Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

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BPlaura
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:33 am

Louis1127 wrote:Hey Laura,

You may remember a few weeks ago, I asked you a question about what is a valid term shift on the LSAT. I have another one of those questions for you:

On PT 15 S2 Q9 ("Over the Past twenty-five years"), is the following a legal term shift that I should have picked up on when I read the stimulus? Here is what I am referring to:

"Average amount of time a worker needs to produce a given output" = "average hourly output per worker".

I did not connect these two phrases and thus I could not understand what the stimulus was getting at and thus I missed the question.

It is so frustrating to feel like I am slowly getting better at LR and then miss a question because I couldn't connect a simple legal term shift in my head! :x

I guess I just want to make sure that the above is indeed a legal term shift and that is why I missed the question. If the above is not a legal term shift, then I have no idea why I missed the problem. Thanks.


Hey again, Louis!

Yep, those two things are equivalent - in both cases, you're talking about how long it takes a worker to produce X. Can I ask which answer choice you initially picked for this question? Even without fully realizing the term shift, there are some big things that make the other answer choices wrong:

(A) talks about how much money workers spend on leisure, which is never discussed in the stimulus
(B) talks about the number of jobs - we know that the time per job has decreased, but we can't say anything about the overall number of jobs (C) talks about how many people are in the workforce - again, nothing in the stimulus touches on that
(D) talks about how much saved time was originally anticipated when the technologies were introduced - again, that's not discussed at all in the stimulus.

So even if you weren't entirely clear on the term shift, there should have been pretty clear-cut reasons to eliminate the wrong answer. I would make sure you understand why the wrong answer choices were wrong here, and keep working on your overall comprehension of each stimulus.

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alecks
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby alecks » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:37 pm

Hi Laura- more questions! This time from PT 63.

Section 3, q19: a was tempting, and I don't see exactly why it's wrong.

Section 3, q26: I chose e. Can you tell me why it's wrong? This is a hard paradox question, and they're usually the easiest!

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Louis1127
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby Louis1127 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:24 am

BPlaura wrote:
Louis1127 wrote:Hey Laura,

You may remember a few weeks ago, I asked you a question about what is a valid term shift on the LSAT. I have another one of those questions for you:

On PT 15 S2 Q9 ("Over the Past twenty-five years"), is the following a legal term shift that I should have picked up on when I read the stimulus? Here is what I am referring to:

"Average amount of time a worker needs to produce a given output" = "average hourly output per worker".

I did not connect these two phrases and thus I could not understand what the stimulus was getting at and thus I missed the question.

It is so frustrating to feel like I am slowly getting better at LR and then miss a question because I couldn't connect a simple legal term shift in my head! :x

I guess I just want to make sure that the above is indeed a legal term shift and that is why I missed the question. If the above is not a legal term shift, then I have no idea why I missed the problem. Thanks.


Hey again, Louis!

Yep, those two things are equivalent - in both cases, you're talking about how long it takes a worker to produce X. Can I ask which answer choice you initially picked for this question? Even without fully realizing the term shift, there are some big things that make the other answer choices wrong:

(A) talks about how much money workers spend on leisure, which is never discussed in the stimulus
(B) talks about the number of jobs - we know that the time per job has decreased, but we can't say anything about the overall number of jobs (C) talks about how many people are in the workforce - again, nothing in the stimulus touches on that
(D) talks about how much saved time was originally anticipated when the technologies were introduced - again, that's not discussed at all in the stimulus.

So even if you weren't entirely clear on the term shift, there should have been pretty clear-cut reasons to eliminate the wrong answer. I would make sure you understand why the wrong answer choices were wrong here, and keep working on your overall comprehension of each stimulus.


Honestly, Laura, my mental strength was not what it needed to be when it took this PT (first fully-timed PT since drilling). I picked an answer mostly randomly after spending about 4 minutes looking at the stimulus and going through the wrong answers. Honestly, I freaked out in the games section of this PT and it really messed with my head. I'm going back to drilling and then next time I take a PT I'll have a cooler head. Thanks for the explanation! I'll get these stimuli down for sure by test day 8)

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BPlaura
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:20 pm

alecks wrote:Hi Laura- more questions! This time from PT 63.

Section 3, q19: a was tempting, and I don't see exactly why it's wrong.


I think it's easier to see why A is wrong by thinking about what A would look like.

It's talking about showing that one argument is flawed by using another argument with similar flawed reasoning. So that would be something like "Jane says anyone who doesn't read TLS shouldn't be allowed to go to law school. This would be like saying jaywalkers should be punished by having their legs cut off." Stupid example, but you get the idea - you're exposing the problem with one argument by using another, more clearly flawed argument.

That's not what we get in this question. Instead, the professor gives two examples of times when having a limited perspective means that you can't fully understand or grasp a situation. He's not saying that either situation is incorrect, which is what would need to be happening in order for (A) to be the correct answer.

alecks wrote:Section 3, q26: I chose e. Can you tell me why it's wrong? This is a hard paradox question, and they're usually the easiest!


Many tricky paradox questions present two things as an apparently "paradox" that aren't actually contradictory or paradoxical. This stimulus tells us that almost half of the people in this town think the mayor is guilty of ethical violations, and just over half of the people in the town still think he's a good mayor. We can see that there doesn't have to be any overlap between those two groups, which is what (A) gets at.

I can see why you chose (E). However, remember that the correct answer for paradox questions must actually resolve the paradox. (E) tells us that the mayor pinned the blame on his staff, but almost half of the people in town still believe that he's guilty of the violations. So (E) doesn't explain why, even believing that the mayor is guilty, people would still think he's doing just as well at his job.

As always, let me know if I can further clarify anything!

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alecks
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby alecks » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:41 pm

Thank you! I have more questions from PT 56 this time.

Sect 2 #21 - can you explain the flaw and the answer choice?

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BPlaura
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:51 pm

Are you talking about the December 2008 test? My section 2 of that test is LG, and #21 for the LR sections isn't a flaw question. Can you give me the first few words of the stimulus?

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby WaltGrace83 » Thu May 01, 2014 5:15 pm

Laura, I've been working on my strengthening/weakening skills for a few weeks now but I thought today and I would do some review to keep my other skills sharp. I am realizing that working on strengthening/weakening aids other questions such as necessary assumptions big time because it opened my mind to different thinking about causal arguments. I came to a typical correlation/causation question (18.4.22 "Doctors in Britain...tinted eye glasses) and I had a question about it.

    Tinted eyeglasses correlated with depression and hypochondria

    Because the wearer has depression or hypochondria, he/she wears the eyeglasses (D v H → E)

Now I am familiar with all the ways to strengthen/weaken a correlation/causation argument. Yet when it comes to a necessary assumption question, are there only two possible ways? Those would be to show (1) that the (effect) did not cause the (cause), in other words the eyeglasses did not cause depression or hypochondria; and (2) that something else did not cause both the (cause) and (effect), in other words mutant elephants did not cause one to be both (depressed/a hypochondriac) and (wear the glasses). Is there anything else I am forgetting?

I ask because I am really trying to streamline my process and when I go through the questions I want to eliminate them faster.

    (A) We don't care the possible causes of depression unless it says "wearing the glasses does not cause depression"
    (B) Who cares how they think about the glasses? WHAT CAUSED THEM TO WEAR THE GLASSES?!
    (C) We don't care about the possible causes of depression and to say that "depression has many causes" would already make this wrong. Anything added to this would only hurt the argument.
    (D) Like (B), we don't care how the hypochondriacs feel about the glasses or what the glasses for them. We want to talk about causation.
    (E) This says ~(B→A). Perfect.

Thanks!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Fri May 02, 2014 1:38 pm

Hi, Walt!

WaltGrace83 wrote:Now I am familiar with all the ways to strengthen/weaken a correlation/causation argument. Yet when it comes to a necessary assumption question, are there only two possible ways? Those would be to show (1) that the (effect) did not cause the (cause), in other words the eyeglasses did not cause depression or hypochondria; and (2) that something else did not cause both the (cause) and (effect), in other words mutant elephants did not cause one to be both (depressed/a hypochondriac) and (wear the glasses). Is there anything else I am forgetting?


The thing about necessary assumption questions is that there are basically limitless necessary assumptions for any argument. That said, you've identified the main necessary assumptions for a causal argument: (1) that the cause and effect cannot be reversed, and (2) that there is not something else causing both factors.

I wouldn't say there's anything else that you're forgetting, and in the vast majority of causal necessary questions, one of those two things should get you to the right answer. I would just add the caveat that those are far from the only two necessary assumptions in a given argument - for instance, in this argument, it's also necessary that it's possible to infer something about one's mental state from one's eyewear.

I'll add my comments in red here:
WaltGrace83 wrote:
    (A) We don't care the possible causes of depression unless it says "wearing the glasses does not cause depression" Perfect
    (B) Who cares how they think about the glasses? WHAT CAUSED THEM TO WEAR THE GLASSES?! Perfect, also, LOL
    (C) We don't care about the possible causes of depression and to say that "depression has many causes" would already make this wrong. Anything added to this would only hurt the argument. Just to clarify (though I think this is what you're already saying), the argument isn't saying anything about what causes depression or about how many causes of depression there are. Our focus is on whether depression causes people to wear tinted glasses.
    (D) Like (B), we don't care how the hypochondriacs feel about the glasses or what the glasses for them. We want to talk about causation. Exactamundo
    (E) This says ~(B→A). Perfect. Bingo!


It looks like you have a very solid understanding of this question - well done. (Also, who knew that "hypochondriacal" was a word?)

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby WaltGrace83 » Fri May 02, 2014 1:44 pm

BPlaura wrote:Hi, Walt!

WaltGrace83 wrote:Now I am familiar with all the ways to strengthen/weaken a correlation/causation argument. Yet when it comes to a necessary assumption question, are there only two possible ways? Those would be to show (1) that the (effect) did not cause the (cause), in other words the eyeglasses did not cause depression or hypochondria; and (2) that something else did not cause both the (cause) and (effect), in other words mutant elephants did not cause one to be both (depressed/a hypochondriac) and (wear the glasses). Is there anything else I am forgetting?


The thing about necessary assumption questions is that there are basically limitless necessary assumptions for any argument. That said, you've identified the main necessary assumptions for a causal argument: (1) that the cause and effect cannot be reversed, and (2) that there is not something else causing both factors.

I wouldn't say there's anything else that you're forgetting, and in the vast majority of causal necessary questions, one of those two things should get you to the right answer. I would just add the caveat that those are far from the only two necessary assumptions in a given argument - for instance, in this argument, it's also necessary that it's possible to infer something about one's mental state from one's eyewear.

I'll add my comments in red here:
WaltGrace83 wrote:
    (A) We don't care the possible causes of depression unless it says "wearing the glasses does not cause depression" Perfect
    (B) Who cares how they think about the glasses? WHAT CAUSED THEM TO WEAR THE GLASSES?! Perfect, also, LOL
    (C) We don't care about the possible causes of depression and to say that "depression has many causes" would already make this wrong. Anything added to this would only hurt the argument. Just to clarify (though I think this is what you're already saying), the argument isn't saying anything about what causes depression or about how many causes of depression there are. Our focus is on whether depression causes people to wear tinted glasses.
    (D) Like (B), we don't care how the hypochondriacs feel about the glasses or what the glasses for them. We want to talk about causation. Exactamundo
    (E) This says ~(B→A). Perfect. Bingo!


It looks like you have a very solid understanding of this question - well done. (Also, who knew that "hypochondriacal" was a word?)


Ok thanks! When I do NA causal questions I will keep on the lookout for those two NA's first and then widen my scope if I get nothing.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby mymrh1 » Tue May 27, 2014 8:31 pm

Hi BPlaura,

Could you help me with PT 61, Section 4, Q24? Thanks. I am total lost in this question..

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby cavalier2015 » Tue May 27, 2014 11:28 pm

could you please give me a solid strategy to attack sufficient questions?

this is what i do currently:

1) read question stem to see if it is a sufficient question
2) find and underline the conclusion (and/or interdependent conclusions)
3) find and underline the premise (or premises)
4) compare the terms in the conclusion to the terms in the premise
5) if step 4 shows that there is a term mentioned in the conclusion not mentioned in the premise, i eliminate answer choices that DO NOT mention the word
6) now i focus of choices that mention the concept found in the conclusion but not the premise (this usually leaves me with 2 and am unsure what to do here)
7) if step 4 doesn't work, meaning that i cannot find a term shift between conclusion and premise, I assume there is a gap between the premises
last step: compare premises for term shift and eliminate answer choices based off that

this helps me get level 1 and most of level 2 questions right in the Cambridge Sufficient questions packet but i miss a lot of level 3 and 4s. I am looking for advice as to how to better attack this type of question and strategies that are helpful in eliminating wrong answers.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:03 pm

cavalier2015 wrote:could you please give me a solid strategy to attack sufficient questions?

this is what i do currently:

1) read question stem to see if it is a sufficient question
2) find and underline the conclusion (and/or interdependent conclusions)
3) find and underline the premise (or premises)
4) compare the terms in the conclusion to the terms in the premise
5) if step 4 shows that there is a term mentioned in the conclusion not mentioned in the premise, i eliminate answer choices that DO NOT mention the word
6) now i focus of choices that mention the concept found in the conclusion but not the premise (this usually leaves me with 2 and am unsure what to do here)
7) if step 4 doesn't work, meaning that i cannot find a term shift between conclusion and premise, I assume there is a gap between the premises
last step: compare premises for term shift and eliminate answer choices based off that

this helps me get level 1 and most of level 2 questions right in the Cambridge Sufficient questions packet but i miss a lot of level 3 and 4s. I am looking for advice as to how to better attack this type of question and strategies that are helpful in eliminating wrong answers.


I'd definitely recommend underlining just the conclusion, not the premises - otherwise you're going to end up underlining almost the whole stimulus, which is not helpful.

It sounds like you're relying too much on process of elimination for the answer choices. Instead, you should have a really good idea of what the sufficient assumption will be before you even look at the answer choices. Here are the steps that I would recommend:

1) Read question stem and ID as a sufficient question
2) Read stimulus and underline conclusion
3) Decide whether the stimulus can be diagrammed. If so, diagram it and figure out what is missing to make the argument valid. (Generally, you will be linking one of the premises to the term shift in the conclusion; you may also be connecting the premises.) Also anticipate the contrapositive of whatever sufficient assumption you find, because that's often the correct answer.
4) If the stimulus can't be diagrammed, then you would do the other things you mentioned - look for the term shift in the conclusion and, if that fails, look for any gaps between the premises. But rather than looking for answer choices that mention the words you're looking for, you should take the time to actually think about what the sufficient assumption would be.

Prephrasing the answer makes a HUGE difference on the LSAT because it makes you way less susceptible to getting tricked by incorrect answer choices that are written specifically to attract people who do what you're doing. I'd hazard a guess that it will make a huge difference in your overall performance on the LSAT.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:25 pm

mymrh1 wrote:Hi BPlaura,

Could you help me with PT 61, Section 4, Q24? Thanks. I am total lost in this question..


Sure. I diagrammed this question out, which helped me understand it. Here's what my diagram looked like:

same age ---> feel comfortable
long-term friendship -most-> feel comfortable

Therefore,
long-term friendship -most-> same age

So we know that if someone is your same approximate age, you'll feel comfortable talking with them. But we don't know that that's the only way you'd feel comfortable with someone. For instance, perhaps if you share a common interest, that's also a sufficient condition for feeling comfortable. So while most friendships start with people feeling comfortable, being the same age is presumably not the only reason you might feel comfortable around someone.

That's what (E) is saying, in a roundabout way - that it fails to establish whether being the same age is the only reason you'd feel comfortable with someone.

Let me know if you have any questions about the other answer choices for that one!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:50 pm

I hope the test went well for everyone! At around this time, we always get a lot of questions about whether people should cancel, so I just wanted to provide some general guidelines. to help out if you're struggling with that decision right now.

Given that having multiple LSAT scores is generally not at all a big deal any more, it most often won't make sense to cancel. Worst-case scenario would be that you get your June score, it's not everything you hoped it would be, so you retake in September and perhaps write an addendum explaining the discrepancy if you have a good explanation. I would only recommend canceling if you're absolutely certain you underperformed to an extreme extent - for instance, if you somehow messed up an entire section. Otherwise, it makes a lot of sense to just let it ride and see what your score ends up being - people who think they bombed the test often end up being surprised by the result. BPshinners almost canceled his 180 because he thought his test had gone badly. :shock:

So my general advice would be that, most of the time, it doesn't make sense to cancel the score. However, if there are specific circumstances you'd like to discuss, feel free to post here and I'd be happy to hash it out with you!

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:38 pm

I'm at a conference for pre-law advisors right now and had a short but interesting conversation with the corporate counsel of LSAC this morning - thought I'd share as a bit of a "fun fact" for LSAT nerds. I couldn't ask too many specifics about the test, but she did telll me that LSAC only has about 300 employees total, and of those, about 40% are in IT. (Which makes sense, given that application materials are submitted to law schools through LSAC!) Only about 25 people actually work in "test development" (aka writing the test questions) - she called it a small but "intense" department. So there's actually a relatively small number of people responsible for creating the test that has likely consumed months of your life! Pretty interesting stuff.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby joeisreallycool » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:17 am

Is there anyway I can convince you to create an LR Blueprint book? I love the LG one. Makes it actually bearable to read and I retain more than I would if I was reading say a powerscore bible.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BPlaura » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:00 pm

Send a couple cases of fine wine and imported chocolate to Boston and then we'll talk.

Just kidding. Thanks for the compliment! We've had a great response to the LG book and would love to create books for the other sections. That said, we've got a lot of other projects going on (most recently, a huge revamping of our website), so I have no idea what the timeframe might be for other books (or whether said timeframe even exists yet).

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BP Robert » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:08 am

Hi all, 

My name is Robert and I’ll be taking over as Blueprint’s presence on TLS. I found the site helpful, the community supportive, and the myriad threads well worth the countless hours of fretting and following back when I applied to law school, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to give back. 

I’ll be perusing the thread daily, so feel free to shoot with any questions you have, be it LSAT content, procedure, or just applying/preparing generally. You’re also more than welcome to PM me, although I’d prefer that most questions about the LSAT be posted to the thread as a reference for others.

When posting questions about specific problems, it’ll be very helpful to include the Test #, the section, and the question # that’s giving you trouble. Additionally, telling me the answer you chose and why would be appreciated. 

Cheers for being here and doing your research, best of luck to you all.


-Robert

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BP Robert » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:45 pm

joeisreallycool wrote:Is there anyway I can convince you to create an LR Blueprint book? I love the LG one. Makes it actually bearable to read and I retain more than I would if I was reading say a powerscore bible.



Hi JoetheCool,

I spoke to the folks in LA about this recently, and plans to create an LR book are underway. An RC book is in the works as well. It looks like it will still be some time before they hit the shelves, however, so in the meanwhile I'd suggest taking either an online or in-person course.

That's because, in addition to your fabulous instructor, the course includes what amounts to an LR book, an RC book, and an LG book. You'll also have access to an online platform that can diagnose your weak areas within each of these three problem types (lets say, for instance, that you struggle with Flaw questions, or Grouping Games). They're also, as you mentioned, pretty bearable to read -- which is helpful as you're plowing through dry LSAC material.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BP Robert » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:22 pm

Hi all, I've received a couple RC questions lately that I thought would be helpful to address on the online forums.

1. "Should I read the questions before reading the passage?
An interesting idea, but not something I would suggest for RC. Instead, I've found both as an LSAT student and instructor that the most effective way to approach Reading Comprehension is to annotate and underline the passage. Here at Blueprint, we call it Tagging. Another effective strategy is identifying what we refer to as the Primary and Secondary Structure of the passage. The Primary structure, for example, identifies the subject of the passage, the author(s)' opinion on said subject, and how many points of view are expressed. Those three concepts comprise a substantial portion of RC questions, so we give them a lot of attention.

2. "I've been reading for a couple decades now, so I don't think I need to study much for Reading Comprehension."
That's silly. Reading Comprehension may seem pretty familiar compared to the Mauve Dinosaur game, but the LSAT will test your skills in a very different way than your highschool SATs or your university's Narrative Literature course. Practicing RCs will help you notice recurring patterns on the LSAT, and eventually you'll be able to predict the upcoming questions as you read the passage.
It's also worth noting that, while RC does require lots of practice, you're less likely to come across a really screwy question (something you just can't figure out) there than you are in Logic Games or Logical Reasoning. As such, its all the more important to secure those points for yourself, and set the bar high.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby RRS » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:34 am

First, thank you for doing this!

I have a few LR questions:

PT 39 (Dec. 2002) Section 2, #17: necessary; I got down to the correct answer choice (B) after eliminating all the other answers with the negation test, but I always have trouble negating conditional statements. My instructor told me to put "It's not the case that" in front of them, so "It's not the case that if the Japanese drive on the left side of the road, then they are not inclined to buy cars with left-side steering wheels." Is there a way to simplify this; I can't wrap my head around what this is actually saying for some reason.

PT 61 (Oct. 2010) Section 5, #19: There's seems to be an internal BP divide about whether or not this prompt should be classified as a strengthen question (video explanation) or a sufficient question (score report). The language "justifies the above application" makes it sound like a strengthen prompt, but you also have to bridge the logical gap between the principle and the application, and that task is typical of a sufficient question. What's the best way to approach this question?

PT 61 (Oct. 2010) Section 5, #26: parallel flaw

I diagrammed as follows:

uneducated pop. => weak
(CP: X weak X = educated)
X uneducated X => commit. to pub. edu.
(CP: X commit. to pub. edu. X => uneducated)

transitive conclusion: X commit. to pub. edu.X => weak
CP: X weak X => commit. to pub edu.

The stimulus' conclusion is fallacious, because it asserts: commit. to pub. edu => X weak X.

I read this as the inverse of the transitive conclusion (i.e. both conditions are negated), so I chose answer C, which also commits the fallacy of the inverse, but BP looks at it as the converse of the contrapositive, arriving at B. Where did I go wrong?

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Re: bp shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby theincredibleTM » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:56 am

ilovethelaw wrote:first of all, this is an awesome idea. thanks so much

general application question:

do you know how admissions treats community college courses taken during high school? I did very poorly back when I was like 17, and it affects my LSAC gpa greatly (like 3.4 instead of 3.8 ). I'm a bit cynical and tend to think its mostly a numbers game for USNews, in which case they report the LSAC gpa for median purposes. I plan to write an addendum about how I was foolish during adolescent years but have learned from it, and my actual undergrad transcript is obviously a lot lot better. however, for application planning, should I think of my application as a 3.4 gpa, or a 3.8, or somewhere in between?



I also xferred from a community college too as well, but was the reverse. I did 4.0 in community college but...got barely a 3 in 4 year university due to joining a fraternity, really living the "college life." lol to be honest i feel as tho as a xfer they will see exactly what happened to your grades. as the common thing is do terribly ur first 2 years then pick it up the next 2. i personally didnt write any addendum for my gpa..because anything that would come out of my mouth could sound like an excuse..id rather just give them my gpa and supplement it with a good lsat so that they couldnt deny me. lsat addendum i would recommend tho.

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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BP Robert » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:21 pm

RRS wrote:First, thank you for doing this!

I have a few LR questions:

PT 39 (Dec. 2002) Section 2, #17: necessary; I got down to the correct answer choice (B) after eliminating all the other answers with the negation test, but I always have trouble negating conditional statements. My instructor told me to put "It's not the case that" in front of them, so "It's not the case that if the Japanese drive on the left side of the road, then they are not inclined to buy cars with left-side steering wheels." Is there a way to simplify this; I can't wrap my head around what this is actually saying for some reason.

PT 61 (Oct. 2010) Section 5, #19: There's seems to be an internal BP divide about whether or not this prompt should be classified as a strengthen question (video explanation) or a sufficient question (score report). The language "justifies the above application" makes it sound like a strengthen prompt, but you also have to bridge the logical gap between the principle and the application, and that task is typical of a sufficient question. What's the best way to approach this question?

PT 61 (Oct. 2010) Section 5, #26: parallel flaw

I diagrammed as follows:

uneducated pop. => weak
(CP: X weak X = educated)
X uneducated X => commit. to pub. edu.
(CP: X commit. to pub. edu. X => uneducated)

transitive conclusion: X commit. to pub. edu.X => weak
CP: X weak X => commit. to pub edu.

The stimulus' conclusion is fallacious, because it asserts: commit. to pub. edu => X weak X.

I read this as the inverse of the transitive conclusion (i.e. both conditions are negated), so I chose answer C, which also commits the fallacy of the inverse, but BP looks at it as the converse of the contrapositive, arriving at B. Where did I go wrong?



All of these are great/tricky/interesting LR questions, and I'm glad to see you've got a pretty good grasp on each of them. I'll do what I can here to really drive the answers home.

1. I'll need to hunt this question down, as I don't have many LSATs prior to the mid-2000s. I'll start with your second question and come back to this.

2. I see what you mean about the internal divide -- it being called sufficient in one place and strengthen in another. This is actually not a contradiction though; sufficient and strengthen questions have a similar relationship to squares and rectangles.

What I mean by this is that every sufficient question you encounter will be a strengthen question, in the same way that every square is a rectangle. That's because if a premise is sufficient to guarantee the conclusion it is also strengthening it (and then some). As with squares and rectangles, its important to avoid the converse fallacy: a premise is not sufficient simply by virtue of its strengthening an argument.

I'd recommend classifying this particular problem as a full-on sufficient question. Your first tip is the "justifies" -- typically for a strictly strengthen question the prompt would read "most justifies." Also, a little birdie named Hindsight whispered to me that the correct answer choice will guarantee the conclusion, rather than just strengthen the argument.

Having read and deciphered the prompt, we can jump into the stimulus. From the first sentence we learn that if there is no currenly working qualified candidate (CQC) then Arvue should go with the most productive candidate. This reads:

no CQC >> MPC

Next the LSAT tries to trick us by writing the conclusion followed by a premise:
"Arvue should not hire Krall for the new position, because Delacruz is a candidate and is fully qualified."

Dont be fooled 8) the premise here is "because Delacruz is a candidate and is fully qualified," and the conclusion is "Arvue should not hire Krall for the new position."

This leaves us with two possibilities. Either (i) Krall is not a CQC, and he is not the MPC, or (ii) neither Krall nor Delacruz are CQCs, but between the two Delacruz is the MPC.

When we scope the answer choices, we see that (e) matches (ii) exactly: "None of the candidates already works for Arvue, and Delacruz is the candidate who would be most productive in the new position."

Edit for grammar bad.

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BP Robert
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Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BP Robert » Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:16 am

RRS wrote:First, thank you for doing this!

I have a few LR questions:

PT 39 (Dec. 2002) Section 2, #17: necessary; I got down to the correct answer choice (B) after eliminating all the other answers with the negation test, but I always have trouble negating conditional statements. My instructor told me to put "It's not the case that" in front of them, so "It's not the case that if the Japanese drive on the left side of the road, then they are not inclined to buy cars with left-side steering wheels." Is there a way to simplify this; I can't wrap my head around what this is actually saying for some reason.

PT 61 (Oct. 2010) Section 5, #19: There's seems to be an internal BP divide about whether or not this prompt should be classified as a strengthen question (video explanation) or a sufficient question (score report). The language "justifies the above application" makes it sound like a strengthen prompt, but you also have to bridge the logical gap between the principle and the application, and that task is typical of a sufficient question. What's the best way to approach this question?

PT 61 (Oct. 2010) Section 5, #26: parallel flaw

I diagrammed as follows:

uneducated pop. => weak
(CP: X weak X = educated)
X uneducated X => commit. to pub. edu.
(CP: X commit. to pub. edu. X => uneducated)

transitive conclusion: X commit. to pub. edu.X => weak
CP: X weak X => commit. to pub edu.

The stimulus' conclusion is fallacious, because it asserts: commit. to pub. edu => X weak X.

I read this as the inverse of the transitive conclusion (i.e. both conditions are negated), so I chose answer C, which also commits the fallacy of the inverse, but BP looks at it as the converse of the contrapositive, arriving at B. Where did I go wrong?



#3
Your diagramming looks good. We have:

notE >> W [notW >>E]
E >> FCE
Conclusion: notW >> FCE
This is validly derived by taking the contrapositive and applying the transitive property, as you noted.

The only place you went wrong is with the the identification of converse vs inverse. Having one of the statements negated and the other affirmed (notW >> FCE) is tricky, so that's understandable.

But consider these in terms of A and B. We have drawn a valid conclusion A >> B (notW >> FCE). The stimulus, however, suggests FCE >> notW. Keeping our terms consistent, that would look like B >> A, which is an OG converse fallacy. The inverse, by contrast, would look like notA >> notB, or W >> notFCE.

Thus the answer is B, scheming politicians.

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BP Robert
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:50 am

Re: Blueprint LSAT Prep's ongoing ask-an-instructor extravaganza

Postby BP Robert » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:39 pm

RRS wrote:First, thank you for doing this!

I have a few LR questions:

PT 39 (Dec. 2002) Section 2, #17: necessary; I got down to the correct answer choice (B) after eliminating all the other answers with the negation test, but I always have trouble negating conditional statements. My instructor told me to put "It's not the case that" in front of them, so "It's not the case that if the Japanese drive on the left side of the road, then they are not inclined to buy cars with left-side steering wheels." Is there a way to simplify this; I can't wrap my head around what this is actually saying for some reason.


Great question to ask, because negations appear all over the LSAT so its important to master them. I totally agree with your instructor about putting "it's not the case" in front of the answer choices, BUT even before that it's key to anticipate. Especially on this question -- you should be able to anticipate the correct answer before you even look at the answer choices, because there is a flagrant logical leap that has to be reconciled in order to clarify the argument.

Specifically, after reading the stimulus this question leaves it to us to infer that Japanese consumers don't like left-side steering wheels. However, if "[it is not the case that] Japanese consumers don't like left-side steering wheels," then the conclusion does not follow and the argument falls apart. Lo and behold, this is answer (b).

With regards to simplification, what you're looking at is essentially a double negative. So take those negatives out and you're left with "Japanese consumers like left-side steering wheels." That can't be the case because if it was they'd be lining up in droves for our automobiles, which is inconsistent with the stimulus' claim that sales have been stagnant. This should always be your approach after anticipating: see which negation makes the argument fall apart.

Another example to drive the concept home:

"My birthday cake turned out horribly, and after thorough investigation I determined that my mother must have accidentally forgot an ingredient."

There are tons of necessary conditions at play here, such as "my terrible cake was not an intentional attempt on my mother's part to poison me," or "I have a mother," or even "my mother did not remember all the ingredients." Each of these are assumptions required by my argument, and each must necessarily hold if my conclusion is to be validly drawn.

As a general rule, I'd suggest not sitting the test until this comes naturally.


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