Confession: last week in class, I nearly strangled a student. I leaned forward, pretended to put my hands around his neck, and then trembled in a strange way.*
Moments before, we’d had this conversation:
Homer Simpson does not have the LSAT score to teach for Manhattan LSAT
Mary: Why not (E), Sam?
Sam: I felt like it was already stated in the argument.
Mary: But it’s an inference question.
Sam: Yeah, but (E) was pretty much told to us already.
Mary: [Stared at him blankly.]
Sam: It’s like… right there in the argument already. Seemed too obvious.
Mary: [Kept staring.]
Sam: Is that… wrong?
Mary: EVERYBODY, SAM’S ANSWER IS (E), HE JUST DIDN’T REALIZE IT BEFORE.
Luckily, Sam and I are friends. (He’s reading this going, “not anymore.”)
Guys. Please listen. Do not eliminate an answer choice to an inference question because you think it was already stated in the argument. That’s like eliminating a strengthen answer choice because it strengthens too much, or an assumption answer choice because it was unstated. (If you just gasped at the idea of either of those, that’s a good sign.)
Your ideal inference answer choice? An exact replica of a sentence in the argument. Think about it: you’re trying to figure out what must be true. What must be true more than something you’ve been told word for word is true?
Of course, you will probably never see your ideal answer choice… you’ll have to settle for a close match with a synonym or two. But now that you know what you’re going for in a perfect world, no more “we already know that” as a reason for eliminating anything on inference questions, okay?
This post is courtesy of Mary Adkins at Manhattan LSAT. Manhattan LSAT is a leading LSAT-exclusive test preparation provider. If you don’t know much about the LSAT, you can read the Manhattan LSAT intro guide or attend one of the free workshops (available in NYC and Live Online).