Law School Discussion

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« on: November 27, 2007, 07:17:28 PM »
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lisak

Re: Starting to get irked by LR. Dec 2001 #24
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007, 07:43:46 PM »
This is definitely a tricky question, but it actually is not too hard once you see the pattern.  As you know, the LSAT is all about recognizing patterns. ;)

The concept is as follows: 
Basically, even though 1984 is the 2nd most influential book, it may be a very distant second (and probably is IMHO).  So, it is quite possible that The Bible was the most influential for 95% of people surveyed and that 1984 was the second most influential by influencing, let's say 3%.  And 2 other books influenced 1% of the surveyed people.

This would satisfy the conditions, but, obviously, in this situation, the book 1984 did not influence a great number of the readers.  Rather, it influenced a small number (30 of the 1,000 readers surveyed to be exact).

Conversely, it is possible (though not likely IMHO) that the Bible could have influenced only something like 50% of the readers and that 1984 influenced 45% and a compilation of other books each influenced the rest of the 5% of readers.  In this situation, The Bible influenced 500 of the 1,000 readers and the book 1984 influenced 450 of 1,000 the readers.  So, in this second case, the book 1984 did in fact influence a large number of readers.

As such, understanding how many of the readers chose the book 1984 can help you understand how strong the argument is.  Unfortunately, that is not one of the answer choices.  So, then you have to evaluate the answer choices and see if any of them will help you obtain this same information in a slightly more round-about way.  And indeed, answer choice (B) does precisely this.  Because if you can find out how many books other than 1984 influenced the readers surveyed, then you can help you to ascertain whether or not 1984 actually influenced a large number of readers. 

Does this make sense?  I hope this explanation helps.

 :)Lisa

lisak

Re: Starting to get irked by LR. Dec 2001 #24
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2007, 08:39:16 PM »
I am glad that my analysis helped a bit, OTALSH.

And I understand your point, I was debating between these 2 choices (B and E) myself. 

But think about it, if you knew the answer to E (how many people actually read the books they mentioned), would that help you in being able to validate whether the columnists' argument is accurate?  I don't think it adds to that body of knowledge very much.

Moreover, the survey was asking only which book most influenced them, not necessarily whether they read that book (though I would certainly hope that people read books that most influence them).  Moreover, the stimulus only mentions "readers" in terms of "newspaper's readers", it never specifically mentions book readers.  This (I think) is another ploy to get you to read beyond what the stimulus really says.

I know this is not a perfect answer, but try to personalize the argument.  If you were a reporter / journalist and could only ask 1 question to be able to ascertain whether the columnist's argument was valid, which would you choose...B or E.  B, while potentially helpful in understanding whether the survey was conducted of a representative populace, whether the survey really has merit / teeth, etc, does not help evaluate whether the argument that the book 1984 was very influential of the readers (only that they read the books they said were influential).  E, on the other hand, helps you understand whether 1984 was truly influential to a great many readers or only a small sliver of readers (at least according to the readers responses, which is all we have to go from).

Also, I completely agree with Jeffort's comment.  It is very succinct and on point in drawing on an easy to understand analogy.  Well done, Jeffort!

Hope this helps.  Good luck in studying for the LSAT!  I will be taking it myself this Saturday!

 :)Lisa