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NA totally wrecks me

kokobazookakokobazooka Member
in General 127 karma
What is everyone doing to conquer NA? I have a really difficult time on these questions...I'm thinking maybe I need to go back to the curriculum, but even then I'm not sure where to start. Review Assumptions? SA? BOTH? maybe weaken?
Or if not the curriculum, what else is there to do to help me improve?



  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    How do you approach answering necessary assumption questions?
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Inactive ⭐
    edited July 2016 2086 karma
    Review the NA portion of the curriculum, do a few of the problem sets (or redo if you've done them all), then drill entire LR sections.
    What helps me on NA questions is saying the following right before starting, "What is the author assuming in order to draw their conclusion?" or "What must absolutely be true if I want to help the author prove his/her conclusion to be true?"
  • allison.gill.sanfordallison.gill.sanford Alum Inactive Sage
    1128 karma
    If you're having issues, you probably have an imprecise understanding of what the task of the question type is - as @MrSamIam said, review the CC for NA and then if you are still having trouble, let us know.
  • CJF_2180CJF_2180 Alum Member
    106 karma
    I was struggling with this too. What I've found to be helpful is to isolate the assumption that the passage makes and then ask, what absolutely must be be true in order for this argument to work. Then as I go through the answer choices I ask myself does this absolutely have to be true. What happens if it isn't true. Does it wreck the argument?
  • LSATKingsmanLSATKingsman Alum Member
    edited July 2016 1024 karma
    MBT test = life

    JY would prolly yell at me for saying this but here goes. This may be the one question type where you can run through the answer choices without knowing what to directly look for. Just run the MBT test for every answer.
  • draj0623draj0623 Alum Member
    916 karma
    There is also a recorded webinar for this question type. I haven't reviewed this one yet but I have found value in reviewing webinars for question types I struggle with. I hope this helps!

  • leejayleeleejaylee Alum Member
    edited July 2016 218 karma
    I think of Necessary Assumption as "subtle and weak missing premises". You are trying to locate an answer choice which makes the argument completely valid (no loose strings).
    What I mean by "subtle and weak" is: Let's compare NA to Sufficient Assumption (SA). SA are usually very strong missing premises and are clear in stating that a supporting premise is missing. However, remember that the SA does not have to be true (it is not a MUST be TRUE) answer choice. It very STRONGLY helps us make the argument.

    Remember what J.Y. says in his syllabus: NA is the answer choice that is required, needed, absolutely must be true. If not, it will wreck the argument in question.

    SA is the answer choice that is probably wanted to make the argument very solid and strong.

    To conclude:
    SA => Strong missing premise to strengthen the argument greatly (conclusion will be satisfied in some way).
    NA => Weak missing premise to make the argument valid (without this, the conclusion cannot be satisfied at ALL).

    This SA vs NA helps a lot on level 4 and 5 difficulty questions when both of them are in the answer choices.
  • SamiSami Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    10746 karma
    For me, it really helps to spend time upfront on the stimulus. I usually try to see the method of reasoning used in the stimulus by comparing the premise with the conclusion and trying to see how the author has structured his argument. for example, is the method of reasoning cause and effect, or an argument by analogy? And once you have this, you can basically go into answer choices knowing what form the right answer might take. For example, if the argument was made by analogy in which two things were similar, so you want an answer choices that basically says that they are not different in an essential manner (blocking an alternative difference) or something like that.
    For me, If I don't have an understanding of the Method used by the author, I usually skip it, because I am probably going to get it wrong by chosing one of the sucker answer choices. I might as well spend time on another question, and come back to it again when I have time in the end. Sometimes reading it the second time helps me see what method or reasoning was used to arrive at the conclusion.
  • SamiSami Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    10746 karma
    oh and also once you are down to your two answers, or even if you have eliminated all of them, I make it a habit to use the negation technique to make sure that I have the correct answer. This has helped me sometimes realize I have the wrong answer.
  • kokobazookakokobazooka Member
    127 karma
    @draj0623 Thanks for the reference to the webinars!! I didn't even know they existed!! Watching all..
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    I use @McBeck418's method and double-check my answer using the negation test.
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