LSAT - Logical Reasoning 12 Question Types

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12 terms

Assumption

Asks for the assumption the author makes to go from the evidence provided to the conclusion.

-assumes
-depends on
-presupposes

Bridge the gap from the evidence to the conclusion.

Apply the Denial Test: Negate the statement and see if the argument falls apart. If it does--correct assumption. If the argument is unaffected--wrong assumption. (only works when looking for a necessary element)

Weaken

Asks for information that can be added to the argument to make the conclusion less likely.

-weakens
-calls into question
-casts doubt on
-seriously damages

Break down the assumption, attack the conclusion, find alternative possibility

Strengthen

Asks for information that can be added to the argument to make the conclusion more likely.

-strengthens
-supports (answer supports the text)

Bolster the assumption, support the conclusion, eliminate alternative possibilities

Flaw

Ask you to determine the error the author makes in going from the evidence to the conclusion. Identity the error in reasoning.

-flaw
-error in reasoning
-vulnerable to criticism
-questionable because
-fails to consider

Because it is a flaw question, you can take for granted there is a flaw. Try to identify the flaw in the argument and put into general terms such as "unwarranted assumption".

Common Flaws: unwarranted assumption, necessity vs. sufficiency, representativeness, scope shift, alternative possibilities, causation vs. correlation, opinion vs. fact, number vs. percentage

Inference

Ask you what answer can be inferred from the stimulus. However, the answer must be true based on the information provided.

-must also be true
-logically follows
-can be inferred
-supports (text supports the answer)

Difficult to predict the answer so just make sure you know the stimulus. The correct answer will not require any information beyond the stimulus.

-Be wary of answers that drift further from the information given in the stimulus
-May be a simple summary of the stimulus
-Cannot be more or less extreme than the stimulus
-May just be a rephrasing of one sentence or combination of sentences

Principle

Ask you to find a general principle that accounts for the author's position. You may be given a specific situation and asked to fit it into a global generality. Or you could be given a general rule and asked to identify a situation that exemplifies it.

-principle
-policy
-proposition

Sum up the argument and put it into general terms that could be applied to other arguments.

Principle questions often mimic other question types. You may be asked for a principle that strengthens/weakens the argument, or a principle that underlies the argument (assumption), or something that must be true based on the principle (inference). If you recognize these question types, use their logical reasoning to help untangle the stimulus.

Parallel Reasoning

Require you to identify the choice that contains the same kind of reasoning as that presented in the stimulus. Answer based on the form of the argument, not the content.

-parallel to
-similar to

Characterize the conclusion in relation to the evidence.

Ex. "the conclusion is a prediction based on unquantifiable evidence"

Common Conclusion Types: prediction, recommendation, comparison, assertion of fact, if/then, value judgement.

The conclusion must also match in terms of other aspects: negative/positive, whether it is qualified in any way through words such as likely or impossible.

Method of Argument

Asks you to demonstrate an understanding of how an author's argument is put together, not what it says.

-argumentative technique
-argumentative strategy
-responds to...by

Read the stimulus looking for the conclusion and evidence and look for how they are put together. Pay attention to keywords used to provide structure and flow to the argument.

Paradox

Asks you to reconcile seemingly inconsistent statements while allowing them all to be true.

-solve the apparent paradox
-resolve the discrepancy
-explain

Read the stimulus looking for the paradox. What does not make sense?

Point at Issue

These questions involve a conversation between two speakers and ask you to identify the issue on which they take differing opinions.

-A and B disagree over whether
-the point at issue between them is

Separately compare their conclusions and evidence. The correct answer will describe a point addressed by both speakers and about which they hold conflicting views.

Be sure to stay within the scope of both speakers' arguments. The point at issue cannot be something that one speaker raises but the other doesn't address at all.

Main Point

Ask you to find the author's central claim in his argument.

-main idea
-conclusion

Lookout for the author's disagreement and find the conclusion by isolating stand-alone sentences (this may be a combination of parts of sentences)

Role of a Statement

Ask you to determine the role a statement within the stimulus plays in the overall argument.

-figures in the argument
-plays which part
-plays which role

Find the statement in the stimulus, break down the evidence and conclusion, and figure out what role the statement plays in the argument relation to the identified evidence and conclusion.

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