LSAT 13 – Section 2 – Question 05

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT13 S2 Q05
Strengthen +Streng
+Harder 148.524 +SubsectionMedium
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Here we have a strengthening questions, since the question stem demands: Which one of the following, if true, most strongly supports the conclusion drawn from the survey results?

The stimulus starts with the claim that financial success does not guarantee happiness. We should pause here and think about what a guarantee means. If something guarantees something else, then it is sufficient for something else. So what this first sentence really means is that it is not true that if you are financially successful then you are happy; financial success is not sufficient to produce happiness. The next sentence reveals the author’s position, as they assert that this claim has been verified by statistics. Interesting! Since this is a strengthening question, we want to anchor ourselves in this conclusion and get a good sense of what is supporting it. The final sentence introduces the support and tells us about a recent survey, where only one-third of respondents who claimed financial success also reported that they were happy.

If financial success did guarantee happiness, we would expect 100% of people with financial success to report that they are happy. The fact that only 33% did so is good evidence for our author’s conclusion. Unfortunately, there is just one problem. If we read the last sentence carefully, our sample for this statistic is composed of people who claimed to have financial success. Self-reporting should never inspire confidence. While there are many ways to strengthen this argument, we should be on the lookout for an answer that strengthens the connect between the respondents and being truly financially successful. Let’s see what the answers have in store for us:

Correct Answer Choice (A) This does exactly what we noticed the support needed. It strengthens the connection between our sample and actual financial success. If this is true, it guarantees there are at least some people who are financially successful and not happy, and therefore it is impossible that financial success is sufficient for happiness.

Answer Choice (B) We don’t care what people used to think or do think, nor whether financial success is necessary to happiness. Our conclusion is that, regardless of opinion, financial success is not sufficient for happiness.

Answer Choice (C) Financial security being sufficient for happiness wouldn’t mean that it is necessary to have financial security to be happy, so the existence of happy people without financial security isn’t strong support for our position. Even worse, this study still has the problem of self reporting.

Answer Choice (D) We are only told about what proportion of respondents who did report financial success were happy, we don’t know anything about the respondents who didn’t. Even if they were financially successful, maybe the all reported they were happy, in which case our argument would actually be weaker. Not enough information here.

Answer Choice (E) This would weaken our support by making a larger portion of those who reported financial success actually be happy.

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