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

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.
User avatar
arcanecircle
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:33 am

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby arcanecircle » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:01 pm

I could use some general RC advice. I've been looking closely at the past 10 or so RC sections I've taken and noticed some patterns:

1) My passages are for the most part tagged well. I correctly write the purpose/highlight different views and don't needlessly annotate things.
2) On almost every section of RC, the majority of my errors (3 or more) come from a single passage. There seems to be a negative correlation between the amount of time I spend on a passage and my accuracy. More time usually = more misses.
3) I spend about 3-4min reading/annotating the passage, and yet I often do not utilize my tags when answering the question prompts. In retrospect I can easily find relevant tags that I had written when I'm reading the prompts on review. I feel I am wasting time answering the questions inefficiently, as I am usually strapped for time by the last passage.
4) The great majority of my misses are inference questions. I would go as far as to say I lose a given 3.5 points per RC section from these question types. I rarely miss explicitly mentioned questions, and usually if I get MP questions wrong its splitting hairs between two really close choices.

Just looking on how to best address these weaknesses.

Thanks again.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:24 pm

It seems like your problems (both answering inference questions incorrectly and having a negative time correlation) come from not using your tags efficiently.

They're there, they're good, and they should give you the answers. Going back and looking through them might seem like a poor use of time, but slowing yourself down and actually using the passage to back up your answer choice is actually going to speed you up and make you more accurate. Especially for those inference questions - most people feel the info isn't in the passage, but you will find proof for it in there. The inference questions on RC are similar to Soft Must Be True questions ("most strongly supported"), so you will have info that almost directly proves the answer choice. And you're very likely to see these types of questions stemming from comparative statements or absolute strength statements ("this theory is better than any other theory at describing the known data.").

User avatar
Chambo
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:38 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby Chambo » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:02 pm

bp,

I'm considering a re-take in June. I prepped thoroughly for Oct. '11, but made a scantron error that cost me several points, and ended up with a 166 (I was PTing in the low 170s). I decided to take time off, and then prepped heavily for Oct '12 over the summer. I hit the mid-170s on the few PTs I had never taken before, even got a few 180s on not-so-fresh ones. Long story short, I choked epically on test day and ended up with a 162. In hindsight, I was experiencing a good deal of burnout, and really just blew it after getting disheveled on the zones game.

I am curious if you have advice as to how I could/should approach another re-take, considering I've already put in so much time and effort. I'm considering looking at other prep books (had been using powerscore) to get a fresh perspective and approach. I'm also concerned with burning out again at hitting rock bottom at the worst possible time. If I opt for another go-around, I want to make sure it's worth it! Any input would be appreciated!

-Chambo

User avatar
arcanecircle
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:33 am

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby arcanecircle » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:01 pm

Thanks for the advice, my RC is improving, recently been down to a -2 to -5 range, hope its not because the earlier sections are easier (seems to be a popular consensus around TLS).

Thoughts on PT67-S1-Q1? Had it down to B and D. Seems like the general trend is to make MP answers hard by giving you wrong ACs with equivocation fallacies, and correct ACs that are only partial summaries of the passage, albeit with no distortions. In this one I felt like B and D both just had pieces of accurate information. !Kungs didn't seem as badass as Lorenzo Tucker.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:57 pm

Chambo wrote:I am curious if you have advice as to how I could/should approach another re-take, considering I've already put in so much time and effort. I'm considering looking at other prep books (had been using powerscore) to get a fresh perspective and approach. I'm also concerned with burning out again at hitting rock bottom at the worst possible time. If I opt for another go-around, I want to make sure it's worth it! Any input would be appreciated!


Burnout's really your primary enemy here. If you're going to study again, put in a decent amount of time up front reviewing tests (both new ones and old ones you retake), working problem sets, etc... The repetition, even if you remember stuff the first time through, will start to form connections in your brain so that you can better understand the test. After doing this for three years, it's at the point where I can pretty much know what the answer is going to look like after reading the prompt and a sentence, maybe two, of the stimulus. You probably won't hit that level in the next few months, but you can certainly get to the point where it all starts to click. Then, with 2-3 weeks left, scale it back considerably. 2-3 hours a day, tops, with 2 days off/week. Just keep yourself in fighting shape for game day. And let your brain recover. You'll probably see your score go up a bit during this time, actually, as your brain has time to let everything sink in.

As to getting more prep books, getting a fresh perspective can definitely help, as long as you don't let it confuse you. Make sure that you don't try to 'learn' a new method, but rather figure out how the same logic can be used as the basis for the various methods out there. If you can understand that, you'll understand why the methods work. More importantly, you'll get a sense for when the methods break down and when it's time to try something different. That can be huge on test day, when they throw something like Zones at you.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:11 pm

arcanecircle wrote:Thoughts on PT67-S1-Q1? Had it down to B and D. Seems like the general trend is to make MP answers hard by giving you wrong ACs with equivocation fallacies, and correct ACs that are only partial summaries of the passage, albeit with no distortions. In this one I felt like B and D both just had pieces of accurate information. !Kungs didn't seem as badass as Lorenzo Tucker.


To me, B is a perfect example of a MP correct answer, while D is a perfect example of a sucker choice.

B has everything the passage includes. What I think you're feeling in the trend towards having only partial summaries of the passage is actually an increase in the level of abstraction they use for different parts of the passage. It's all there, but a long paragraph might be summarized by a single word. In B, for instance:
Paragraph 1 = "fills certain gaps in the historical record of U.S. theater and film."
Paragraph 2 = "Evidence from a variety of sources, including information from Tucker's own oral accounts"
Paragraph 3 = "has been scrutinized"
Paragraph 4 = "has been scrutinized and combined to create a career biography of Tucker"
It's all in there, though out of order, and gets the main idea of each paragraph across.

D, on the other hand, is arguably all true. However, the main point isn't that the example of Tucker is being used to talk about the problems of first-person oral testimony for a biography; the main point is just about this biography of Tucker. For D to be right, there would need to be another sentence where the author states that he's using the Tucker example to talk generally about biographies. Instead, he uses that third paragraph to talk generally about biographies in order to prove a point about Tucker. Subtle difference, but it makes all the difference between B and D. (It also talks about problems, when we really only know the one.) True-but-not-essential answers are the trickiest of the MP answer choices to rule out.

User avatar
wtrc
Posts: 2057
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 9:37 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby wtrc » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:10 am

BP,

Any tips on PT 14, Section 3, #8? I know it's RC so probably a bit harder to explain than an LR, but this confused me. I couldn't find evidence for any of the answer choices in the passage, and chose D since it seemed plausible based on the other info. Thanks!

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:43 am

weathercoins wrote:BP,

Any tips on PT 14, Section 3, #8? I know it's RC so probably a bit harder to explain than an LR, but this confused me. I couldn't find evidence for any of the answer choices in the passage, and chose D since it seemed plausible based on the other info. Thanks!


This passage is a killer because it uses words that are completely unfamiliar, and even those who understand these movements don't really know what any of this junk means (I take a very harsh view of deconstructionism as a literary theory).

#8 is E because of the first two sentences in paragraph 2, which say E almost word for word.

Tips on this one? This is pretty much the same as any of those science passages, the ones that try to confuse you simply by using complex language to distract you from what's actually going on. You should have tagged the second paragraph as something along the lines of "Deconstructionist Theory", something very basic that gets away from all the crazy language in there.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:38 pm

Up and running.

Legallybronzed180
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby Legallybronzed180 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:58 pm

Hey bp
Would be able to explain question from pt 65 rc 27. I found this very confusing and hard a hard differentiating between the answers choices.
Thanks

nugnoy
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:19 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby nugnoy » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:09 pm

Hi, I have a question on PT 29, S4 (Logical reasoning) Q24 about Medical researcher, premature birth, adequate prenatal care, and risk of low birth weight.

I am looking at B and E. I've read Kaplan's, Graeme Blake's, and Manhattan's explanations, but none of them addressed the following things:

B: B would weaken the argument if it ended the sentence at prenatal care. But it adds the following: "when the record of that care is not available." They don't ALWAYS routinely classify mothers giving premature birth as having received inadequate prenatal care. They do it "when the record of that care is not available." This brings up some questions:

1. How frequent is this? Maybe it happens 1/1000 births, and maybe it happens 8/10 births. If it's the former, it wouldn't matter so much because it'd be just a "some" statement - some mothers giving premature birth are classified as having received inadequate prenatal care. This wouldn't weaken the argument, the same way D doesn't impact the argument. Just because there are some, doesn't mean the reasoning is weakened. After all, the conclusion is "significantly decreases," not "completely prevents."

If it happens 8/10 births, then it does weaken the argument, because a significant proportion of the data is unreliable. Unfortunately, the choice just says "when the record is not available," giving us no suggestion of whether we should take it as "some" or "significantly enough."

2. Just as importantly or more so, this classification happens when the record of that care is not available. Considering that the stimulus is talking about "ten major hospitals," it's NOT INCONCEIVABLE to think that when the RECORD of care isn't available, the care was probably not adequate. It's really common sense that hospitals are strict with their records, and keeping a record of patient data is a big deal. I think an average American with common sense MAY assume that the fact that a major hospital could NOT find the records for a patient is NOT a strong indication of that patient's receiving adequate prenatal care.

So I thought this: that I have NO idea if this routine classification happens "some" times or "significantly enough" number of times. I starred it and moved on to E.

E says women with adequate prenatal care are less likely to have premature births. This says that adequate prenatal care may NOT directly be related to less risk of low body weight babies. This places the chance of premature birth BETWEEN adequate prenatal care and risk of low birth weight babies - just like an alternative cause.

I thought about whether I should think of it as a METHOD of impact or an ALTERNATIVE cause. If lessening the risk of premature birth is considered as a way by which adequate prenatal care CAUSES the decreased risk of low birth weight babies, E strengthens the argument.

If lessening the risk of premature birth is considered as an ALTERNATIVE cause, then E weakens the argument - it's NOT adequate prenatal care that directly causes the risk of low body weight babies to go down. It's the act of premature birth.

Typically on the LSAT, the Cause causes the Effect, nothing else. For example, on Manhattan book page 115 (PT28, S3, Q16), when the stimulus says "venereal disease caused his deafness," it is saying that "venereal disease DIRECTLY caused deafness." It's NOT saying "venereal disease caused Beethoven to ingest mercury. Mercury caused deafness. Therefore venereal disease caused the deafness."

Returning to this question, I thought it was POSSIBLE for E to weaken the argument by showing "premature birth" as the direct cause, and adequate prenatal care makes it less likely to experience "premature birth." I thought it was NOT a clear right answer or a wrong answer.

So I basically see B and E as two unclear answers. If I encounter this uncertainty in a real test, I'm not sure how I'd be able to choose the right answer with certainty. Please help me differentiate between the two answers in these respects!

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:47 pm

Legallybronzed180 wrote:Hey bp
Would be able to explain question from pt 65 rc 27. I found this very confusing and hard a hard differentiating between the answers choices.
Thanks


Really, REALLY tough parallel question here. Honestly, quite probably the toughest one ever.

So summary of the process in the stimulus: We sewed these test fields with some beneficial microorganisms associated with later stages of soil development. This did a decent job of helping the seeds grow, but it wasn't as good as nature. That's because the aggressive disease microorganisms outnumbered the beneficial ones.

So, in short, if I want to beat out the bad microorganisms, I need more good microorganisms. In my correct AC, I need two similar elements fighting with each other, trying to 'drown out' the other one.

A - My newspaper is the actor here (and in all of the ACs), so the newspaper has to have a rival against which it's competing in the same field. There's no rival paper here, so no go.

B - Bingo. I have a newspaper (good microorgs) fighting against other journalists (bad microorgs) to get a certain party elected (seeds grown).

C - Again, only one actor - the main newspaper.

D - Two actors, but they're not related - one is a newspaper, the other are public figures (doesn't line up with the two microorgs). Additionally, the newspaper is attacking the figures, not trying to outcompete them.

E - Here, the two factions are within the party, not in the debate. So no go.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:13 pm

nugnoy wrote:Hi, I have a question on PT 29, S4 (Logical reasoning) Q24 about Medical researcher, premature birth, adequate prenatal care, and risk of low birth weight.


Argument:
Records show premies are more likely to have low birth weight/suffer health problems than non-premies.
Records show that mothers who had received adequate prenatal care were less likely to have low birth weight babies.
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Therefore, adequate prenatal care significantly decreases the risk of low birth weight babies.

Three problems here.

First, I don't know what 'significantly' means, so an answer choice might have to do with that. I'm not hopeful of this as an answer choice, however, because it would be weird.

Second, and what I'm expecting to show up in the answer choice, is that there's some reason to call the records into question. When I have an argument on the LSAT and I see that it qualifies all of my premises (here, by saying that the record indicates something), that's likely to play into the flaw. If the LSAT wanted me to believe these things were absolutely true, it would say so - "Babies born prematurely are more likely to have low birth weights..." and "Mothers who had received...". By sourcing them, it makes it possible for the facts stated to be called into question, because you're not questioning a premise - the records DO indicate these things; it's just that the records are wrong. So in the future, when you have premises that are qualified (here, by attributing them to the record), and a conclusion that isn't, look for that in the AC.

If, however, the conclusion was, "The record would have us believe, therefore, that adequate prenatal care...", this wouldn't be an issue.

Third, I have a correlation/causation fallacy. I know that these two groups overlap (adequate prenatal care, non-low birth weight babies), but I don't know that's the cause, as my conclusion states. That's another possible answer choice, but I'm still expecting it to be the first one, just because it's question 24 and the causal answer would be the easier one to spot.

E - I'm extremely confused by your discussion of answer choice E. To me, answer choice E, if anything, strengthens the argument (though it doesn't really, because there's a leap between correlation and causation for that to be true).

E tells me that if you receive adequate prenatal care, you are less likely to give birth prematurely than are women who don't receive that care. We know that (according to the record) premies are likely to be low birth weight. So if you're less likely to give birth prematurely, and therefore less likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby, that gets me closer to my conclusion.

Your discussion of cause and effect misses one key point - you can link causal chains together. So your Beethoven example is fine because there's no link posited between VD and mercury ingestion. In this argument, however, there is a link between giving birth prematurely and having that baby be low birth weight. It's not perfect because we still have the issue of correlation vs. causation (since the premises aren't causal), but it definitely doesn't weaken the argument.

As an example, there's a parallel question on one test that talks about sugar and diabetes. The conclusion is that sugar causes diabetes, and it's based on the premises that sugar causes obesity, and obesity causes diabetes. That's a valid argument, because I can link causal chains together like that. This stimulus is much closer to that example than the Beethoven example (though not parallel, because of the correlation issue, again; and not valid for the same reason).

B, on the other hand, plays into the second problem listed above - how good the record is. B tells me that the record might not be that good - at least sometimes, the hospital makes an assumption when filling out the record. If that's the case, maybe the records aren't so good, and maybe I can't draw conclusions based on them.

I get what you're saying about the frequency, but two things. First, it says "routinely", which suggests but doesn't prove it happens with some frequency. Second, I don't really care how frequently it happens. It calls the record into question because it gives me enough info to know that at least some of the entries are bad. With the record in question, my conclusion is weakened, since everything in the stimulus relies on the record being correct.

As to your second point, you went wrong as soon as you stated: "It's really common sense that hospitals are strict with their records, and keeping a record of patient data is a big deal. I think an average American with common sense MAY assume that the fact that a major hospital could NOT find the records for a patient is NOT a strong indication of that patient's receiving adequate prenatal care."

You can't assume that at all. What if I had adequate prenatal care from a holistic medicine expert? What if I just researched it myself and took care of everything? What if I have an HRA and went to unassociated doctors for my ultrasounds, then I didn't have that info sent to the hospital because everything was OK?

So while it's not inconceivable that a lack of record denotes inadequate care, it's also not inconceivable that a lack of record doesn't denote inadequate care. And on the LSAT, you should come down on the side of an assumption being bad - here, the assumption that a lack of record denotes inadequate care was a bad one.

nugnoy
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:19 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby nugnoy » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:47 pm

I see what you mean with the "record" likely to be suspect. In fact, I did NOT think of the possibility that the mothers could've gotten prenatal care from places outside the hospital. I only thought about the mothers being treated in the same hospital, and thought "well, if they can't even locate their own records, how can they be trusted to provide adequate care?" But what you said DEFINITELY gives me more to think about. Thank you for that fresh insight (fresh for me haha).

What I am still unsure about is linking causal chains. All the prep I've done covered linking conditionals, but none really covers causation situation like this. Manhattan or Powerscore sometimes talks about the cause of a cause being irrelevant etc. but they don't talk about multiple factors of a causal relationship. So if I understand you correctly, if A causes B, and B causes C, then A causes C.

I'm gonna apply it to this problem:

1. records show that babies born to mothers with unhealthy diet are more likely to have low birth weights
2. records indicate that mothers who have received adequate prenatal care were less likely to have low birth weight babies than were mothers who had received inadequate prenatal care.

C: adequate prenatal care, therefore, significantly decreases the risk of low birth weight babies

If choice E said:
Women who receive adequate prenatal care are less likely to have unhealthy diets than are women who do not receive adequate prenatal care.

For this purpose, let's focus on the causal/correlation relationship and not on the records' validity. Would it would still strengthen the relationship like it's supposed to in the original argument? Before I read your post, I would've thought: adequate prenatal care is correlated to (- double negative to simplify) healthy diet. So, maybe it's not adequate prenatal care that's directly causing the decrease of risk of low birth weight babies. Healthy diet could be an alternative cause.

What if I change premature birth/unhealthy diet to something more different? adequate prenatal care correlated to less smoking/drinking? less wealth? It's really hard to gauge the original wording - I'm not certain whether premature birth should be interpreted to be directly caused by adequate prenatal care or it could be considered as a coincidental factor that could be an alternative cause.

1. records show that babies born to mothers with alcohol problems are more likely to have low birth weights
2. records indicate that mothers who have received adequate prenatal care were less likely to have low birth weight babies than were mothers who had received inadequate prenatal care.

C: adequate prenatal care, therefore, significantly decreases the risk of low birth weight babies

If choice E said:
Women who receive adequate prenatal care are less likely to have alcohol problems than are women who do not receive adequate prenatal care.

If I apply the reasoning insight you gave me, then even in this case E should strengthen the reasoning. Is that right?

Thank you for giving your attention to my walls of text!

chocaholic
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby chocaholic » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:56 pm

I'm having trouble with an LR question in Preptest 53---it's section 3, #25. The correct answer is C, but it seems like it assumes that "should be kept short" means "will be kept short."

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:56 pm

nugnoy wrote:Thank you for giving your attention to my walls of text!


Everything here is assuming we've dropped the record issue and are saying these are causal relationships, not correlative ones.

I think a lot of the confusion is coming down to the certainty of causal relationships as posited by the LSAT. You seem to be treating most causes as exclusive causes, whereas here, they're not treated that way. The issue is complicated by the fact that the original stimulus suggested two causes of low birth weight - premature birth and adequate prenatal care.

So answer choice E links the two causes together - adequate prenatal care decreases the chances of premature birth. That could explain how the adequate care leads to non-low birth weight babies.

Additionally, looking back at the stimulus, the second premise is essentially the same thing as the conclusion (which means the premies stuff is really irrelevant to this discussion) - with two exceptions: the causal language as opposed to the correlative language, and the source (record vs. nothing).

So I think we're very much side-tracked by the causal issues we're discussing. Those are more relevant when we're dealing with MBT questions, as you can go through a causal chain much like a conditional chain there. For a Strengthen/Weaken question, however, there will nearly universally be a correlation vs. causation fallacy, a reverse of cause and effect, or something else going on. That's where your focus should be.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:07 pm

chocaholic wrote:I'm having trouble with an LR question in Preptest 53---it's section 3, #25. The correct answer is C, but it seems like it assumes that "should be kept short" means "will be kept short."


This is question where we're trying to justify the application of a principle to a specific situation.

My principle:
Meetings should be short and only address stuff relevant to most attendees.
If no issues addressed at the meeting are relevant to a person, that person shouldn't be required to attend.

My application:
Terry shouldn't be required to attend.

To come to that conclusion, I simply need to know that no issues that will be addressed are relevant to Terry. I know issues that will be addressed should be limited to the stuff relevant to most attendees. Since C tells me the stuff Terry tells about is definitely not relevant to most attendees, that stuff shouldn't be brought up in the meeting, and therefore Terry shouldn't be required to attend.

I'm not sure where the time comes into play. However, the language in the principle ("should") aligns with that in the application ("should"), so there's no disconnect there.

chocaholic
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby chocaholic » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:32 pm

Hmmm, I'm still missing something. I agree with:
To come to that conclusion, I simply need to know that no issues that will be addressed are relevant to Terry.
And I agree with:
I know issues that will be addressed should be limited to the stuff relevant to most attendees.
(bold mine). C says: "No issue relevant to Terry could be relevant to a majority of those attending the meeting." But it seems to me that, while the issues should be limited to stuff relevant to the majority (which by definition can't be relevant to Terry), that's no guarantee that they will be, and Terry should only not be required to attend if, in fact, none of the issues addressed are relevant to him. Thanks so much for your help.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:39 pm

chocaholic wrote:Hmmm, I'm still missing something. I agree with:
To come to that conclusion, I simply need to know that no issues that will be addressed are relevant to Terry.
And I agree with:
I know issues that will be addressed should be limited to the stuff relevant to most attendees.
(bold mine). C says: "No issue relevant to Terry could be relevant to a majority of those attending the meeting." But it seems to me that, while the issues should be limited to stuff relevant to the majority (which by definition can't be relevant to Terry), that's no guarantee that they will be, and Terry should only not be required to attend if, in fact, none of the issues addressed are relevant to him. Thanks so much for your help.


You're 100% correct, but it's 100% irrelevant to the stimulus.

The conclusion is just that Terry shouldn't be required to attend. And we know that there shouldn't be anything that is relevant to Terry at the meeting. The fact that there shouldn't be anything relevant to Terry at the meeting is enough by itself to tell me he shouldn't be required to attend. There might end up something brought up even though it shouldn't have been. But just having it be true that nothing relevant to Terry should be brought up is enough to tell me he shouldn't be required to attend - I don't care about what actually happens at the meeting.

Think about it the other way - let's say we go with what you're saying. Stuff that shouldn't be brought up occasionally is brought up. If that stuff being brought up even though it shouldn't is enough to mean that the person to whom it's relevant would be required to show up, then everyone would be required to show up for every meeting just in case something relevant to them is brought up, against the regulations (yes, that's a crazy mouthful - it's walking around in circles). There would be no reason to have the conditional requirement because there would be no way to tell if the condition was met until after the requirement took effect.

In short, if you create a trigger for a requirement in the future, that trigger must have the ability to go off before the requirement comes into effect. If it doesn't, then you've got a problem.

chocaholic
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby chocaholic » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:40 pm

Got it now, thanks for the thorough explanation!

nugnoy
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:19 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby nugnoy » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:55 pm

I've been treating causes as exclusive causes because that's how it has worked so far up until now - most C&E questions have treated causal conclusions as being flawed because of alternative explanations, reversed effect, etc... basically when the author says A causes B, anything that suggests something other than A might have caused B or that B causes A would weaken the argument/expose a flaw. Also, Powerscore, Testmasters, and Manhattan ALL dictates students to treat causal conclusions as implying that the cause is exclusively the cause.

To translate it to this problem, this is why I would expect (E) would weaken the argument because premature birth is not exactly the same as prenatal care (although not inconceivable that they're related). It might suggest that less premature birth is what decreases low birth weight babies, not the quality of care.

I agree with you that this problem is too complicated to really judge only based on causality. But I am interested to hear what you would say for the examples I've asked above. What would you say if the wording was changed to alcohol problem? Would you say treat alcohol problem as bridging prenatal care and low birth weight babies that strengthens the argument, or would you say alcohol problem is an alternative cause for lower risk of low birth weight babies that would weaken the argument?

copy-pasted for your convenience:


1. records show that babies born to mothers with alcohol problems are more likely to have low birth weights
2. records indicate that mothers who have received adequate prenatal care were less likely to have low birth weight babies than were mothers who had received inadequate prenatal care.

C: adequate prenatal care, therefore, significantly decreases the risk of low birth weight babies

If choice E said:
Women who receive adequate prenatal care are less likely to have alcohol problems than are women who do not receive adequate prenatal care.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:39 pm

nugnoy wrote:I've been treating causes as exclusive causes because that's how it has worked so far up until now - most C&E questions have treated causal conclusions as being flawed because of alternative explanations, reversed effect, etc... basically when the author says A causes B, anything that suggests something other than A might have caused B or that B causes A would weaken the argument/expose a flaw. Also, Powerscore, Testmasters, and Manhattan ALL dictates students to treat causal conclusions as implying that the cause is exclusively the cause.


Which is why I said that this is really only an issue that comes up in MBT questions.

In +/- questions, pointing out alternatives causes/eliminating alternate causes will weaken/strengthen the argument because they point out a gap in the logic. Even with that alternate cause, the argument could be valid if that alternate cause is related to the proposed cause. However, it's not necessarily related, which is the flaw, so pointing out or eliminating an alternate cause has an effect on the argument.

For MBT question, on the other hand, you can go through causal chains to get to a valid, causal conclusion. There's one about local politics that comes to mind (I think it's a "most strongly supported").

To translate it to this problem, this is why I would expect (E) would weaken the argument because premature birth is not exactly the same as prenatal care (although not inconceivable that they're related). It might suggest that less premature birth is what decreases low birth weight babies, not the quality of care.

I agree with you that this problem is too complicated to really judge only based on causality. But I am interested to hear what you would say for the examples I've asked above. What would you say if the wording was changed to alcohol problem? Would you say treat alcohol problem as bridging prenatal care and low birth weight babies that strengthens the argument, or would you say alcohol problem is an alternative cause for lower risk of low birth weight babies that would weaken the argument?


I generally don't like to speculate on if we changed wordings, just because so many things change there and the language isn't as precise as they would write on the LSAT.

IGNORING OTHER ISSUES AND ASSUMING THE RECORD IS COMPLETE AND CORRECT
As to AC (E), I've got two possible causes that affect birth weight in the stimulus: premature birth and prenatal care. E links those two causes together. So my second premise straight up told me that adequate prenatal care is correlated with non-low birth weight babies; that plays directly into my conclusion, and if we ignore the causation issues and record issues makes the rest of this conversation moot, as this would then be a valid argument. However, let's table that for a second. The first premise tells me that premature birth leads to non-low birth weight babies. AC (E) links that cause (premies) with the purported cause (the one in the conclusion) - mainly, adequate prenatal care.

If (E) was an AC in isolation, you'd be correct. But it isn't - it's in the context of that first premise, which links premature birth with low birth weights. I'm trying to prove that adequate prenatal care leads to non-low birth weight babies. (E) helps that by telling me that if you get adequate prenatal care, you're less likely to give premature birth, which the first premise tells me means you're less likely to have a low birth weight baby. So (E) is, in essence, explaining how adequate prenatal care leads to low birth weight babies, thus (again, ignoring the other issues) strengthening the argument.

copy-pasted for your convenience:


Oh, thank you. To future posters - this makes it a lot easier when we have a multi-post conversation that's split up by other questions.

1. records show that babies born to mothers with alcohol problems are more likely to have low birth weights
2. records indicate that mothers who have received adequate prenatal care were less likely to have low birth weight babies than were mothers who had received inadequate prenatal care.

C: adequate prenatal care, therefore, significantly decreases the risk of low birth weight babies

If choice E said:
Women who receive adequate prenatal care are less likely to have alcohol problems than are women who do not receive adequate prenatal care.

[/quote]

If we make the same assumptions as we did in the actual example, then yes, this would strengthen the argument. But, again, that's a big assumption - we're assuming that the correlation vs. causation issues don't exist, which are highlighted here much more than they are in the original one.

In short, I think that your explanation that I commented on led us very much astray. I was trying to make a general point about combining causal chains; you were trying to make a point about alternate causes. We talked past each other, leading to the confusion.

User avatar
arcanecircle
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:33 am

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby arcanecircle » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:52 pm

Hmm, what did you think of PT60-S3-Q24?

For me the difficulty was understanding what exactly I would want in my principle.

I know the conclusion is that we can't determine the success of a group based on sales, but the premises became a little fuzzy to me when I was looking at the ACs.

Thanks

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:46 am

arcanecircle wrote:Hmm, what did you think of PT60-S3-Q24?

For me the difficulty was understanding what exactly I would want in my principle.

I know the conclusion is that we can't determine the success of a group based on sales, but the premises became a little fuzzy to me when I was looking at the ACs.

Thanks


This is a tricky one. The "After all" tells me the first sentence is my conclusion (because "After all" tells me I'm about to support what I just said).

So:
If a record sells well, then the music might not be underground.
If a record sells poorly, then the music might just suck.
_______________________________________________________
Sales don't tell you if a band has succeeded as an underground band.

So I know good sales tell me one thing, and I know poor sales tell me another. From that, I conclude that sales don't equal success. Well, the big issue here is that "success as an underground group" just showed up in my conclusion, but I didn't really define it. Does success not exist if you're too trendy to be underground? Does success not exist if you suck? (Have you listened to authentically underground music? A ton of it sucks.)

In short, I'm equivocating between either being (too trendy or sucking) and being unsuccessful. So to justify my conclusion, I need to know these ideas go together. And that's B.

A - This is a mismatch with the stimulus. I never talk about mediocre sales, so it can't justify the argument.

C - New idea here (the criteria of an underground group's musicians for success), so it's not going to justify the argument.

D - Only dealing with one branch of the argument, so it can't justify the reasoning up top.

E - The trickiest one. However, this one has two problems. First, it talks about generic success instead of success as an underground group. Second, I've flipped my terms around.

User avatar
bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: blueprint shinners’ semi-weekly office hours

Postby bp shinners » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:26 pm

Any last-minute questions from those making the test up this weekend?


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest