1. Long-distance runners sometimes get shin splints from overtraining. Shin splints are also common among freestyle skiers. Freestyle skiers are also guilty of overtraining.
Which of the following, if true, most weakens the conclusion drawn above?
(A) Sprinters are also prone to getting shin splints.
(B) Freestyle skiers often exhibit other signs of overtraining such as dehydration.
(C) Long-distance runners are less prone to long-term stress injuries.
(D) Freestyle skiers get shin splints from landing jumps incorrectly.
(E) Freestyle skiers, on average, train fewer hours than do long distance runners.
This is a weaken question. The passage tells us two facts, one about long-distance runners (they sometimes get shin splints from overtraining) and one about freestyle skiers (they also get shin splints). The conclusion, that freestyle skiers must also overtrain, depends on the faulty assumption that because runners’ shin splints are caused by overtraining, skiers’ must be as well. Choice (A) is irrelevant. Choice (B) strengthens the conclusion. Choice (C) is irrelevant. Choice (D) pokes a hole in the assumption that the conclusion depends on: if skiers’ shin splints are not caused by overtraining, then it is not necessarily true that freestyle skiers are guilty of overtraining. This weakens the conclusion considerably. Choice E seems to weaken the conclusion by suggesting that freestyle skiers may be less likely to overtrain than are runners, but is in fact irrelevant. Choice (D) is the best answer.
2. Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes tooth decay, is transmitted almost exclusively from mother to child, which allows it to be traced back thousands of years via its DNA to one of several distinct lineages. This would not be possible if it were transmitted more easily from person to person.
Which of the following can be inferred from the passage above?
(A) Mothers can be blamed for tooth decay in children.
(B) Streptococcus mutans can be classified according to lineage.
(C) If it were transmitted from father to child, streptococcus mutans would not be traceable.
(D) Bacteria cannot be traced if it has no DNA.
(E) Tooth decay only occurs among humans.
This question asks you to infer information from the passage. Because “infer” is essentially synonymous with “must be true” on the LSAT, you need to find the answer choice that is logically derived from the information in the passage. Choice (A) is absurd; the bacteria causes tooth decay, not mothers. Choice (B) is a logical derivation of information found in the passage; if the bacteria can be traced to one of several distinct lineages, then it can also be classified according to lineage. Choice (C) draws unsupported conclusions. Choices (D) and (E) are extreme. Choice B is the only statement that must be true, and is therefore the best answer.
3 . In response to an overwhelming demand for better technical support, we have added an online help section to our website where customers can chat live with customer service representatives. We are confident that this will significantly decrease the number and frequency of complaints about our technical support.
The company’s plan assumes which of the following?
(A) Customers will not have other complaints.
(B) All of their customers have access to the internet.
(C) Customer service representatives can provide technical support.
(D) Online support will be equally as effective as telephone support.
(E) Customers are less likely to complain via email than by telephone.
This question asks you to identify the assumption in the company’s plan to improve technical support. This is another way of asking what the plan depends on: if the reverse were true, would the plan still work as intended? Choice (A) is out of scope: the company’s plan is intended to reduce technical support complaints only. Choices (B) and (D) are extreme: only some customers need to have internet access for the plan to work, not all customers; and online support need only be effective, not as effective as telephone support. Choice (C) is a necessary assumption: if customer service reps can’t provide technical support, then this service will not address customers’ technical support concerns. Choice (E) is irrelevant; while this may impact the number and frequency of complaints in some way, it has no bearing on the efficacy of the plan itself. Choice C is the best answer.
4 . Researchers are testing a theory of artificial intelligence with an algorithm based on the ancient Eastern game Go. This is due to the game’s highly complex, mathematically natural relationship between the stones placed on the board, which mirrors patterns found in nature.
It can be inferred from the passage that:
(A) Intelligence is purely mathematical.
(B) The game of Go was not invented, but discovered.
(C) Artificial intelligence will be a reality in the near future.
(D) The game of Go requires a knowledge of mathematics.
(E) Artificial intelligence could be based on natural phenomena.
This question asks you to infer information from the information presented in the passage. To do so, you must find the statement that must be true. Choice (A) is too extreme; the passage tells us about a theory of artificial intelligence, not about the nature of intelligence itself. Choice (B) is based on the unfounded assumption that because Go is mathematical and natural, it was necessarily discovered. Choice (C) is incorrect because the passage doesn’t tell what will happen, just what is happening. Choice (D) incorrectly assumes that because Go stones happen to fall in mathematical patterns, that one must therefore know math to play, which isn’t stated in the passage (and isn’t true, either). Choice (E) must be true because if artificial intelligence could be based on Go, and Go incorporates patterns found in nature, then it follows that artificial intelligence could be based on those natural patterns. Choice (E) is the best answer.
Next LSAT: January 26
Next LSAT: January 26