PT 26 Sect 3 Q24

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PT 26 Sect 3 Q24

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:23 pm

I looked at the explanations on Manhattan's website already, and there are many of them. The consensus seems to be that this question... sucks. I seriously think something like this shouldn't be scored and should be taken off the exam. Here is why:

The correct answer is E. The best explanation on Manhattan's site is this one:

"Instead, the right answer, (E), hits on a different issue -- a mismatch between the premise and conclusion -- between "average price paid for a new car" and "average price paid for a new car by individuals." The author assumes these to be the same, but they are not -- it could be that the evidence is true based on cars bought by government, businesses, taxi companies etc, so we cannot use it (without an assumption) to reach any conclusion about individuals who buy cars."

What is above is true and I don't disagree with that. But that doesn't make E the right answer. On the LSAT, should answer choices be right 100% of the time? Yes. E can very well be wrong because even if fewer cars are sold to individuals, it can still stand that the average % income spent on cars for individuals increases. Maybe a bunch of people hit their mid-life crisis now and are unmarried, and decide to buy sports cars even though they just got laid-off.

Let's say 100/200 cars were sold to individuals 25 years ago, at 10k each. Now, 50/200 cars are sold to individuals, at 15k each. Income has gone up from 60k to 61k. The argument is still true, and E has not weakened the argument.

The answer I pre-phrased for this was something along the lines of:

"People whose income has decreased in the past 25 years did not buy any new cars."


"Only people whose income has increased in the past 25 years bought new cars."

I picked the answer choice A actually because it can be true:

If more and more people are living in households and sharing their income, then the cost to the individual for each car is decreased, even though the cost for the car itself has increased.

I just don't think there are any viable answers to this question.

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Re: PT 26 Sect 3 Q24

Postby flippacious » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:28 pm

I eliminated all the answer choices and then randomly picked (A) when I took PT 26, and I obsessed over this question for a while. This is what I came up with.

What we know: The average price of a new car has increased more than the average individual income.

Author's argument: Individuals who buy new cars today spend a larger portion of their personal income on a new car than they did 25 years ago.

(A) Is out of scope and has no effect on the argument. The author's argument is only about individuals who buy new cars. Illustration: Say a person 25 years ago earned $30k and the average new car price was $5k. Now, the person earns $32k and the average new car price is $20k. Say the person now lives with another wage-earner who also earns $32k. If they split the cost of the car, this answer is out of scope. The argument does not address couples who are purchasing cars. If one of the individuals buys the car by him/herself, the individual's income is still $32k and the car is still $20k. The author's argument holds, and is not weakened.

(E) suggests that the author's assumption could be faulty. The correct answer choice to a weaken question does not have to complete invalidate the argument, it just has to cast doubt on it. (E) makes it possible that individuals do not spend more when they purchase a new car today than when they did 25 years ago.

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