#### Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

# Panda's guide to answer all SA, PSA, Strengthen and Weaken

Alum Member
274 karma
Hi Guys,

I think I have spent a lot of effort in coming this up and I want to share with you my hypothesis to see what you guys think about this as of how do you correctly tackle every SA, PSA, Strengthen and Weakening. (I suppose that I can add the NA question type into it as well, but...I am not there yet)

So here is my hypothesis:

1) Every SA, PSA, Strengthen, and weaken is an argument. Therefore, there is/are assumption[s].

2) First job is to read the stimulus and find the task. The task requested will then require us to go to various stages. For instance, If it is SA and PSA then we need to find the assumptions. But if it is strengthen or weakening then we need to bring one step further to find the best way to address it.

3) Read the question steam. When reading, it is important to find the stimulus and conclusion. When identifying, we have to be able to find the relationship between the stimulus and conclusion. For example, does the stimulus jump right into conclusion or does it just go from stimulus then major stimulus then minor conclusion then major conclusion, etc.

4) Find the word that is linked. One word or term is always in the premise and another is always in the conclusion. And if you link them, there comes your assumption, which is where you stop for your SA and PSA questions. SA and PSA questions can be made hard in 2 ways. The first way is that they give you 2 premises, which means that you have 2 assumptions (P1-C1), (P2-C2). But the method used is the same. The second way is to introduce something similar but not exact as of your anticipation.

And now comes to the answer choices. When answering the question, be mindful of how difficult the question is. If it is an easy question then your assumption, which you had anticipated should show up there in plain side. Some cosmetic on wording can occur, but there should be little difficulty in identifying them. You circle and move on.

But now for harder questions, while you do exactly the same thing above, you deploy the process of elimination method and find your final 2 candidates. When found, read carefully as of how they are worded. One wording can make a whole difference.

5) From step 5,we move into strengthening and weakening questions. The strengthening and weakening is just either block an objection (strengthen) or call out an assumption (weakening), but the twist here is that you have to assess how to best address it. But once again, your pre-forumulated assumptions stays.

The easy strengthening and weakening question just do this. But for the harder ones, they do something else.

They have a general tendency to call out an still connected but indirect the answer choice that deviates from you initial anticipation.

But before we go there, let's take a look at a question, where I disagree with JY's analysis. https://7sage.com/lesson/new-appliance-models-weaken-question/

In this question, there are embedded in it 2 argument parties making 2 arguments. On one side, there is the consumer, who claims because there are different modifications, product name should be different to differentiate them. On the other side, it says, because every modification is beneficial to the consumer, consumer should just ignore it)

So if you analyse the argument this way, the assumption pops out to you right away by connecting the words.
Assumption 1 from the consumers: The appearance of the product is not enough for the consumer to identify the modified version.
Assumption 2 from the merchant: every modification will benefit consumers.

And answer choice D, directly calls out the first assumption.

In the end, I always believe there is a model to solve these questions. A fool proof model.

• Alum Member
274 karma

https://7sage.com/lesson/peat-harvesting-strengthen-question/?ss_completed_lesson=980

In this argument, there are clearly 2 parties making 2 argument and that makes 2 assumptions that each relate to its own side of the argument.
• Alum Member
138 karma
Definitely agree with your method regarding SA questions. For example: PT 68, Sec 2 Question 23 was, at the time of my practice, way too advanced for me to understand without minutes of thought. With that said, I just linked up the jump in logic and picked an answer that covered it. It was a guaranteed 50/50 more than likely and it freed me up to think critically about three more questions rather than banging my head against the wall on one singular answer.
• Alum Member 🍌🍌
8678 karma
@"Giant Panda" a few of your terms seem to be a bit off for steps 2 and 3. The stimulus is actually where we read about the stuff that forms the argument or fact set. The question stem is what asks us to perform a certain task.
• Alum Member
1063 karma
@"Giant Panda" said:
Find the word that is linked. One word or term is always in the premise and another is always in the conclusion. And if you link them, there comes your assumption,
can you elaborate on what you mean by this? do you mean that the same word will be in the premises and conclusion?

also,
@BinghamtonDave said:
a few of your terms seem to be a bit off for steps 2 and 3.
I agree. I think you're using 'stimulus' to mean premises/support. The stimulus is just the paragraph of text that goes along with the question.
• Alum Member
274 karma
@RafaelBernard

The words may or may not be the same. If it is the same, then that becomes either a really easy question or a really hard one.

To elaborate more, please take a look at PT 31,S2, Q19.

To use this method, your analysis, while some of them is the same, becomes more precise and rigorous than JY's.

With that said, let me demonstrate to you what I mean and what is going on in my mind when I do this problem.

1) When I read this question, it is ask me to weaken. Therefore, I have to go all the way down, from first, identify the premise and conclusion, then come up with the assumptions that makes the statement valid, then look at the answer choice that fills up the assumption.

2) The key here is that your formulated assumption so that you will move the argument extremely close to validity.

So the conclusion of the argument is that "mistake"-not rose and no card

The premise 1) "Known then give roses, 2) "Not known then give a card"

At this moment, I will really urge you to not begin to do logic by writing it out. It is time consuming so just try to do it in your brain as to do connection instead. I think it is critical in formulating the right habit early on.

So the connection or assumption is that:

1) In all possibility, people will always send rose to her if know her.
2) In all possibility, people will always send card to her if not known her.

(If you want to double check and plug this 2 assumption into the statement, I will presume that you have a argument that is almost to the degree of validity"

But since this is not MBT, so the answer choice will be on the route, but not there. So you move down to the answer choice and you find B, which states, "some people send flowers for a reason other than the desire to please".

Which essentially deals with possibility 1, there are some people who will send flowers (violet) for a reason other than the desire to please.

• Alum Member
274 karma
The biggest issue I think, or from my experience, is to balance between having what you are looking for and match something that looks like it.

When you are doing the questions, you have to be reminded of the possible routes that you have, which is determined by the number of assumptions that you have, and fight off the urge to deviate from your originally intended path.

Take this question for example, if you go really deep in terms of analysis, let's look at the answer,

If you have your assumption in your mind when reading the answer choices, choice D, is the only one where you can cross off immediately. And the rest if a fight for your urge.

Urge 1: Go completely in the opposite direction, where you pick up something that is completely the opposite of your task, answer E, where instead of weakening, you go strengthen. This is a panic answer choice for students who have a understanding of the argument but can't be focused enough on the assumptions.

Urge 2: Give a premise booster. Answer choice A. where if you plug into the information, nothing is changed. Most people send roses when they send flowers=there is a small group that does not. (there is no a negation word for most)

Urge 3: Introduce something that is irrelevant but look relevant. Answer choice C.

So all in all, once the assumptions are formulated, keep your focus on the route that you have selected.
• Alum Member
274 karma
I once had a discussion with @"Cant Get Right" on this issue, where his perspective is that you have to be open minded when choosing your answers. I disagree.

I think to be more exact, your assumptions are the only routes that you can take. And the point of "keep an open mind" is defined on the extent that you are strengthening or weakening your argument. But the route is fixed.

And I believe this can be done and that is why we have so many PTs.

The only circumstance where I claim that "keep an open mind" is important is for "except" questions. In a way, you have too. The arguments have so many holes and you simply don't have the enough time to draw out all of them.

If you are interested, take a look at the lesson on weather satellite question, where I had made a comment on this. I had formulated 7 assumptions and I think you can keep go on.

Hope that helps.

Panda
• Alum Member
274 karma
@loosekanen I think not only for SA, PSA. Strengthening and weakening question applies too.
• Alum Member
edited January 2017 23929 karma
very interesting theory! Thanks for sharing @giantpanda!

• Alum Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
10721 karma
Hey @"Giant Panda" : )

Great Job at trying to work out how to deconstruct certain argument types. : ) There are a couple of things I would like to add and hopefully this might help you.

For example:
The definition of an assumption is that it is an unstated premise. Take a look at what you have listed out as your assumptions.
@"Giant Panda" said:
Assumption 1 from the consumers: The appearance of the product is not enough for the consumer to identify the modified version.
Assumption 2 from the merchant: every modification will benefit consumers.
Assumption 1 is directly stated in the premise: "some people complain that this practice makes it impossible for certain consumers to be certain of the appliance they are about to purchase". (This is basically the same as that the product is not enough for consumer to identify different versions).
Although this needs to be true for the consumers argument to work, it's not unstated.

Assumption number 2 is also stated in the stimulus, "manufacturers modifications are invariably improvements that benefit the buyer".

Instead of looking at two different arguments, a better way to do this question is to look at what the question is saying. It's asking you to weaken the Dealer's argument (not the consumers). The dealer's argument as a whole has 1 premise and 1 conclusion.
premise #1: these modifications to new appliances benefit the buyers.
Conclusion: so consumers have little reason to object to this practice. (Here you have to referential phrasing). "This practice" refers to dealers modifying existing models without giving the new models new names. "consumers objection" is referential phrasing for consumers saying that they cannot identify different versions.

You want to think of this stimulus as basically, "Is the premise enough to warrant our conclusion".
So can we conclude that the consumers have little reason to complain about the manufacturing not giving new models different names even if these new models benefit them despite the consumers not being able to tell them apart?
Do you see the problem? Even if these appliance are better if the consumers can't tell them apart, the consumers might have good reason to object! (That's the part you want to exploit to weaken or strengthen).

That's what answer choice "D" exploits. The improved versions become available while the old versions are still being sold by vendors. So if the consumers can't tell the difference which one is improved version, despite our premise stating that these improvements are better, the consumers definitely have reason to object to the practice of dealers modifying models without giving new models new names.

If you want to see this argument in a simple form lets take a look at this: Mary is not good at SA questions on LSAT and she is worried. But Mary is really good at NA questions therefore Mary has nothing to worry for her LSAT test.
In other sense, I am saying that Mary's ability to do NA questions outweighs her lack of ability to do SA questions on the test. (But there is no premise stating that in my stimulus above). If this was an NA answer choice, it would say NA questions some how outweigh the worry factor for not being able to do SA questions. If it was a strengthening question, it might say SA questions are not as prevalent on LSAT, if it was a weakening question, it might say 60 percent of question on LSAT are SA. (They are all exploiting this weakness in the stimulus about one point being better than others ("SA vs NA" or if we take a look at our above stimulus "not being able to tell these new models from old ones vs the new models being better than old".

In each stimulus our authors wanted us to side with one side without giving us a reason why one side outweighs the other.

So my takeaway for this question is try to see what the argument is actually doing instead of trying to look just for assumptions. Because as you stated above @"Cant Get Right" said you have to be open minded when choosing answers. I'll have to agree with him here. Especially when it comes to assumption question. Just because we had identified the problem in our stimulus above doesn't mean the LSAT writers are going to give us the exact wordings.

For example, If I state- Mary can play basketball therefore she is the best basketball player in the world. There are thousands of assumption here. A correct answer choice could say "she can defeat Shaqueel O'Neal". Or a correct answer choice could say "she can dribble". They both have to be true but it requires an open mind to not miss out on whatever version of the correct answer choice the LSAT writers throw at you.

• Alum Member
23929 karma
@Sami I loved your detailed explanation above. That makes so much more sense. I agree 110%

• Alum Member
edited January 2017 2573 karma
@pandabear2014 this is great! Anxiously awaiting NA!
• Free Trial Member
617 karma
@Sami said:
For example, If I state- Mary can play basketball therefore she is the best basketball player in the world. There are thousands of assumption here. A correct answer choice could say "she can defeat Shaqueel O'Neal". Or a correct answer choice could say "she can dribble". They both have to be true but it requires an open mind to not miss out on whatever version of the correct answer choice the LSAT writers throw at you.
Awesome explanation Sami, though I did laugh out loud at "Shaqueel O'Neal." I'm going to take a wild guess that you're not a huge NBA fan
• Alum Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
edited January 2017 10721 karma
@dantlee14 said:
I'm going to take a wild guess that you're not a huge NBA fan
lmao. Yeah. He is the only basketball player that came to my mind. I remember my cousin sister used to always talk about him

P.S. I was trying to sound like I knew a lot about basketball. Shaqueel O'Neal seemed like a safe bet.
• Alum Member
274 karma
@Sami

Hi Sami,

Thank you for your detailed reply. It had took me days in terms of thinking and at some point it got me into doubting whether the method is really "fool proof" or not. But in either case, I think we have something that we are in agreement of: when the question calls for a detailed analysis of the argument itself, then proper treatment should be supplied.

With that said, I will like to defend the method by pointing out the following:

First, the assumption in itself is a gap that exist between the premise of the argument and the conclusion of the argument. Of course, we can extend this to other circumstance such as when a minor premise is supporting a major premise.

But allow me to demonstrate how this operate by a simple sentence that I encountered yesterday in an email.

"Suggesting that Company Global should buy 4 new equipment due to "excessive pollution seems unreasonable. Your company selected these equipment for the specific application while fully understanding the environment that they would be subject to".

A general sentence, so where is the assumption. And by my method, I will do connection:

Assumption: Due to lack of consideration for environmental damage, the request made by my company is unreasonable.

In other words, the determination factor for the case as reasonable or not is built upon whether the environment which the equipment operated can truly be anticipated.

And to a great extent, an LSAT question is just formulated in such manner but with layers of complexity added on through language cosmetic and contextual information.

With this said, let's take a closer look at another application case.

PT-29-4-20, argument strengthening, except question.

Conclusion: Amphibian (referred as A) is declining in population worldwide.
Major premise: Caused by the declining of depletion of ozone layers.
Minor premise: UV-B damages gens and A's egg lacks UV-B protection

So what is the assumption link that I can make:

Assumption (minor premise with conclusion): The lack of protection and vulnerability to UV-B KILLED the animal.

Assumption 2: (minor premise with conclusion): The gene damage through UV-B exposure is enough to kill the animal.

And of course, since this is causation, the rule of chronology and no vice-versa in terms of relationship also needs to apply in this case.