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Warning: Recent RC Main Point Questions

Sarah889Sarah889 Alum Member

Hi All,

I've made an observation regarding Main Point questions on some of the most recent RC passages (70s primarily). I was reading a post on the Manhattan Prep LSAT forum, where another poster verified my suspicion. I want to share my observation with you below in the hope that it will help someone approach Main Point questions in the future.

Historically, the LSAT writers have favored answer choices that encompass the main point of the passage and whatever subsidiary point was made in the passage. The correct answer choices have been broad, inclusive statements and certain incorrect answer choices were incorrect because they were “too narrow” or did not encompass one of the subsidiary points while another answer choice did. In recent tests, however, the LSAT writers have started to exploit our conditioning to this type of strategy. They will add a broad answer choice with unwarranted strong language (subtle strong language, like “most” or “prominent”) or with incorrect time frames (like “recently” or “historically”) that encompasses both the main point and the subsidiary point. They are trying to utilize the fact that we have been conditioned to look for “more complete” answer choices and hope that we will overlook the subtle characteristics that ultimately make the answer choice incorrect. The correct answer choice ends up being something more direct, narrow, and only concerned with the author’s overall takeaway rather than any “exceptions” or “sub-points” he/she gets into. (See PT73.S1.Q16- answer choice D & PT74.S3.Q9- answer choice E for examples)

With one month until the September test, I know keeping this in mind will help me be more aware of these types of strategies the LSAT writers have been utilizing. Has anyone else noticed this as well?

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