LSAT 15 – Section 3 – Question 15

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S3 Q15
Method of reasoning or descriptive +Method
+Easiest 147.463 +SubsectionMedium

We can identify this question as Method of Reasoning because of the question stem: “Dr. Nash responds to Dr. Godfrey’s argument by doing which of the following?”

When dealing with a Method of Reasoning question, we know we are looking for an answer choice that correctly describes the structure of our entire argument. Our correct answer is going to fit the argument exactly. Our wrong answer choices likely explain argument structures we are familiar with, but that simply don’t apply to the specific question we are looking at. Knowing what the right and wrong answers are going to do, we can jump into the stimulus.

This question presents us with two speakers. Right away, we should recognize that there are two conclusions and two reasons behind them. Our first speaker, Dr. Godfrey, points out a correlation. We learn that high school students who are now working over 15 hours per week receive lower grades than their peers. Dr. Godfrey concludes that because these overlap that the first (working) must be causing the second (lower grades). While that is one possible interpretation of a correlation, we know that just because two things happen at the same time does not mean they happen because of each other.

Dr. Nash points out the interpretation Dr. Godfrey has forgotten is just as likely. It does not have to be the case that having a job causes low grades. It could just as easily be the case that students receiving low grades turn to after school jobs to begin building careers or their self esteem. Using structural analysis we can identify the first speaker incorrectly concludes A because B. Meanwhile, Dr. Nash points out it is just as likely we have B because A.

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice does not match the structure of our argument. By telling us that the argument attempts to “downplay the seriousness of the problems,” the answer ascribes a position to Dr. Nash that cannot be supported. Dr. Nash makes no comment on how serious these problems are. They could be big, they could be small. The only information Dr. Nash responds with is the direction of causation the arrow could be pointing toward.

Correct Answer Choice (B) This is exactly what we are looking for. This answer choice correctly summarizes the structure of our entire argument by affirming that Dr. Nash points out a possible alternative outcome. This is the only answer choice that points out how Dr. Nash corrects Dr. Godfrey’s causation mistake.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice does not line up with the structure of the stimulus. This answer choice claims Dr. Nash has a problem with the accuracy of Dr. Godfrey’s evidence. But a conclusion built on this argument would reference the validity of the numbers in some way shape or form. We know that accuracy of the evidence isn’t the problem in our argument - it’s the interpretation of that evidence. Dr. Godfrey forgets about one way we could interpret the facts rather than questioning whether the facts were good to begin with.

Answer Choice (D) This answer choice does not accurately summarize what is going on in our stimulus. This answer claims that the fault of the academic problems is what Dr. Nash is concerned about. But Dr. Nash does not come to the defense of the schools as this answer choice claims.

Answer Choice (E) This answer choice is not what we are looking for. Our second speaker simply suggests the causal relationship simply in the opposite direction. This does not align with what answer choice (E) suggests, which is that there is no relationship between these variables at all.

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