Most Strongly Supported (MSS) LSAT questions are similar to Must Be True (MBT) questions covered in the last lesson. They often use Formal Logic (some of them are based on other concepts we’ll discuss later in the chapter). The answer could be the Main Idea, a secondary conclusion, or a premise.
CHALLENGE: Find Supported Answer Choices
Most Strongly Supported (MSS) questions are focused on finding a strongly supported statement and are easily identifiable. These questions are often not arguments but a series of premises. Common phrasings:
- Which one of the following is most strongly supported by the information above?
- The speaker’s statements, if true, most strongly support which one of the following?
- Which one of the following conclusions is most strongly supported by the information above?
- Which one of the following is most reasonably supported by the information above?
How to solve
- The questions often use Formal Logic. Try diagramming them.
- Because the answer could be three things: a Main Idea, a secondary conclusion, or a premise, this is a particularly challenging question. You’re going to need to go through the answer choices to get to the bottom of it.
- The correct answer sometimes restates two sentences in the stimulus (the answer might just be a premise).
- Read and understand the passage: Be very precise in what each sentence means and what it doesn’t mean. Also, try to see how the sentences are inter-related. You can’t predict the correct answer choice before you get there.
- The wrong choices will have no support and the correct answer choice will have some support (not most). The support isn’t necessarily that strong in many cases. So, these questions lend themselves to Process of Elimination perhaps more than any other question type.
- Avoid trap choices: MSS questions are devious because the answer could be the unstated Main Idea of the passage or a combination of two lines.
Intro (0:01) | Ex.1 (3:44) | Ex.2 (8:15) | Ex.3 (14:35) | Trap Choices (20:58)
- 0:33 – 8% of all logical reasoning questions are “most supported” questions.
- 0:43 – To recognize “most supported” questions, look for certain language cues, such as “most strongly supported,” “most support,” and “most reasonably inferred.”
- 1:25 – The main difference between a “most strongly supported” and a “must be true” question is the degree of certainty over the answer choice.
- 3:45 – Consider the example regarding “comparisons.”
- 3:59 – The first statement states that common threats are typically not very often reported in the media.
- 4:17 – The next statement states that rare threats seem to be universally reported.
- 4:36 – The last statement states that people who are watching media are probably going to think that rare threats are a bigger concern than they really are or that common threats are less of a concern than they really are.
- 5:23 – Come up with two statements: “Rare threats are overestimated by people who are watching media”; and “Common threats are underestimated by people who are watching media.”
- 5:43 – (A) includes something about what the news media is doing, but it’s also about governmental action, which is not presented. This is out of scope and thus, incorrect.
- 6:08 – (B) talks about magnifying the risk of a threat if it seems particularly dreadful or if those who would be affected have no control over it. But it’s not discussed in the example. (B) builds an unsupported relationship and is partly out of scope and therefore, is incorrect.
- 7:01 – (C) states that those who get their information primarily from the news media tend to overestimate the risk of uncommon threats relative to the risk of common threats.
- 7:21 – (D) talks about the long range versus the immediate threats, but these are not discussed in the example. This answer choice makes an unsupported comparison and therefore, is not the right answer.
- 7:42 – (E) is simply out of scope, so this is incorrect.
- 7:54 – This leaves (C) as the correct answer.
- 8:12 – Consider the example involving “causation.”
- 8:43 – Note: It’s common for questions to have more than one reasoning structure. This particular example starts with a comparative structure.
- 9:10 – The second statement uses the phrase “leads to,” which suggests causation. Visualize this as: Overextending → Injuries.
- 9:37 – The last statement states that when beginners try to match the high kicks of skilled practitioners, that’s when they overextend. Visualize this as: Matching skilled practitioner → Overextending.
- 10:00 – Look for ways to connect these statements and possibly form a long causal chain. The two statements both contain “overextending.” Given this, infer the following causal chain: Matching skilled practitioner → Injuries.
- 10:48 – (A) negates the relationship throughout the causal chain, so this is not the right answer.
- 11:13 – (B) suggests that by avoiding trying to match the high kicks of more skilled practitioners, beginners can reduce the risk. This describes the inferred causal relationship.
- 11:55 – (C) may seem convincing, but its flaw is that it’s too strong. Therefore, this is not the best answer.
- 12:42 – (D) is comparing kickboxing aerobics with other forms of aerobic exercise that do not involve high kicks. This comparison is not supported by the given statements and thus, is not the right answer.
- 13:33 – (E) is claiming something that is too strong to reflect the statements provided. Thus, this is not the right answer.
- 13:55 – Therefore, (B) is the correct answer.
- 14:40 – Consider the example involving “conditional logic.”
- 14:48 – The first statement states that if a society is urban, then it needs large-scale farming. Diagram this as: Urban societies → Large-scale farming.
- 15:07 – The second statement states why the first statement is true because of the phrase “this is because.” But this is not useful because we care about what is true and not why it is true.
- 15:38 – The last statement states that irrigation is necessary for large-scale farming. It means that if there is large-scale farming, then irrigation is needed. Diagram this as: Large-scale farming → Irrigation.
- 16:01 – The last part of the last statement states that if we are far from a river or a lake, then there will be no irrigation. Diagram this as: Far from rivers → ~Irrigation.
- 17:04 – Take the contrapositive of the third statement: Irrigation → ~Far from rivers.
- 17:25 – From these, form the following inferences: Urban societies → ~Far from rivers; and Far from rivers → ~Urban societies.
- 18:08 – (A) presents a statement that is unsupported by the information provided by the example. Therefore, this is not the correct answer.
- 18:28 – (B) talks about farming in general, not only large-scale farming, which means that its scope is much broader than the available information. Also, it says something about all societies, which also presents a broader scope. Therefore, this is incorrect.
- 19:20 – (C) states that urban societies could not be far from rivers or lakes. Diagram this as: Urban societies → ~Far from rivers.
- 19:44 – (D) states that urban societies do not have to rely upon irrigation because they’re near rivers or lakes. This directly contradicts the inference of the first and second statements and therefore, is incorrect.
- 20:12 – (E) talks about rural societies, which was not mentioned in the example. This comparison is unsupported and therefore, not the right answer.
- 20:47 – This leaves us with (C) as the correct answer.
- Note: Look out for trap answer choices that may involve the scope, logic, or degree of the statements. It is useful to eliminate wrong answers to find the right answer more quickly and effectively.
Next LSAT: January 16-17
Most Strongly Supported
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Next LSAT: January 16-17