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PrepTest 49 Explained
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Section I: Logic Games
SECTION I LOGIC GAMES
Game 1: Twelve Films, Six Days
Situation: An “international film retrospective.” Entities: Twelve films, six days. Action: Six films are shown, one on each day. So we’ll have to select the six films, then put them in order—a Hybrid Selection/Sequencing game. Limitations: The six days are consecutive. Exactly six of the twelve films are shown (so exactly six of them are not shown). One film is shown on each day. There are two films in each of the languages used. The Initial Setup: We’ll start off with our basic Sequencing sketch, numbering the days 1 through 6. It will be easy to combine a Selection sketch with this one; in fact, selection is the easiest action to add to a Hybrid sketch, since a Selection setup is just a roster of entities, and we write out a roster of the entities no matter what action we’ll be doing in the game. Here, we just have to remember that we’ll be circling some of the films and crossing others out. Also, remember that we should write the letter for each type of film twice, since we have two of them available:
Norwegian is shown the next day:”
If I → I
Don’t forget to formulate the contrapositive. Here, it would be, “If a film in Norwegian is not shown the day after a film in Italian, then the film in Italian is not shown.”
If not I
N → not I
Notice how specific our contrapositive is. Many students would write the trigger of this contrapositive as “If not N,” but that would suggest that the rule is only triggered when a film in Norwegian isn’t shown at all, and that doesn’t tell the whole story. Don’t fall into the trap of changing difficult Formal Logic statements to make them easier. Rule 3 follows the same formulation as Rule 2, only it uses Greek and Italian:
If G → G If not G I → not G
FF GG HH 1
NN TT 5 6
Deductions: There’s one quick and obvious duplication that allows us to combine Rules 2 and 3 to make a big Bloc of Entities. If a film in Greek is shown, then a film in Italian is shown on the next day and a film in Norwegian is shown the day after that:
If G → G
If not G
N → not G
Rule 1 rules out showing a Norwegian film on two of the days, day 2 and day 4. We’ll just jot down “no N” beneath those days:
2 no N
4 no N
Rule 2 is simple, as long as you remember that “No A unless B” means “If A, then B.” So this rule would translate as, “If a film in Italian is shown, then a film in
The contrapositive is a bit more complicated here, but it still follows the same rules as all Formal Logic problems. Just make sure you’re clear that the film festival could show an Italian film or a Norwegian film without also showing a Greek film. There’s one more duplication in this game, and it tells us more about where that Bloc of Entities can fit. A film in Norwegian cannot be shown on day 2 or day 4, so a film in Italian cannot be shown on day 1 or day 3, since Rule 2 would force the Norwegian film onto the next day. Furthermore, a film in Greek cannot be shown on day 2, day 5, or day 6 for the same reason. We can fill this information into the slots of our sketch just like we did the first rule:
PrepTest 49 Explained
2. (D) “could be true EXCEPT” / “If” clause
no I no N no I no N no G no G no G
The Final Visualization:
Questions in Hybrid games will usually force you to look at both of the game’s actions. Take a moment to characterize the choices in this question. The four wrong answer choices are all films that could be shown on day 1, while the correct answer is a film that cannot be shown on day 1. The “if” in this question gives us some pretty concrete information: both of the films in Italian are shown, and they’re shown on day 2 and day 5. Rule 2 tells us that a film in Italian must be followed by a film in Norwegian, so we can plug this information into our new sketch. Remember, we’ll also circle each of the films as it is selected:
FF GG HH 1 2 3
NN TT 5 6
no I no N no I no N no G no G no G
If I → I If not I N → not I
FF GG HH 1 I 2 N 3
NN TT I 5 N 6
If G → G If not G I → not G If G → G If not G I N → not G
From this, we can quickly see that both of the films in Norwegian are already selected, so a film in Norwegian can’t be the film shown on day 1. (D) is the correct answer. And as it turns out, this question really only tested selection after all. (A), (C), (E) The films in French, Hungarian, and Turkish are all floaters. They can be shown on any given day, as long as that day isn’t already taken. (B) The film in Greek could be shown on day 1. In fact, that would give us the “G I N” Bloc of Entities from our Deductions. 3. (A) “must be false” / “if” clause
This game may have been a Hybrid game, but the setup wasn’t much of a challenge. If you were brave enough to attempt it right away, the payoff came in the question set. There’s a total of seven points available in this game, and none of them should have posed too much difficulty. Let’s look at them now. The Questions: 1. (E) Acceptability
Seek out questions where your previous work makes it easier to find the correct answer. Once again, both of the films in Italian are shown, which means that both of the films in Norwegian will be shown immediately after them. But this question doesn’t give us specific days on which to show the Italian films—they could go anywhere, as long as they don’t violate another rule. A quick look at our Master Sketch will tell us where we can’t put the Italian films— day 1 and day 3. And a look back at question 2 tells us that we could put the Italian films on day 2 and day 5. So is there anywhere else they could go, or are the films locked in to those possibilities? Well, it’s a little bit of both. The first Italian film has to be shown on day 2. It can’t be shown on day 1 or 3, and if it’s shown on
Use the rules to eliminate wrong choices in Acceptability questions. Rule 1 eliminates (B), which has a Norwegian film on day 4. Rule 2 eliminates three choices, (A), (C), and (D); both (A) and (D) have a film in Italian that is followed by a film in something other than Norwegian, and in (C), the film in Italian is shown on day 6, so it is followed by nothing at all! Only (E) remains, so it must be the correct answer.
Section I: Logic Games
day 4, then there won’t be room for a second Italian film later. But the second Italian film could be shown on day 5, as it was in the last question, or it could be shown on day 4. Our sketch from the last question gives us one possibility, and we can quickly jot down the other: 5. (D) “could be true” / “if” clause
Use all of the rules to make as many deductions as possible in your new sketch before moving on to the answer choices. The correct answer in this question must be very specific: a film that can be shown on day 1, followed by a film that can be shown on day 6. The four wrong choices will include a film that can’t be shown on day 1 in the first slot, or a film that can’t be shown on day 6 in the second slot, or both. The new “if” in this question might not make you immediately leap to any new deductions, but that’s just fine. You should still follow the steps of the Kaplan Method. Recopy your sketch, plug in the new rule, then see if you can make any deductions.
FF GG HH I N 1 2 3
II I 4
NN TT N 5 6
We can use both of these sketches to scan the choices for something that must be false. In doing so, we find (A): day 3 is always occupied by a Norwegian film, so it cannot also show a French film. (B) A Greek film could be shown on day 1; in fact, we saw this when we eliminated (B) from Question 2. (C) If the second Italian film is shown on day 4, then a Hungarian film could be shown on day 6. (D) Our sketch for this question shows a Norwegian film on day 5, so this one definitely could be true. (E) A Turkish film could be shown on day 4 as long as the second Italian film is shown on day 5. 4. (B) Complete and Accurate List
FF GG HH F 1 2 3
NN TT F 5 6
Your work on previous questions can help you answer Complete and Accurate List questions. The LSAT practically gives us a free point on this question, as long as we’re paying attention to what’s come before. The last two questions have dealt with the Italian films, and we’ve already figured out that they can be shown on day 2, day 4, and day 5, which is (B). In fact, we could have eliminated every choice except (B) and (C) just by using the “if” clause from question 2. Always check your work from previous questions—it can save you a lot of time in situations like this. (A) and (D) include days 1 and 3. We figured out during the Deductions that the Italian film can’t be shown on those days, because it would force the Norwegian film to violate Rule 1. (C) comes close, but it skips day 4 and puts the Italian film on day 6. In this case, we couldn’t show the Norwegian film on the day after the Italian film, since there aren’t any more days. (E) is an accurate list, but it isn’t complete—the Italian film could also be shown on day 5.
Once again, the work we’ve done in previous questions can help us out here. It may not be immediately apparent, but if you run through Rules 2 and 3 and think about where you could place the Blocs of Entities, you’ll realize that there just isn’t room for them. The only place where there are two consecutive days available is day 1 and day 2, and since a Norwegian film can’t be shown on day 2, we can’t show an Italian film on day 1. This means that we’ve triggered the contrapositives of Rules 2 and 3, so we can plug in the results as well—we won’t select an Italian film, and we won’t select a Greek film. Go ahead and cross them off of our list of entities:
FF GG HH
Now we’re ready to check the choices. Let’s go through them together: (A) must be false. Both of the French films are already placed, so one of them cannot be shown on day 1. Eliminate. (B) must be false. A Greek film cannot be shown on the first day. Eliminate. (C) must be false. An Italian film cannot be shown on day 1. Eliminate. (D) could be true, and is correct. Be careful not to reverse Rule 2—a Norwegian film can be shown
PrepTest 49 Explained
without an Italian film before it. For the record: (E) must be false. A Greek film cannot be shown last. Eliminate. 6. (E) “must be true” / “if” clause 7. (D) “must be true” / “if” clause
Deductions don’t have to nail entities down to specific slots to be useful; sometimes, a deduction that gives you the order of entities can be enough to answer a question. In Question 7, we’re looking for a day or set of days on which a film in Norwegian must be shown. The incorrect answer choices will have a day or days on which some other film could be shown. But instead of giving us any definite positions, the “if” clause in this question only tells us the order of two of the films: a film in Greek will be shown after a film in Norwegian. We can’t nail those entities down to positions just yet, but we can write out a bit of shorthand for this new rule.
When the “if” clause in a Hybrid game deals with a single action, work out as much as you can with that action before taking any other steps. The new rule in this question points us to the selection part of this game. We know right off the bat that we’ll reject both French films and both Italian films. You should immediately ask yourself, what else does that mean for our selection of entities? A quick glance at the contrapositive of Rule 3 tells us that if we don’t show an Italian film, we can’t show a Greek film. So we can cross the Greek films off of our roster as well. All of a sudden we’re done with one of our actions! We’ve rejected six of the films, so the remaining six must be selected:
Even that small amount of information will allow us to make a deduction or two. Rule 3 tells us that a Greek film must be immediately followed by an Italian film, and that Italian film must be immediately followed by a Norwegian film (Rule 2). Now we’re getting somewhere:
FF GG HH
Now we just have to sequence those six entities. We’ve already used Rules 2 and 3, so only Rule 1 is left— days 2 and 4 cannot be the days on which the Norwegian film is shown, so each one of those days must show either a Hungarian or a Turkish film. Jot that down as well:
When the correct answer is something that must be true, the four wrong answer choices will all be things that could be false. Here, the choice that must be true is (E)—as we can see from our sketch, either a Hungarian or a Turkish film must be shown on day 2. (A) and (B) could be false. A Norwegian film could be shown on day 1 or on day 5, but it doesn’t have to be. The Norwegian films could just as easily be shown on day 3 and day 6. (C) could be false. A Turkish film could be shown on day 4, but so could a Hungarian film. (D) could be false. A Turkish film could also be shown on day 3.
We still can’t be absolutely certain where any of these entities go, but a big Bloc of Entities like “G I N” can only fit a few places. It takes up three consecutive days, so the absolute latest it could fall is on days 4, 5, and 6. That would only leave the first three days open for the Norwegian film which must come before the Greek film, and Rule 1 tells us that we have to eliminate one of those days from contention: the Norwegian film cannot be shown on day 2. That leaves us only two days on which the Norwegian film can be shown: day 1 or else day 3. This means that (D) must be true. (A) The Norwegian film could be shown on day 1, but it also could be shown on day 3. Eliminate. (B) The Norwegian film could be shown on day 3, but it could also be shown on day 1. Eliminate. (C) The second Norwegian film could be shown on day 5, but it could also be shown on day 6. Eliminate. (E) The first Norwegian film could be shown on day 1 while the second Norwegian film is shown on day 6. Eliminate.
Section I: Logic Games Game 2: Housemates and Mail
Situation: A house or apartment shared by three women. Entities: The women, and their five pieces of mail. Action: To assign the pieces of mail to the women. Two sets of entities make this a Matching game, but it wouldn’t hurt (or change your sketch) if you saw it as Distribution. Limitations: There are five pieces of mail among three addressees, so someone’s going to get more than one piece of mail. It’s also important to note (sentence 3 of the overview paragraph) that each housemate gets at least one piece of mail... The Initial Setup: ...so our sketch should first and foremost indicate the minimum single slot, under each housemate’s name, for the minimum one piece of mail she receives, and a reminder that two slots are yet to be placed. (And for clarity’s sake we’ll spell out the names to differentiate them from the mail.) the postcard go to a housemate other than Jana, the letter will go to someone other than Rini. Think this through and jot it down carefully; don’t rush. We don’t need to memorize the rule, but we do need to have it properly noted for reference during the questions:
If RIN = l → JAN = p If JAN = p → RIN = l
Rule 3 is a little vague, but which of these rules is not? We need to remember that we’ll never see “f” alone in a column; that at least one and perhaps two other pieces of mail will appear there as well. A little sketch showing f’s slot above at least one other slot should suffice. Deductions: We’re going to recommend the setting up of Limited Options in this game—not so much because doing so is required (it’s never required), but because the setup will speed us through the questions. And the limited options are based on the Duplication (that’s the D in BLEND) of the letter in Rules 1 and 2. Since Georgette doesn’t get the letter, then either Jana or Rini does. There are your two options, based on which housemate receives the letter. And since in the latter case, Rini’s getting the letter assigns the postcard to Jana, the options really look like so:
flmps GEO JAN RIN
In game after game, job one is to get the slots divvied up. Then, and only then, should you be concerned with which entity fills each slot.
Op. I GEO
Op. II GEO
The Rules: Rule 1, a negative rule, needs to turned into the positive. If Georgette gets neither letter nor magazine, then of course she will get one of the other pieces— the flyer, the postcard, or the survey. But the big realization here is that both letter and magazine will have to end up in Jana or Rini’s columns. Of course we don’t exactly know who gets which, and may not do so until the questions come along. For now, arrows from “l” and “m” to the Jana and Rini columns should be an adequate reminder. Rule 2 is a classic if/then rule that, as always, needs to be understood in its contrapositive form as well. Whenever we place the letter in Rini’s mailbox, Jana will receive the postcard. It follows, then, that should
We can therefore see that, at minimum, Jana receives the letter or the postcard. There’s no other way. (By the way, note that in Option I, the postcard can go to any of the housemates, because Rule 2 no longer applies when Rini doesn’t get the letter.) What about Georgette? Well, this is interesting. In Option I, Georgette will get at least one of the three pieces of mail Rule 1 leaves open to her: flyer, postcard, survey. And we must keep in mind that if she gets the flyer, she’s got to get at least one of the others. Rini has, in the same way, several possibilities here. But in Option II we can be much more precise. With (as we’ve seen) Rini getting the letter and Jan the
PrepTest 49 Explained
postcard, suddenly Georgette is down to only two possibilities: flyer and survey. And since the flyer cannot be delivered alone, we can be sure that in Option II, Georgette will either receive the survey only, or the survey and the flyer—either way, she definitely gets the survey. It all might look like so: The Final Visualization: both the letter and Jana’s postcard. But we have two choices remaining and we’re out of rules. Or are we? We are not. Built into the opening pargraph is the list of the five pieces of mail. In (A), no one gets a postcard at all, so that won’t work. (B) is left as the violator of no rules and the right answer (Note that (B) is an instance of our Option I in action). 9. (B) Complete and Accurate List
f l m p s Op. I GEO f/p/s JAN l RIN
Setting up Limited Options invariably yields quick and easy points. What can Jana’s one and only piece of mail be? Given that our options reveal that, at base, she must receive either the letter (thanks to Rule 1) or postcard (thanks to Rule 2), (B) must be correct. (A)’s list is incomplete (must include the letter) while (C)’s, (D)’s, and (E)’s are all inaccurate: Jana can never receive “magazine only” or “survey only.” 10. (E) Complete and Accurate List / “CANNOT be true”
m Op. II GEO s or f + s
Never assume that each question covers new ground. There is often much repetition, even among a group of only five questions. Jana again. This time, four of the five choices are possible lists of Jana’s items, and the right answer is a violator in some way. Well, if we recognize, as we just did in question 9, that at minimum, Jana’s list must contain the letter or the postcard, we can instantly realize that (E), which mentions neither of them, is impossible. Of the wrong choices, (A), (B), and (C) are all possible under Option I, and (D) would work under Option II. 11. (B) Complete and Accurate List / “CANNOT be true” Keep using your Limited Options, and re-draw only when you need to. This time, Rini is the center of attention, but otherwise the question is worded exactly the same as the previous one. We seek a violator, and our options can help us determine whether a choice will work or not. (A) If, as (A) proposes, Rini gets magazine and postcard only, then we’re in Option I, with several acceptable ways to distribute the mail among her other housemates. Acceptable. Eliminate. (B) has Rini getting the letter and survey only. The former means that we’re in Option II, and the latter
m f (min.)
The Questions: 8. (B) Acceptability
When checking rules against choices, don’t neglect any rules that might be buried in the opening paragraph. First scanning for Georgette’s receiving the letter or magazine (Rule 1), we knock out (C) where the latter is the case. Next, we might want to check for instances of the flyer’s appearing with nothing else, in violation of Rule 3. That yields another one to reject, (E). In the remaining choices, we expect to find at least one violator of Rule 2, and we do, in (D), where Rini gets
Section I: Logic Games
means that (B) is the right answer, the unacceptable distribution. As we’ve seen, in Option II Georgette must get the survey. Of the remaining choices, (D) is an application of Option I, while (C) and (E) are possible within Option II. 12. (E) “Could be true” / “if” clause (E) is left over and must be correct. Indeed, Jana could get the flyer, like so: Georgette = postcard; Jana = flyer and letter; Rini = magazine and survey. (E) is correct. (For the record, another proper matchup would be: Georgette = flyer and postcard; Jana = letter; Rini = magazine and survey.)
Turn abstract “if” clauses into concrete ones. So the magazine and survey go to one housemate, eh? It’s our job to ask and answer the question: Which one? Not Georgette, surely, because she never gets the magazine at all. Must be Jana or Rini. If it’s Jana—work it out now—then she must also receive either the letter or the postcard (that’s the basis of our two Options, right?: that at minimum, she receives one or the other). Problem: that leaves two housemates with nothing, and the flyer yet to be distributed. But lest we forget Rule 3, the flyer cannot be received by itself. This won’t fly. It has to be the case that Rini is the mystery housemate of the question stem, the one who gets the magazine and survey. We might sketch this much:
RIN m s
The student who really knows her options will see that this cannot be Option II (in which Rini gets the letter as well, but that would make the flyer and postcard individual pieces going to housemates in violation of Rule 3). So it’s Option I, which was the most flexible option all along anyway. Jana receives the letter, which leaves the flyer and the postcard available. Georgette will take either the postcard alone, or the flyer and the postcard (since the flyer cannot be distributed by itself). Either way, she gets the postcard. Now the flyer can float around, since everybody already has some other piece of mail. Armed with this sketch, let’s see what the choices have in store. (A) As we see, the survey goes to Rini, not Georgette. We saw that (A) is impossible right away. (B) No, Rini cannot take up the postcard as well, because again, that would leave the flyer a solo piece for someone. Eliminate. (C) Nope, the magazine goes to Rini, as we’ve already set up. Eliminate. (D) Nope, again, this is Option I, where Jana gets the letter. Eliminate.
PrepTest 49 Explained Game 3: Summer Courses
Situation: A summer program. Entities: The courses being offered: geography, history, literature, mathematics, psychology, sociology, and zoology. Action: The program will offer “at least one” of the courses. We’ve got to figure out which course or courses are offered, which makes this a Grouping game of Selection. Limitations: “At least one” is our only limitation. That doesn’t really give us a lot of information, which is a clue that we’re probably dealing with a harder game. The Initial Setup: For all Selection games, our basic Master Sketch is a roster of the entities: As is often the case, it’s much easier to think through this rule as a complete sentence than it is to deal exclusively in algebra. Rule 2 is much more straightforward—we’ve seen rules similar to this one in our practice. We can translate this rule like so:
If L → G and not P
The contrapositive is also fairly straightforward:
If P or not G → not L
Rule 3 has exactly the same formulation as Rule 2, just using different entities. Its translation and contrapositive are as follows:
G H L M P S Z
We’ll circle or cross these entities out as we learn more about which are selected or rejected. The Rules: All of the rules for this game are in formal logic. Coupled with the fact that we don’t have any numerical limitations to help us figure out the game, this tells us that this game is almost certainly the hardest one in the section. Rule 1 starts us off with a formulation we’re not used to seeing: if mathematics is offered, then either literature or sociology, but not both, is offered. Even as you translate this rule into algebra and form the contrapositive, keep it in a complete sentence in your mind—that will help quite a bit. This rule would translate like so:
If S → P and not Z If Z or not P → S
Finally, Rule 4 gives us the simplest Formal Logic formulation of the entire game. If geography is offered, then both history and zoology are offered, meaning that (in the contrapositive) if either history or zoology is not offered, then geography is not offered.
If G → H and Z If not H or not Z → not G
Deductions: We’ve already made several deductions in the form of working out the contrapositives of each rule. Unfortunately, the nature of the rules in this game makes it almost impossible to deduce any further. We can draw a bit more information out of Rules 2 and 3: remember from our Formal Logic work back in Lesson 2 that the formulation “If A, then not B” can also be written as “Never AB.” So from the rule that if literature is offered, then psychology is not, we can note “Never LP,” and from the rule that if sociology is offered, then zoology is not, we can note “Never SZ.” Those may not seem like much, but any deduction will help us answer the questions. We could probably work out a few more duplications between the Formal Logic rules, but it’s really not worth the time involved. We’ll need to check every rule of the game against the “if” rules in each question, so we’ll be able to catch all of the duplications as we go. Working through them now would be a waste of effort.
If M → L or S and not LS
Think through the contrapositive for this rule. To negate the original rule, we would have to say, “If the program offers neither literature nor sociology, or if it offers both literature and sociology, then it will not offer mathematics.” Our contrapositive looks like this:
If LS or not L and not S → not M
Section I: Logic Games
The Final Visualization: any deductions. Our initial setup for the question will look like this:
G H L M P S Z If M → L or S and not LS If LS or not L and not S → not M If L → G and not P If P or not G → not L If S → P and not Z If Z or not P → S If G → H and Z If not H or not Z → not G Never LP
The Questions: 13. (A) Acceptability A Complete and Accurate List of the entities selected is really an Acceptability question. The first question of this game forces us to check each of the selections in the answer choices. But as with all Acceptability questions in Selection games, we won’t really be able to tell whether an answer choice is right or wrong unless we also look at what is not listed—the entities that are rejected. Once we recognize that we’ll have to do that, we can simply use the rules to eliminate choices like we do in ever y other Acceptability question. (E) violates Rule 1, since the summer program cannot offer mathematics along with both literature and sociology. (C) also violates this rule, since mathematics cannot be offered without either literature or sociology. (D) violates Rule 2, since literature and psychology cannot both be offered. Rule 3 doesn’t help us, but Rule 4 eliminates (B): if geography is offered, then both history and zoology are also offered. (A) remains, and is correct. 14. (C) “could be true” / “if” clause Remember to check the implications of every rule before going to the answer choices. As always with “if” questions, we’ll write out a copy of our Master Sketch, plug in the new rule, then test it for
G H L M P S Z
Now we can check through the rules. “If L” is a trigger in Rule 2, and it tells us that geography is offered, but psychology is not. We can circle G and cross out P:
G H L M P S Z
Let’s see if this new information triggers any more rules. Sure enough, “If G” means history and zoology are offered (Rule 4), and “Not P” means sociology will not be offered (Rule 3’s contrapositive).
G H L M P S Z
A quick look at Rule 1 shows that we’re done with our deductions, since we can’t be certain of anything else. But we’ve come quite a long way. There’s only one entity left that we aren’t certain about: mathematics. The math course could be offered, or it could not— either way, it won’t violate a rule. This means that (C) is the correct answer, since mathematics could indeed not be offered. (A) Our deduction from Rule 3 told us that sociology cannot be offered. (A) must be false. (B) and (E) Rule 4 told us that both history and zoology were offered as soon as we realized that we had to offer geography. Both of these choices must be false. (D) Count the number of courses offered: in this scenario, there must be either four or five. (D) must be false. 15. (A) “CANNOT be true” / “if” clause Don’t let negatives in the question stem throw you off track. Trying to go too fast causes a lot of errors on the LSAT. For example, if you read this question stem as, “If history is offered by the summer program,” then you almost certainly got the wrong answer. Here, we’re looking at what happens if history is not offered. The correct answer will be another course that cannot be offered in the summer program. The four wrong choices will all be courses that could or must be offered by the program. As usual, we’ll draw out a sketch and work through the rules to find the correct answer.
PrepTest 49 Explained
G H L M P S Z
First of all, “Not H” triggers the contrapositive of Rule 4, so we know that geography is not offered. Unfortunately, geography isn’t one of the choices, so we’ll have to keep going. “Not G” triggers the contrapositive of Rule 2—if geography isn’t offered, then literature is not offered either. Now we’re getting somewhere:
Option I: G H L M P S Z Option II: G H L M P S Z
Let’s apply each of the rules to these sketches in order. Rule 2 will help us with Option I, and Rule 3 will help us with Option II. If literature is offered, then geography is also offered but psychology is not. On the other hand, if sociology is offered, then psychology is offered but zoology is not. The next step in each option, filling in the implications of these two rules, looks like this:
G H L M P S Z
Literature is in the answer choices, in (A). We’ve found the other course that cannot be offered, so we’ve found our correct answer. (B) Selecting mathematics would require that we also select either literature or sociology. Literature cannot be selected, but sociology can, so mathematics can be selected. (C) Psychology can be selected without requiring any other courses to be offered. (D) If sociology is offered, then psychology must also be offered (Rule 3), but this would not violate any rules. (E) If zoology is offered, then sociology is not offered (Rule 3), which means that mathematics is also not offered (Rule 1). All of that would be just fine. 16. (D) “must be true” / “if” clause Don’t be afraid to draw out more than one sketch for a question if it becomes necessary. The “if” rule of this question gives us a more complicated situation than we’ve seen in the rest of the game. If mathematics is selected, then either literature or sociology (but not both) must also be selected. We can’t be absolutely certain of which one would be selected, and this is a situation where most takers of the LSAT would be stumped, wondering where to go. Instead of worrying about which of the two options we must select, we’ll simply draw out and test each one—think of this as a miniature Limited Options sketch, for this question alone. One of our sketches will show what happens when mathematics and literature (but not sociology) are selected, and one of them will show what happens when mathematics and sociology (but not literature) are selected:
Option I: G H L M P S Z Option II: G H L M P S Z
Rule 4 is the only rule we haven’t applied, and it works in both options. If geography is offered, as in Option I, then history and zoology are also offered. But in Option II, zoology is not offered, so the contrapositive of Rule 4 tells us that geography cannot be offered in this option. Now we can finish each sketch:
Option I: G H L M P S Z Option II: G H L M P S Z
Armed with all this information, the answer choices are a snap. The correct answer must be true, which means it is true in every situation. For this question, that means it will be true in both of our options, while any choice that could be false in either option is wrong. The only answer choice that is true in both options is (D): at least three courses must be offered. (A) and (C) were easy to eliminate immediately: either literature or sociology is offered, but neither one of them must be offered. (B) Psychology is definitely offered in Option II, but it cannot be offered in Option I. Eliminate this choice.
Section I: Logic Games
(E) Five of the courses are offered in Option I, which means this choice could be false. However, anyone who only looked at what happens when sociology is selected would have been fooled, since Option II offers at most four courses. 17. (E) “must be false” “Not S” doesn’t lead us to any further deductions, but that’s just fine. We’ve managed to find the correct answer. Geography and sociology cannot be selected together, so (E) must be false. (A) Both geography and psychology could be selected. Rule 2 might have confused the issue with this choice, since it involves both geography and psychology, but they are only mutually exclusive when literature is selected. As long as literature is rejected, these two courses can both be offered. (B), (C), and (D) We saw all of these possibilities in question 16. Mathematics can be offered along with geography, psychology, and history—just not all of them at once.
A “must be false” question at the end of a question set is a perfect place to use your previous work. The correct answer to this question is something that must be false, so the four wrong choices will all be possibilities, things that could be true in some situation. Well, at this point in the game, we’ve seen several possibilities—in fact, we’ve seen at least one in every question that starts with “if,” as well as the possibility in the correct answer to the Acceptability question. That work we’ve already done will save us time working through the answer choices for question 17. (B), (C), and (D) all list possibilities that include mathematics. It’s a good thing we just finished working through question 16, which includes both of the options that occur when mathematics is offered. Those options allow us to eliminate all three of these choices. (B) and (D) are eliminated by Option I, which shows how mathematics can be offered along with both geography and history, and (C) is eliminated by Option II, which shows mathematics offered with psychology. That leaves (A) and (E), but unfortunately, neither of these choices lists a possibility that appeared in our previous work. We’ll have to draw out a sketch to test these choices. However, we can save ourselves a bit of time by finding a way to test both of these choices at once—here, both (A) and (E) include geography along with another course. If we see what happens when geography is selected, that should tell us which of the other courses cannot be offered in tandem. Rule 4 tells us that when geography is offered, both history and zoology are also offered. There’s where we’ll start our sketch.
G H L M P S Z
A quick skim of the rest of the rules leads us to the contrapositive of Rule 3: if zoology is selected, then sociology is not selected. Cross sociology off of the sketch:
G H L M P S Z
PrepTest 49 Explained Game 4: Computer Processor Chips
Situation: A computer company or lab—anywhere computer chips are assembled. Entities: Eight chips, F through O (with I and N missing). Action: Sequencing—to rank them from fastest (#1) to slowest (#8). Limitations: According to Rule 1 there are no ties, so this is a pretty clean sequence, eight slots for eight entities. The Initial Setup: We can work either horizontally or vertically; choosing the former gives us: bloc (Rule 5’s), and in Rule 6, let’s build on it. The sequence must contain:
F/G ... K
L ... O
F G H J K L M O 1
Now consider this: what we’ve just drawn deals with six of the eight slots. “H _ J” has to fit in there too, and must overlap somehow with the “K and L” bloc. (See why? If, for instance, we had “F/G H _ J K _ _ L O,” that would be nine slots, not eight.) One of the two slots between K and L will have to be occupied by H or J—too many possibilities to draw out, but we should see that it’s the case. Moreover, our sketch should reflect that “H _ J” has to fall earlier in the sequence than O, because of Rule 6. So which chip is slowest? O is a candidate, as is one of the F/G pair—whichever one doesn’t take slot 1. All the other chips are prohibited from slot 8: M because of Rule 3, and H, J, K, and L because the rules mandate that all of them are faster than one or more other chips. The Final Visualization:
Rule 2 is one of those we welcome, because we can put them right into the sketch: “F/G” will take slot 1, leaving one of them, F or G, to go elsewhere. Rule 3, a negative rule, doesn’t take us too far. Somehow we have to remember never to insert M on the far right. A notation “M 8” might do the trick, or we could write “No M” next to the last slot. Rule 4 offers us a workable Bloc of Entities. Somewhere in the sequence—somewhere to the right of slot #1, of course—we need to see “H _ J” and we should jot that down nearby. Rule 5 presents an even more influential bloc because it involves more slots: somewhere we will see “K _ _ L.” Note for the moment that those two blocs, Rule 4’s and Rule 5’s, involve seven slots between them; there are only eight slots in the entire game, and one of them, #1, goes to F or G. Surely there will be a major overlap between these two blocs. Rule 6 introduces the last of the eight to appear in a rule, and confirms that O will sit to the right of both J and L—whom we’ve heard from already. Deductions: BLEND reminds us to use duplications and blocs, and the bigger the bloc the better. Since L is duplicated, mentioned in both our most influential
J L ... O (M = 8)
F/G ... K 1
Why not draw out all the possibilities? First, because one quickly sees that there are too many to jot down quickly; second, because we only have five questions. It will be faster to just work through the questions than to write out possibilities that might not even be used. Let’s use the concrete information provided, and build on it. The Questions: 18. (B) Partial Acceptability Learn to recognize an Acceptability question even if the word “acceptable,” or one of its synonyms, isn’t mentioned. Each choice offers two assignments of chip to slot, but only one choice will violate no rules. If you compare your Master Sketch to the choices, you should quickly see that Rule 3 is blatantly violated by (A): M can never
Section I: Logic Games
take slot 8. Neither can L (E), because O is slower than L according to Rule 6. So those two choices drop out. J can’t be third (C) because either F or G takes slot 1, and J is preceded by two other chips (Rule 4)—the fastest J can be is fourth. If K were second and H third (D), look at our two big blocs: that would force J and L into the same slot! But “There are no ties” (Rule 1). That leaves (B), whose assignment must work (since all the other choices have been tossed); and indeed “F H K J G L M O” is a satisfactory sequence that is consistent with (B). Set this possibility aside for use in answering later questions. 19. (E) “CANNOT be true” than (“to the left of”) J. We can do some sketching, but let’s work primarily with the choices. “The fastest ranking J could have” could be... (A) ...second, but that’s never possible. J always falls after H and another chip, not to mention F or G in slot 1. Eliminate. (B) Third is also impossible, since “F/G...H _ “ comes before J always. Eliminate. (C) Fourth? Promising: that would be “F/G” in 1, and “H M J” in 2–4. Slots 5–8 are left, and...wait a minute, no good. “K _ _ L” would have to take slots 5 and 8 respectively, leaving O to violate Rule 6. Eliminate. (D) Fifth? We’ll start with “F/G” in 1, as always. If J is in fifth, then H would have to be in third. That means we’ve got to place M in either second or fourth; if M is in fourth, there’s no place for “K _ _ L” to fit, so we’ll put M in second. That forces K into fourth, and L into seventh. O has to follow after L, so O is last, and the other “F/G” fits into sixth. That works: “F/G M H K J F/G L O.” Fifth is the fastest ranking J can take. (E) Sixth? That works: “F K M H L J O G,” for instance. Too bad we’ve already seen J take fifth. Eliminate. 22. (C) “must be true” When a “must be true” comes with no “if”-clause, look for violators among your previous scratchwork. (A) asserts that J can be ranked no faster than fifth, but that’s untrue if we can put J fourth or earlier in the sequence—or, as we’ve been working it, further to the left. If your scratchwork for questions 18 or 20 is still easily viewable (as it should be), you can see that both times we placed J in the fourth slot. (A) is untrue. Eliminate. (B) You probably haven’t seen K ranked second, unless you went on to choice (E) of question 21. But you can quickly jot down a possibility where that’s the case: “F K G H L J M O,” for example. (B) is untrue. Eliminate. (C) In none of our sketches have we seen L ranked faster than fifth. We can wait and come back to this one, or check to see whether we can find an exception to it. And just a quick look back at our Master Sketch reminds us that given F/G first, and “K _ _ L,” indeed the furthest-left slot for L is fifth, and (C) is correct. For the record: (D) We saw M ranked second in question 21. (D) is untrue. (E) In both questions 20 and 21 we were able to rank O faster than eighth: seventh, as a matter of fact. (E) is untrue.
Use your Master Sketch and previous scratchwork to eliminate choices. Where can H not rank? Well, we just saw in Question 19 that H can take slot 2, so (A) can be eliminated. The possible overlaps of the H&J and K&L blocs allow for many possibilities, but on the right side of the sketch we should notice that no matter what, H has to be followed by some chip, then J, then O (“H _ J ... O.”) Which means that H cannot be any slower than fifth—H cannot occupy slot 6, in other words, and (E) is correct. 20. (B) “could be true” / “if” clause Combine a new “if” as if it were a new rule, for that question only. The “if” clause tells us that F will be to the right of O in the sequence, leaving G for slot 1:
G ... K 1
L ... O ... F
The sketch includes seven of the eight slots, and yet to be placed are M, H, and J, the latter two of which assume the “H _ J” configuration. But the focus is on slot 2, and here we have some solid ground. G is first, not second, so we can eliminate (A). J (D) and L (E) can never occupy slot 2 because of Rules 4 and 5 respectively. So our choice is between H (B) and M (C), and only the former works, in “G H K J M L O F.” If we placed M second, H and J would be left with adjacent slots between K and L, a violation of Rule 4. 21. (D) “could be true” When asked for the best (or worst) possible ranking of an entity, start with the extreme choice. We are looking for the fastest possible slot—i.e., the furthest-left slot—available to J, given that M is faster
PrepTest 49 Explained
SECTION II LOGICAL REASONING
1. (D) Point at Issue Always use Kaplan’s Decision Tree for Point at Issue questions. We can get through choices in record time if we apply Kaplan’s Decision Tree to this brief colloquy between Ilana and Gustav on the topic of Raymond Carver’s writing. (A) Only Gustav mentions compassion; Ilana never does, so we cannot be sure she even holds an opinion on Carver’s compassionate qualities. Eliminate. (B) Ilana must believe that Car ver’s work is pessimistic, since she says so; and the same point is one that Gustav concedes (“Granted....”). This is a point of agreement between them. Eliminate. (C), like (A), focuses on a feature mentioned only by Gustav and not by Ilana. This time it’s whether Carver’s stories are humorous. Eliminate. (D) Ilana has an opinion here: she states unequivocally that pessimism in a story is “a sure sign of inferior writing.” Gustav has an opinion too, but a diametrically opposed one: in Carver, one finds a “fine” writer whose work contains pessimism. This is the point at issue. (D) is correct. For the record: (E) Neither Ilana nor Gustav mentions “aesthetic value,” so we cannot pin down either one’s opinion on this term. 2. (E) Paradox
first place, not the way in which the anxiety was reported afterwards. (C), if true, deepens the paradox. These so-called realistic assessors of the risk of victimhood should be less, not more, anxious, given the statistics cited in the stimulus. (D) correlates high anxiety with high crime areas, which begs the question of what became of violent crime in those areas last year. We don’t know, though the shrewd guess would be that it dropped there just as it did generally. In any event, the paradox deals with an overall increase in public anxiety vs. an overall decline in violent crime, so focusing exclusively on the behavior in high-crime pockets, as (D) does, is off the point. 3. (C) Principle
When matching a general precept with a specific case, search for the answer that is as close to a 1:1 matchup as possible. The word “principle” isn’t used in the stem, but we do get a generalized definition of efficiency followed by the request to identify a concrete example of same, and that’s exactly how classic principle questions work. Efficiency is herein defined as the tendency to favor the big-risk, big-return project over the low-risk, low-return one. Let’s look through the choices as the test taker would. (A) A tight-deadline project is specifically one that (sentence 1) inefficient employees tend to churn out. Eliminate. (B) has the employee eschewing a tight-deadline report. Sounds good, until we see that he’s going to work instead on “routine,” easily delayed stuff. Where’s the potential big return in that? Eliminate. (C) To be punctual at a routine sales meeting would be the norm. To skip that in favor of an “urgent” phone call from a “major” client offers a big risk (maybe the client is upset; maybe I won’t handle her properly) as well as a big possible payoff (maybe she’s calling with a huge order). (C) has to be the answer, since it matches up with the definition in the stimulus. Let’s make sure the remaining ones are as flawed as they need to be: (D) A daily confab to jaw over schedules and workloads sure doesn’t sound like taking a big risk, does it? No good. (E)’s employee is a slave to deadlines and sounds like a real drone as defined in sentence 1. Nope, (C) is the winner, as we thought.
Always try to predict the kind of statement that would allow two apparently contradictory phenomena to coexist. It does seem odd that last year saw both an unprecedented drop in the violent crime rate and a huge increase in people’s worry about violent crime. You’d think they’d be reassured. There must be some external factor that jacks up people’s fears, and (E) provides it: the press. Heavy coverage of violent crimes would certainly explain why people are more fearful than the reduced crime rate should make them. (A) doesn’t speak at all of public reaction to crime, and of course the right answer must do so, since it’s the public’s anxiety that is so paradoxical. (B) The reporting of public anxiety is after the fact: we’re concerned with what raised that anxiety in the
Section II: Logical Reasoning
4. (B) Strengthen the Argument / EXCEPT (E) actually reinforces that subtle assumption being made in the argument: namely, that aggressive behavior implies the belief that aggressiveness is acceptable. When a choice bolsters an argument’s assumption, then by definition it’s a strengthener. 5. (A) Logical Flaw
If four choices strengthen an argument, then the credited choice either weakens the argument or falls outside of its scope. There’s a common logical flaw known in rhetorical circles as the post hoc argument, from the Latin post hoc ergo propter hoc or “after this, therefore because of this.” You needn’t know the term, but the flaw is worth remembering—it’s the assumption that because event B follows event A, it must be true that B was caused by A. Here, “A” is the young kids’ playing of violent video games, and “B” is the same kids’ aggressive behavior. The author does in fact conclude that A leads to B, although there’s an assumption in this argument that’s so subtle that it’s easy to miss. The author concludes that violent games leads kids to believe that aggressive behavior is acceptable—he must assume that if they believe it’s okay, then they’re more likely to behave aggressively (as they did). As we say, this is a famous reasoning flaw, but the fact that this is an “all strengthen EXCEPT” means that four of the choices lend credence to it; and of course the more an argument is strengthened, the less flawed it becomes. You can either look for choices that causally cement post-gaming aggressiveness and belief in aggressiveness to prior violent gaming, or simply seek the outside-the-scope or weakener choice. (A) offers the kids’ acceptance of one type of aggressive behavior (i.e., the behavior of others) that follows violent gaming—in other words, one more piece of evidence that links the two phenomena. Eliminate, because this is a strengthener. (B) If kids who have never played violent games find violence acceptable, then that offers some indication that the two phenomena are independent: perhaps they’re not causally linked at all. (B) must be the credited choice because it’s a 180: it tends to weaken the alleged causality. Let’s see how the remaining ones strengthen, just to build our confidence and skill: (C) offers the inverse of the logic. If non-violent games cause no increase in aggressiveness, it lends credence to the idea that violent games may in fact be the root of violent behavior (as opposed to games in general—get the idea?). A strengthener. (D) The child psychologist’s first sentence suggests that (D)’s “older children” do fall within the argument’s scope, and if the playing of violent games is the tipping point between their less and greater likelihood of finding violence acceptable, then perhaps the link is valid after all. A strengthener.
Attacking the person who makes an argument has no impact on the strength of that argument. The letter-writer implies that the reason that ecological criticism of wealthy nations’ lifestyles “should not be taken too seriously” is because its purveyors are hypocrites: they’re celebrity bigshots whose own lifestyle is profoundly ecologically destructive. However, attacking a speaker as a hypocrite is exposing a moral flaw, not a logical one. The movie stars’ criticism of middle-class lifestyles may have validity over and above the stars’ personal behavior. In formal terms, the letter-writer has engaged in an ad hominem argument, and though you don’t need to know the Latin term you ought to recognize the problem as laid out by (A). Impugning the source of a conclusion has no effect on the conclusion itself. (B) is outside the scope because the letter-writer’s criticism of bigmouth celebrities isn’t specifically directed at their “sincerity,” but rather at the disjunction between the lifestyle they follow and that which they believe others should follow. The celebrities may be quite sincere in their beliefs, even if their own behavior is a major blind spot. (C) The letter-writer does believe that the celebrities’ viewpoint is “unreasonable,” but that’s because of their hypocrisy, not because they offer inadequate evidence, as (C) would have it. In fact, the celebrities’ argument—that middle-class lifestyles cause ecological damage, and therefore are open to criticism—may indeed be adequately set forth. (D) There is no evidence present that’s meant to support a point but actually weakens it, so the letterwriter can’t be faulted for “failing to recognize” same. (E) The letter-writer pinpoints the hypocrisy of a specific class of people—movie stars and other celebrities—but makes no attempt to generalize about everyone. 6. (C) Weaken the Argument
“Overlooked alternatives” are an excellent way to weaken many arguments. A particular explanation is not “the only one available”
PrepTest 49 Explained
if a plausible alternative can be identified, and that’s what (C) does. It’s equally possible—if not more so— that the egret hangs around cattle for protection against predators, as for the opportunity to eat stirredup insects. (A) That other birds may eat the bugs stirred up by the cattle doesn’t mean that that isn’t the sole motivation for the egrets’ habit. Perhaps there are enough bugs for all. (B) offers other types of animal that cattle egrets follow, but that has nothing to do with the motivation for following any type of animal, cattle or otherwise. (D) The issue is not where cattle egrets live, but the explanation for a particular cattle egret behavior. These are very different issues. (E) is even worse than (D); no offense if you chose it. If anything, the idea that forests are inhospitable to egrets because they can’t consume insects there lends strength to the argument that cattle egrets follow cattle so that they can eat more bugs. 7. (E) Assumption (Formal Logic) (C) presents a hypothetical (“If such and such had happened, then thus and so would have resulted”) to which one can only respond, “Well, it wasn’t inspected, so it wasn’t safe; and anyway we’re interested in the inspected fruit. So hush up.” (D) actually offers the negation of correct choice (E). We cannot derive (E)’s “If uninfected, then safe” from (D)’s “If infected, then unsafe.” One can never negate the two terms of an if/then statement and assume that the result must be true. (That’s a logical error commonly tested on the LSAT.) In any case, (D) as worded leaves us musing: “Okay, so infected fruit is unsafe. But we want to conclude something about safeto-eat fruit, so you, choice (D), are no help.” 8. (D) Weaken the Argument
Arguments by analogy are inherently weak, and are best attacked with evidence that the analogy is inappropriate. What’s good for the cola is good for the call, this editorial seems to think. Soft drinks and phone calls cost the same in the ‘70s; now 20 years later (note the date on the editorial) the cost of the former has doubled, so why shouldn’t that of the latter? Because soft drinks and phone calls are manifestly different things, that’s why. The analogy falls apart if one speaks to that difference. There may be logical reasons why soft drinks cost more than phone calls, and (D) provides a good one: the greater cost of production. (D) renders the analogy moot. (A) might be true, but the issue is a cost borne by a consumer of a soft drink or a phone caller in 1990, not a cost borne by a equipment owner/lessee in 1970. (B) reflects a general trend over two decades. The cost of a phone call (if a call properly falls within the category of “goods”) was an exception to that trend, and perhaps there were good reasons for that. (B) has no effect on the logic. (C) To choose (C) as the weakener, you must do more than reject correct choice (D). You have to make several unwarranted assumptions: that increased government regulation must add to the cost of phone service; that those costs would be passed along to the consumer; and that in turn, a flat period of government regulation by definition means flat consumer costs. Surely this all strikes you as far too much work to render a choice acceptable. (E) If you accept that greater sophistication of equipment must mean higher development and operational costs—which we shouldn’t, no matter how
In a Formal Logic stimulus, not every statement needs be relevant to the conclusion. With the negative second sentence translated into the positive: All inspected fruit is uninfected. ...and the conclusion being: All inspected fruit is safe to eat. ...we can see that all we need is a statement that connects the two mismatched terms, namely safety and uninfectedness, and that is (E). If you insert (E) (rewritten as “All uninfected fruit is safe to eat”), the syllogism works perfectly. Sentence one has no impact, partly because it introduces a term (rottenness) that never reappears, and mostly because its emphasis is on identifying bad fruit, when the conclusion seeks to establish the terms sufficient for good fruit. (A) asserts the unsafeness of fruit that is rotten, but since the conclusion is trying to establish when fruit is safely edible, (A)’s statement gets us no further along. The term “rotten” appears in sentence one but is irrelevant to the conclusion as stated. (B), like (A), has no impact because the concept of rottenness is more than a step removed from the conclusion.
Section II: Logical Reasoning
reasonable it sounds, since there’s no evidence for doing so—then (E) might explain why a rise in the cost of a phone call might be justified, i.e., to offset those increased costs. But even if all that is so, (E) still fails to speak to the soft drink/telephone analogy that is at the editorial’s heart. 9. (B) Inference 10. (E) Point at Issue
Speakers can only disagree on terms that are common to both, so you can reject choices that drag in new terms. The Kaplan Decision Tree is, as always, our anchor on Point at Issue questions, but apart from that it’s worth noting that three of the choices—(B), (C), and (D)—all mention a term, rationality/irrationality, that never appears in either Megan or Channen’s statements. Since neither speaker opines as to that which is rational or irrational thinking, none of those choices can possibly reflect their point of disagreement! (A) The Decision Tree helps us right away. Megan offers a condition necessary (“only if”) to pursuing wealth beyond their basic needs. That does not commit her to the belief that some people do pursue wealth beyond their needs. So in fact, we cannot be sure whether Megan even believes what (A) is saying. Eliminate! And we have already eliminated the next three choices for the reasons described above. (E) is left over and must be correct. In fact Megan explicitly says “Indeed, the desire for prestige and status is the only reason people pursue wealth beyond their needs.” Meanwhile, Channen says, “Not everybody thinks that way”; those who are “indifferent to what others think” (and who therefore care not for prestige or status) can amass more money than they need, essentially telling us that there are other reasons for people to pursue wealth beyond their needs. A flat-out disagreement, as required by the question. 11. (C) Strengthen the Argument / EXCEPT Strengthening an argument makes the conclusion more likely to follow from the evidence; it doesn’t have to prove that conclusion. Lipoproteins start out as the villains of the piece (they transport the dreaded cholesterol), but it turns out that while LDLs are bad, HDLs are good—not just good, but the subject of the “tentative conclusion” that HDLs help prevent stroke and heart disease. The evidence is that two factors positively correlating with lower risk themselves correlate, at the same time, with high HDLs. Four of the five choices will serve to make that conclusion somewhat less “tentative.” (A) The ability of HDL to help excrete a “known factor” in stroke and heart disease strengthens the conclusion explicitly. Eliminate. (B) looks at the exercise/HDL/disease connection
LR Inference questions are usually based on a set of premises, not an argument. Yet often the right answer is essentially a summary, i.e., the “main idea” of the facts presented. If, as we’re told, larger species are more vulnerable to extinction than are smaller species on the grounds of the relative amounts of food each needs to survive, then species sur vival must have at least some connection to the food source of each individual member of that species (since, of course, each individual eats its own food, or starves, depending on prevailing conditions). (B) offers a summary of this idea, “vulnerability...at least in part” acting as a nice parallel to the stimulus’s “This fact helps make...more vulnerable.” (A) Nothing in the stimulus supports any contention about any particular behavior being “the main factor” in any particular phenomenon. Indeed, the tone of the stimulus (“helps make...more vulnerable”) is quite tentative. (C) sets the extinction of a large species as a necessary condition for the extinction of a smaller one. Say what? There’s no hint of that kind of connection in the stimulus, not to mention the fact that (C), like (A), is too certain in its tone. “No small-animal species will become extinct” is far too unqualified an assertion. (D) is in a sense self-evidently true: for the human animal as well as any other, of course our survival hinges on how much food we require. But that truism doesn’t follow from this set of statements, which are on the topic of species survival generally, not the ability of any one creature to survive. (Also, (D)’s “depend primarily on” is no more justified than (A)’s “the main determining factor.”) (E) draws a distinction that’s way out of line. It should make sense that during an environmental catastrophe, a large species is at greater risk than a small one, because the latter needs less food to survive. That’s a far cry from (E)’s confident prediction that if the big creature is threatened, the small one will pull through. If things are bad enough, maybe all species of all sizes will be wiped out; who knows?
PrepTest 49 Explained
from another angle. If (as it says) low levels of HDL correlate with obesity (and poor health), whereas high levels of HDL correlate with solid exercise (and good health), then the connection between high levels of HDL and health is reinforced. Eliminate. (C) The ease of removal of HDLs vs. that of LDLs is outside the scope here; none of the evidence about the heart-healthiness and stroke prevention of HDLs is connected with whether lipoproteins are ever removed at all. To make (C) work, you have to make a lot of extra assumptions, including that both types of lipoprotein are removed from the blood, and that the greater ease of removal of HDLs means that there must be more HDLs and fewer LDLs around to affect health. One has to work way too hard to confirm (C)’s impact on the conclusion, so we can tell that (C) is in fact correct. For the record: (D) asserts not a correlation, but a directly healthimproving effect on the part of HDLs: namely, that they mitigate the detrimental effects of LDLs. This could be the surest strengthener of them all, really. (E) The argument states that women have both higher HDL levels and less risk of heart disease and stroke than men in general. By asserting that those men enjoying a woman’s level of HDLs also enjoy a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, (E) may not prove the benefits of high HDLs, but it certainly makes them much more likely. So (D) and (E) do strengthen the logic, as we would expect once we recognized (C) as correct. 12. (C) Role of a Statement Every statement’s role is to serve the conclusion, or at least to relate to it, in one way or another. So start there. The argument ends (“Thus”) with a paradoxical conclusion: Bankers’ efforts to hold back inflation in the short term may make it harder to hold inflation back in the long term (without angering the public, that is). The author gets there by first describing how bankers try to curb inflation (that’s the first clause, the one whose role we’re asked about), and then explaining the results of the lag time between raising interest rates and restraining inflation: if you apply the brakes too soon, you can succeed, but the effort is seen as holding back the economy to no purpose. Anyway, the line of reasoning is kicked off in the very first clause, so (C) is pure and simply correct: that first clause is one of several premises—that is, pieces of evidence—leading to the conclusion. (A) Since all the first clause does is explain the mechanism by which bankers try to halve inflation, it can’t possibly be a “complete explanation” covering all the terms of temporary versus long term success, as well as the public’s reaction to same. (B) If the conjunction linking the stimulus’s first two clauses were “because,” then sentence 1 would be working as (B) suggests: the first clause would indeed be a phenomenon explained by the second. The conjunction “but” tells us that the two clauses are actually offered in contrast or opposition to each other. (D) uses different language from (B) (“conclusion/suppor t” versus (B)’s “phenomenon/explanation”) to assert the very same thing: that clause 1 is supported by clause 2. Not so. Again, the Contrast Keyword “but” separating the clauses would not permit that. (E) The entire stimulus is proceeding to the “Thus” clause. Contrary to (E)’s implication, the stimulus’s third sentence is not a subsidiary conclusion, as the “but” in line 6 proves. 13. (E) Logical Flaw
Whenever you encounter an assertion of cause-andeffect, remember the three ways in which a causal relationship can be weakened. We hope that you recognized the causal conclusion, i.e., “The secretaries’ positive attitude caused or brought about the excellent job performance.” True, there’s a strong correlation between their attitudes (as gauged by their survey responses) and performance (as gauged by their supervisors’ ratings). However, if the causal relationship is actually reversed, as (E) asserts it could be, then the correlation need not be interpreted in the causal way that the speaker insists. Thus (E) is where the flaw resides. Remember: a causal connection that “X causes Y” might work in reverse (as this one does: Y here could be leading to X); or there may be an independent cause Z for one or both effects; or the relationship between X and Y could be totally coincidental. (A) Since this conclusion is only about the secretaries, it certainly is not an improper generalization to all other kinds of job performance. (B) As noted above, there certainly is evidence: correlative evidence. It’s not persuasive or unimpeachable, but it’s there. (C) “Other activities” beyond the sheer performance of secretarial duties are outside the argument’s scope.
Section II: Logical Reasoning
(D) Actually, no: “positive attitudes” is used to mean the same thing all three times it’s mentioned, that is, “agreement that one enjoys one’s standard or newfound skills.” 14. (B) Weaken the Argument Always be sensitive to assertions of necessity or sufficiency. Therein is where you’ll often find an argument’s Achilles heel. Why must our ancestors have stood upright before developing those sophisticated tools? Because, says the scientist, sophisticated toolmaking “requires free use of the hands”—that is, free hand use is a necessary condition for sophisticated toolmaking. So where does standing upright shine in? Well, it enables free hand use; it’s sufficient for free hand use. The problem, of course, is that we have no idea whether standing upright is the only posture that makes free hand use possible. If our ancestors could have had free hand use when sitting or lying down, or never even getting up on their feet, then the connection between standing upright and sophisticated toolmaking will have been severed. (B) doesn’t describe the posture of those “advanced hunting weapons” makers, but it doesn’t need to. Simply by affirming that sophisticated tools were evidently made by ancestors who didn’t stand upright, (B) has weakened the bond between the evidence and the scientist’s conclusion. (A) The development of basic tools is outside the scope. It’s the conditions required for sophisticated tools that are at issue. (C) The author assumes (incorrectly, as we’ve seen) that standing upright is necessary for developing sophisticated tools, but he never claims that standing upright must, necessarily, lead to sophisticated tools. Thus the assertion that some ancestors stood up but didn’t make tools, which is (C), has no effect on his reasoning. (D) The concept of dexterity, relative to others or not, plays no role in the argument and thus (D) cannot be the weakener. One can only weaken an argument on its own terms; dexterity is not part of the terms here. (E)’s tools may not have required standing upright, but the ancestors’ ability to stand upright (if any) need not have gotten in the way of those tools’ development. In other words, since the toolmakers may have stood upright anyway, (E) is consistent with the logic rather than weakening it. 15. (C) Principle (Strengthen the Argument) A principle often acts like an assumption phrased in general terms—it must connect the evidence to the key terms of the conclusion. The greater importance of testing household products for safety rather than Rx medicines—which is the author’s conclusion—is based on the fact that the former are used by more people than the latter, and the premise that a potential health risk increases as more and more people use a product. The concept of safety testing appears only in the conclusion, not at all in the evidence, so we have to connect a greater need for safety testing with a greater risk posed by a popular product category, and that’s exactly what (C) does. Since the ordinary household maintenance products are used by more people, they pose the greater health risk and hence, according to (C) (and the author) are more important to test. (A) implies that the question is “to test or not to test” a single product, when in fact the argument posing the question, “Which is more important to test for safety lawn chemicals or Rx drugs?” (A) does not evoke that comparison and so cannot have any impact on it. (B), like (A), does introduce the topic of safety testing, but only insofar as it lays out the conditions under which such testing is important—period. (B) adds nothing to the comparison that is at the heart of the conclusion under consideration. (D) focuses on a distinction between Rx medicines (those that need frequent doses vs. those that don’t), but that isn’t the comparison with which the author is principally concerned—the comparison between such medicines and everyday household products. (E) begins with an assertion that is at odds with the conclusion (i.e. that medicines are more important to test than everyday products), followed by an “unless” exception, which the stimulus meets: more people are indeed at risk from household products than from Rx medicines. But we’re left wondering: what now? If the “unless” exception is met, what conclusion can be drawn? (E) falls crucially short of relevance. (Another problem with (E) is that it focuses too narrowly on a comparison of one medicine versus one product, which ignores the stimulus’s interest in comparing two classes of product.)
PrepTest 49 Explained
16. (D) Inference (Formal Logic)/“could be true EXCEPT” When working with formal logic, always start with the most concrete, definite statements; save the more slippery ones for later. Star ting with the most concrete statements: If everyone who works 18+ hours a day has no time for leisure activities (that’s the second clause, rewritten in positive terms), and if, clause 3, all happy entrepreneurs have time for leisure activities, then there are two groups that cannot overlap: those working 18+ hours a day, and happy entrepreneurs. That impossible overlap makes (D) correct for this “could be true EXCEPT” question. There cannot be any of the type (D) describes, because all the happy entrepreneurs have time for leisure activities, while all of those working 18+ hours a day do not. Clause 1, the “most” statement, offers the fact that a majority of successful (a new term!) entrepreneurs work 18+ hours a day. This isn’t very precise, because it leaves room for all sor ts of successful entrepreneurs, though in the minority, to work many fewer hours than 18, and have time for leisure activities and be happy, to boot. What this first clause most accomplishes is setting up the wrong choices. (A) could be true, because nothing stands in the way of a 1:1 identity between those working 18+ hours a day and those with no time for leisure activities. Those two groups could be one and the same. (B) actually has to be true. (B) is speaking of people who, according to clause 1, are in the majority of successful entrepreneurs—namely those who work 18+ hours a day. (C) could be true: there could be entrepreneurs who are both happy and successful. They would be part of clause 1’s (implied) minority: those entrepreneurs who are successful yet work less than 18 hours a day (which leaves them available for the leisure activities that correlate with happiness). (E), even more than (C), speaks of clause 1’s minority. While most successful entrepreneurs work 18+ hours a day, some certainly could work less. 17. (A) Assumption The author’s central assumption must link the key terms in the conclusion to the key terms of the evidence. If we step back from the stimulus, we can recognize that the author’s purpose is to consider the question, “Do nonhuman animals possess consciousness?” And while she doesn’t have a definitive answer, she does, in her conclusion, stake out a definite position: she believes that you cannot just prove that nonhuman animals are intelligent, and automatically conclude that they also possess consciousness. Her evidence is sentence 1 plus the necessary assumption that will be the correct answer. Since she believes that the mere establishment of intelligence is not sufficient to demonstrate consciousness, she must be making some kind of assumption that links intelligence—a term that appears only in the conclusion—to the unique term in the evidence, “exhibiting complex, goal-oriented behavior.” The only choice making that linkage is (A), so you would be right to gravitate toward it and happy to realize that it’s correct. Here’s how the logic works. Human beings, according to sentence 1, can lack consciousness at the same time that they demonstrate complex, goal-oriented behavior. If, as (A) asserts, a necessary condition for that kind of behavior is intelligence, then what human beings represent are intelligent beings that (at times) lack consciousness. See that? Thus the conclusion does follow: you cannot simply establish a nonhuman animal’s intelligence and immediately jump to the conclusion that it has consciousness, because as human beings demonstrate, one can possess the former trait but not the latter. (B) is the inverse of the conclusion, which gets us nowhere. We need to connect the mismatched terms “intelligence” and “complex, goal-oriented behavior.” (C) says that a necessary condition of conscious behavior is intelligence, but the question at hand is, “Do nonhuman animals have consciousness?,” not “Are they intelligent?” In essence the argument is trying to reason toward consciousness, while (C) is reasoning from it. (D) directly contradicts the conclusion: if possessing intelligence entails possessing consciousness, then establishing the former in nonhuman animals would establish the latter as a nonhuman trait. Certainly the author isn’t assuming this statement to be true, because it denies her conclusion. (E) draws an irrelevant distinction between “complex” and “goal-oriented.” Moreover, we need to connect (as correct choice (A) does) the very terms that choice (E) is determined to drive a wedge between.
Section II: Logical Reasoning
18. (E) Logical Flaw 19. (D) Assumption Always look to the mismatched terms in order to locate an assumption. “Fairness” is the term in the conclusion that appears nowhere in the evidence, so to reach this conclusion we need, somehow, to connect the behavior of the owners (the owner is the “someone else willing to pay for” athletes’ salaries). (D) satisfies this requirement nicely. If (as (D) says) any salary that an owner is willing to pay is fair, and if (as we’re told) the salaries athletes are currently earning are determined by willing owners, then yes, one would have to conclude that the salaries are fair. (A) opines on the fairest “economic system,” which is broader than the narrow conclusion about fairness in pro sports. (A) could be true, but still leaves open the question as to whether any particular salary—such as the athlete’s—is in essence “fair.” (B) focuses on the most tangential element of the argument—indeed, it’s part of the paragraph, but not really part of the argument at all—and that is the motivation (i.e., “enormous profits”) behind the owners’ largesse. The fairness issue is totally separate; any loss of profits that might follow lowered salaries has nothing at all to do with fairness. (C), like (B), fails to address fairness, which is a big giveaway. And (C), even more than (B), focuses on the utterly irrelevant issue of why the owners are ponying up so much cash. (E) reasons from the fairness of athletes’ salaries in its “if” hypothetical, and that offers the argument— which is tr ying to establish that fairness in its conclusion—no help whatsoever. 20. (B) Inference Often the line between an Inference and an author’s conclusion is fine indeed. The environmentalist paints a grim portrait of what happens when trash is incinerated: poison from heavy metals escapes into the air. And since many appliances contain heavy metals, surely incinerating them would be a mistake: that’s (B), a restatement of the danger cited in the environmentalist’s first sentence. (A) You may know that recycling is a real-world alternative to incineration, but since the term is never mentioned, (A) can’t possibly qualify as a statement that “must be true” or “must follow.”
A complex, verbose stimulus needs to be reduced to its bare bones. This peroration is awash with adverbs and adjectives and repetition that can set your head spinning if you don’t take pains to reduce the logic to its essence. Starting with the Conclusion Keyword “therefore,” you might formulate something like this: The best understanding of nature requires nontraditional (holistic) reasoning, rather than traditional (scientific) reasoning. That’s because nature evolves in a holistic way and is itself holistic and interconnected. This kind of distillation may reveal the author’s unwarranted scope shift between the holistic characteristics of nature mentioned in the evidence, and the holistic reasoning for which the author argues in the conclusion. And that should lead you to (E). It’s an unwarranted assumption that to best understand a holistic phenomenon (like nature) one must apply holistic reasoning; for all we know, a traditionally linear reasoning approach might be equally adequate to the task. (A) accuses the argument of confusing necessity and sufficiency. While that’s a flaw plaguing many LSAT LR arguments, this isn’t one of them, as our distillation above demonstrates. The problem is not the sufficiency of evidence but the inappropriateness of evidence: that is, a conclusion about reasoning needs evidence about reasoning, not generalizations about the essence of nature. (B) The philosopher doesn’t argue that linear reasoning cannot come to grips with nature, simply that it falls short of the best way to do so because nature is organic rather than linear. (B) is on the right track, but since the author could concede a possible difference between the structure of nature and the structure of thinking, without compromising his insistence that holistic thinking is the best approach, (B) doesn’t point to the argument’s vulnerability. (C) The argument cuts right past any distinction between parts and wholes—almost ruthlessly so. One can only attack an argument on its own terms, and the terms of this argument are the leap from the holistic traits of nature to a holistic approach of analysis. Don’t be fooled by (C)’s use of terms from the argument! Just because the author mentions something doesn’t mean it will be in the right answer. (D), like (C), appeals to a specious and irrelevant distinction between the whole and the parts.
PrepTest 49 Explained
(C) Clearly the author thinks that chlorofluourocarbons are dangerous, because she cites their presence in refrigerators right after saying “Discarding old appliances can be dangerous:”—and note the colon there. Trouble is, chlorofluorocarbons aren’t necessarily harmful to the atmosphere, as (C) would have it. Maybe they are just an earthbound nuisance. Insofar as this stimulus is concerned, we only know of heavy metals’ threat to the atmosphere. (D) For all we can tell, newer appliances may contain equal amounts of heavy metals as older ones, and hence pose exactly the same threat. (D) is a classic irrelevant comparison. (E) is a 180. On the evidence of the passage, landfills—at least well-operated ones—are a far better final resting place for appliances than the incinerator. 21. (B) Inference / “could be true EXCEPT” If an answer choice is outside the scope of a stimulus, then it certainly “could be true.” The purpose of this stimulus overall is to assess the effects of sugared beverages. On the plus side, they’re tasty so they help to forestall dehydration, and small amounts of sugar have the positive effects of enhancing water absorption, delaying muscle fatigue, and maintaining glucose level. But on the minus side, too much sugar can make dehydration worse. We’re looking for a choice that contradicts the above. (A) Glucose is the only sugar mentioned here, but there’s no impediment to there being other sugars that can fatigue the muscles if they—the sugars—happen to be scarce. This statement is possible. Eliminate. (B) Dehydration problems are “invariably” exacerbated if a muscle-fatigue-delaying substance is consumed? No: we have heard that sugar, which can delay muscle fatigue, “can be helpful in avoiding dehydration”; it’s only when consumed to excess that the reverse occurs. This is the statement at odds with the stimulus; (B) is correct. For the record: (C) How sweet is “too sweet”? The author never deals with this question, so (C) is certainly possible. Indeed, since large amounts of sugar make one more dehydrated, (C)’s reaction could well be the body’s way of saying “Don’t drink this now; you’re dehydrated.” (D) This stimulus is about a substance that can delay muscle fatigue. Since substances and situations that increase muscle fatigue are outside the scope, then (D) can certainly be true. (E), too, concerns an outside-the-scope issue. We don’t know enough about the interplay of water contained and absorption rate to contradict (E), so it is one more statement that “could be true.” 22. (E) Assumption
Take the time to reduce a complex argument to simpler terms. This conclusion (“Hence,”) is an example of a recommendation against a policy: namely, the policy of accepting computer-assisted math proofs that offer a vast “number of instances.” The author’s problem seems to be the dichotomy between a necessary condition for acceptance (namely the need to review, independently, every calculation in a proof), and the huge number of calculations that a computer can perform, which are many more than any human could review independently. Set up in this way in your mind, you may more likely ask a key question: “Why couldn’t a computer per form a satisfactor y independent review?” The author must believe that there’s a reason why not, otherwise he’d leave open the possibility of a “reviewing machine” applied to a “proof-making machine.” The assumption that another computer couldn’t perform the adequate review is laid out in (E). (A) is a definite advantage in the use of computers, but doesn’t speak to any of the conditions surrounding the appropriateness of accepting a computer-assisted proof. That very “simplification” could be a blow to the proof’s correctness. (B) That most proofs don’t attempt to demonstrate truth is irrelevant. In this argument, the demonstration of veracity is the purview of the independent reviewer, not the “proof-maker.” (C), like (A) and (B) before it, concerns only the creation of a proof, not the independent review of one. And again, the perceived impossibility of independent review is what leads to the author’s recommendation. (D) The scope here is computer-assisted proofs only. The moment we read (D)’s first 10 words we are entitled to reject it. 23. (B) Logical Flaw When an author “presumes the conclusion to be true,” he is offering no independent evidence for it. To prove that human behavior requires consideration of people’s nonphysical elements, the commentator argues that even if every physical element of an action was catalogued and understood, we still wouldn’t fully comprehend the action. On what evidence? The
Section II: Logical Reasoning
commentator is essentially arguing that “we can’t fully understand people on a totally physical level, because we can’t fully understand people on a solely physical level.” He provides no independent evidence for that lack of understanding (all he says is “obviously” we still wouldn’t understand), and that’s what makes the argument feel like it’s going in a circle. Indeed, this is a classic example of “circular reasoning,” in which the author presumes his conclusion to be true in order to prove it. You’re not responsible for the term, but you should spot the flaw when it appears. (B) describes it in appropriate, abstract terms. (A) There’s no analogy here. An analogy is a comparison of two essentially different things. Here the body is analyzed from the perspective of its two components: physical and nonphysical. No analogy. (C) No, the circularity here is that it concludes that a proposition (the commentator’s first sentence) is true because it’s true, not because it’s been tested and no one has disproved it. (D) A speaker need not be so open-minded as to be “aware of any evidence that could undermine” his argument. He would be wise to consider it and defend against it in advance, but he’s not required to do so, so (D) is not describing the commentator’s logical flaw. (E) The commentator asks us to “suppose” a complete scientific cataloguing of a human action. This is not unlike a Logic Games question’s “if” clause, in which we are to suppose that G goes to the picnic, at least for that question only. In both cases, we are not to argue with the supposition, as (E) would have us do; we’re supposed to accept it as true and proceed from there. So the commentator is not “presuming” that the supposition is true; he is asking us to presume that it’s true for the moment, in order to press his case. 24. (A) Parallel Reasoning Characterizing an author’s conclusion can be useful in understanding a complex argument. The topic here is the effect on deterring crime of a harsh sentence, and the conclusion (“Thus,”) is asserting a paradox. There are two factors in deterrence: the severity of the penalty, and the likelihood that the convicted person will have to suffer it. Problem: if the penalty is too severe, the likelihood of suffering may disappear (juries will just acquit), and the very deterrence hoped for is diminished. The right answer must offer determining factors, one of which, if mishandled or applied in excess, will undo the effect of the other. (A)’s elements match up with those of the stimulus with almost geometric precision. Success in getting the first job, like the deterring power of punishment, comes with two determining factors. And in both cases, if one factor goes too far (the severity of the punishment / the time spent working on the dissertation), the desired outcome may be foiled. (A) is the correct answer. (B)’s evidence and conclusion both offer “likely” comparisons between situations, and they parallel nothing in the stimulus (which uses “likelihood” only once, and in a very different context). (C) Instead of two determining factors, (C) offers one positive and one negative effect of the new surgical technique. Not parallel. (D) presents a conclusion in the form of a recommendation (“governments…should put their energies”), so different from the stimulus’s paradoxical cause and effect that you can reject (D) on that basis alone. (E) There’s no paradox in (E), and no pair of determining factors that, if one appears in excess, can undo a hoped-for result. There’s just the easilyaccepted premise that an unknown artist can charge more as his reputation goes up. The conclusion (that one can reverse the process) doesn’t really follow and (E)’s author commits a logical fallacy—all the more reason to reject (E), since the stimulus is guilty of no logical error. 25. (C) Assumption The need for an assumption signals that something is missing—that the argument is not quite complete. Cecile clearly does not meet either of her association’s requirements for public disclosure of investments: she can’t disburse funds and doesn’t sit on the board of a petrochemical company. What would seal the deal is knowledge that there are no requirements other than those of her association that might demand disclosure. (C) makes that assumption explicit, and if there are no other reasons for her to disclose, then the conclusion is justified. (A) The conclusion concerns Cecile’s need to disclose “at this time,” which means that the prospect, raised by (A), that she might get disbursement authorization power later on is outside the scope. (B) “Conflicts of interest” are never listed as an impediment to keeping one’s investments private. Outside the scope.
PrepTest 49 Explained
(D) makes the argument no stronger, if assumed, because Cecile is clearly not on the petrochemical company’s board, notwithstanding that that company owns the timber company on whose board she does sit. (D) doesn’t have any effect on the rules. (E), like (B), mentions an issue that might be relevant to the disclosure of investments in the “real world,” but that never comes up in the course of this argument. 26. (C) Parallel Reasoning Parallel Flaw Defining the flaw in the stimulus can help you locate the parallel answer choice more quickly and accurately. What is the evidence for the claim that those with highfat diets “do not consume too many calories”? Simply that obesity is caused by some other factor (it doesn’t even matter, for our purposes, what that factor is). The problem, of course, is that health and fitness issues other than obesity may have a high-caloric cause; in other words, the subject could still be consuming “too many calories.” A search for a syndrome or condition that the author denies while failing to realize that it may still pertain leads us to (C). The fact that there’s an alternative cause for post-flight disorientation doesn’t mean that the pilots don’t suffer from sleep deprivation. (A)’s conclusion parallels the stimulus’ claim that ‘obesity is caused not by calories but by a nutrient deficiency.’ Trouble is, the stimulus uses that statement as evidence, not as the main conclusion itself. (B) should be instantly suspect because of its conclusion’s use of “most” and attribution of a trait to a group of people. Both of these fail to parallel the conclusion that all members of a class (high-fat eaters) lack a trait. (D) falls far short of denying a trait to a group; instead, it concludes with an assertion of fact about predicting economic downturns. (D) would be more parallel if its conclusion were, “Therefore, there is no panic when an economic downturn is predicted.” (E)’s terms are much more complicated than that of the original and choice (C), which basically say, “X is caused not by Y, but by Z. Therefore, Y doesn’t exist.” By contrast, (E) traffics in statements about reasons for certain behaviors, and ends with a conclusion, “Therefore, most X have Y.” Very, very different.
Section III: Reading Comprehension
SECTION III READING COMPREHENSION
Passage 1: Computer-Generated Displays
At long last, the Topic of this passage is something we’ll almost certainly see in our legal careers: the use of computer-generated visual displays in the courtroom. While that information appears in the first sentence, the author takes much longer to reveal the Scope. The entire first paragraph deals with what exactly these computer-generated displays are, and how their use in the courtroom provides certain advantages, which might have led you to believe that the author would have a uniformly positive view of this new tool. But paragraph 2 takes a different tack, introducing critics who highlight potential problems with the displays, including manipulation of the jurors’ opinions and an exacerbation of any financial disparities between legal teams. So our Scope has become more complex, and now includes both the benefits and the problems of computer-generated visual displays. Paragraph 3 adds another element, the author’s suggestions on how to avoid the pitfalls mentioned in paragraph 2. These suggestions give us an idea of the author’s Purpose: to evaluate the use of computergenerated visual displays and suggest steps to mitigate the problems associated with them. Even though the author clearly believes that the displays are a useful tool, she argues in favor of taking steps to ensure that they are not misused. In fact, that last sentence would be a pretty good paraphrase of the author’s Main Idea, and it comes directly from the first sentence of paragraph 3. “To avoid misuse of this technology in the courtroom, practical steps must be taken.” That “must” shows us where the author stands. Roadmap:
The Questions: 1. (A) Global (Main Idea)
Use the author’s statements of opinion to guide you to her Main Idea. We want to tie together the two aspects of the author’s opinion on computer-generated visual displays: her acknowledgment of their “advantages” (line 15) and her advocacy of steps to avoid their misuse in paragraph 3. But we don’t want to focus on the potential problems with the displays, since the author makes it clear that the problems are especially important to “some critics” (26). Only (A) mentions the advantages of computer-generated displays while focusing on the importance of taking steps to prevent the misuse of the displays, and it’s a close paraphrase of the first sentence of paragraph 3, which led us to the Main Idea in the first place. (B) The author does tell us that the use of computergenerated displays “is growing” (line 2), but there’s no hint that it has “grown dramatically,” as (B) would have it. Besides that, the author certainly doesn’t focus on the reasons why the use of these displays has grown. (C) is a classic half right, half wrong. It starts off well, giving us the author’s reason why computer-generated displays need to be restricted, but then veers off to talk about “the most sophisticated principles of jurisprudence,” which are not a part of the passage. (D) is a Faulty Use of Detail. It only looks at the positive elements of paragraph 1, instead of continuing with the author’s suggestion from paragraph 3. (E) While this choice may have been tempting,it’s really too extreme to be any good. The author never claims that the disadvantages can definitely be eliminated, only that certain steps are necessary to prevent them. 2. (D) Global (Organization of the Passage)
¶1—Computer-gen. visual displays: what they are, why they’re good ¶2—Critics: potential problems with PC displays ¶3—Author: must take steps to avoid problems. List of steps.
Your Roadmap is an excellent paraphrase of the correct answer to an Organization of the Passage question. We’ve already got a great pre-phrase of the answer, because we were smart enough to follow the Kaplan Method for Reading Comprehension. The passage starts by introducing computer-generated visual displays and talking about their advantages, then the critics come in and talk about potential problems, then the author suggests steps that will help avoid those problems. (D) matches our Roadmap almost word-for-word.
PrepTest 49 Explained
(A) The author never “laments” the popularity of computer-generated displays. (B) We could probably eliminate this choice immediately, since the author doesn’t really endorse the new technology in the first paragraph. But if her initially positive attitude led you to continue checking through (B), the omission of the negative aspects of the new technology should have shown you that the choice was incorrect. (C) skips right over the first paragraph. The problems of the technology aren’t discussed until paragraph 2. (E) Saying that “a new technology is described in detail” doesn’t really capture the positive slant of paragraph 1, but again, it’s not so clearly wrong as to allow you to eliminate (E) quickly. This choice goes wrong when it says that the author’s final recommendations are aimed at promoting the use of the new technology instead of preventing its misuse. 3. (E) Inference (C) This choice’s “satellite images,” which are likely similar to computer-generated displays, may have led you to select it. However, they are used to predict the future, not re-create the past. Eliminate. (D) Again, the type of evidence might have fooled you— a video camera sounds a lot like a visual display. But the opinions of passersby wouldn’t create the illusion that observers were directly experiencing a recent occurrence. Eliminate. (E) is the only choice left, so it must be correct. Sure enough, (E) uses evidence to re-create a past event— in this case, a volcanic eruption in a museum exhibit. This choice is correct. 4. (B) Inference
Some questions will require you to research the text using Hot Words from within the answer choices, but author’s voice can help to guide us in broad Inference questions. This question stem gives us a clue that doesn’t really help us find the correct answer. We have to find a statement that the author would agree with regarding the use of computer-generated displays in the courtroom, but practically the entire passage consists of such statements. We’ll have to walk through the answer choices one by one, using the information in each answer choice to guide our research. We did, however, see the strongest statements of author’s voice in paragraph 3, so that might help us. To save time with this approach on Test Day, remember that you should move on once you’ve found the correct answer. (A) The “financial aid program” for computer-generated displays appears at the end of paragraph 3. While the author definitely thinks that such a program “would help create a more equitable legal arena,” (60) she never suggests that the courts should suspend the use of computer-generated displays until financial aid is in place. In fact, financial aid was introduced as a remedy if one side’s resources were greater than the other; if both can afford such displays, there would be no need for such aid. Fur thermore, “stop-action and highlighting” are misleading techniques mentioned in line 40, so financial aid would be irrelevant to their validity. Eliminate. (B) Scrutinizing computer-generated evidence to check for excessive speculation sounds like a problem mentioned in paragraph 2 or a recommendation from paragraph 3. In fact, it’s a combination of both. Lines 43–45 suggest that speculation can make computer-
Don’t let an atypical question stem confuse you; you’ll be fine as long as you can focus on what the question asks for. This question doesn’t look like a typical Inference question, since it doesn’t ask us for something that the author or a critic would be most likely to agree with, or something suggested by the passage. But it does have the loose language typical of Inference question stems, asking for an answer choice that is “most similar” to recreating an accident with a computer-generated visual display. That means we can treat this oddball question just like a regular Inference question: we’ll go back to the passage and do our research, paraphrase an answer that must be true based on the information we have, then hunt through the answer choices for a match. Our Roadmap points us back to paragraph 1: that’s where we find the courtroom use of computer-generated visual displays discussed in detail, before the author discusses the disadvantages and her recommendations for the use of such displays. The question stem’s mention of “re-creating an accident” further refines our search to lines 13–15, which suggest that visual displays “creat[e] the illusion that viewers are at the scene of a crime or accident, directly experiencing its occurrence.” We’ll search for an answer choice that would do something similar: (A) suggesting a motive wouldn’t be at all like recreating the scene of the crime. Eliminate. (B) Again, there’s no illusion created here—only an editing process. Eliminate.
Section III: Reading Comprehension
generated evidence “unsuitable for use in a trial,” and the author’s first suggestion in paragraph 3 is that computer displays should be subject to “diligent analyses” to avoid the misuse suggested in the previous paragraph. The author would definitely agree that (B) is true, so this is our correct answer. For the record: (C) and (D) both make irrelevant comparisons. “Actual static photographs of a crime scene” and “verbal accounts by eyewitnesses” are outside the scope of the argument, as is the effectiveness or the role of any evidence other than computer displays. Eliminate. (E) The author never discusses unrealistic or unpersuasive displays—she is far more concerned with manipulative techniques that could make misleading displays more persuasive. Eliminate. 5. (C) Detail author argues that “steps should be taken to ensure” equal access to computer technology (56–57), but not that the litigators already using the technology should be the ones taking those steps. Eliminate. 6. (E) Detail / EXCEPT
In an EXCEPT question, characterizing the answer choices and eliminate your way to the correct answer. In contrast to the previous question, the correct answer to this Detail / EXCEPT question will be the one answer choice that the author did NOT mention in the passage. The four wrong answer choices will all be things mentioned by the author. We get one additional clue in the question stem: the four wrong answer choices will all be advantages of using computer displays in the courtroom. This allows us to direct our research to paragraph 1, where the advantages of using this technology are listed. The only advantage mentioned in an answer choice but not in paragraph 1 is in (E); in fact, the second paragraph suggests that one of the potential misuses of computer displays is allowing speculation. (A) Lines 7–8 state that computer displays make it possible “to slow or stop action.” (B) Lines 19–22 discuss the greater understanding facilitated by computer displays and its value in “complex or technical trials.” (C) is mentioned as an advantage in lines 8–9. (D) The final lines of paragraph 1 are repeated nearly word-for-word in (D).
Concrete language in the question stem means that we’re dealing with a Detail question. Instead of something suggested or implied by the author, now we’re looking for something that she explicitly states in the passage. Once again, the clue in the question stem is so broad that we’ll have to use the Hot Words in the answer choices to assist us in our research. Our Roadmap will still help us by directing our research to one paragraph or another. (A) Any “advantages over conventional forms of evidence” offered by computer displays would be found in paragraph 1—a quick glance at the latter half of this paragraph will find several, making (A) a 180. Eliminate. (B) The critics of computer-generated evidence appear in paragraph 2. While their statements are described as “urging caution in the use of these displays” (27), an argument in favor of an outright ban is nowhere to be found. Eliminate. (C) Anything that judges should do with respect to computer displays would fall into paragraph 3 with the rest of the author’s recommendations for the use of computer displays. A skim of this paragraph will turn up lines 54–56—(C) repeats these words verbatim. This is our correct answer. For the record: (D) The current use of computer displays is described in paragraph 1. Lines 21–22 say that the displays are “especially valuable ” in technical trials, but this doesn’t suggest that such trials are primarily where the displays are used. Eliminate. (E) distorts the last few lines of the passage. The
PrepTest 49 Explained Passage 2: Centers of Style
This passage gets right to the point. According to paragraph 1, the techniques used for judging the tribal origins of African art (Topic) have gotten better over the last few years, but a critic has questioned their central assumption, the idea that any particular style can be traced to one tribe. That criticism, and the author’s evaluation of it, will be the Scope of the passage. Paragraph 2 begins on to evaluate that critic’s assertion. This is where we first hear of the most important concept in the passage: the “centers of style” that produce art for distribution over a wide geographical area. The centers of style will form the entirety of the author’s evidence in favor of the critic’s assertion, and the Conclusion Keyword “thus” in line 19 leads us to the author’s idea about these centers of style. According to the author (who seems to agree with the critic from the previous paragraph), centers of style would allow artists from a single ethnic group to create works of art for several neighboring tribes, confounding historians’ efforts to assign artwork to any one tribe. From the general idea of centers of style presented in paragraph 2, the passage progresses in paragraph 3 to a specific example of one center of style, the Konaté family of Burkina Faso. This example provides evidence for the difficulty of tracing artworks to a single tribe: the Konaté provide sculptures to five different neighboring ethnic groups and to tourists (31–34) Even though these sculptures have subtle differences for each tribe, they are largely consistent—thus, they are a per fect example of ar twork that would defy historians’ efforts to link them to one or another of the client tribes. It sounds like the author’s Purpose is to argue that historians of African art should consider the possibility that centers of style were actually responsible for certain similar artworks instead of attempting to classify these works to specific tribes. Paragraph 4 ties everything together, with a string of suggestions for historians of African ar t. These suggestions together comprise the author’s Main Idea, that historians of African art should pay greater attention to centers of style and consider the possibility that certain African artists created art for wide distribution instead of solely for their own tribe. Roadmap:
¶1—Critic: classification techniques for African art maybe based on false assumption ¶2—”centers of style” distribute art, confuse tribal classification ¶3—Example: Konaté family = center of style ¶4—M.I.: Historians of African art should consider centers of style.
The Questions: 7. (A) Global (Title)
A title for the passage must include the entire scope of the passage, just like the Main Idea. We can form a strong pre-phrase of the answer to this question by simply considering the scope of the passage. The correct title must consider centers of style, and it must mention their implications for the classification of African art. As it turns out, only (A) mentions even the first of these crucial elements, so it must be the correct answer. (B) Line 34 mentions “the tourist trade” in passing, but this brief note hardly merits mention in the title of the passage. (C) “Proportion, composition, color, and technique” are the consistent characteristics of Konaté sculpture from line 42, making this choice too focused on the details. (D) is a bit too extreme: the passage really isn’t against historians of African art, it merely suggests that they’ve failed to consider an important fact about African art. (E) While the Konaté are the only ar t traders mentioned in the passage, they are merely used as an example of a center of style, and are not really the focus of the passage itself. 8. (E) Inference
An Inference on the LSAT is always something that must be true. Even though the art historians don’t get to present their side of things, they are an important part of the passage. This question asks us to infer their viewpoint, or at least a viewpoint they would agree with, and the line reference in the question stem suggests that we’ll find it at the beginning of the passage. Skimming the
Section III: Reading Comprehension
first few lines for context, we can find a reference to these historians refining the techniques that they use in “judging the precise tribal origins of African sculptures (2–3).” If they’ve spent the last half century working to refine those techniques, then surely the historians believe that there is some value in the information gained from them—so (E), which stresses the importance of that information, must be true, and is correct. (A) is a classic example of a 180. It gives us the author’s viewpoint, not the art historians’. (B) The techniques for carving the eyes and mouths of masks are mentioned in lines 37–39 as features used by the Konaté to distinguish tribal styles. These techniques are not “standard”: they are crafted to suit each tribe’s specifications. Furthermore, we don’t have any indication of the art historians’ views regarding techniques. (C) is another 180; the author argues that substyles should not be distinguished from the regional styles created by centers of style, but the art historians are described as “attempting to break down large regional styles into finer and finer tribal styles and substyles (51–53).” (D) The only example of mask sculptors producing masks for other tribes comes from the Konaté, but the passage states that they do so as part of “a long tradition” (31). It might be possible that the art historians agree with (D), but in doing so they would contradict the passage, so we can’t say that (D) must be true. 9. (E) Detail 11. (D) Inference Questions that do not provide any clues in the question stem take a particularly long time to answer, so they are good candidates to skip. We’ve got a classic Inference question here, so we know that the correct answer is something that must be true based on the passage. Unfortunately, the question stem doesn’t give us any hints as to where in the passage we’ll find the correct answer. We’ll have to evaluate each choice as we go, which can be very timeconsuming. Fortunately, a quick skim of the answer choices reveals that they all deal with the Konaté family of sculptors, so we can narrow our research to paragraph 3. But this will not always be the case— many questions that lack clues in the question stem will still require you to research the entire passage. If you have trouble finishing the Reading Comprehension 10. (E) Global (Purpose)
The strength of the author’s point of view will be reflected in the strength of the verb used to describe the purpose of the passage. The author of this passage has a particularly strong point of view—the art historians’ assumption is wrong, and they should rethink it. We’ll look through the answer choices for verbs that might match the strength of this point of view; only “argue,” in (E), even comes close. A quick skim of the remainder of the choice shows that it matches perfectly with the scope of the passage—the author does indeed craft the passage around the idea that the “particular approach to classifying” African art used by the art historians is incorrect. (A) There is neither a classification nor a “newly proposed set of principles” in the passage. (B) might be correct for the next passage that this author writes, but it goes a step further than the passage at hand. This passage doesn’t argue that any particular group of artwork has been misclassified, only that the classification methods of the past and present do not take into account an important aspect of African art. (C) The passage does not explain the principles used by the art historians to classify work—instead, it focuses on an assumption underlying those principles. (D) is tempting, but too weak. The author doesn’t just reveal the underlying assumptions of the traditional approach, he provides evidence that they are not always correct.
You should be able to form a very specific pre-phrase of the answer to most Detail questions. The LSAT has given us a gift in the form of the stem for question 9. We won’t every get a clue that’s much more specific than “a feature that Konaté sculptors can identify as a requirement of a particular tribal style.” This hint leads us to lines 37–39, which allude to “the foliate patterns that radiate from the eyes of a Nuna mask, or the diamond-shaped mouth of many Ko masks.” The second distinction, mouth shape, is (E). (A), (C), and (D) None of the characteristics mentioned in these three choices are mentioned anywhere in the passage. (B) might have thrown you for a loop, given the distinguishing characteristics of a Nuna mask; but note that Nuna masks are distinguished by patterns radiating from the eyes, not the position of the eyes themselves.
PrepTest 49 Explained
section on Test Day, this would be a good place to improve your pacing by moving on to a question that won’t take quite so long. For now, we’ll evaluate each choice until we find the correct one: (A) Sculptors outside of Burkina Faso are outside the scope of the passage, which only includes one specific example of African artists. Eliminate. (B) The passage makes distinctions between the sculptures made by the Konaté for other tribes, but not between the sculptures made by different members of the Konaté family. Eliminate. (C) Other sculptors within Burkina Faso are also outside the scope of the passage. The Konaté are the only African artists specifically mentioned by the author. Eliminate. (D) Paragraph 3 tells us that the Konaté produce sculptures “for five major neighboring ethnic groups (32–33),” so (D) must be true, and is correct. For the record: (E) Even though the passage tells us that Ouri has “a long tradition of sculpture production (31–32),” meaning that it is certainly an old center of style, it is not necessarily the oldest center of style in the entire country of Burkina Faso. Eliminate. 12. (B) Detail Answer easier Detail questions before you answer more difficult Inference and Logic questions. Even though this question was second-to-last in the question set for this passage, you should have done it much earlier than that. As a Detail question, it is almost certainly easier than question 8 or question 11, both of which are Inferences. By answering the easiest questions first, you can be certain to pick up points as quickly as possible. The Konaté sculptors are found in paragraph 3, so we can direct our research there. Four of the answer choices will not be found within this paragraph or within the passage, while one of them will be a detail about the Konaté sculptors taken from paragraph 3. As it turns out, (B) contains that detail—the Konaté “are able to distinguish the characteristics of the five styles in which they carve (35–36),” but “the characteristic patters are so subtly different that few people outside of the area (44–45)” can do so. (A) “Nontraditional materials” are not mentioned in the passage. (C) and (D) The only artists mentioned in the passage are the Konaté. Neither “other sculptors” nor a carving style “used only by members of a different tribe” are a part of paragraph 3. (E) While paragraph 3 does suggest that the Konaté have been producing sculptures for a long time, referring to “a long tradition of sculpture production (31–32),” there is no hint that they introduced the practice. 13. (C) Inference Inference questions with direct text references often require us to combine and paraphrase two or more relevant pieces of the text. “Centers of style” is introduced in line 16, but it is used throughout the remainder of the passage, so the answer to this question will most likely take several different references into account. Some research into the context turns up a few clues. Centers of style are defined early on as groups that “produce sculpture and other art that is dispersed over a large, multitribal geographical area (17–19),” but this isn’t all the information we have about centers of style. The Konaté are once again central to finding the correct answer, as an in-depth example of a center of style. A description of the Konaté will provide us with another element to search for: while their sculptures have five distinct tribal styles, it is nevertheless “consistent in its propor tions, composition, color, and technique (41–42).” These two ideas combine in (C). (A) While the art created in centers of style may be distributed over a wide area, the example of the Konaté suggests that the “characteristics of a particular tribal style (39)” included in each mask make them far from interchangeable. (B) Artists from centers of style produce art for the neighboring tribes, but nothing in the passage suggests that they encourage competition by instructing other artists how to do so. (D) sounds very close to the description of the Konaté from paragraph 3, but look closely: the “various tribes” within the geographical area are consumers of very similar art, not producers of it. (E) A “diverse community of artists” doesn’t sound like our example of a center of style, which is a single family.
Section III: Reading Comprehension Passage 3: Ancient female doctors
As usual, the Topic of this passage, surviving sources of information about women doctors in ancient Greece and Rome, is introduced immediately. We learn in line 2 that these sources are “fragmentary,” but it is not until lines 5–6 that the Scope of the passage becomes clear. We’ll spend the rest of the passage learning what the author thinks these surviving bits of evidence tell us about the female doctors in ancient times. In another twist, the author tells us immediately what she believes the surviving evidence proves: that female medical professionals who were on a par with male medical doctors existed in ancient times, which pushes back the start date for the history of women in medicine. This sounds a lot like her Main Idea. While it is rare that the Main Idea would show up in the first paragraph of an LSAT passage, it is not unheard of, and it is clear from the Conclusion Keywords in lines 6–7 (“the evidence shows that...”) and 10 (“So...”) that the author is putting forward her opinion. The next paragraphs support the idea that the author’s conclusion appears early. Paragraph 2, paragraph 3, and paragraph 4 all discuss the evidence that, according to the author, shows that there were female medical doctors in ancient Greece and Rome. Paragraph 2 discusses the nature of the evidence, and the fact that women doctors were apparently common enough that they did not merit special notice. Paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 bring up two other aspects of medical practice by women in ancient times: female doctors’ practice was not limited to midwifery, and female doctors were apparently considered with male doctors indiscriminately. All three of these paragraphs merely provide evidence for the conclusion expressed in paragraph 1. The Purpose of the passage will take this into account—it is to prove that women were medical doctors in ancient times. Roadmap: The Questions 14. (A) Global (Main Idea) Even when the author’s Main Idea appears before the end of the passage, it must take the scope of the entire passage into account. While the author might have been generous enough to give us her conclusion early on, that doesn’t mean we can slack off for the rest of the passage. We’ve still got to be sure we know how the remainder of the passage figures into her argument, and we’ve got to make sure that the correct answer includes the scope of those later paragraphs. The only choice that accurately sums up the scope of the entire passage while still providing a paraphrase of the author’s conclusion is (A)—the “range of textual evidence” in this choice is a crucial component of the author’s main idea. (B) focuses on the details about the writings of Pliny the Elder from the final paragraph, making this a classic Faulty Use of Detail wrong answer choice. (C) distorts the evidence as cited by the author. She emphasized the fact that ancient writings make no special comment on the existence of female doctors, showing that female doctors were not so rare as to warrant such notice. (D) distorts the text. The author definitely argues that female medical practitioners rose to the level of doctor, but not necessarily that they were also researchers. (E) Scholars arguing that women did not practice medicine in ancient times do not appear in the passage—if they exist at all, perhaps the author will deal with them in her next article. 15. (E) Detail
Never answer a Detail question on a hunch. The answer to this question must be contained in the passage. After all, we’re asked for something that the author mentions. We should take the time to skim through the text to make sure we’ve found the correct answer to this Detail question. This research probably won’t take too long, and it will pay off when we can be certain we’ve got the correct answer before moving on. Our research will lead us to (E); the author mentions in paragraph 4 that Pliny the Elder and other ancient writers “quote the opinions and prescriptions of male and female doctors indiscriminately. (53–54)” (A) Most people reading this passage can probably think of a few diseases that have become curable only
¶1—surviving info on women in medicine in ancient times shows they were full doctors ¶2—nature of surviving evidence, what that shows ¶3—female doctors, not just midwives ¶4—similarity between male & female doctors
PrepTest 49 Explained
with the advent of modern medicine, but that doesn’t mean that the author of the passage mentions them. (B) Paragraph 3 mentions evidence that some female doctors treated mainly female patients, but does so in the course of showing “evidence of a broad scope of practice for women doctors (42–43)” in ancient times. (C) Francesca de Romana is mentioned in paragraph 1 as a candidate for the first female doctor, but a specific scholar advancing her candidacy is nowhere to be found. (D) The training of medical doctors in ancient Greece and Rome is outside the scope of the passage. 16. (A) Logic Function Your Roadmap will help you answer questions on the purpose of a paragraph. According to our Roadmap, the third paragraph tells us that female doctors in ancient times were more than just midwives; this information is additional evidence for the Main Idea expressed in paragraph 1. This provides us with a powerful pre-phrase of the answer, which is matched by (A). (B) runs contrar y to the author’s argument in paragraph 1. The argument in the first paragraph is the author’s own; why would she later argue that her own conclusion is too broad? (C) is too detailed. Paragraph 3 does mention in passing some exceptions to the earlier conclusion— the female doctors who treated mainly female patients—but acknowledging their existence is not the primary focus of the paragraph. (D) and (E) paragraph 3 advances its own argument— that women docs weren’t just midwives—as evidence for the conclusion formed in paragraph 1. It does not include anything that relates to both of the prior paragraphs. 17. (B) Inference Anything added to the passage must conform to the author’s opinion. You could be forgiven for assuming that this was somehow a Global question. After all, it does ask us to continue the final paragraph of the passage, and most of us are in the habit of placing the conclusion of our arguments somewhere near the end of the passage. But the looser language (“could most logically be appended”) suggests that our task is Inference. We’ll do our research in the final paragraph and look for an answer choice that logically continues its argument. We will, however, be careful to make sure that our correct answer stays within the scope of the passage. Paragraph 4 is focuses on “references in various classical works to…women’s writings on medical subjects (47–50).” The important fact about these references, according to the author, is that they are made in the same manner as references to the work of male doctors, without any special distinction on the basis of the gender of the writer. Any continuation of this paragraph should further the author’s argument in the paragraph. Only (B) does so, and even takes the extra step of connecting the argument in paragraph 4 to the similar argument made in paragraph 2. (A)’s strong phrase “only by” should make us skeptical, and that skepticism pays off: it contradicts some information in the final paragraph, which says that the references to women’s writing were made “without biographical information (57–58).” (C) and (D) are also 180s, but they go further than (A) did and contradict the author’s earlier arguments. (E) adds an element to the final paragraph that undermines the argument already made, suggesting that there is a “conflicting picture of ancient medical practice” rather than evidence for the uniform acceptance of women doctors. 18. (D) Inference (Author’s Attitude) In Author’s Attitude questions, ask whether the attitude in question is positive or negative, and to what degree. Each answer choice in this question begins with an adjective, and—much like scanning the verbs in a Purpose question—we can scan the adjectives in an Attitude question. The “sources of information” mentioned in lines 1–5 are “fragmentary (2),” but the author argues that “even from these fragments we can piece together a picture.” In fact, the information contained in these fragments, and the deductions made based on that information, is the focus of the entire passage. It sounds like the author is assuming that the information we can glean from these bits and pieces is accurate, and that assumption is found in (D). (A) The author is not “wary” of misinterpretation. There is nothing to suggest that the author believes that the fragmentary nature of the information makes it prone to misinterpretation. (B) The author is not “optimistic” about lingering questions. It is hard to imagine a more complete analysis than the author gives in her work, and the passage doesn’t suggest that there are any “lingering questions” left unanswered.
Section III: Reading Comprehension
(C) The author is not “hopeful” about the sources’ acceptance. This choice applies more to the author’s attitude towards her own conclusion than to the information she used to arrive at it. (E) The author is not “convinced” of the sources’ “appropriateness as test cases.” Additionally, a “new historical research methodology” is well outside the scope of the passage. 19. (D) Logic Function Look out for different ways that the LSAT can phrase classic question types. While question 19 is not phrased like most of the Logic Function questions that we’ve come across in our practice, it still asks us how a particular detail figures into the passage as a whole. Thankfully, once we’ve figured out what type of question we’re dealing with, we can still use Kaplan’s tried-and-true strategies—in this case, digging into the context of a detail to determine how it is used. The tribute in question is part of paragraph 3, which focuses on the breadth of women doctors’ practice in ancient times, and the fact that it was not simply midwifery. This quote must have been used to support the claim of the paragraph as a whole, which we find in (D). (A) The only reference to “other doctors” comes in paragraph 4’s discussion of references to doctors’ opinions in ancient medical works. These doctors are never said to acknowledge each other. (B) While the tribute quoted does mention one woman doctor’s “knowledge of medicine,” there is no evidence that her knowledge was acquired through education. (C) could be correct in a Detail question, but not in a Logic Function question. The epitaphs cer tainly suggest that the women mentioned were effective, but that implication is not the purpose of the statements’ inclusion in the paragraph. (E) makes an irrelevant comparison. The only tributes mentioned in this paragraph are for a female doctor— we have no tributes to male doctors for comparison. 20. (C) Inference Scan the passage carefully to find support for the correct answer to an Inference question. An Inference is something that must be true based on the information in the passage. The support for it will not necessarily be a lengthy citation of evidence or the conclusion of a paragraph. In fact, it is often the case that an Inference is supported by only a single, easily missed reference in the passage. When that is the case, we must carefully research the passage to find the correct answer, using the passage’s scope and Roadmap to guide our research. (A) Our research turns up no references to how long women doctors practiced. Eliminate. (B) The focus of the passage is squarely on women who were medical doctors—those who were not doctors, and any informal medicine they may have practiced, are outside the scope of the passage. Eliminate. (C) Lines 13–16 refer to “Francesca de Romana’s licensure to practice general medicine.” According to the passage, this took place in 1321, and was “the earliest known officially recorded occurrence of this sort.” This means that there must not be any known official records of a licensed female doctor before 1321—so no such records existed for women in ancient Greece and Rome, which is stated almost directly in paragraph 2’s “There is no list of women doctors in antiquity.” (C) must be true, and is correct. For the record: (D) If anything, paragraph 3’s discussion of the distinction between doctors and midwives suggests that there were some female doctors who acted as midwives, although their practice was not limited to midwifery. Eliminate. (E) The only posthumous honors in the passage are the epitaphs in paragraph 3, both of which are for medical—not civic—accomplishments. Eliminate.
PrepTest 49 Explained Passage 4: Corn Productivity
While the Topic of this passage, maize, is immediately clear from the first sentence, the author hides the true Scope of the passage until the end of paragraph 1. The paragraph meanders through several different elements before it arrives at the passage’s true focus. First, the author seems to focus on the effects of maize cultivation on societies, next he discusses the “primar y reason (10)” for those effects—the productivity of the crop. In these first few lines, it certainly seems that we’re dealing with a Humanities passage about the effects of maize cultivation on ancient societies. It is not until the Contrast Keyword “but” in line 15 that we find the true Scope: why is maize so productive? We can also tell that the Purpose of this passage will be to answer that question. The answer forms the basis of the last two long paragraphs, and the depth of the technical information in those paragraphs is typical of what we now know to be a Natural Sciences passage. As usual, the danger with this passage is getting bogged down in the details, like the long description of the process of photosynthesis that opens paragraph 2. The first detail worth a closer look is the introduction of the enzyme rubisco in line 27, and the author highlights it two separate ways: the Evidence Keyword “because,” and his evaluation of rubisco as “the most significant enzyme in the world (29–30).” But we also learn of a problem with rubisco, the tendency for it to interfere with photosynthesis under “many common atmospheric conditions (33).” Paragraph 3 gives us the solution to that problem: a type of photosynthesis called “C-4 photosynthesis (59)” that separates rubisco from the oxygen that can interfere with it. Once again, the lengthy details of what this process involves are unimportant. The important thing is that the author has answered the question that he posed in the first paragraph, and the answer is his Main Idea: C-4 photosynthesis is responsible for the productivity of maize and several other of the world’s most productive crops. Roadmap: The Questions: 21. (A) Global (Main Point) Don’t let the details of the passage distract you from the author’s Main Idea. With all of the details crammed into this passage, it would be easy to lose sight of what the author is trying to say. The structure of this passage is actually fairly simple: the author asked a question at the end of paragraph 1 and answered it by the end of paragraph 3, and that answer is his Main Idea: C-4 photosynthesis is responsible for the greater productivity of maize and several other crops. We can use this answer as our pre-phrase, and we find a match for it in (A). (B) brings the details from paragraph 1 back to the forefront, but these details really served more as exposition than the focus of the passage. Additionally, relative quality of the nutrients is not the focus of the passage. (C) again delves too deeply into the details, this time looking too closely at paragraph 3. (D) again focuses too deeply on the role of rubisco, plus it gets the details backwards. Rubisco’s interaction with oxygen causes the problem that is solved by C-4 photosynthesis. (E) distorts the details of the passage. There is only one mechanism discussed in the passage, and it prevents atmospheric gases from entering certain cells in the leaf, not the leaves themselves. 22. (B) Global (Organization) A question that deals with two long paragraphs is really a Global question. The scope of this passage didn’t really become clear until the end of paragraph 1, so a question about the last two long paragraphs really includes the entirety of the author’s argument. That means we’ll treat this question like a Global question about the organization of the passage as a whole, but we do have one advantage: we can eliminate any answer choices that bring in details from paragraph 1. Other than that, we’ll work through each choice to find the one that includes every element of the last two paragraphs, without eliminating or adding elements or going out of order. (A) starts off with the cultivation of maize, an element of paragraph 1. We can eliminate this one quickly. (B) follows our Roadmap exactly. The “biochemical
¶1—Maize: why is it so productive? ¶2—Process of photosynthesis. Rubisco important but can interfere. ¶3—C4 photosynthesis: prevents interference, leads to most productive plants.
Section III: Reading Comprehension
process” is photosynthesis, the “hindrance” is rubisco, and the “evolutionar y solution” is C-4 photosynthesis. (B) is the correct answer. For the record: (C) Not only does the problem inherent in photosynthesis come later in the second paragraph, but the passage only provides one way that organisms solve that problem. Eliminate. (D) Any cultural phenomenon associated with maize is only found in paragraph 1. Eliminate. (E) sounds good early on, but there is no suggestion that the explanation of photosynthesis is “widely held” to be true—instead, it is presented as established scientific fact. Eliminate. 23. (B) Inference Delve deeply into the details when—and only when— a question demands it. Ideally, as we first read through this passage, we’d treat the lengthy, technical details in paragraph 2 and paragraph 3 as a trap. We don’t really need to understand these details to understand the author’s argument, and their dense, scientific nature makes it difficult and time-consuming for most examinees to slog through them. Besides, those details aren’t going to get us any points, unless there’s a question that requires us to use them. But now we’ve arrived at just such a question, so we’ll start to delve. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll blindly start reading through the details of the passage—we can still use the question stem to guide our research. We’re looking for an evolutionary development that would give plants an advantage similar to that enjoyed by C-4 plants, so we’re looking for the details of how exactly C-4 photosynthesis conveys its advantages. Our Roadmap points us to paragraph 3, where the process of C-4 photosynthesis is described. Not long into that paragraph, line 45 signals that we’ve found what we’re looking for, “the key to that process.” C-4 photosynthesis is so advantageous because oxygen, which interfered with normal photosynthesis by binding with rubisco, is excluded from the airtight cells containing the enzyme. We can conclude any other adaptation that keeps oxygen away from rubisco will give a species a similar advantage, and we find such an adaptation in (B), which dispenses with rubisco altogether in favor of a less temperamental enzyme. (A) is a 180. According to lines 47–48, the “bundle sheath cells” are the cells containing rubisco. If a plant separated water into its constituent parts within those cells, the rubisco would come into contact with more oxygen, not less. (C) Making the structures of the leaf impermeable to oxygen would help, but if they were impermeable to carbon dioxide as well, the plant would have no fuel from which to build sugars. This adaptation wouldn’t help. (D) This adaptation distorts the process of C-4 photosynthesis, in which “the bundle sheath cells [which contain rubisco, not the structures in which water is split] surround the vascular structures of the leaf (48–49).” (E) would hinder photosynthesis, since rubisco is the enzyme which produces sugar by reacting with carbon dioxide. A less reactive enzyme would necessarily be less effective. 24. (D) Logic Function Logic Function questions are very similar to Role of a Statement questions from the Logical Reasoning section. How does the author’s reference to “all other atmospheric gases” fit into the rest of the passage? It has to have some function, otherwise it wouldn’t be there. The key to finding that function will be the context. With a bit of research, we find our answer just two sentences later. In lines 50–54, we learn that “carbon dioxide, which cannot enter these cells as a gas, first undergoes a series of reactions to form an intermediary, nongas molecule named C-4.” That’s why it’s impor tant that the bundle sheath cells are impermeable to all gases: it explains why the chemical transformation of carbon dioxide into C-4 is necessary. We find this in (D). (A) There is no explanation given anywhere in the passage for why certain atmospheric conditions cause excess oxygen to build up. (B) There is no claim advanced that other gases can interfere with photosynthesis, either earlier in the paragraph or anywhere else in the passage. (C) The conclusion that non-C-4 photosynthesis makes use of atmospheric gases other than those used in C-4 photosynthesis never appears in the passage. (E) The passage makes no claim about oxygen levels in C-4 plants.
PrepTest 49 Explained
25. (D) Inference A quick skim of the answer choices can help direct your research for questions that lack clues in the question stem. This is a straight-up Inference question which can often be confounding. Without a hint as to where to direct their research, many test-takers find themselves skimming through the passage in the vain hope that something will leap out at them. But when we skim the answer choices for this question, we find that they are all statements about rice, which only appears once in the passage, in line 60. The only thing we know about rice from the passage is that it is a C-4 plant like maize and sugar cane, so our Inference must attribute one or more of the properties of a C-4 plant to rice. (D) does just that with its assertion that rice sequesters rubisco in bundle sheath cells, just like maize. (A) is close enough to be quite confusing. In C-4 plants, atmospheric gases cannot enter the cells which contain rubisco, not the cells in which water is split into its constituent elements. (B) Lines 20–24 tell us that “all plants split water into its constituent elements…they use the resultant hydrogen to form one of the molecules they need for energy, but the oxygen is released into the atmosphere.” There is no indication that the oxygen combines with anything else before it is released. (C) is true, but it is outside the scope of the passage. Be careful not to use any of your outside knowledge in answering the questions on the LSAT. (E) How widely maize and rice are cultivated, or any comparison between them other than the fact that they are both C-4 plants, is outside the scope of the passage. 26. (E) Inference maize reshaped several cultures because of its productivity. Eliminate. (B) According to lines 20–24, “all plants” release oxygen into the atmosphere as a by-product of photosynthesis. Maize is no exception. Eliminate. (C) distorts the thrust of the entire passage. The author attributes maize’s productivity entirely to its use of C-4 photosynthesis, not any other element. Eliminate. (D) There is evidence in paragraph 1 that European culture was changed by the introduction of maize, but no evidence that maize cultivation required any special techniques that the Europeans lacked. Eliminate. (E) pieces together elements from the first and last paragraphs of the passage. C-4 photosynthesis is indeed an evolutionary adaptation to more effectively utilize rubisco, and humans have indeed benefited from the resultant higher productivity. (E) must be true, and is correct. 27. (A) Inference The answer to an Inference question will often combine different elements of the passage. Once again, we’re faced with an Inference question that refuses to point us to a particular part of the passage. This time, rubisco is the element that’s common to all five of the answer choices, but just like in the last question, rubisco is common enough in the passage that it will be difficult to pin down any area for research. Thankfully, we can focus our researching efforts on paragraph 3 and the latter half of paragraph 2 as we work through the choices: (A) quickly turns out to be the correct answer. In C-4 plants, rubisco is isolated in airtight structures within the leaf, the “bundle sheath cells” of line 48. But in non-C-4 plants, oxygen can reach the rubisco and bind with it, ”interfering with the photosynthetic reaction (35),” so the rubisco must not be in an airtight structure. For the record: (B) C-4, and not rubisco, is named “for the four carbon atoms it contains (53–54).” Eliminate. (C) We learn in paragraph 2 that rubisco is part of the photosynthetic reaction that converts carbon dioxide into sugars, but we only know that “rubisco assists in the sugar-forming chemical reaction (27–28),” not that it is necessary to that reaction. Eliminate. (D) Rubisco is responsible for the detrimental effects of oxygen buildup in all plants—it is the bundle sheath cells of maize and other C-4 plants that prevent those detrimental effects. Eliminate. (E) There is no information given in the passage about optimizing the C-4 process. Eliminate.
It is often helpful to consider the entire passage when answering an Inference question about the author’s opinion. A skim of the answer choices reveals the common element of maize. Unfortunately, that probably won’t give us much help in finding the correct answer, since virtually the entire passage deals with maize. Instead, we’ll have to approach this question like we would approach a Logical Reasoning Inference question: we’ll evaluate each answer choice based on the information contained in the passage itself. We’ll have to let each choice guide our research. (A) reverses the central premise of paragraph 1, that
Section IV: Logical Reasoning
SECTION IV LOGICAL REASONING
1. (C) Flaw Remember, Flaw questions are closely related to Assumption questions. Arguing over unemployment statistics is something of a pastime for economists and politicians alike. Now it seems that the editors of a local paper have gotten into the act, concluding that unemployment in their city is getting better. Their reasoning is based on a single piece of evidence: studies showing that the number of unemployed people looking for work has decreased. Notice the difference between the terms of the evidence and the terms of the conclusion: the conclusion deals with unemployment in general, while the evidence only looks at unemployed people who are looking for work. The editorialist has assumed that all (or perhaps most) unemployed people are actively looking for jobs—this would mean that the decreasing number of unemployed looking for jobs must mean a decreasing total number of unemployed. (C) points out the flaw based on this assumption. If many of the unemployed workers have stopped looking for jobs, the assumption, and the conclusion based on it, would fall apart. (A) The government’s responsibility, or lack thereof, is entirely outside the scope of the editor’s argument. (B) The studies about the next two years may be too short to justify a conclusion about a general trend, but the argument’s conclusion only deals with the period in the studies—no flaw there. (D) Neither governmental effor ts to reduce unemployment nor high-paying jobs are relevant in the editorial. (E) Other economic indicators are also outside the scope of the argument. 2. (B) Weaken the Argument
“evaluating” an argument is really determining its strength or weakness. This argument extols the virtues of garlic at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The evidence, presented by the not-so-subtle Keyword “evidence,” is a study of two groups of patients. The first group took a garlic supplement and showed a much greater reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides than a second group, which only took a placebo. But what else did the two groups do? The argument doesn’t tell us anything about the rest of their diets, any exercise program, or any of a number of things that could also have affected their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It simply assumes that all of these other factors don’t matter, a serious omission. That is the key to evaluating this argument—thinking about alternative reasons for the study’s findings. (B) gives us one such alternative to think about: the diets of the two groups. Looking at alternative possibilities is often important in Strengthen/ Weaken questions. (A) The availability of the garlic tablets is irrelevant to their efficacy. (C) The argument provides no evidence that the fourmonth study period was significant in the effectiveness of the garlic—be careful not to focus on insignificant details like this one. (D) We are given no evidence that the garlic tablet used in the study constitutes a “large amount” of garlic, nor is the tolerance of people for garlic relevant to how well it reduces cholesterol. (E) The tablet manufacturer’s advertising has no impact on the strength of the argument. 3. (D) Inference
Evaluate the choices in Inference questions by relating them to the stimulus. Don’t be fooled by the “if” in the first sentence. This question doesn’t require any formal logic. Instead, the educator bemoans the loss of quality in today’s education, telling us how the emphasis on degrees has opened the door to obtaining meaningless credentials by completing courses without leaning anything. The Kaplan Method for Inference questions tells us not to spend time predicting, so we’ll move straight into the choices: (A) The author tells us what has to happen for credentials to be meaningless, but never says that more meaningless credentials are being granted. Eliminate.
Be on the lookout for variations on common question types on the LSAT. This question stem may have thrown you for a loop, but it’s actually not anything new. This type of stem was commonly seen in Weaken questions on the first few released LSATs, but hadn’t made an appearance for quite some time prior to PrepTest 49. Whether or not you had seen this type of stem in your practice, you could have figured out what it was looking for. After all,
PrepTest 49 Explained
(B) Again, the educator doesn’t claim that it’s now easier for students to get a meaningless degree. He only tells us that it’s possible to do so. Eliminate. (C) is far too extreme. The educator warns of the danger of a particular type of degree or certificate, but doesn’t advocate the abolishment of all degrees and certificates. Eliminate. (D) Well, if it’s possible to obtain a degree “without ever learning much of value,” as the author says, then it’s cer tainly true that a degree alone doesn’t guarantee someone knows anything worthwhile. (D) must be true, and is correct. We can quickly eliminate the last choice: (E) The effort invested to obtain a degree doesn’t necessarily relate to the benefits it bestows. After all, “plodding through courses” sounds like an effort, but it leads to what the author calls a meaningless degree. 4. (E) Strengthen / EXCEPT (D) bolsters the evidence that press coverage of politicians’ private lives keeps good people out of politics. Eliminate. (E) Ah-ha! Here’s a reason why coverage of politicians’ personality flaws could actually be a good thing—it affects their job per formance. (E) weakens the argument, so it’s our correct answer. 5. (C) Inference (Formal Logic)
Inference questions don’t have to ask for what must be true; they can ask you to find what could or cannot be true as well. This atypical Inference question tells us to look for a choice that CANNOT be true. If the correct answer is impossible based on the statements in the stimulus, then the four wrong choices will be possible—in other words, they all could be true. We’ll keep that in mind when we evaluate the answer choices. “Most” is a clue that formal logic will play a role in a question, just like “if” or “only if.” Here, we find that most veterinarians (meaning at least half of all veterinarians) have a strong interest in biological science. Most veterinarians also choose their profession primarily because of their love for animals. Be careful when there are two “most” statements about a single group. While there must be some overlap between the two characteristics—here, there must be some veterinarians that have a strong interest in biology and also chose their profession because of their love for animals—the overlap doesn’t have to include the majority of the group. This concept is often tested on the LSAT. Finally, we hear about “people who are seriously interested in biological science but lack any special love for animals.” This group includes no prominent veterinarians. Note the qualifier “prominent” In the argument’s most definite statement. This last group could include some veterinarians without violating either of the first two statements, as long as those veterinarians aren’t prominent ones. Armed with all of this information, let’s test the choices: (A) could be true. Even those vets that love animals and chose their profession on the basis of that love could still love biological sciences even more. Eliminate. (B) is possible. The two characteristics of most vets could overlap in a majority of vets, even though they don’t have to. Eliminate this choice, but note: if this question had asked for what must be true, (B) would be a particularly dangerous (and common) trap.
Characterize the choices carefully in EXCEPT questions. The four wrong answer choices all strengthen the argument, while the right answer to this question either weakens it or does nothing. The argument itself warns us that tabloid journalism that focuses on politicians’ private lives causes several problems: talented people don’t pursue political careers in order to protect their privacy; reporters focus on character flaws instead of the issues; and the journalism itself is “trivial.” In short, the essayist assumes the politicians’ lives aren’t pressworthy. The essayist cer tainly makes press coverage of politicians’ private lives sound awful. Four of the answer choices will strengthen that reasoning, either by bolstering some of the evidence already given or by giving more evidence against tabloid journalism. The correct choice will either be irrelevant, or will give us a reason why this type of journalism is actually a good thing. Let’s skim the choices together: (A) strengthens the argument against press coverage of private lives—if the coverage is hideously inaccurate as well as intrusive, it’s just that much worse. Eliminate. (B) provides another reason why the journalism is trivial: it distracts from the real issues in a campaign. Eliminate. (C) Now the reporting on politicians’ private lives is even worse. Much of it isn’t even true! It’s just a bunch of rumors circulated by the opposition. Eliminate.
Section IV: Logical Reasoning
(C) directly contradicts the last sentence. We know that there are no prominent veterinarians among the people who are interested in biological science but don’t love animals. (C) cannot be true, and is correct. For the record: (D) could be true. The vets at university research centers don’t have to be part of the majority of vets who chose their profession because they love animals. (D) is another trap that deals with the overlap between the two different majorities of veterinarians. Eliminate. (E) Vets who aren’t prominent and what they consider important for success are way outside the scope of the argument. 6. (A) Flaw ancient cultures, the fear behind it could still be real, and that fear is the author’s concern. (E) Always take the evidence at face value on the LSAT. If the evidence states that people use myth for the expression of unconscious thoughts, the author doesn’t need to establish the truth of that statement any further. 7. (C) Main Point
Don’t let the details of the argument distract you from the author’s main conclusion. A construction like “there would seem to be” usually signals that the author is going to disagree with whatever statement seems to be true. This argument is no exception. After stating that there seems to be little danger from the chemicals in treated lumber, the author suggests that we should still test the safety of these chemicals, since there’s a chance that consumers could ingest them. Don’t worry too much about the examples of consumers ingesting the chemicals—the Keyword “since” has already shown us the dividing line between the author’s conclusion and his evidence. The conclusion is that we need to test the chemicals in treated lumber, restated in (C). (A) misses the author’s qualification of the first sentence. This sentence wasn’t the conclusion, it was a point that the author disputes in order to make his conclusion. (B) is a 180 of one of the details of the argument. The author states in the first sentence that treated lumber is safer because it “is used outdoors where fumes cannot accumulate.” (D) focuses on a detail from the last sentence. (E) is too extreme. The author never says treated lumber is definitely dangerous, only that the possible dangers should be studied. 8. (A) Weaken the Argument
An argument is flawed when the evidence fails to establish the conclusion. Somehow this question manages to discuss mythical half-horse, half-human creatures without ever using the word “centaur.” But it does point out an interesting fact about the myths: in all of the ancient cultures that had such a myth, centaurs were seen as violent and savage, in contrast to the traditional view of horses as gentle and noble. Since human cultures often use myths to express unconscious thoughts, the author claims that the mythical depiction of centaurs reflect people’s unconscious fear of the horse, assuming correlation from evidence that merely suggests coincidence. Well, we have to take the evidence at face value, so we have to accept that myths represent unconscious thoughts. But why does the depiction of centaurs have to reflect an unconscious fear of the horse? Why couldn’t it represent, say, an unconscious fear of the people riding the horses? The author doesn’t really give us a reason why there’s only one possible interpretation of the centaur myth, he just assumes that his explanation is the only possible one. (A) picks up on this faulty assumption—the author doesn’t ever establish that centaurs represented horses in people’s minds. (B) The fear of horses is what the author fails to establish, not the validity of people’s reason for that fear. (C) The expression of unconscious thoughts is mentioned in the last sentence as the use for myths, but the suppression of unconscious thoughts is outside the scope. Don’t fall for an answer choice just because it’s confusing! (D) Even if the myth was borrowed from one of the
Keep a close eye on the scope of the argument. We’re asked here to check the reliability of a method for determining where an ancient relic has been. That method involves analyzing the pollen left on the relic, which the author concludes is “one good clue” as to where the relic has been, since certain pollens come from plants that are known to be unique to certain areas. Did you catch the scope shift in the evidence? Just because the plants are unique to certain areas does
PrepTest 49 Explained
not mean that the pollens are also unique to certain areas. Perhaps the pollen is moved around by a natural process or by human intervention. If that’s the case, then identifying the pollen on an artifact wouldn’t necessarily pin it down to a specific location, as (A) suggests. (B) is an irrelevant comparison between methods of determining the history of movement of a relic. Pollen analysis could still be a reliable method, even if other methods are less complicated. (C) and (D) could easily be tempting answers, since they both seem to suggest that pollens either weren’t unique to certain regions or aren’t a useful tool in the first place. But the method in question examines pollens from plants “known” to be “unique to certain areas,” so pollens from several areas or pollens lacking geographical distribution data wouldn’t be used by the method at all. (E) The expense and difficulty of the method don’t affect its reliability. 9. (E) Principle relates to the medical publications. Besides, he didn’t consult these publications by themselves, he also relied on his advisory staff. (D) is too extreme. There is no evidence that herbal tinctures have adverse effects, only that they are ineffective. 10. (D) Inference (Formal Logic) In Formal Logic questions, beware of answer choices that confuse necessity and sufficiency. You may not have immediately noticed the Formal Logic in this question, since it does not appear in the classic if/then formulation. But you should learn to recognize the language of necessity: anything that “must” happen in order for something else to occur is the result in a Formal Logic statement. Thus, we can translate the first sentence of this stimulus as, “If an artwork is great, then that artwork expresses a deep emotion.” Remember to form the contrapositive: “If an artwork does not express a deep emotion, then it is not a great work of art.” The double negative in the second sentence cancels itself out, so we get, “If an artwork expresses an emotion, then the artwork’s creator must be capable of experiencing that emotion.” The contrapositive would state that, “If an artwork’s creator is incapable of experiencing an emotion, then their work cannot express that emotion.” As in most Inference questions that involve Formal Logic, we can combine the statements once we have translated them. Here, the stimulus tells us that an artwork’s creator must be capable of experiencing any emotion expressed by their work, and so the creator of a great work of art must be capable of experiencing the deep emotion necessary to such an artwork. Let’s use this new statement to evaluate the choices: (A) was probably tempting, since we think of computers as incapable of experiencing emotion. But notice that the stimulus only refers to the “capacity to” experience emotion, while (A) insists that the actual experience of the emotion is necessary. That’s why (A) does not have to be true, and can be eliminated. (B) does not have to be true. While we know that great art must express deep emotion, the stimulus never makes the correlation between depth of emotion and greatness of art that (B) does. Eliminate. (C)’s logic is backward, and so confuses necessity and sufficiency. The stimulus says that the expression of deep emotion is a necessary quality of great art, but (C) claims that such an expression is sufficient to consider an artwork great.
Pre-phrase the answer to a Principle question by finding a general, law-like rule that would apply to the situation in the stimulus. The marketing executive who wrote this statement must not have been paying attention to the recent explosion of herbal supplements for sale. He actually did some research on the medical efficacy of herbal tinctures before promoting and distributing them, and came across evidence that they were not medically effective. So he concludes that marketing herbal remedies would produce the results he intended—in other words, they wouldn’t “add to our profits.” We can sum up this entire argument quite simply by saying something like, “Marketing a new product will not be profitable if reliable authorities say the product is ineffective.” If your pre-phrase was at all close to this summation, you no doubt found (E) to match it almost word for word. (A) The executive did consult a number of “reliable medical publications,” but what exactly makes these publications effective is outside the scope of his argument. (B) was probably tempting, since the executive seems to believe all the research showing herbal tinctures to be ineffective. But his argument deals specifically with the profits to be gleaned from such products, so the principle guiding the argument must do so as well. (C) contradicts the executive’s line of reasoning as it
Section IV: Logical Reasoning
Don’t be fooled by the introduction of computers in (D). The choice focuses on computers’ inability to experience emotion and how it relates to their ability to produce great ar t. Sure, if a computer cannot experience emotion, then according to the logic of the stimulus, they cannot create art that expresses any emotion, and thus computer-created art cannot be great. (D) must be true, and is correct. (E) Watch out for the distinction between great artwork and a great artist. No connection between the two is made in the stimulus, so (E) is out of scope. 11. (A) Paradox The correct answer to a Paradox question must show how the apparently conflicting elements of the stimulus can occur together. With all of the car commercials touting antilock brakes, it would be easy to think that they’re a feature every car should have, but the consumer activist thinks otherwise. Even though she admits that antilock brakes have reduced the incidence of multiple-car collisions, she believes that auto manufacturers should stop equipping cars with the brake systems “to save lives.” Therein lies the problem. It doesn’t seem to make much sense that antilock brakes reduce the incidence of certain types of car accidents and yet removing them would save lives. But that’s the point of this question. Our job is to find the answer choice that explains how these conflicting statements can both be true—how antilock brakes can both prevent accidents and result in more fatalities. (A) gives us this explanation. If people in cars with antilock brakes don’t wear their seatbelts, then they are more likely to die in any accidents that do occur. (B) and (D) give us additional reasons to remove antilock brakes in favor of traditional brakes, but neither one explains how antilock brakes lead to greater fatalities in auto accidents. If anything, (C) argues that antilock brakes shouldn’t be removed. If inexperienced drivers (the most dangerous drivers on the road) find antilock brakes easier to use than traditional brakes, then antilock brakes make these drivers safer. (E) is an irrelevant comparison between the effects of antilock brakes on the incidence of different kinds of accidents. In fact, we know from the stimulus that antilock brakes reduce the incidence of multiple-car accidents, so if (E) were true, the brakes would lead to fewer other accidents as well, arguing against the activist’s recommendation. 12. (A) Flaw (Formal Logic) Don’t let any outside knowledge creep into your evaluation of the stimulus. No matter how much you may have heard about oil company profits in the news or at the gas pump lately, you shouldn’t let that information color your evaluation of the politician’s argument. On the LSAT, you have to act like the stimulus is the only information you have, just like you would have to use only the permissible evidence as a lawyer in a court case. Now, this politician argues that regulations designed to prevent collusion in the oil industry don’t need to be tightened—in fact, that they are excessive. How does he arrive at this conclusion? Well, he actually uses a fairly simple bit of formal logic, even though he cloaks the logic in lots of complicated language about profits and burdensome regulations. Here’s how it breaks down: if the regulations are not excessively burdensome, then the oil companies will make profits sufficient to motivate their risky exploration. Quick, form the contrapositive: if the oil companies don’t make profits that are sufficient to justify their risk, then the regulations on them are excessively burdensome. If this argument weren’t flawed, we’d expect to see this logic statement linked to another one, especially since the politician’s conclusion is the result of his logic statement’s contrapositive: the regulations are excessively burdensome. Instead, we get a piece of information that doesn’t seem to connect: oil industry profits aren’t the highest among all industries. The politician is making an assumption to link this new term with his Formal Logic statement: if the oil industry’s profits are sufficient to justify their risks, then the profits must be the highest among all industries. But he’s not allowed to make an unjustified assumption, so this is the flaw in his argument, as (A) points out. (B) is an easy trap, especially if you allowed outside knowledge (or opinions) about oil companies to creep in. But the politician never attacks the character of the oil companies—he’s too busy defending them from regulations. (C) Causal arguments and correlations are well outside the scope of this argument. (D) The politician mentions evidence that the oil industr y’s profits aren’t the highest among all industries: “recent data.” Thus, he can’t have done anything based on an absence of evidence about oil industry profits.
PrepTest 49 Explained
(E) is way outside the scope—the politician draws a conclusion about the oil industry in general, but it is based on evidence about that industr y, not an unrelated or atypical example. 13. (B) Assumption The author’s assumption must connect any mismatched terms in the conclusion and the evidence. This question falls in the part of the Logical Reasoning section that is usually dominated by difficult questions, but Kaplan’s approach to Assumption questions makes it a snap. The author concludes that modern sculptures are monochromatic due to a misunderstanding about ancient sculpture. People once believed that ancient sculptures were uncolored, but we now know that the ancient sculptures had been carefully painted. It shouldn’t take too much work to notice the mismatched terms in the evidence and the conclusion: the evidence is all about ancient sculpture, and the conclusion deals with modern sculpture. The author has to assume that our knowledge of ancient sculpture influenced modern sculpture, (B). (A) the natural beauty of the materials used in modern sculpture is outside the scope of the argument, which is entirely concerned with whether or not the sculptures are colored. (C) compares the susceptibility of modern and ancient sculpture to moisture damage. But the only moisture damage mentioned in the stimulus was to the paint on ancient sculptures; since modern sculptures aren’t painted, there’s no comparable possibility of such damage. (D) Ancient paintings are outside the scope of the argument, which deals only with sculpture. (E) might be the next step if the argument’s conclusion is correct, but we’re looking for the assumption within the argument, not an inference based on it. 14. (E) Inference supported by the stimulus (it must be true) and the incorrect choices are not supported by the stimulus at all (they could be or must be false). This stimulus gives us an insight into the cockpits of newer and older commercial airplanes. The older planes were designed so that all of the crew members could immediately view any changes in the controls made by any one of the crew members, but the newer planes are designed differently. In the new planes, it is more difficult for the entire crew to see one member’s changes to the controls, so the flight crews have to talk to each other more often about the control changes they make. Using that information, we can evaluate the choices to see which one must be true. (A) sounds good up until it says the frequency of verbal communication depends on “how long it takes to perform those changes” in the flight control settings. The length of time it takes to make the changes is outside the scope of the argument. Eliminate. (B) Calling verbal exchanges of information “the most valuable means available for performing cross-checks” is much more extreme than the stimulus. Just because a certain course of action is necessary doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action available. Eliminate. (C) is also more extreme than the stimulus. There’s no evidence that crews in older airplanes had absolutely no need to discuss flight control changes, only that crews of new airplanes must discuss such changes “more frequently” than crews of older airplanes. Eliminate. (D) The stimulus says that flight control changes in recently manufactured aircraft “are harder to observe,” not that they are impossible to observe. Once again, (D) is more extreme than the stimulus and can be eliminated. (E) Finally, something that must be true based on the stimulus. The “other means for performing crosschecks” in older aircraft was the control panel design, which allowed each member of the flight crew to see another member’s changes to the controls. That “routine” means for performing cross-checks was removed in the newer aircraft, leading to an increase in verbal communication as an alternative. (E) is correct. 15. (A) Method of Argument (Formal Logic) The correct answer to a Method of Argument question will be a 1:1 matchup between the stimulus and the answer choice. This question, which deals with a proposed Factory Safety Act, includes the most obvious Formal Logic
Every LSAT question comes with one correct answer choice and four terrible ones. Don’t be fooled by a stimulus that asks you which answer choice is “most strongly supported.” The LSAT will never give you a set of answer choices where one choice is very strongly supported, another choice is somewhat supported, two more of the choices have a little bit of support, and the last choice isn’t supported at all. The correct answer to any Inference question is
Section IV: Logical Reasoning
statement of the entire section, with an “only-if” in the first sentence. We know from translating this statement that if a company operates an auto factory, it must register that facility as a “class B” factory. The second statement tells us that class B factories must have punctual inspections, and the argument concludes that the Factory Safety Act would prevent auto factories from postponing inspections. This is a classic Formal Logic formulation: If A, then B; If B, then C, therefore, if A, then C. That’s what we’ll look for in the choices, and we find it in (A): two provisions of the Factory Safety act combine to produce a certain result. (B) There’s only one interpretation of the Factory Safety Act given in the stimulus, not two. (C) No existing legislation is mentioned in the stimulus. (D) The two provisions of the proposed Factory Safety Act don’t conflict—in fact, they combine to produce a certain result. (E) There’s no analogy in the stimulus. The provision in question is only discussed as it relates to a single specific situation. 16. (A) Assumption (Formal Logic) The author’s assumption must be true in order for the conclusion of the argument to be true. This argument sounds like it wants to refute Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” The author’s conclusion is just the opposite of the poet’s famous final couplet: there is, in fact, a difference between beauty and truth. With an argument about such abstract topics, it’s easy to get confused about what exactly the evidence is saying and how it relates to the conclusion. But the Kaplan Method for Assumption questions, finding and filling the gap between the evidence and the conclusion, will still serve us well. Keep a close eye on any terms that only appear in either the evidence or the conclusion, and try to link them. The evidence begins with a fairly complicated Formal Logic statement, which we can translate as, “If there’s no difference between beauty and truth, then the most realistic artworks are the best,” or, “If B = T most real art = best art.” You should also quickly form the contrapositive: if the most realistic art is not the best art, then beauty and truth aren’t the same thing (if most real art ≠ best art B ≠ T). This statement acts almost like a secondary conclusion, and we get a hint that we should treat it as such from the Keyword “since” that follows it. So the author believes that this Formal Logic statement is true because the most realistic artworks are also the most truthful artworks. Well, if that’s the case, then they’d also be the most beautiful works of ar t; after all, this statement operates under the premise that beauty and truth are the same thing. So the most realistic artworks are the most truthful, which means they’re also the most beautiful. Why would that necessarily mean they also have to be the best? It wouldn’t, unless the most beautiful artworks are also the best. (Note the two-step shift in that assumption: one from beauty to most beautiful, a second from most beautiful to best.) That’s the final, missing piece of this argument, and the author’s assumption, which we find in (A). And as usual, we could’ve gotten halfway to the correct answer simply by noticing that “the best artworks” appears in the evidence, but not the conclusion. (B) might be implied by the statement that the most realistic artworks are also the most truthful, but it is not necessary for the author’s conclusion to be true. (C) is too extreme. The argument states that many of the most realistic artworks are not among the best artworks, but (C) implies that all realistic artworks aren’t among the best. (D) is tempting, but the argument deals with artworks that are superlative—the most realistic, the most truthful, the most beautiful. Artworks that are simply beautiful are outside the scope. (E) The inherent subjectivity of artwork is also outside the scope of the author’s argument. 17. (A) Parallel Reasoning Familiarity with the causal argument structures are helpful in all parts of the Logical Reasoning sections. When an argument uses evidence of a correlation between two things (X and Y happen together) to conclude that one caused the other (X causes Y), you should immediately think of three possible alternatives: the opposite is true (Y caused X), some third factor caused one or both (Z caused Y and/or X), or the connection between the two is just a coincidence. This question actually uses one of these three alternatives as its conclusion. Instead of using the correlation between studying music and proficiency at mathematics to argue for a causal relationship between the two, the author concludes that a third factor (an encouraging family) is just as likely to cause both. If we use this basic structure—X didn’t necessarily cause Y, because Z could have caused X and Y—to analyze the choices, (A) immediately leaps out as parallel.
PrepTest 49 Explained
(B) starts off well, with evidence about a correlation, but the conclusion veers off onto the superiority of secondary schools, a topic that has nothing to do with a causal relationship. (C) uses a different approach to arguing against a causal relationship than the stimulus, claiming that the relation between to factors is just a coincidence. (D) contains several scope shifts that the original argument does not. For example, it shifts from a group that is “required to study” biology and chemistry to “those who have mastered” the two subjects. (E) again draws a conclusion against a causal relationship, but it does so by suggesting the causal factor could be effective in smaller amounts—that less vigorous exercise could be as effective as vigorous exercise. 18. (D) Assumption Use Keywords to nail down evidence and conclusion in arguments with lots of filler and background information. Medical ethics are a particularly thorny territory, and one that is increasingly occupied by lawyers. This stimulus concerns itself with one aspect of those ethics, the potential conflict between the physician’s duty to see to their patient’s well-being and the patient’s right to know about their health. According to the stimulus, the patient’s right should prevail. It’s easy to find the evidence for this conclusion, because there’s only one small piece of it and it comes after the Keyword “since”: the patient’s right is a basic right. Unfor tunately, that fact alone doesn’t prove the conclusion is true, unless the author also assumes that basic rights should win out in any conflict. (D) rephrases this assumption—if people’s basic rights should never be violated, then certainly those rights would win out over other duties. Don’t be turned off by the strong word “never” in this choice: we’re looking for an assumption that makes the conclusion “follow logically,” and this one does. (A) may be true, but this right isn’t touched on in the stimulus, so it can’t affect the conclusion. (B) Actions are also outside the scope of the stimulus, which is only concerned with rights and duties. (C) traps the unwary with a red herring. The last sentence implies that objects do not have rights, but that fact doesn’t get us any closer to connecting the evidence and the conclusion. (E) is also tempting, since it certainly makes it more likely that the patient’s basic right shouldn’t be violated. But it leaves open the possibility that a physician’s duty is stronger than a patient’s basic right, which would disprove the conclusion. 19. (A) Inference (Formal Logic) Be sure to translate and combine any Formal Logic statements. It is often the case that the answer to an Inference question comes from a single sentence in the stimulus, or even a fragment of a sentence, and this question is no exception. We learn in this stimulus that most of the world’s forests have fragmented ecosystems and cannot sustain themselves in the long term, but harbor many endangered species. The final sentence’s “requires” clues us into a Formal Logic statement: If a fragmented forest is to maintain all of its plant and animal species, then resource managers must regularly intervene. The contrapositive tells us that if resource managers do not intervene regularly, then the fragmented forests will lose at least some of their plant or animal species. Using these facts, we can evaluate the choices: (A) is a perfect combination of two facts in the stimulus: most of the world’s forests are fragmented, and fragmented forests will lose some species without intervention. (A) must be true, and is correct. For the record: (B) is a bit too specific. We know that fragmented forests harbor the world’s most endangered species, and these forests will lose some species if resource managers do not intervene, but the most endangered species wouldn’t necessarily be the ones lost. (C) is a distortion of the facts in the stimulus. A fragmented forest cannot sustain itself, regardless of whether it loses any more species. (D) and (E) Complete, fully functioning ecosystems are outside the scope of the argument, as are the places where resource managers currently intervene. 20. (D) Assumption A shift in scope over the course of an argument usually signals an assumption. Any information about ADD will make the lives of teachers everywhere much easier. This magazine article gives us one new insight about the disorder. It concludes that ADD in kids may be exacerbated by consumption of sugar. The evidence deals with the effect of sugar consumption on adrenaline—
Section IV: Logical Reasoning
consuming large amounts of sugar leads children to produce large amounts of adrenaline. If you noticed that the evidence talks about adrenaline instead of ADD, you’ve already found the assumption. We can put these together to make a strong pre-phrase: more adrenaline means worse ADD in children. We find a match for this pre-phrase in (D). (A) and (C) Children who don’t have ADD and treatment of ADD are outside the scope of the argument. (B) is too extreme. The argument focuses on a factor that may make ADD worse, not a factor that causes ADD outright. (E) contradicts the stimulus. While the adrenaline production is “especially noticeable” if sugar is consumed without food, the increase in adrenaline occurs based on the consumption of a lot of sugar. 21. (C) Principle (Formal Logic) Don’t let confusing language in the answer choices throw you off. The ethicist’s argument centers around what should and should not be the basis for praising a person’s abstinence from alcohol. He argues that those who abstain due to a lack of financial means shouldn’t be praised, and that those who abstain due to a lack of desire shouldn’t be praised either. But the last statement is part of a not/unless Formal Logic formulation, so we can translate it: if someone who abstains from alcohol because they lack the desire to partake should be praised, then their lack of desire must result from discipline. Conversely (or contrapositively), if the lack of desire isn’t the result of discipline, then it isn’t worthy of praise. To make this into a principle, all we have to do is make the specifics of the argument into generalities. For example, instead of focusing on the specific behavior of avoiding alcoholic beverages, we’ll look for answer choices that deal with behavior in general and whether or not it is worthy of praise. We find one in (C), which takes into account both the financial considerations of the first sentence and the disciplinary considerations of the last sentence. (A) Both the consequences and the social context of behavior are outside the scope of the argument. (B) and (E) Blame for an action is also outside the scope of the argument, which only deals with praise. (D) may in fact be the case, but the ethicist isn’t concerned with how arduous the process of acquiring self-discipline is. His argument only deals with the result of that discipline: a lack of desire that is worthy of praise. 22. (C) Assumption (Formal Logic) Just like in Reading Comprehension, when an author says “some people argue that…” you can bet he’s going to disagree with them. The LSAT uses the same formulations over and over again. That’s one of the huge advantages of preparing with Kaplan. We teach you to recognize things like the phrase “some people argue…” in this stimulus and know what to do with them. Here, we know before we even get to the Keyword “therefore” in the final sentence that the economist will conclude that large countries splitting into small countries doesn’t increase barriers to free trade. The key to answering this question will be finding the gap between that conclusion and the evidence the economist uses to support it. It turns out that there’s only one piece of evidence, that small countries don’t consider themselves economically self-sufficient. Well, there’s certainly a gap between a country thinking of itself as economically self-sufficient and that country imposing national tariffs or other barriers to free trade, so the economist’s assumption has to fill it. We can paraphrase that assumption in Formal Logic terms like so: if a country doesn’t think of itself as self-sufficient, then it won’t create barriers to free trade. (C) phrases this assumption in its contrapositive form. (A) The right of countries to split is irrelevant to the economist’s argument. He’s only concerned with the effects of such a split after the fact. (B) An increased number of countries isn’t the central concern of the argument—an increased number of national tariffs is. While it’s easy to assume that more countries means more tariffs, the economist actually argues that this assumption is false. (D) The harm to the world economy caused by tariffs and other barriers to free trade is mentioned as evidence in the argument. Whether or not there is strong evidence for that harm isn’t important, because we have to take the evidence in the stimulus at face value. (E) is implied by the fact that small countries don’t think of themselves as self-sufficient, but it isn’t necessar y to the economist’s conclusion. The assumption in this question, one that “enables” the conclusion to follow, must be needed.
PrepTest 49 Explained
23. (D) Flaw (Formal Logic) Certain flaws can be phrased more than one way—for example, overlooking an alternative possibility is really the same thing as confusing necessity and sufficiency. If only things were really as simple as this counselor claims, we could all learn to be more accepting of ourselves and others. Unfortunately, the question stem tells us that her argument doesn’t hold water, and our job is to figure out why. The counselor gives us the results of comparing ourselves to others. This is a pretty simple cause-andeffect argument, and as such can be phrased as formal logic: if the other people are more able or more successful, we’ll end up disparaging ourselves; if the other people are less able or less successful, we’ll end up being dismissive of others. But this only tells us what happens when we compare oneself to others. As in any Formal Logic statement, we can’t be certain what happens if we don’t pull the trigger—if we don’t compare ourselves to others. Unfor tunately, the counselor bases her conclusion on exactly that, and therein lies the flaw in her argument. We know from our work with Formal Logic that you can always get the result of a Formal Logic statement without pulling the trigger. In this case, that would mean that it’s possible to become self-disparaging or dismissive of others without comparing oneself to others. The counselor overlooks that alternative possibility, mistaking one sufficient cause for a result as the necessary cause, as (D) points out. (A) The results of comparing oneself to both groups would almost certainly be a combination of the results of comparing oneself to each group separately. As long as these results aren’t mutually exclusive (and they aren’t here), the author’s reasoning allows for that possibility, so this isn’t our flaw. (B) The beneficial effects of making comparisons between oneself and others are outside the scope of the argument; the counselor is only concerned with avoiding the detrimental effects of the comparisons. (C) just doesn’t make much sense. If one is dismissive of others, one isn’t accepting of them, and if one is self-disparaging, one isn’t self-accepting. Even if the author does take this for granted, it’s common sense, not the argument’s flaw. (E) Although the argument does not acknowledge those who are neither more nor less successful than oneself, filling this in as something the author “takes for granted” does nothing to rectify this flawed conclusion, as a correct assumption (no matter how absurd) must. 24. (A) Parallel Reasoning (Flaw, formal logic) The correct answer to a Parallel Flaw question must not only have the same type of conclusion and the same type of evidence, but also the same type of flaw. The stimulus deals with a fictional computer company, Compujack, and the salaries of its computer programmers. It asserts a simple fact about those programmers: at least one of them must be paid an excellent salar y. The evidence requires us to understand that “most” on the LSAT means at least half, or 50% plus one, and work with the implications of that fact. According to the evidence, most computer programmers receive excellent salaries, and most of the employees of Compujack are computer programmers. But there’s no way to know whether or not those two majorities overlap: perhaps the computer programmers at Compujack are a very small fraction of all computer programmers, so a fact about “most” computer programmers doesn’t necessarily come into play. But the author acts like the majorities of those groups do overlap, and that’s the flaw in his argument. When we look for an answer choice where the majorities mentioned in the evidence don’t have to have the overlap asserted in the conclusion, we find it in (A). (B) isn’t flawed at all. (B) asserts a potential overlap instead of a definite one, so its conclusion is correct based on the evidence. (C) comes close to being parallel with the stimulus, but falls short. It has the same flaw, drawing majorities from two different groups and asserting that they overlap, but the conclusion includes a qualification (one of Molly’s classmates who is a gardener) that the conclusion in the stimulus does not. (D) again has a similar flaw to that in the stimulus, but the second group in the evidence has two characteristics (Molly’s classmates who garden and are women) instead of the single characteristic (computer programmers) used to define the group in the stimulus. (E) Like (B), (E) isn’t flawed. This choice picks two majorities—gardeners with patience and women—out of the same group, Molly’s class. Two majorities of the same group must overlap, since both of the majorities include more than half of the group.
Section IV: Logical Reasoning
25. (B) Paradox / EXCEPT Sometimes it’s easier to reach the correct answer to an EXCEPT question by eliminating answer choices that are clearly wrong. Four of the answer choices to this question will explain the different average lengths of visits to the museum, but the one we’re looking for won’t do so. This difference stems from the special exhibitions the museum sometimes offers. When there is not a special exhibition, the museum’s attendance is lower, but the patrons tend to spend a longer time at the museum. We can eliminate any answer choice that accounts for the difference, so let’s evaluate the choices: (A) Visitors who come to see the special exhibitions don’t view as many exhibits, so it would make sense that they don’t spend as much time at the museum. (A) helps to explain the difference, so we can eliminate it. (B) A plan to extend museum hours that wasn’t even put into place couldn’t possibly affect how long visitors stay in the museum. (B) wouldn’t explain the difference, so it is our correct answer. Let’s quickly see how the last three choices explain the difference in how long different visitors spent at the museum: (C) You can get the prestige of having been somewhere just by walking in and walking out, so visitors just in it for that purpose don’t need to stay long. (C) helps explain the difference. (D) If admission to special exhibitions has a time limit, then visitors to those exhibits could easily have their visits cut short when compared to regular visitors. We can eliminate (D). (E) Without the opportunity to browse, it makes sense that visitors to special exhibitions wouldn’t spend as much time looking at different exhibits as regular patrons. Eliminate this choice.
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