LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

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Paraflam
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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Paraflam » Wed May 16, 2012 8:45 pm

timmydoeslsat wrote:I will, if it is wanted, cease posting on this concept I am posting about

Please do. And the "bare with me" jokes, while you're at it.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby timmydoeslsat » Wed May 16, 2012 8:49 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:Timmy, your sweaty self-tar is pretty lulzy.

That is the the design of my sweater. It is not sweat! Promise!

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby timmydoeslsat » Wed May 16, 2012 8:50 pm

Paraflam wrote:
timmydoeslsat wrote:I will, if it is wanted, cease posting on this concept I am posting about

Please do. And the "bare with me" jokes, while you're at it.

I will drop both.

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Easy-E
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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Easy-E » Thu May 17, 2012 9:07 am

Alright, this one's been bothering me...

PT58, Section 1, Question 24 "Kiffer Forest Preserve bears"

I understand the leap in reasoning between stating their was an increase in bears in the preserve, and inferring that their would be an increase in the valley as a whole. I actually had E selected at first, but I came back to it because it just seemed too easy (what a stupid thought). I ended up selecting D as my answer, inferring that if the other areas beside the preserve were decreasing in population, the total population was just migrating within the valley. I guess it's obvious that E is a pretty definitive answer, but if E hadn't been there, would D have functioned as an answer? Or does it not work because it doesn't explicitly address anything as far as the total population?

I know this isn't much a brain-buster, but this was a rare case where I changed an answer to a wrong answer and it's been wracking my brain, keeping me up at night, haunting my dreams, taunting me. It's like my telltale heart.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby TunnelVision » Thu May 17, 2012 10:15 pm

Hello experts,

I'm really stuck in the mid 160 range right now and have actually noticed a decline in my LR scores on the more recent tests (was scoring 170ish on the older ones). My RC scores are consistently bad and I when I get something wrong it is usually when I had narrowed it down to 2 answer choices. I'm especially terrible at the "the passage suggests so and so would hold this view..." and "the passage answers this question" and I almost never get the analogy questions right on RC (whereas with LR parallel questions are rarely an issue). LG have been near perfect (except I bombed the dino game). For LR, I feel like I know what the right answer should do, but the language in the answer choices really doesn't match what I would expect it to say. This seems to be especially true of the more recent flaw questions, where they don't merely state the flaw in abstract terms like they used to. The most upsetting thing for me is that right when I'm done with the test and review I can usually answer all of the LR and LG questions that I got wrong correctly pretty easily, or in other words it's not as if I just don't understand at all what the answer will do... for RC I still get some wrong the second time around. I really need some expert advice. By the way, I will be taking it in June and I'm getting very nervous as I am shooting for a 170+.

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Easy-E
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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Easy-E » Mon May 21, 2012 8:53 am

I feel like I stumped the Schwab.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Mon May 21, 2012 10:35 pm

TunnelVision wrote:Hello experts,

I'm really stuck in the mid 160 range right now and have actually noticed a decline in my LR scores on the more recent tests (was scoring 170ish on the older ones). My RC scores are consistently bad and I when I get something wrong it is usually when I had narrowed it down to 2 answer choices. I'm especially terrible at the "the passage suggests so and so would hold this view..." and "the passage answers this question" and I almost never get the analogy questions right on RC (whereas with LR parallel questions are rarely an issue). LG have been near perfect (except I bombed the dino game). For LR, I feel like I know what the right answer should do, but the language in the answer choices really doesn't match what I would expect it to say. This seems to be especially true of the more recent flaw questions, where they don't merely state the flaw in abstract terms like they used to. The most upsetting thing for me is that right when I'm done with the test and review I can usually answer all of the LR and LG questions that I got wrong correctly pretty easily, or in other words it's not as if I just don't understand at all what the answer will do... for RC I still get some wrong the second time around. I really need some expert advice. By the way, I will be taking it in June and I'm getting very nervous as I am shooting for a 170+.

It's easy to come up with a situation in which (D) wouldn't weaken the argument: let's say that the population of the valley outside the preserve decreased by just a bit over 8 years. It's still possible to conclude that the road closure, which apparently helped the bears in the preserve, would help increase the overall number of bears in the valley.

That make sense?

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Mon May 21, 2012 11:11 pm

TunnelVision wrote:Hello experts,

I'm really stuck in the mid 160 range right now and have actually noticed a decline in my LR scores on the more recent tests (was scoring 170ish on the older ones).

You might need a few days off with some exercise to clear your mind.

TunnelVision wrote: My RC scores are consistently bad and I when I get something wrong it is usually when I had narrowed it down to 2 answer choices. I'm especially terrible at the "the passage suggests so and so would hold this view..."


Since you know this is a weakness, try paying a bit more attention to which side of the scale each person mentioned falls on (not sure if you use our book and know what the "scale" is). Also, try prephrasing a bit more on these.

TunnelVision wrote: and "the passage answers this question" and I almost never get the analogy questions right on RC (whereas with LR parallel questions are rarely an issue). LG have been near perfect (except I bombed the dino game).

The passage answer this question are inference question - probably means you're not looking back enough to confirm, or your read is too superficial.

TunnelVision wrote: For LR, I feel like I know what the right answer should do, but the language in the answer choices really doesn't match what I would expect it to say. This seems to be especially true of the more recent flaw questions, where they don't merely state the flaw in abstract terms like they used to. The most upsetting thing for me is that right when I'm done with the test and review I can usually answer all of the LR and LG questions that I got wrong correctly pretty easily, or in other words it's not as if I just don't understand at all what the answer will do... for RC I still get some wrong the second time around.

It sounds like you have the brain power, but haven't worked out your approach. It's more than just knowing what the answer is, it's also practicing the thought pattern you should have had.

TunnelVision wrote:By the way, I will be taking it in June and I'm getting very nervous as I am shooting for a 170+.
If you have never scored your minimum goal score on a practice test, it's extremely unlikely you'll do it on test day, and you should just postpone. Sorry if that's not what you want to hear, but it is an important test and giving up 1/4 of your summer for re-studying is worth it...

I'm sorry for the scattered advice, but your post was a bit all over the place. I'd take at least a couple of days off, do something healthy and relaxing, and come back without the black cloud hanging over you. It's hard to do well when the LSAT is getting to you that way.

I hope that's helpful and that we see you back on top soon.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby omegaomega » Mon May 21, 2012 11:41 pm

Dear Senseis,

I came across the following statement in one teaching company's explanations:

Premise boosters are never the correct answers in a strengthen question.

This makes kind of sense to me. However, it sounds extreme. Could you share some thoughts whether you think this is correct and why/why not? Can I rely on this to eliminate answers in a strengthen question? A reference question can be PT43 2 14 choice (D).

Many thanks!

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby princeR » Tue May 22, 2012 10:08 am

How often do you skip questions in a LR section? I ask this because I find I do better when I allow myself to skip a question after reading it and now knowing and wasting that 30-45 sec. than trying to work it out even after initially not understanding and taking away a good chunk of time. Just wondering how often do the BEST skip questions and come back later?

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Tue May 22, 2012 12:58 pm

omegaomega wrote:Dear Senseis,

I came across the following statement in one teaching company's explanations:

Premise boosters are never the correct answers in a strengthen question.

This makes kind of sense to me. However, it sounds extreme. Could you share some thoughts whether you think this is correct and why/why not? Can I rely on this to eliminate answers in a strengthen question? A reference question can be PT43 2 14 choice (D).

Many thanks!

On assumption family questions, we're expected to accept the premise that we're given, and question whether it definitively supports the conclusion. An answer that just explains the premise, or somehow tries to convince us that it's true, isn't going to strengthen the premise-conclusion relationship.

In certain cases, an answer feels like a premise booster but it's actually a case in which the premise doesn't really give us the information we think it is providing.

For the farming example, (D) confirms that those folks are making more money, but it doesn't get us to the conclusion that they shouldn't consider their loss of farming a tragedy. If someone were to have a problem with the connection between the premise and conclusion--e.g. "hey, farming is good for the soul, money isn't!"--that answer wouldn't do a thing to that; we could still say "yeah, farming is good for the soul, money isn't!"

I hope that clears it up.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Tue May 22, 2012 12:59 pm

princeR wrote:How often do you skip questions in a LR section? I ask this because I find I do better when I allow myself to skip a question after reading it and now knowing and wasting that 30-45 sec. than trying to work it out even after initially not understanding and taking away a good chunk of time. Just wondering how often do the BEST skip questions and come back later?

I usually skip/make educated guess and move on for 1 Q per section and come back.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby bp shinners » Tue May 22, 2012 6:43 pm

omegaomega wrote:Dear Senseis,

I came across the following statement in one teaching company's explanations:

Premise boosters are never the correct answers in a strengthen question.

This makes kind of sense to me. However, it sounds extreme. Could you share some thoughts whether you think this is correct and why/why not? Can I rely on this to eliminate answers in a strengthen question? A reference question can be PT43 2 14 choice (D).

Many thanks!


The LSAT has gotten tricky with this recently (this is a tangential note, as I think Manhattan did a good job of explaining the normal situation).

On some of the trickier LR questions, there will be a qualified premise ("If Professor Vallejo is correct, then...."). The statement, "Professor Vallejo is correct" could be considered a premise booster in this case, and it might be the answer to a sufficient or strengthen question (I know, I know - in that question, the conclusion was qualified too, so it didn't matter).

So watch out for qualified premises - the LSAT might have you 'boost' them by giving you the qualifier. This is by no means a common feature on the LSAT, but when it does show up, 40+% of students usually get it wrong.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby TunnelVision » Tue May 22, 2012 8:39 pm

Thank you for the advice, Noah. I should have been clearer. I have scored in the 170's before several times on older tests (30's), but my RC has been dropping on the newer tests. For example today I got -10 on PT50, and a 167 overall. I have read through the Manhattan guide so I know what you are referring to. Part of my problem is not making it to the last passage and having to guess. I spend about 2 minutes reading the passage usually and I can cruise through MP and purpose questions, but I get absolutely stumped on inference questions and it sort of turns into a sunk cost trap. Is there something I can do to increase my speed, and is there some indication I'm not aware of as to what part of the passage will be asked about in an inference question?

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby omegaomega » Tue May 22, 2012 9:43 pm

Manhattan LSAT Noah wrote:
omegaomega wrote:Dear Senseis,

I came across the following statement in one teaching company's explanations:

Premise boosters are never the correct answers in a strengthen question.

This makes kind of sense to me. However, it sounds extreme. Could you share some thoughts whether you think this is correct and why/why not? Can I rely on this to eliminate answers in a strengthen question? A reference question can be PT43 2 14 choice (D).

Many thanks!

On assumption family questions, we're expected to accept the premise that we're given, and question whether it definitively supports the conclusion. An answer that just explains the premise, or somehow tries to convince us that it's true, isn't going to strengthen the premise-conclusion relationship.

In certain cases, an answer feels like a premise booster but it's actually a case in which the premise doesn't really give us the information we think it is providing.

For the farming example, (D) confirms that those folks are making more money, but it doesn't get us to the conclusion that they shouldn't consider their loss of farming a tragedy. If someone were to have a problem with the connection between the premise and conclusion--e.g. "hey, farming is good for the soul, money isn't!"--that answer wouldn't do a thing to that; we could still say "yeah, farming is good for the soul, money isn't!"

I hope that clears it up.


This is a very clear explanation. Thank you very much!!

omegaomega
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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby omegaomega » Tue May 22, 2012 9:44 pm

bp shinners wrote:
omegaomega wrote:Dear Senseis,

I came across the following statement in one teaching company's explanations:

Premise boosters are never the correct answers in a strengthen question.

This makes kind of sense to me. However, it sounds extreme. Could you share some thoughts whether you think this is correct and why/why not? Can I rely on this to eliminate answers in a strengthen question? A reference question can be PT43 2 14 choice (D).

Many thanks!


The LSAT has gotten tricky with this recently (this is a tangential note, as I think Manhattan did a good job of explaining the normal situation).

On some of the trickier LR questions, there will be a qualified premise ("If Professor Vallejo is correct, then...."). The statement, "Professor Vallejo is correct" could be considered a premise booster in this case, and it might be the answer to a sufficient or strengthen question (I know, I know - in that question, the conclusion was qualified too, so it didn't matter).

So watch out for qualified premises - the LSAT might have you 'boost' them by giving you the qualifier. This is by no means a common feature on the LSAT, but when it does show up, 40+% of students usually get it wrong.


I totally remember the kind of question that you mentioned. Thank you for the note to complete the picture!

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby flem » Wed May 23, 2012 12:52 pm

PrepTest 28, games section, game 2

This game is in the Powerscore bible with an explanation. My question is, how the fuck does selecting the language in the base make any more sense than selecting the researchers as the base? Neither has any sort of inherent order.

Selecting the researchers as the base allows you to integrate rules 5 and 6 directly into the diagram, and you can make blocks of variables, showing exactly how many need to be placed.

I'm only bitching because when I went to review it the explanation makes no sense due to their base selection. Is one base inherently better than the other, and if so, why? Or should I just do what works for me?

Note: the game didn't give me any major problems, I'm more just curious

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Wed May 23, 2012 4:24 pm

TunnelVision wrote:Thank you for the advice, Noah. I should have been clearer. I have scored in the 170's before several times on older tests (30's), but my RC has been dropping on the newer tests. For example today I got -10 on PT50, and a 167 overall. I have read through the Manhattan guide so I know what you are referring to. Part of my problem is not making it to the last passage and having to guess. I spend about 2 minutes reading the passage usually and I can cruise through MP and purpose questions, but I get absolutely stumped on inference questions and it sort of turns into a sunk cost trap. Is there something I can do to increase my speed, and is there some indication I'm not aware of as to what part of the passage will be asked about in an inference question?

Main thing you should work on is moving on from those tough inference questions within 40 seconds so you can get to that last passage in a real way. Let's imagine you get 6 wrong on an RC section, with having to straight-up guess on 4 questions in last passage. If you were to instead "sacrifice" one tough question from each passage--that tough inference question--you should be able to bring that down to 4 wrong. And, it's quite likely that you're still missing the ones you spend 2 minutes on. It's amazing how much more inaccurate folks are on average as they spend more and more time on a question.

I'm not a big fan of trying to keep an eye out for what will be used for inference questions since that distracts us from the main purpose of our read. Better to walk away knowing the scale and what each part of the passage is doing vis-a-vis the scale and is about in general.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby BlackadderIn » Wed May 23, 2012 5:26 pm

Experts:

I was really upset about PT47 S1 Q6. Of course B would explain it, but I thought, this would be such a "cheap" answer basically just backing off from a premise instead of providing a real explanation, no way it's correct. So I wasted like 4 minutes thinking, and ended up picking D.
As a comparison, let's take the famous dioxin problem (PT45 S1 Q12). A is a lot like B of PT47S1Q6, but rightfully does not count.
I'm confused: is there something important I'm missing? Are these two answers actually not comparable? Do such kind of "oh-the-second-premise-was-just-kidding" answers appear often? What is the best and most EFFICIENT way to handle them?

thanks so much!

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Wed May 23, 2012 7:54 pm

BlackadderIn wrote:Experts:

I was really upset about PT47 S1 Q6. Of course B would explain it, but I thought, this would be such a "cheap" answer basically just backing off from a premise instead of providing a real explanation, no way it's correct. So I wasted like 4 minutes thinking, and ended up picking D.
As a comparison, let's take the famous dioxin problem (PT45 S1 Q12). A is a lot like B of PT47S1Q6, but rightfully does not count.
I'm confused: is there something important I'm missing? Are these two answers actually not comparable? Do such kind of "oh-the-second-premise-was-just-kidding" answers appear often? What is the best and most EFFICIENT way to handle them?

thanks so much!

Good question.

The difference is that in the dioxin question, (A) doesn't necc. call into question the studies. You have to add a lot to that answer (studies funded by X are going to...) to make it a weakener.

With this question, the tip off is the modification of the data: "according to computer models." This is actually similar to the issue discussed above about things that seem to be premise boosters but are really taking advantage of some shift like this. If we removed the dependent clause about computer models, the argument is much tighter.

So, to answer your main question, the takeaway is to keep an eye out for situations in which a premise is "delivered" through something like a study, or recent research, etc., but the conclusion treats it as if it were fact. It's a fact that the study/research/computer model says that thing, but that thing is not a fact.

I hope that helps.

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Thu May 24, 2012 11:03 am

flem wrote:PrepTest 28, games section, game 2

This game is in the Powerscore bible with an explanation. My question is, how the fuck does selecting the language in the base make any more sense than selecting the researchers as the base? Neither has any sort of inherent order.

Selecting the researchers as the base allows you to integrate rules 5 and 6 directly into the diagram, and you can make blocks of variables, showing exactly how many need to be placed.

I'm only bitching because when I went to review it the explanation makes no sense due to their base selection. Is one base inherently better than the other, and if so, why? Or should I just do what works for me?

Note: the game didn't give me any major problems, I'm more just curious

I think the main issue is that there are so many rules that can be used if you use the language as the base. It's awesome that you played it successfully with the other base (that's actually an exercise I have students do to make them work on rule control).

BlackadderIn
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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby BlackadderIn » Thu May 24, 2012 12:00 pm

Manhattan LSAT Noah wrote:
BlackadderIn wrote:Experts:

I was really upset about PT47 S1 Q6. Of course B would explain it, but I thought, this would be such a "cheap" answer basically just backing off from a premise instead of providing a real explanation, no way it's correct. So I wasted like 4 minutes thinking, and ended up picking D.
As a comparison, let's take the famous dioxin problem (PT45 S1 Q12). A is a lot like B of PT47S1Q6, but rightfully does not count.
I'm confused: is there something important I'm missing? Are these two answers actually not comparable? Do such kind of "oh-the-second-premise-was-just-kidding" answers appear often? What is the best and most EFFICIENT way to handle them?

thanks so much!

Good question.

The difference is that in the dioxin question, (A) doesn't necc. call into question the studies. You have to add a lot to that answer (studies funded by X are going to...) to make it a weakener.

With this question, the tip off is the modification of the data: "according to computer models." This is actually similar to the issue discussed above about things that seem to be premise boosters but are really taking advantage of some shift like this. If we removed the dependent clause about computer models, the argument is much tighter.

So, to answer your main question, the takeaway is to keep an eye out for situations in which a premise is "delivered" through something like a study, or recent research, etc., but the conclusion treats it as if it were fact. It's a fact that the study/research/computer model says that thing, but that thing is not a fact.

I hope that helps.


Many thanks Noah for your very kind and helpful answer! I think I'm starting to understand your explanation but just want to be sure that I follow you correctly:

if a "premise-recanter" is meant to be the right answer, the stimulus would typically give hints in the wording of this premise by mentioning a recent study, according to computer simulations etc. instead of just presenting it as a plain fact, correct?

Also, regarding (A) of the dioxin problem:
If it would say" ALL studies...were funded by paper mill owners and were later retracted due to data fabrication., it would be a better or even valid answer, right? But it won't appear in a real test because the stimulus is not hinting that way?

thanks so much!

Manhattan LSAT Noah
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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Thu May 24, 2012 2:08 pm

BlackadderIn wrote:Many thanks Noah for your very kind and helpful answer! I think I'm starting to understand your explanation but just want to be sure that I follow you correctly:

if a "premise-recanter" is meant to be the right answer, the stimulus would typically give hints in the wording of this premise by mentioning a recent study, according to computer simulations etc. instead of just presenting it as a plain fact, correct?

Also, regarding (A) of the dioxin problem:
If it would say" ALL studies...were funded by paper mill owners and were later retracted due to data fabrication., it would be a better or even valid answer, right? But it won't appear in a real test because the stimulus is not hinting that way?

thanks so much!

Yes, you've got it. The premise about the fish reaction is just stated as a fact--it'd be un-LSAT-like to weaken that fact. I'd have to think a bit more about whether your edited version of the dioxin (A) would be valid, but it definitely would be closer to an actual weakener.

And I appreciate the thanks!

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby MLBrandow » Mon May 28, 2012 12:06 pm

55.1.21

I just retook pt55 and what troubles me is that I missed this question twice, picked the same answer choice both times (A), and had seemingly no trouble eliminating (B). I was between (A) and (D) here both times.

It seems I have some kind of language issue here. I seemed to have equated "anyone" in the stimulus with "one" both times, rather than "everyone."

Would (A) be correct if instead it stated "unless many people took certain actions" but kept "one feels..." and "one ought to..."?

In other words, is the only reason that (A) is incorrect is because of the "unless one took certain actions" part, or are there other issues with it as well?

Thanks for any help!

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Re: LSAT Q&A: Ask the Experts

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Tue May 29, 2012 2:01 pm

MLBrandow wrote:55.1.21

I just retook pt55 and what troubles me is that I missed this question twice, picked the same answer choice both times (A), and had seemingly no trouble eliminating (B). I was between (A) and (D) here both times.

It seems I have some kind of language issue here. I seemed to have equated "anyone" in the stimulus with "one" both times, rather than "everyone."

Would (A) be correct if instead it stated "unless many people took certain actions" but kept "one feels..." and "one ought to..."?

In other words, is the only reason that (A) is incorrect is because of the "unless one took certain actions" part, or are there other issues with it as well?

Thanks for any help!

That's a devious trap answer! Big takeaway there is to work wrong-to-right.

As for (A)'s issue, I think you've identified the problem with it. I'm not a fan of tinkering with answers and then deciding if it's right, but if you were to switch (A)'s opening sufficient condition as you say, you'd need the necessary to somehow reference the people that like the show. Which will bring us back to (B)...(bravo if you're hearing the song I'm humming). I don't think it matters if it's "everyone" or "one" at that point, as long as it's phrased in such a way that it applies to all those people.




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