. Therefore E is incorrect.