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Future JD Students

Logical Reasoning Questions

Arguments are a fundamental part of the law, and analyzing arguments is a key element of legal analysis. Training in the law builds on a foundation of basic reasoning skills. Law students must draw on the skills of analyzing, evaluating, constructing, and refuting arguments. They need to be able to identify what information is relevant to an issue or argument and what impact further evidence might have. They need to be able to reconcile opposing positions and use arguments to persuade others.

Logical Reasoning questions evaluate the ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language. The questions are based on short arguments drawn from a wide variety of sources, including newspapers, general interest magazines, scholarly publications, advertisements, and informal discourse. These arguments mirror legal reasoning in the types of arguments presented and in their complexity, though few of the arguments actually have law as a subject matter.

Each Logical Reasoning question requires you to read and comprehend a short passage, then answer one question (or, rarely, two questions) about it. The questions are designed to assess a wide range of skills involved in thinking critically, with an emphasis on skills that are central to legal reasoning.

These skills include:

  • Recognizing the parts of an argument and their relationships
  • Recognizing similarities and differences between patterns of reasoning
  • Drawing well-supported conclusions
  • Reasoning by analogy
  • Recognizing misunderstandings or points of disagreement
  • Determining how additional evidence affects an argument
  • Detecting assumptions made by particular arguments
  • Identifying and applying principles or rules
  • Identifying flaws in arguments
  • Identifying explanations

The questions do not presuppose specialized knowledge of logical terminology. For example, you will not be expected to know the meaning of specialized terms such as “ad hominem” or “syllogism.” On the other hand, you will be expected to understand and critique the reasoning contained in arguments. This requires that you possess a university-level understanding of widely used concepts such as argument, premise, assumption, and conclusion.

Suggested Approach

Read each question carefully. Make sure that you understand the meaning of each part of the question. Make sure that you understand the meaning of each answer choice and the ways in which it may or may not relate to the question posed.

Do not pick a response simply because it is a true statement. Although true, it may not answer the question posed.

Answer each question on the basis of the information that is given, even if you do not agree with it. Work within the context provided by the passage. LSAT questions do not involve any tricks or hidden meanings.

Nine Sample Logical Reasoning Questions and Explanations

The sample questions on the following pages are typical of the Logical Reasoning questions you will find on the LSAT.

Directions:

The questions in this section are based on the reasoning contained in brief statements or passages. For some questions, more than one of the choices could conceivably answer the question. However, you are to choose the best answer; that is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the question. You should not make assumptions that are by commonsense standards implausible, superfluous, or incompatible with the passage. After you have chosen the best answer, blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.

Question 1

Laird: Pure research provides us with new technologies that contribute to saving lives. Even more worthwhile than this, however, is its role in expanding our knowledge and providing new, unexplored ideas.

Kim: Your priorities are mistaken. Saving lives is what counts most of all. Without pure research, medicine would not be as advanced as it is.

Laird and Kim disagree on whether pure research

  1. derives its significance in part from its providing new technologies
  2. expands the boundaries of our knowledge of medicine
  3. should have the saving of human lives as an important goal
  4. has its most valuable achievements in medical applications
  5. has any value apart from its role in providing new technologies to save lives

Explanation for Question 1

This question asks you to identify the point on which Laird and Kim disagree with respect to pure research. Laird identifies two contributions of pure research: its medical applications (“technologies that contribute to saving lives”) and its role in expanding knowledge and providing new ideas. Of these, Laird considers the second contribution to be more worthwhile. Kim, on the other hand, maintains that “Saving lives is what counts most of all.” Since pure research saves lives through medical applications, Kim disagrees with Laird about whether pure research has its most valuable achievements in medical applications. The correct response, therefore, is (D).

Response (A) is incorrect since we can determine, based on their statements, that Laird and Kim agree that pure research “derives its significance in part from its providing new technologies.” Laird explicitly cites the value of pure research with respect to providing new technologies. Kim indicates agreement with (A), at least in the case of medical technologies, by asserting that “Without pure research, medicine would not be as advanced as it is.”

Response (B) is incorrect since we can determine, based on their statements, that Laird and Kim would likely agree that pure research “expands the boundaries of our knowledge of medicine.” Laird notes that pure research provides us with new technologies that have medical applications. Kim points out that “Without pure research, medicine would not be as advanced as it is.”

Response (C) is incorrect. Kim indicates agreement that pure research “should have the saving of human lives as an important goal” since Kim’s position is that “Saving lives is what counts most of all.” Since Laird cites the saving of lives as one way in which pure research is worthwhile or valuable, Laird also indicates agreement that pure research “should have the saving of human lives as an important goal,” although Laird indicates that expanding knowledge and providing new ideas should be an even more important goal of pure research. The same activity can of course have more than one goal.

Response (E) is incorrect. Laird clearly agrees that pure research has value “apart from its role in providing new technologies to save lives,” given that Laird explicitly cites a second way in which pure research is valuable. However, nothing in what Kim says suggests disagreement with (E). Kim’s position is that the greatest value of pure research is its role in providing new technologies to save lives. We cannot infer from this that Kim believes this role to be the only value of pure research.

This question was of medium difficulty, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 2

Executive: We recently ran a set of advertisements in the print version of a travel magazine and on that magazine’s website. We were unable to get any direct information about consumer response to the print ads. However, we found that consumer response to the ads on the website was much more limited than is typical for website ads. We concluded that consumer response to the print ads was probably below par as well.

The executive’s reasoning does which one of the following?

  1. bases a prediction of the intensity of a phenomenon on information about the intensity of that phenomenon’s cause
  2. uses information about the typical frequency of events of a general kind to draw a conclusion about the probability of a particular event of that kind
  3. infers a statistical generalization from claims about a large number of specific instances
  4. uses a case in which direct evidence is available to draw a conclusion about an analogous case in which direct evidence is unavailable
  5. bases a prediction about future events on facts about recent comparable events

Explanation for Question 2

This question asks you to identify how the executive’s reasoning proceeds. The ads discussed by the executive appeared in two places—in a magazine and on the magazine’s website. Some information is available concerning the effect of the website ads on consumers, but no consumer response information is available about the print ads. The executive’s remarks suggest that the ads that appeared in print and on the website were basically the same, or very similar. The executive reasoned that information about the effect of the website ads could be used as evidence for an inference about how the print ads likely performed. The executive thus used the analogy between the print ads and the website ads to infer something about the print ads. (D), therefore, is the correct response.

Response (A) is incorrect. The executive’s conclusion about the likely consumer response to the print ads does not constitute a prediction, but rather a judgment about events that have already transpired. Moreover, the executive’s conclusion is not based on any reasoning about the cause of the consumer response to the print ads.

Response (B) is incorrect. The executive does conclude that certain events are likely to have transpired on the basis of what was known to have transpired in a similar case, but no distinction can be made in the executive’s argument between events of a general kind and a particular event of that kind. There are two types of event in play in the executive’s argument and they are of the same level of generality—the response to the website ads and the response to the print ads.

Response (C) is incorrect. The executive does not infer a statistical generalization, which would involve generalizing about a population on the basis of a statistical sample. The executive merely draws a conclusion about the likely occurrence of specific events.

Response (E) is also incorrect. The executive does use the comparability of the print and website ads as the basis for the conclusion drawn; however, as noted above, the executive’s conclusion about the likely consumer response to the print ads does not constitute a prediction about future events, but rather a judgment about events that have already transpired.

This was an easy question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 3

During the construction of the Quebec Bridge in 1907, the bridge’s designer, Theodore Cooper, received word that the suspended span being built out from the bridge’s cantilever was deflecting downward by a fraction of an inch (2.54 centimeters). Before he could telegraph to freeze the project, the whole cantilever arm broke off and plunged, along with seven dozen workers, into the St. Lawrence River. It was the worst bridge construction disaster in history. As a direct result of the inquiry that followed, the engineering “rules of thumb” by which thousands of bridges had been built around the world went down with the Quebec Bridge. Twentieth-century bridge engineers would thereafter depend on far more rigorous applications of mathematical analysis.

Which one of the following statements can be properly inferred from the passage?

  1. Bridges built before about 1907 were built without thorough mathematical analysis and, therefore, were unsafe for the public to use.
  2. Cooper’s absence from the Quebec Bridge construction site resulted in the breaking off of the cantilever.
  3. Nineteenth-century bridge engineers relied on their rules of thumb because analytical methods were inadequate to solve their design problems.
  4. Only a more rigorous application of mathematical analysis to the design of the Quebec Bridge could have prevented its collapse.
  5. Prior to 1907 the mathematical analysis incorporated in engineering rules of thumb was insufficient to completely assure the safety of bridges under construction.

Explanation for Question 3

The question asks you to identify the response that can be properly inferred from the passage. The passage indicates that the Quebec Bridge disaster in 1907 and the inquiry that followed caused the engineering “rules of thumb” used in construction of thousands of bridges to be abandoned. Since the Quebec Bridge disaster in 1907 prompted this abandonment, it can be inferred that these were the rules of thumb under which the Quebec Bridge was being built when it collapsed and that these were the rules of thumb used in bridge building before 1907. Further, since the Quebec Bridge collapsed while under construction and the rules of thumb being used were abandoned as a result, it can be inferred that the rules of thumb used in building the Quebec Bridge and bridges prior to 1907 were insufficient to completely assure the safety of bridges under construction. Finally, since the alternative that was adopted in place of the old engineering rules of thumb was to “depend on far more rigorous applications of mathematical analysis,” it can be inferred that the mathematical analysis incorporated in the engineering rules of thumb used prior to 1907 made them insufficient to completely assure the safety of bridges under construction. Thus, (E) is the correct response.

Response (A) is incorrect. (A) asserts that bridges built before about 1907 were unsafe for the public to use because they were built without thorough mathematical analysis. But this conclusion goes far beyond what is established by the passage. The passage gives evidence only about the safety of bridges built before 1907 while they were under construction. It is silent on whether bridges built before about 1907 were safe when open for use by the public. Moreover, the passage indicates that the rules of thumb used in bridge construction before 1907 were abandoned because the use of those rules did not provide adequate assurance of safety for bridges under construction. It does not follow that bridges built using those rules of thumb (those built before about 1907) actually were unsafe, either while under construction or when open for public use.

Response (B) is incorrect in claiming that Cooper’s absence from the construction site caused the breaking off of the cantilever. The passage does not establish that, had Cooper been at the site, he could have successfully intervened to prevent the cantilever from breaking off. By freezing the project, he might have spared lives by stopping work, but there is nothing in the passage to indicate that he necessarily would have prevented the collapse.

Response (C) is incorrect; there is no evidence in the passage about why nineteenth-century bridge engineers relied on their rules of thumb.

Response (D) is also incorrect. While the passage suggests that a more rigorous application of mathematical analysis would have prevented the collapse of the bridge, it offers no evidence that it is the only way the collapse could have been prevented. For example, it might have been prevented had corrective measures been taken in time.

This question was of medium difficulty, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 4

The supernova event of 1987 is interesting in that there is still no evidence of the neutron star that current theory says should have remained after a supernova of that size. This is in spite of the fact that many of the most sensitive instruments ever developed have searched for the tell-tale pulse of radiation that neutron stars emit. Thus, current theory is wrong in claiming that supernovas of a certain size always produce neutron stars.

Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?

  1. Most supernova remnants that astronomers have detected have a neutron star nearby.
  2. Sensitive astronomical instruments have detected neutron stars much farther away than the location of the 1987 supernova.
  3. The supernova of 1987 was the first that scientists were able to observe in progress.
  4. Several important features of the 1987 supernova are correctly predicted by the current theory.
  5. Some neutron stars are known to have come into existence by a cause other than a supernova explosion.

Explanation for Question 4

This question asks you to identify the response that most strengthens the argument. The argument concludes that “current theory is wrong in claiming that supernovas of a certain size always produce neutron stars” based on the observation that no evidence has been found of a neutron star left behind by the supernova event of 1987. However, the failure to find evidence of the predicted neutron star does not necessarily indicate that such evidence does not exist. It may instead indicate that the instruments used to search for the evidence are not powerful enough to detect a neutron star in the area where the 1987 supernova event occurred. The argument would thus be strengthened if there was evidence that the search instruments used would in fact be capable of finding the predicted neutron star if that star existed. Response (B) provides such evidence. If “sensitive astronomical instruments have detected neutron stars much farther away than the location of the 1987 supernova,” then it is less likely that the predicted neutron star is outside the detection range of “the most sensitive instruments ever developed.” Thus, (B) is the correct response.

Response (A) reports that most supernova remnants that astronomers have detected have a neutron star nearby. Since (A) gives no information about the size of the supernovas that produced these remnants, it is possible that all of the remnants detected to date are consistent with the current theory’s claim that supernovas of a certain size always produce neutron stars. (A), therefore, lends no support to the argument that the current theory is wrong in this claim.

Response (C) reports that the supernova of 1987 was the first supernova that scientists were able to observe in progress. This information has no direct bearing on the question of whether this event produced a neutron star and thus cannot be used to strengthen the argument that the current theory is wrong.

Response (D) asserts that several important features of the 1987 supernova are correctly predicted by the current theory. This bolsters the support for the current theory and would thus, if anything, weaken the argument that the current theory is wrong.

Response (E) reports that not all neutron stars are the products of supernova events. Since this information pertains to neutron stars that were not produced by supernovas, it is irrelevant to the question of whether all supernovas of a certain size produce neutron stars, as the current theory claims. Hence, (E) lends no support to the argument.

This was a difficult question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 5

Political scientist: As a political system, democracy does not promote political freedom. There are historical examples of democracies that ultimately resulted in some of the most oppressive societies. Likewise, there have been enlightened despotisms and oligarchies that have provided a remarkable level of political freedom to their subjects.

The reasoning in the political scientist’s argument is flawed because it

  1. confuses the conditions necessary for political freedom with the conditions sufficient to bring it about
  2. fails to consider that a substantial increase in the level of political freedom might cause a society to become more democratic
  3. appeals to historical examples that are irrelevant to the causal claim being made
  4. overlooks the possibility that democracy promotes political freedom without being necessary or sufficient by itself to produce it
  5. bases its historical case on a personal point of view

Explanation for Question 5

This question asks you to identify how the reasoning in the political scientist’s argument is flawed. The argument bases its conclusion—that democracy does not promote political freedom—on two sets of historical examples. The first set of examples demonstrates that democracy is not sufficient for political freedom, and the second set demonstrates that democracy is not necessary for political freedom. But it does not follow from these examples that democracy does not promote political freedom. Even if democracy is not, by itself, sufficient for political freedom, it can still promote political freedom by contributing to it in most instances. Even if democracy is not necessary for political freedom, it can still be true that democracy is something that promotes political freedom wherever it is found. Thus, (D) is the correct response.

Response (A) is incorrect. The political scientist’s argument does not indicate that any particular conditions are necessary for political freedom, nor does it indicate that any particular conditions are sufficient to bring about political freedom. Thus the argument could not be said to confuse these two sorts of conditions. Rather, the political scientist’s argument attempts to demonstrate that democracy does not promote political freedom on the grounds that democracy is neither necessary nor sufficient for bringing about political freedom.

Response (B) is incorrect. The argument does fail to consider whether a substantial increase in the level of political freedom would cause a society to become more democratic, but this does not constitute a flaw in its reasoning. The truth of the claim that increased political freedom causes greater democratization would not by itself undermine the political scientist’s conclusion that democracies do not promote political freedom. Nor does that claim engage with the argument’s premises, which are concerned with the effect of democracy on political freedom, not the effect of political freedom on democracy.

Response (C) is incorrect. The “causal claim being made” could only be the argument’s conclusion that democracy does not promote political freedom, which denies that there is a causal connection between democracy and political freedom. The historical examples in the argument are relevant to this claim, however. These examples are an important part of the larger body of historical evidence that one would look to when investigating the issue of whether democracy promotes political freedom.

Response (E) is also incorrect. The political scientist does not express a personal point of view or base the historical examples on such a view. On the contrary, the historical examples themselves are an impersonal, though flawed, basis for the argument’s conclusion.

This was a difficult question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 6

Journalist: To reconcile the need for profits sufficient to support new drug research with the moral imperative to provide medicines to those who most need them but cannot afford them, some pharmaceutical companies feel justified in selling a drug in rich nations at one price and in poor nations at a much lower price. But this practice is unjustified. A nation with a low average income may still have a substantial middle class better able to pay for new drugs than are many of the poorer citizens of an overall wealthier nation.

Which one of the following principles, if valid, most helps to justify the journalist’s reasoning?

  1. People who are ill deserve more consideration than do healthy people, regardless of their relative socioeconomic positions.
  2. Wealthy institutions have an obligation to expend at least some of their resources to assist those incapable of assisting themselves.
  3. Whether one deserves special consideration depends on one’s needs rather than on characteristics of the society to which one belongs.
  4. The people in wealthy nations should not have better access to health care than do the people in poorer nations.
  5. Unequal access to health care is more unfair than an unequal distribution of wealth.

Explanation for Question 6

The journalist states that pharmaceutical companies have both a need for profits to support future research and a moral obligation to provide medicines to those who most need them and cannot afford them. In order to balance these requirements they have adopted a practice of selling drugs at lower prices in poorer countries. The journalist’s conclusion is that this practice is unjustified. To support this claim, the journalist points out that different individuals in the same nation have differing abilities to pay, but this consideration does not, by itself, establish that the pharmaceutical company’s policy is unjustified. The question asks you to choose the principle that would most help to justify the journalist’s reasoning.

The principle stated in response (C) connects the question of whether special consideration is deserved to personal, rather than societal, needs. The pharmaceutical companies’ practice provides special consideration based on the characteristics of one’s society, and not based on one’s personal needs. As a result, according to this principle, the practice tends to deny special consideration to some who deserve it (the poorer citizens of wealthier nations), while giving special consideration to some who do not deserve it (the middle class citizens of poorer nations). In this way the practice is failing to meet the pharmaceutical companies’ obligation to provide special consideration for those who most need the drugs and cannot afford them, and, in giving undeserved special consideration, failing to generate income that could have been used to support new drug research. The principle in (C) thereby provides strong support for the journalist’s reasoning that the pharmaceutical companies’ practice is unjustified. Thus, (C) is the correct response.

The principle stated in response (A) applies to balancing the consideration deserved by ill people and healthy people. However, the pharmaceutical company’s practice, and the journalist’s argument against that practice, concerns only ill people (that is, people who need drugs). As a result, response (A) is not relevant to the journalist’s reasoning.

The principle stated in (B) requires that wealthy institutions use some of their resources to aid those in need. This tends to affirm the pharmaceutical companies’ moral imperative to provide medicines to those who need them but cannot afford them. However, this principle gives no support to the journalist’s reasoning, which contends that the pharmaceutical companies’ pricing policy is not justified by this moral imperative.

The principle stated in (D) that people in wealthy nations should not have better access to health care than those in poorer nations, is a principle that tends to support the companies’ practice, because the companies’ practice is one that tends to lessen the health care disparities between wealthy and poorer nations. For this reason, (D) actually runs counter to the journalist’s reasoning.

The principle stated in (E) concerns whether an unequal distribution of health care or an unequal distribution of wealth is more unfair. However, this is a different issue than the one the journalist is addressing. Response (E) is thus not relevant to the journalist’s reasoning.

This was an easy question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 7

Several critics have claimed that any contemporary poet who writes formal poetry—poetry that is rhymed and metered—is performing a politically conservative act. This is plainly false. Consider Molly Peacock and Marilyn Hacker, two contemporary poets whose poetry is almost exclusively formal and yet who are themselves politically progressive feminists.

The conclusion drawn above follows logically if which one of the following is assumed?

  1. No one who is a feminist is also politically conservative.
  2. No poet who writes unrhymed or unmetered poetry is politically conservative.
  3. No one who is politically progressive is capable of performing a politically conservative act.
  4. Anyone who sometimes writes poetry that is not politically conservative never writes poetry that is politically conservative.
  5. The content of a poet’s work, not the work’s form, is the most decisive factor in determining what political consequences, if any, the work will have.

Explanation for Question 7

This question asks you to identify the option containing information that makes the conclusion of the argument follow logically. The conclusion of the argument is that it is false that any contemporary poet who writes formal poetry is performing a politically conservative act. To draw this conclusion logically, one only needs to show at least one contemporary poet who is writing formal poetry and is not thereby performing a politically conservative act. Showing such an instance would provide a counterexample to the claim attributed to the critics, demonstrating that the critics’ generalization is false.

The premise given is that there are two contemporary and politically progressive feminist poets who write formal poetry—Molly Peacock and Marilyn Hacker. If no one who is politically progressive is capable of performing a politically conservative act, and Peacock and Hacker are politically progressive, it follows logically that neither is capable of performing a politically conservative act. Since both write formal poetry, their writing of formal poetry cannot be a politically conservative act. This shows that one can write formal poetry without performing a politically conservative act, so (C) is the correct response.

If it is true that no one who is a feminist is politically conservative, as response (A) says, we can conclude that Peacock and Hacker, who are identified as being feminists, are not politically conservative. But we already knew this, as they were also identified as being politically progressive. As long as people who are not themselves politically conservative are capable of performing politically conservative acts, the question of whether it is possible for someone to write formal poetry without performing a politically conservative act remains unanswered. (A) is thus incorrect.

If no poet who writes unrhymed and unmetered poetry is politically conservative, as response (B) indicates, this tells us little about Peacock and Hacker, whose poetry, we are told, is almost exclusively formal. Insofar as (B) may indicate that Peacock and Hacker are not politically conservative (because they write some poetry that is not both rhymed and metered), we already knew this, as they are identified as being politically progressive. Since the argument works by presenting Peacock and Hacker as counterexamples to the claim that to write formal poetry is to perform a politically conservative act, (B) contributes nothing in the way of additional support for the conclusion.

Response (D) says that anyone who sometimes writes poetry that is not politically conservative never writes poetry that is politically conservative. However, to make the conclusion of the argument follow logically, one must show that some contemporary poets who write formal poetry are sometimes not performing a politically conservative act. The information in (D) is not applicable to this question.

Response (E) concerns the effects of the content of a poet’s work on determining the political consequences of the work. However, the question that must be answered is whether any contemporary poet who writes formal poetry is performing a politically conservative act, not what the consequences of that poetry might be. The question of whether writing a particular poem is a politically conservative act is different from the question of what that poem’s political consequences will be. Moreover, because the content of neither Peacock’s nor Hacker’s work has been specified, (E) does not even allow us to draw a conclusion about the political consequences of their work.

This was a difficult question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 8

Situation: In the island nation of Bezun, the government taxes gasoline heavily in order to induce people not to drive. It uses the revenue from the gasoline tax to subsidize electricity in order to reduce prices charged for electricity.

Analysis: The greater the success achieved in meeting the first of these objectives, the less will be the success achieved in meeting the second.

The analysis provided for the situation above would be most appropriate in which one of the following situations?

  1. A library charges a late fee in order to induce borrowers to return books promptly. The library uses revenue from the late fee to send reminders to tardy borrowers in order to reduce the incidence of overdue books.
  2. A mail-order store imposes a stiff surcharge for overnight delivery in order to limit use of this option. The store uses revenue from the surcharge to pay the extra expenses it incurs for providing the overnight delivery service.
  3. The park management charges an admission fee so that a park’s users will contribute to the park’s upkeep. In order to keep admission fees low, the management does not finance any new projects from them.
  4. A restaurant adds a service charge in order to spare customers the trouble of individual tips. The service charge is then shared among the restaurant’s workers in order to augment their low hourly wages.
  5. The highway administration charges a toll for crossing a bridge in order to get motorists to use other routes. It uses the revenue from that toll to generate a reserve fund in order to be able one day to build a new bridge.

Explanation for Question 8

This question presents an analysis of a situation and asks you to select, from among the options, another situation for which the analysis is appropriate. The analysis states that the two objectives described in the original situation are related in such a way that more success in the first objective, the reduction of driving, will result in less success in the second, a reduction in the price of electricity. To see this, suppose that the gasoline taxes mentioned in the passage prove successful in inducing people not to drive. This would mean that people would have a diminished need to purchase gasoline, since they do not drive as much. Since less gasoline is being purchased, there is less revenue from taxes on gasoline purchases. There is therefore less revenue from the gasoline tax with which to subsidize electricity. With less of a subsidy, there will be less reduction in the prices charged for electricity. Among the options, (E) is the one that presents a situation that fits the analysis in the same way. The more motorists there are who begin to use other routes, thus reducing bridge traffic, the less toll money there will be for the new bridge fund. Thus (E) is the correct response.

Response (A) is incorrect. Two devices are named, late fees and reminders, but they share just one objective, which is described in two ways: to get “borrowers to return books promptly” and to “reduce the incidence of overdue books.” Success in one is success in the other.

Response (B) is incorrect. This situation has two objectives: to limit the use of overnight delivery service and to offset the extra expense of the overnight delivery still requested. However, these objectives are related in such a way that success in the first, a reduction in overnight delivery, would contribute to success in the second by lowering the extra expenses incurred by the service.

Response (C) is incorrect. We cannot infer that more success in achieving the first objective—getting park users to help keep up the park—will cause less success in the second objective—keeping the fees low. It is conceivable that success in the former would enable the fees to be lowered; after all, if there were enough park users paying the fees (i.e., contributing to the park’s upkeep), then the park management would not have to charge a high fee—fifteen park users paying $1.00 generates more revenue than one park user paying $10.00. Furthermore, there is nothing in the passage that functions like the statement in (C) that management does not finance any new projects from admission fees.

Response (D) is incorrect. The two objectives in this situation, sparing customers an inconvenience and augmenting restaurant workers’ wages, are not necessarily related in such a way that more success in the former would cause less success in the latter. Adding a service charge might very well augment the restaurant workers’ wages more than they would be augmented if no service charge is added, if the proceeds from the service charge are greater than what the workers would have received from individual tips.

This was a difficult question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

Question 9

The ancient Romans understood the principles of water power very well, and in some outlying parts of their empire they made extensive and excellent use of water as an energy source. This makes it all the more striking that the Romans made do without water power in regions dominated by large cities.

Which one of the following, if true, contributes most to an explanation of the difference described above in the Romans’ use of water power?

  1. The ancient Romans were adept at constructing and maintaining aqueducts that could carry quantities of water sufficient to supply large cities over considerable distances.
  2. In the areas in which water power was not used, water flow in rivers and streams was substantial throughout the year but nevertheless exhibited some seasonal variation.
  3. Water power was relatively vulnerable to sabotage, but any damage could be quickly and inexpensively repaired.
  4. In most areas to which the use of water power was not extended, other, more traditional sources of energy continued to be used.
  5. In heavily populated areas the introduction of water power would have been certain to cause social unrest by depriving large numbers of people of their livelihood.

Explanation for Question 9

This question asks you to identify the response that does most to explain an apparent discrepancy presented in the passage. The first step, then, is to determine what this discrepancy is. The passage notes the Romans’ extensive use of water power in some outlying parts of their empire, but in regions dominated by large cities, it says, they did without water power. Given the benefits of water power, an adequate response must help answer the question of why ancient Romans did not use water power in regions dominated by large cities when they had a demonstrated ability to do so.

Response (E) helps to answer that question. It presents an undesirable consequence that would have followed from the use of water power in heavily populated regions: social unrest due to significant loss of livelihood. By doing this, (E) identifies a negative aspect of water power use in heavily populated areas, and that gives a reason not to use it in regions dominated by large cities. Thus, (E) is the correct response.

Response (A) is incorrect. Rather than explaining the puzzling situation, it merely describes the ancient Romans’ ability to supply water over distances. If this has any bearing at all on the issue of water power, it would be to remove one possible impediment to the use of water power in regions dominated by large cities; it would not give a reason that the Romans did without it in those regions.

Response (B) is incorrect. While it speaks of the areas where water power was not used, which would include the regions dominated by large cities, it indicates the natural water supply in those areas was substantial although seasonally variable. This gives a reason to expect the use of water power in regions dominated by large cities, not a reason the Romans did without it in those regions.

Response (C) is incorrect. By noting that water power was relatively vulnerable to sabotage, (C) presents a possible reason to avoid the use of water power in important regions, but (C) also undermines that possible reason by describing how easily any damage could be repaired. So (C) does nothing to explain the puzzling situation.

Response (D) indicates that “more traditional” energy sources were used in areas without water power, which would include the regions dominated by large cities. This may help explain how these regions got along without water power—the use of traditional sources prevented them from being entirely without energy—but it adds little to our overall understanding, since we could already presume that these regions had energy sources. The fact that traditional sources of energy were employed in these regions does not explain why water power was not employed there, and that question would have to be addressed in order to explain the discrepancy in the Romans’ use of water power. Response (D) is thus incorrect.

This was a difficult question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.

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