Nearly all LSAT experts agree that reading outside articles is helpful as prep for LSAT. In this lesson, I want to show you how to improve your LSAT score by doing that. Let's read this very interesting article from the Economist together. It's less than 400 words and it's about attractive women.

Article summary

First, we're told that the conventional wisdom/hypothesis holds that attractive women should get ahead in the workplace. Why? Because people project positive attributes like sensitivity and poise onto them. Indeed, this conventional hypothesis is backed up with empirical evidence in the form of studies that show that attractive women are promoted more often.

Naturally, we think that this same advantage attractive women have in securing promotions would be present in securing job interviews, no?

As it turns out, new research reveals otherwise. The new empirical evidence suggests that attractive women who applied to jobs with a photo had to apply to an average of 11 jobs for every one interview offer. Contrast this with the exact same applicant who applied without a photo who only needed to apply to an average of 7 jobs to get an interview offer.

What's going on?

A new hypothesis is submitted: The dumb blonde hypothesis. People must think that prettier women are dumber. But, this hypothesis is immediately shut down. Prior to the study, these photos were rated on perceived intelligence and attractiveness and no correlation was found.

A better hypothesis is submitted: The jealousy hypothesis. 93% of Human Resources departments are women and they are the gatekeepers to interviews. They are discriminating against attractive female applicants.

Isn't this fascinating? Okay, but more to the point, from this passage, we can build many Logical Reasoning questions. Some of you seasoned LSAT students probably already sense an LR question looming on the horizon. That's a good sign!

Resolve-Reconcile-Explain question

RRE questions commonly introduce two seemingly conflicting ideas.  The two ideas could be hypotheses, phenomena, or data.  To build a RRE question out of this article, the passage would read:

It is generally accepted that attractive women get promoted more often but a new study finds that attractive women who submit photos with their applications to new jobs have less than half the interview rate than the same candidate who does not submit a photo.

Which one of the following, if true, would best resolve the apparent discrepancy above?

Within the article, we can find two resolutions (i.e., correct answer choices). First, we can say that people tend to think that prettier women are dumber. Second, we can say that employees who are gatekeepers to interviews are mostly women and women tend to be jealous of other beautiful women.

Weakening question

To make a Weakening question, we simply have to move some pieces around.  The stimulus would read:

A new study finds that attractive women who submit photos with their applications to new jobs have less than half the interview rate than the same candidate who does not submit a photo. This shows that people generally think that prettier women are dumber.

Which one of the following, if true, would best weaken the argument above?

Within the article, we can find two answers.  First, we can say that these photos were previously rated on perceived intelligence and attractiveness and no correlation was found. Second, we can offer an alternative hypothesis that says employees who are gatekeepers to interviews are mostly women and women tend to be jealous of other beautiful women.

See if you can build your own Strengthening, Descriptive Weakening, Weakening, or Resolve-Reconcile-Explain questions.

Or check out other Economist articles.  Their science articles are written like LSAT questions.

Featured image: the economist

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