LSAT Kung Fu Blog / How to Get Sufficient Assumption Questions Right
How to Get Sufficient Assumption Questions Right
On the LSAT, you can expect about 4 or 5 questions of the type I lovingly refer to as Sufficient Assumption Questions (2 or 3 of them in each Logical Reasoning section).
These questions are phrased in one of the following ways:
- Which one of the following principles, if valid, most helps to justify the reasoning above?
- Which one of the following, if assumed, allows the conclusion to be properly drawn?
- The conclusion above follows logically if which of the following is assumed?
Each version is demanding the same main task—that you provide an answer that would be big enough, strong enough, tough enough, aggressive enough, and, you know, enough enough to prove that the main conclusion of the argument is true. These mofos are asking for something that suffices for proof.
So you’re looking for something major, here.
Take for example question 21 from Section 1 in PrepTest 33. This is a Sufficient Assumption question (see the same wording as bullet point #1 up there? Oh, yeah). We can talk another time about the denotative vs. expected demand of this phrasing another time, after we’ve slipped into something more comfortable, probably.
For now, to the needs of the question and the answer choices!
First, notice that the right answer here (it’s (C), for those of you keeping score at home) is way, waaay bigger than we need to justify this conclusion. I mean, all we’re trying to prove is you shouldn’t use attacks that don’t confront your opponent’s argument. What’s this noise about not confronting every argument?
And here, it helps to remember the nature of the demand. We’ve not been asked for something that we need to know. We’ve not been asked for something that the arguer just left out and forgot to say. We’ve been asked for an answer that is ENOUGH TO PROVE that the arguer is right.
So, cast in that light, (C) makes tons of sense, right? I mean, let’s lay it out:
- If techniques that fail to confront every single argument should be avoided, and;
- if attacks on character fail to confront your opponent’s argument, then
- such attacks do not confront every single argument, so:
∴ Those attacks should be avoided.
And this is how you’ll do it every time! Look for an answer choice that’s big and strong and aggressive and don’t worry if it’s way, waaay too big for the argument.
It’s common that the argument only needs a footpath to get from Point A to Point B, and the right answer to the Sufficient Assumption question plonks down a damn superhighway on your argument instead. What I want you to remember is that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing.
And now, you’re another step closer to LSAT dominance and overall awesomeness.
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Until next time,
Stay fierce and stay logical,