LSAT 55 – Section 3 – Question 20

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT55 S3 Q20
Main conclusion or main point +MC
+Medium 144.364 +SubsectionEasier

We start with the question stem: Which of the following most accurately expresses the overall conclusion drawn in the argument? This is a Main Conclusion question.

The author begins by saying that scientists were studying a particular bacteria and that most of that particular type of bacteria are in hibernation at any given moment. So we have a type of bacteria called 'X.' You'll find that more than half of them are in hibernation. OK. The author says that some microbiologists have concluded that bacteria, in general, are usually in hibernation.

The author goes on to say that "this conclusion (that bacteria are usually in hibernation) would be reasonable if all types of bacteria were similar)." The author is saying, "Hey. If 'X' is usually in hibernation and all bacteria were similar to 'X,' then it wouldn't be so crazy to think that all bacteria were usually in hibernation." OK, author, I don't hate where you are going with this. She then says, "but (OK, we are turning to her argument), in fact, since (premise indicator) they (the bacteria) are extremely diverse, "it is unlikely that most types of bacteria hibernate regularly (conclusion)." We have our Main Conclusion.

At this point, on the test, you would go and hunt for that in the answer choices. As good 7Sage students, you likely recognize that the author's argument is quite poor. But our job here is not to evaluate. Our job is to find the Main Conclusion (which we have), and look for a paraphrase of it in the answer choices.

Answer Choice (A) is not the author's MC. We do not even know if this is the microbiologists' conclusion. Those microbiologists claimed that bacteria, in general, are usually in hibernation. Imagine that a single bacteria strain out of 100 makes up 99% of bacteria and that bacteria is always in hibernation. The other 99 types are not hibernating. In that case, "bacteria in general" are in hibernation, but only 1% of the types of bacteria are in hibernation. Either way, not our Main Conclusion.

Correct Answer Choice (B) is a paraphrase of our Main Conclusion. The author used the term "unlikely," while (B) uses "probably not true." These terms are interchangeable.

Answer Choice (C) is tempting, but if you picked this answer, either you failed to notice the premise indicator "since," or you were trying to fix the argument. (C) would fix the argument. It is the most basic form of a Sufficient Assumption: If Premise, then Conclusion. But our job is to find the Main Conclusion, not to make the argument valid.

Answer Choice (D) is a claim the author makes, but she offers no support for it. Therefore, this is not our main conclusion. She actually uses this claim to introduce her argument.

Answer Choice (E) is too specific. The author does not attempt to show how many bacteria hibernate regularly; she simply wants to say it is unlikely most types of bacteria hibernate regularly.

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