Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

lookingin
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Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:57 am

Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby lookingin » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:45 am

I understand in weaken questions I am supposed to attack the assumptions or the main conclusion, but I'm still struggling.

Maybe I need a new way of looking at them.
Last edited by lookingin on Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby Micdiddy » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:00 pm

The tougher weaken questions are some of the hardest questions in LR because the right answers sometimes seems to be in a different scope entirely than the question and other answer choices.
My favorite example, I wish I could remember how to find it, was that dinosaurs died from eating a certain berry that their stomach couldn't process but other animals could, and it went into some scientific mumbo jumbo, then said the greatest evidence that these berries killed them is that their bodies were find in weird contorted positions.
Well anyway, most of the answer choices tried to weaken it by dealing with the legal mumbo jumbo and other dinosaur-rific things, and one choice just said "Large mammals from the time period also were found in weird contorted positions," [not a direct quote].
After finally figuring out exactly what all the other choices meant, they were all pretty bland and I knew I missed something, then I saw the choice I eliminated instantly and realized that even though it didn't mention dinosaurs, the chemical that couldn't be processed, etc. if mammals were found in similar position, then that undermines the evidence completely that eating the berry caused them to die in that way.

Anyway, this question gave me some insight into the tougher weaken questions. Sometimes they don'y immediately sound like they are on topic, but are really just one inference away from being the best answer (and I'm talking LSAT "inference"). The test makers will ALWAYS make some wrong answers on topic and sound smart, but they can be figured out with a little extra effort.

If you're even unsure, ask yourself "does this definitely weaken the question," and "do any of these other choices have implications I didn't consider," then hopefully you can find the right one.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:05 pm

On weaken questions you need to find and underline the single conclusionary sentence. You are only worried about weakening the conclusion.

One you get to the answer choices look at the single conclusion sentence and ask yourself "does this weaken the conclusion?". If it doesn't weaken then move on.

lookingin
Posts: 138
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Re: Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby lookingin » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:10 pm

Thanks for replying, Micdiddy and Mr. Pancakes. I am working on weaken questions as I'm waiting to hear others' advice, and since reading your posts I've gotten 2 right in a row! I definitely need to sit there and think about the inferences that each answer choice could be making and the impact it can make on the conclusion/argument more. I don't usually seem to make them until after I've already missed the question and am trying to figure out why a choice was right or wrong. The scopes of these answer choices and the argument are driving me crazy!

The dinosaur question sounds familiar to me, too, but maybe that's because I've just read so many of these crazy LR questions today! If I find it I'll let you know the test and number for your references!

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:14 pm

you seem to be over thinking things.

find the conclusion sentence. Just that one sentence.

go through the answer choices and ask yourself if the answer weakens the conclusion.
It's really that simple for weaken questions.

Other course over-complicate things.

lookingin
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Re: Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby lookingin » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:16 pm

Ahh, I agree, I'm definitely overthinking things. Since starting to ask myself one answer choice at a time if this choice weakens the conclusion I've underlined, I haven't missed one. I'm slow at them, but this seems to be working for me. You guys are wonderful!

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Help! Serious Trouble with Weaken Questions

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:20 pm

lookingin wrote:Ahh, I agree, I'm definitely overthinking things. Since starting to ask myself one answer choice at a time if this choice weakens the conclusion I've underlined, I haven't missed one. I'm slow at them, but this seems to be working for me. You guys are wonderful!

some questions will weaken the main premise instead of the conclusion.
If you have one answer choices that weakens the main premise and also one answer that weakens the conclusion you should choose the one that weakens the conclusion.
This is rare but I've seen it.
I would stick with "does this weaken the conclusion?" test.




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