That the “ENEM resolution” does not show! Question 139-ENEM2019

ENEM is an acronym for “National High School Exam”, a standardized test used in Brazil by several universities as an entry criterion.

After ENEM it rains sites posting the resolution of the questions, and everyone wants to know, what was the right answer… so, the right answer is cool to get it right and such, but here we go for a more fun bias. What was it about the wrong alternatives that could make someone think they were right?

Below is question number 139 of the yellow notebook for the year 2019. Available at the INEP website (by clicking here).

In the official resolution the correct alternative is the letter E.

Let’s start by looking at alternative B:

It seems to have been thought for those who imagine the word PINE as a stamp, in which they painted over the top of the word and tapped the floor. Because the first space resembles the top part of the letter P, the next space, the top part of the letter I, the two spaces following the top parts of the letter N with the gap between them, and then the space of the part of above the letter E.

Now let’s look at alternative C:

It seems to have been thought with the purpose of being chosen by distraction, because apart from the shadow of the letter P, the other shadows are consistent with those shown in the figure. The shadow of the letter P however takes only the bottom part of the letter, a little space, ignoring that the top part of the letter will contribute to its shadow being a space.

Now let’s look at alternative D:

It seems the opposite of the reasoning imagined in alternative B, in which the person thinks of the word PINE as a stamp, passes paint on its bottom and presses it on the floor. Because the first space resembles the bottom of the letter P, then there is a gap, followed by another space that would be the bottom of the letter I, then two spaces separated by a gap, which would be the bottom of the letter N , and finally, a space that would be the bottom of the letter E.

Are we done? Not yet, because we skipped alternative A.

We have the statement that the spacing between all adjacent letters is the same. But there is no information in the statement of how much this spacing measure is. If the letters were touching each other, the spacing in this case would be 0, we would still have the same spacing between the adjacent letters.

Now, looking at the figure above, in which (let’s imagine that) the spacing between them is 0. The shadow generated on the ground would be alternative A. In which we have the shadow completely filled. In this point of view, alternative A would also be correct, since the statement of the question does not ask us to base ourselves on the spacing shown in its visual representation (although by the fact that it only admits an alternative as the right one, this is implicitly required).

I hope you enjoyed this analysis, because I believe that understanding why a certain alternative was the right one, is in fact important to obtain a good result in this exam. But understanding how the other alternatives were made so that candidates have no doubt about which one to choose is a great exercise for those who want to prevent some “implicit pitfalls” like Alternative A can also be considered right.

Cover image credits to F1 Digitals from Pixabay

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