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Logical Reasoning Arguments

This is the third of a series of articles on LSAT Logical Reasoning. The series contains the following articles:

LSAT Logical Reasoning: An Introduction
Logical Reasoning Questions
Logical Reasoning Arguments
Logical Reasoning Answers
Logical Reasoning Elimination

Logical Reasoning Arguments

Before we begin our discussion of logical reasoning arguments, let’s quickly review the TestSherpa method for logical reasoning:

  1. Read the question stem. Learn more about the logical reasoning argument without even reading it and start thinking about possible correct answers as you read the logical reasoning argument, killing two birds with one stone.
  2. Read and paraphrase the logical reasoning argument. Creating a paraphrase is critical. Restating the logical reasoning argument in your own words requires you to fully understand the argument and its scope. Also, a paraphrase saves you the time you might otherwise spend if you had to keep rereading the logical reasoning argument.
  3. Prephrase the answer. Prephrasing the answer to a logical reasoning argument means that you are going to create your own right answer before reading the answer choices. This keeps you a bit safer from the tempting wrong answers the LSAT will present you with and saves you time in scanning for the right answer to a logical reasoning argument.
  4. Eliminate wrong answers. Ideally, your prephrased answer choice will match the correct answer. If it doesn’t, you must eliminate the obvious wrong answers and work with the answers that are left.

Logical Reasoning Arguments: Reading and Paraphrasing

As you read the logical reasoning argument, think about each point in your own terms. It’s much easier to understand your own words than those of the test maker. You might even write your paraphrases out in shorthand in the test booklet. That way, if you have to come back to the question, you can quickly remember what the argument is about without rereading it.

Read the following stimulus:

The recent run of forest fires in the Pacific Northwest has led to a sudden decline in the supply of wood pulp and a corresponding increase in the cost of paper. Similar accidents, such as oil spills and the collapse of mining shafts, have led to higher prices for many related products. Undoubtedly, we will soon witness a rise in the price of envelopes and cardboard boxes as well.

A possible paraphrase in your own words might be:

Forest fires up, paper price up, the same with other resources, thus envelope and box prices up.

You might even write it in your test booklet:

Forest Fires /\ + Paper $ /\ = envelope/box $ /\

Either way, it sure beats having to read that argument again. By the way, many students use equal signs or three dots in a triangle as common shorthand that means, “thus,” or “therefore,” or any other conclusion clue word you want to substitute.

Here’s another logical reasoning argument to paraphrase:

Although music downloads have increased steadily over the past 3 years, we can expect a reversal of this trend in the very near future. Historically, more than 75 percent of music downloads have been purchased by people from 18 to 25 years of age, and the number of people in this age group is expected to decline steadily over the next 10 years.

A possible paraphrase for this logical reasoning argument:

Most downloads 18-25 + fewer 18-25’s in 10 years= fewer downloads in the near future.

We’ll talk about what’s wrong with this argument in the next article of this LSAT Logical Reasoning series when we move from logical reasoning arguments to logical reasoning answers.

Next up for your LSAT Test preparation: Logical Reasoning Answers

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