## Assumption Questions

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
LawLucy

Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:02 am

### Assumption Questions

Anyone out there have any earth shattering advice on how to get over the hump of Assumption questions?

Any great tips on linking Supporter vs Defender?

dakatz

Posts: 2422
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:19 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

First key part is determine what kind of assumption question you are dealing with. Is it a sufficient or necessary assumption question? Failure to distinguish between the two will lead to many incorrect answers.

I always look for "loose ends" in the arguments. Try and find where they make jumps in logic from one thing to another. Then ask yourself questions. "How did they get from A to B?" "Are they implying a relationship between A and B?" "Does this mean that A must be considered a B?" etc.

I find that, when I ask myself the right question, I always end up with the right answer. For sufficient assumption questions, in which you must find something that guarantees that the conclusion follows as a result of the premises, I find it helpful to diagram the argument. It is typically conditional, so it can be drawn out in one way or another. This is just some basic advice, but hope it helps.

icydash

Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

dakatz wrote:First key part is determine what kind of assumption question you are dealing with. Is it a sufficient or necessary assumption question? Failure to distinguish between the two will lead to many incorrect answers.

I always look for "loose ends" in the arguments. Try and find where they make jumps in logic from one thing to another. Then ask yourself questions. "How did they get from A to B?" "Are they implying a relationship between A and B?" "Does this mean that A must be considered a B?" etc.

I find that, when I ask myself the right question, I always end up with the right answer. For sufficient assumption questions, in which you must find something that guarantees that the conclusion follows as a result of the premises, I find it helpful to diagram the argument. It is typically conditional, so it can be drawn out in one way or another. This is just some basic advice, but hope it helps.

This is good advice. I did something similar to what you mentioned in your second paragraph.

Look over all the premises, and then read the conclusion. Typically there is some logical jump from the information given in the premises to what's given in the conclusion...This logical jump is your assumption. It may help if you work slowly at first, underlining the premises and really taking the facts in each premise apart. Then when you look at your conclusion, you should be able to start to see (as you practice more) that something is missing, a link, between the facts in the premises and what's given in the conclusion.

Lets look at an example:

"The development of new inventions is promoted by the granting of patent rights, which restrict the right of anyone but the patent holders to profit from these inventions for a specified period. Without patent rights, anyone could simply copy another's invention; consequently, inventors would have no financial incentive for investing the time and energy required to develop new products. Thus, it is important to continue to grant patent rights, or else no one will engage in original development and consequently no new inventions will be forthcoming."

If we begin to take this apart, we get this:

"The development of new inventions is promoted by the granting of patent rights, which restrict the right of anyone but the patent holders to profit from these inventions for a specified period. Without patent rights, anyone could simply copy another's invention; consequently, inventors would have no financial incentive for investing the time and energy required to develop new products. Thus, it is important to continue to grant patent rights, or else no one will engage in original development and consequently no new inventions will be forthcoming."

The two bolded parts are the important parts of the premises to look at, while the underlined part is the conclusion.

If we look at the conclusion closely, you can see that we make this "logical jump" from not having financial incentives to engage in developing new technologies in the premises, to the end result being that no one will engage in original development at all. You can see that there's a pretty big piece of the puzzle missing here -- what about people who develop new technologies for the fun of it? are financial incentives the only reason people develop new technologies? etc. When you begin to ask yourself these questions, you can see the obvious assumption (and correct answer):

(A) Financial reward is the only incentive that will be effective in motivating people to develop new inventions.
Last edited by icydash on Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

LSAT Taker

Posts: 185
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:01 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

When struggling, I jump right ahead to the assumption negation technique. Although time-consuming, it works most efficiently to me when the stimulus really spins my head. Just my 2 cents.

icydash

Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

LSAT Taker wrote:When struggling, I jump right ahead to the assumption negation technique. Although time-consuming, it works most efficiently to me when the stimulus really spins my head. Just my 2 cents.

This is also a really good technique, but you should be down to two or three options before using it so you don't waste too much time. Powerscore technique... I think, right?

am060459

Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:14 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

icydash wrote:
LSAT Taker wrote:When struggling, I jump right ahead to the assumption negation technique. Although time-consuming, it works most efficiently to me when the stimulus really spins my head. Just my 2 cents.

This is also a really good technique, but you should be down to two or three options before using it so you don't waste too much time. Powerscore technique... I think, right?

powerscore and testmasters have a negation technique.

i agree. i usually try to knock two to three answers choices out and then use the negation technique.

Sandro

Posts: 2526
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:12 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

can someone go over the supporter v defender thing real quick?

icydash

Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

Sandro777 wrote:can someone go over the supporter v defender thing real quick?

I'm not sure what you mean by this -- do you mean strengthen / weaken?

brickman

Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:59 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

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Last edited by brickman on Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

tomwatts

Posts: 1710
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

am060459 wrote:
icydash wrote:
LSAT Taker wrote:When struggling, I jump right ahead to the assumption negation technique. Although time-consuming, it works most efficiently to me when the stimulus really spins my head. Just my 2 cents.

This is also a really good technique, but you should be down to two or three options before using it so you don't waste too much time. Powerscore technique... I think, right?

powerscore and testmasters have a negation technique.

i agree. i usually try to knock two to three answers choices out and then use the negation technique.

Just about everybody has a negation technique on Necessary Assumptions. We talk about the same thing over at Princeton Review.

And yes, it's a technique more for the second cut through the answer choices (after you've knocked out the obviously wrong ones) than for the first cut through the answer choices. How many answers you've got left will depend on how the first cut went, though; on a really hard question, you might not have eliminated anything yet, but on an easy question, you might be down to two.

Sandro

Posts: 2526
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:12 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

icydash wrote:
Sandro777 wrote:can someone go over the supporter v defender thing real quick?

I'm not sure what you mean by this -- do you mean strengthen / weaken?

Powerscore uses supporter/defender terms to categorize assumption questions/answers

icydash

Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

Sandro777 wrote:
icydash wrote:
Sandro777 wrote:can someone go over the supporter v defender thing real quick?

I'm not sure what you mean by this -- do you mean strengthen / weaken?

Powerscore uses supporter/defender terms to categorize assumption questions/answers

Ahh right. Directly from their book:

Supporter Assumption: These assumptions link together "new" or "rogue" elements in the stimulus or fill logical gaps in the argument. (these are the ones we've mostly covered in this thread).

Defender Assumption: These assumptions contain statements that eliminate ideas or assertions that would undermine the conclusion. In this sense, they "defend" the argument by showing that a possible source of attack or weakness can be eliminated.

Does that help or should i (or someone else) give an example / further detail?

Sandro

Posts: 2526
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:12 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

No thats perfect I just needed a quick reminder of what exactly they entailed. Assumptions used to be my weakest point - but after tracking my mistakes with a spreadsheet and realizing this, I now rarely miss them and they come pretty easy.

LawLucy

Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:02 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

To both dakatz and icydash

excellant tips!
I am going to print these both up and go back through with those techniques and see where it gets me...thanks much!

am060459

Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:14 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

how do you logically negate terms such as increase?

im not sure about it but i believe its not increase.

anyone?

matt@atlaslsat

Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:34 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

that's right!

So, just like the logical opposite of ALL is NOT ALL (rather than NONE), the logical opposite of INCREASE is NOT INCREASE (rather than DECREASE)

icydash

Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

matt@atlaslsat wrote:that's right!

So, just like the logical opposite of ALL is NOT ALL (rather than NONE), the logical opposite of INCREASE is NOT INCREASE (rather than DECREASE)

+1

It's important to realize that "not increase" and "decrease" are two totally different things with different meanings. You hit the nail on the head.

LawLucy

Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:02 am

### Re: Assumption Questions

Sandro777 wrote:No thats perfect I just needed a quick reminder of what exactly they entailed. Assumptions used to be my weakest point - but after tracking my mistakes with a spreadsheet and realizing this, I now rarely miss them and they come pretty easy.

+1000

I have been using the above tips and here is where I was/am at

before: missing 6/8 assumption (yea...ouch!)

Now: missing 2/8 assumptions

I have been very diligent in using both dakatz and icydash's tips and it has really helped.
thanks guys (or gals)

icydash

Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

### Re: Assumption Questions

LawLucy wrote:
Sandro777 wrote:No thats perfect I just needed a quick reminder of what exactly they entailed. Assumptions used to be my weakest point - but after tracking my mistakes with a spreadsheet and realizing this, I now rarely miss them and they come pretty easy.

+1000

I have been using the above tips and here is where I was/am at

before: missing 6/8 assumption (yea...ouch!)

Now: missing 2/8 assumptions

I have been very diligent in using both dakatz and icydash's tips and it has really helped.
thanks guys (or gals)

Glad to hear it's been working! Good luck!