Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

notaznguy
Posts: 318
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:48 am

Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby notaznguy » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:49 pm

I swear, these questions are just huge mind f*cks. I'm simply not understand why the other answers are even wrong and why the right one is even right. I've done 100 of them for drilling and there hasn't been any progress. I keep getting only 50% of them correct, and most of the time, I'm not even sure why I'm getting them right.

Any advice? I keep re-reading the Bibles, but it doesn't seem to be helping that much...

Also, I'm using Manhattan Explanations and not even the explanations are making much sense to me. Geez...

airbear1012
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:23 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby airbear1012 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:03 am

I think it helps to look at specific words within the questions and narrow down the wrong answers from there. Like sometimes you know an answer is wrong if it uses words like "many" "all" or "none" when the information in the questions isn't that specific. You can also get rid of wrong answers by disregarding answers that are irrelevant.

I also think it will help you to focus on one question at a time. Knowing exactly why an the answers to three questions are correct is better than just arbitrarily answering 100 questions. If you can't figure out why a question is right or wrong, talk it through with a friend. Hearing it out loud will help you figure it out.

User avatar
glucose101
Posts: 423
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:23 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby glucose101 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:12 am

notaznguy wrote:Also, I'm using Manhattan Explanations and not even the explanations are making much sense to me. Geez...


Burnout then

User avatar
WhoIsDonDraper
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:19 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby WhoIsDonDraper » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:46 am

First step, especially on strengthen/weaken should be to identify whether or not the stimulus is arguing a causal relationship. If you can determine this, there are only 3 ways to strengthen or weaken these types of arguments. If you don't know how to do this then let me know or consult the LR bible.

If it is not causal, then you have to look at assumption, strengthen, weaken, and flaw ALL as assumption questions. There will be a leap, gap, flaw whatever you want to call it introduced in the conclusion that is not all mentioned in the premises. In weaken, you make this assumption worse. In strengthen, you make this gap better, or deny possible ways to make it worse. In flaw questions to point out the gap. And in assumption questions you add in another premise to the argument. For justify questions, I like to call them sufficient assumptions, because they will be assuming one unstated thing that makes that argument 100% valid. For other assumption questions, they will be necessary, or in other words, they won't make the argument perfect, but you still need it nonetheless.

Hope that helps.

User avatar
JoeFish
Posts: 353
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:43 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby JoeFish » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:05 am

airbear1012 wrote:I think it helps to look at specific words within the questions and narrow down the wrong answers from there. Like sometimes you know an answer is wrong if it uses words like "many" "all" or "none" when the information in the questions isn't that specific.


Extremely true; another level on which specific words help is when there's a gap between a term in the evidence and a term in the conclusion. For example, if the argument's all about how the new factory will leak wonderflonium into the water, and the conclusion says "thus, it is likely that there will be an increase in the number of cases of halitosis", the answer's going to say "wonderflonium causes halitosis".

Slightly shorter version: If the evidence is about X, and the conclusion is about Y, the answer will be the one that links X and Y. There will usually be at least two answers that fail to mention one or both of the main terms.

User avatar
TrojanHopeful
Posts: 385
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:37 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby TrojanHopeful » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:54 am

I know you said you looked at Manhattan's explanations; have you looked at their new LR book? They provide an excellent (and lengthy) explanation of all types of assumption questions. In fact, they dedicate multiple chapters to assumption questions. I found Powerscore helpful in building a foundation, but Manhattan has really enforced what assumptions are all about.

User avatar
mickeyD
Posts: 357
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby mickeyD » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:45 pm

TrojanHopeful wrote:I know you said you looked at Manhattan's explanations; have you looked at their new LR book? They provide an excellent (and lengthy) explanation of all types of assumption questions. In fact, they dedicate multiple chapters to assumption questions. I found Powerscore helpful in building a foundation, but Manhattan has really enforced what assumptions are all about.


ManhattanLSAT's LR Guide does a way better job of explaining these types of questions than the LR Bible. The LR Bible is great otherwise, but I didn't understand assumption Q's until after I read Manhattan.

User avatar
gavinstevens
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby gavinstevens » Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:57 pm

mickeyD wrote:
TrojanHopeful wrote:I know you said you looked at Manhattan's explanations; have you looked at their new LR book? They provide an excellent (and lengthy) explanation of all types of assumption questions. In fact, they dedicate multiple chapters to assumption questions. I found Powerscore helpful in building a foundation, but Manhattan has really enforced what assumptions are all about.


ManhattanLSAT's LR Guide does a way better job of explaining these types of questions than the LR Bible. The LR Bible is great otherwise, but I didn't understand assumption Q's until after I read Manhattan.

notaznguy
Posts: 318
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:48 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby notaznguy » Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:58 pm

mickeyD wrote:
TrojanHopeful wrote:I know you said you looked at Manhattan's explanations; have you looked at their new LR book? They provide an excellent (and lengthy) explanation of all types of assumption questions. In fact, they dedicate multiple chapters to assumption questions. I found Powerscore helpful in building a foundation, but Manhattan has really enforced what assumptions are all about.


ManhattanLSAT's LR Guide does a way better job of explaining these types of questions than the LR Bible. The LR Bible is great otherwise, but I didn't understand assumption Q's until after I read Manhattan.


Sigh, having to shell out another $24 just to read 1 or 2 chapters? =( and not even a guarantee it'll even help

User avatar
TrojanHopeful
Posts: 385
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:37 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby TrojanHopeful » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:52 pm

It's actually more than 2-3 chapters. Their coverage of assumption-type questions almost spans half of the book. If it helps you, awesome, your score will probably jump. If it doesn't help, you're out a few bucks. Seems like its worth the risk to me. But it's your LSAT score on the line.

User avatar
mw7060a
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:25 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby mw7060a » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:17 am

Greetings All,
I would like to request your opinions, please. Okay, disclosure time which I am embarrassed to admit, but since I am asking for your honest opinion, least I can do is be honest too. Here goes...I have taken the LSAT twice. Both times involved Kaplan LSAT classroom course and tutoring. I scored a 139 and 146, respectively. I am now taking a Powerscore (PS) LSAT classroom course and have registered for the Oct 2011 LSAT. I have taken two practice tests during PS course and scored an abysmal 142 and 141, respectively. I do the homework, attend the classes religiously and study every night (I work full time). I'm still having problems mostly with logical reasoning (LR) (assumption, flaw, strengthen/weaken). Should I invest in the PS LR Bible, or try another guide like Manhattan LR guide? I am putting in all this effort and it is so frustrating that I can't even break 150 on the LSAT. Any advice? Please be kind...I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the bunch, but I do have a Master's degree and have the discipline for law school if I can just get in.

User avatar
TrojanHopeful
Posts: 385
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:37 am

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby TrojanHopeful » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:28 pm

mw7060a wrote:Greetings All,
I would like to request your opinions, please. Okay, disclosure time which I am embarrassed to admit, but since I am asking for your honest opinion, least I can do is be honest too. Here goes...I have taken the LSAT twice. Both times involved Kaplan LSAT classroom course and tutoring. I scored a 139 and 146, respectively. I am now taking a Powerscore (PS) LSAT classroom course and have registered for the Oct 2011 LSAT. I have taken two practice tests during PS course and scored an abysmal 142 and 141, respectively. I do the homework, attend the classes religiously and study every night (I work full time). I'm still having problems mostly with logical reasoning (LR) (assumption, flaw, strengthen/weaken). Should I invest in the PS LR Bible, or try another guide like Manhattan LR guide? I am putting in all this effort and it is so frustrating that I can't even break 150 on the LSAT. Any advice? Please be kind...I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the bunch, but I do have a Master's degree and have the discipline for law school if I can just get in.


Get both. Read powerscore first, then Manhattan. Postpone the test until December. Good luck.

CHIJAMES11
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:54 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby CHIJAMES11 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:37 pm

Sigh, having to shell out another $24 just to read 1 or 2 chapters? =( and not even a guarantee it'll even help


Try out abebooks.com I paid between $19-22 per book. Make sure they explicitly say no markings in the description too. The few bucks saved on each book helps offset shipping (:

CHIJAMES11
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:54 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby CHIJAMES11 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:49 pm

Also, there is something I noticed with necessary assumption questions imho. There are usually two answers that look good (one being the correct answer and one being the trick answer that 'looks' good) then there are generally two or three answers that are just completely irrelevent. And at first I would almost second guess my self and think "maybe this relates to the stimulus is some crazy way that I cannot think of" and not remove it from the possibilities but in reality many of the answer choices really have nothing to do with the stimulus or are somehow opposite of what your looking for but worded in a way that makes you question your initial assesment of it. Be confident.

I was talking to a Princeton Review LSAT tutor who told me he could probably score -3 to -5 on LR without even reading the stimulus (just the answer choices) because it gets to a point where the right answer almost jumps out at you and takes a certain form and vice versa with wrong answers. I am no where near his level (so take everything I say with a grain of salt :) but I have noticed a certain "pattern" with necessary assumption questions that I am sure you will eventually notice as well. Take care, James.

bbalcrzy23
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:57 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby bbalcrzy23 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:04 pm

When you narrow down an assumption question to 2 answers, do this:
Negate each answer choice. The negation of the answer choice, if true, should weaken (usually shatter) the conclusion.

Conclusion: John is a great basketball player.
What must be assumed?
Answer: John can dribble a basketball.
Negation: John might not be able to dribble a basketball. If this is true, it kills the conclusion. If he can't even dribble a ball, how can he be great? Therefore this answer choice is required.

User avatar
TrialLawyer16
Posts: 287
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:43 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby TrialLawyer16 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:24 pm

I swear, these questions are just huge mind f*cks. I'm simply not understand why the other answers are even wrong and why the right one is even right. I've done 100 of them for drilling and there hasn't been any progress. I keep getting only 50% of them correct, and most of the time, I'm not even sure why I'm getting them right.

Any advice? I keep re-reading the Bibles, but it doesn't seem to be helping that much...

Also, I'm using Manhattan Explanations and not even the explanations are making much sense to me. Geez...


Notaznguy - Strengthen and Assumption questions used to be two of my weakest LR question types as well, until I re-read the PowerScore chapters on the two - now I consider them two of my strengths. A HUGE part, and what I think of lot of the responses above may be missing, of understanding Assumption questions is understanding its difference from a Justify the Conclusion question, so I'll try to chime in on that as well. Understanding the following helped me:

Strengthen - simply put, your focus is on the actual conclusion, that's it. One of the answers is going to strengthen the actual conclusion, and the other four will either weaken the conclusion or do nothing at all.

Justify the Conclusion - in Justify questions, the argument is going to be missing something (invalid). Lets say that the premise is A, and the conclusion is C. The correct answer in the answer choices will be the bridge (premise B) that links the two and makes the argument valid. This is why it is almost impossible to truly prephrase a Justify question with 100% certainty because this leaves a myriad of choices. Take the following for example (I'm making this question up so hopefully I don't miss something):

"All 300 pound football players are linemen. Therefore, Chris must be a lineman."

All the correct answer has to do is add ANY premise that makes this conclusion valid. All the following are correct answer choices:

"Chris is a 300 pound football player from Kentucky"
"Chris loves to play badminton and is a 300 pound football player"
"Chris has never played rugby, loves number 2's from McDonalds, does yoga, is getting married on Saturday, has a ridiculous bellyflop, is a world champion Mario Kart player, and oh by the way - he's a 300 pound football player"

Believe it or not, these ALL are correct because they contain one key thing "Chris is a 300 pound football player".

This brings us to the HUGE difference between this and Assumptions.

Assumption - the way I understand assumption questions is that what I am looking for is the absolute bare minimum that will make the conclusion valid - nothing else. Notaznguy this is the subtle, but absolutely HUGE, difference between this and Justify questions that I believe will truly help you out. Let's take the example from above:


"All 300 pound football players are linemen. Therefore, Chris must be a lineman."

The difference between this and Justify questions is that as far as Assumptions go there is only ONE answer to this question. There is one thing that can make the conclusion valid and all other things are wrong. The correct answer here is:

"Chris is a 300 pound football player"

The incorrect answers are (and these are the exact type of answers the LSAT will try to throw you off with):

"Chris is a 300 pound football player from Kentucky"
"Chris loves to play badminton and is a 300 pound football player"
"Chris has never played rugby, loves number 2's from McDonald's, does yoga, is getting married on Saturday, has a ridiculous bellyflop, is a world champion Mario Kart player, and oh by the way - he's a 300 pound football player"

The difference is that for "Chris to be a lineman" it's not assumed Chris is from Kentucky, loves badminton, number 2 from McDonald's or any of that other stuff. The only thing that is assumed is that "Chris is a 300 pound football player". That is the bare minimum needed to make the conclusion valid.

I apologize for being long-winded, but I truly hope this helps because understanding this resulted in a huge breakthrough for me.

User avatar
mw7060a
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:25 pm

Re: Struggling with Strengthen, Assumption, and Justify Question

Postby mw7060a » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:36 am

In response To TrialLawyer 16:

Good Lord...I actually understood everything you just said in your examples. Maybe there is hope for me after all. Thanks for your input. I found it helpful.




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”