LSAT 12 – Section 1 – Question 22

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT12 S1 Q22
Sufficient assumption +SA
+Harder 147.282 +SubsectionMedium

This is a Sufficient Assumption (SA) question and we know this before the question stem: “… an assumption that would allow the company president’s conclusion to be properly drawn?”

Sufficient assumption questions tend to be very formal. We’re looking for a rule that would validate the conclusion, specifically by bridging the premise and conclusion through the rule. Not only are we extrapolating the rule from our argument, but we’re also using that rule to render the argument “valid.” The way to prephrase our answer choice is by tying our premises and conclusion together into a rule: “If [premise] à then [conclusion].” In this question, this isn’t really the case.

In our first sentence, we’re told that Wilson gives free merch to its top salespeople. We’re not told how the company defines “top salespeople” or how many of them there are.

Next, we’re told that the number of salespeople getting this award has declined a lot over the past 15 years. In response to this, the president of Wilsons says: since our award standard is being a part of the top third of the sales team, we can also conclude that the number of people being passed over for awards has declined.

There is a lot of information in the passage and a couple of assumptions the president is making in his argument. It’s easiest to understand this if we put it into perspective if we have some numbers attached to this.

Fifteen years ago, let’s say in 2000, 100 people were given the award.

Now, in 2015, markedly fewer people got the award. Let’s say 50 people got the award. Based on what the president says, the criteria for awarding the prize is being a part of the top third of the sales force. So, if 50 people are 1/3 of the total sales force, the total sales force would be equal to 150 people. This means that 100 people were NOT awarded. Great!

The only problem is: do we the people who were NOT given an award in 2000? No! How do we know that in 2000, the award criteria is being part of the top 2/3 of the sales force? This would mean that the total sales force was 150, and 50 people were NOT awarded. That would really go against the conclusion.

The president is assuming that because there is a decrease in the awarded, there is a decrease in the NOT awarded. What must we have to guarantee that this is not the case? Membership of one-third OR LESS of the sales force would qualify salespeople for the award. This is our rule.

Answer Choice (A) Hiring policies being the same doesn’t mean anything for the number of people employed OR the number of people passed over for the award. It could be that more people are seeking jobs now than before or vice versa. There are so many ways this could affect the number of people employed and passed over for an award, but no way does it allow us to conclude that the number of people passed over for an award has decreased.

Answer Choice (B) Just because the number of salespeople has increased, that does not mean that the number of people of passed over for an award was higher than 15 years ago. We don’t know the criteria for awards back then, so we can’t draw a conclusion about the people awarded vs not awarded.

Correct Answer Choice (C) It gives us that missing information on the proportion of awardees to the total number of employees, allowing us to conclude that the number of people not awarded has also gone down.

Answer Choice (D) If we plug this back into our stimulus, does this validate our conclusion? No! If sales figures are declining, there could be a number of reasons why, and none of this helps explain why the president is able to conclude that non-awardee numbers have also gone down.

Answer Choice (E) We’re not concerned about calculating sales figures. If this is true, and we have different selection criteria, the number of people passed over for an award could increase or decrease. This does not help validate our conclusion.

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