Prephrasing Assumptions

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.

Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:59 am

Prephrasing Assumptions

Postby girlygirl9 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:41 pm

Unfortunately, my mind just does not think like that.
But I want to!

Can someone provide an example of a decent assumption to make for SA and NA stimulus?

User avatar

Posts: 717
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 1:13 am

Re: Prephrasing Assumptions

Postby ltowns1 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:23 pm

So I had a hard time with prephrasing as well, and it's something you have to work at. I will say this, prephrasing is not something you should try to do in a very strict sense, meaning you shouldn't try to find an exact word for word prediction of what the right answer should look like. A lot of the times you' will find it hard to predict an exact answer in general on LR questions, but that's not what predicting is about. The process of prephrasing is simply to help you have an idea of what it is you're looking for. Sufficient questions tend to be easier to predict because it's very mechanical and mathematical. I find necessary assumption questions a little harder to predict at times. (Some are easier than others)

So to directly address your question, say I had this example:

Kerry took the LSAT for the first time and got a 179, therefore, Kerry's natural intelligence must be the sole reason for her high performance.

So what could be an adequate prediction for an argument like this if it were asking for a suffienct assumption? Maybe something like: All people who score extremely high on a standardized test the first time they take it do so only because of their natural intelligence. Or maybe something slightly different in wording, but something with basically the same meaning: All students who take the LSAT the first time and score high do so because they are intelligent" It's very mathematically driven in that way.

When you're discussing a necessary question, you're only finding what HAS to be true in order to make that argument work. What do we NEED to know in order for this argument to work?? Well, if you're claiming her intelligence is the only reason for why she got a high score then you must be assuming that she didn't have outside help. The outside help (preptest company, tutor, TLS, etc.) could have allowed her to learn what she maybe didn't know in order to get that high score.

Saying that she did not get at least some helpful LSAT advice from TLS would help prove this claim. Personally, when I predict an answer on necessary assumption questions I like to imagine that I'm in a debate and that I have to come up with some common sense way of responding to an argument. My prediction needs to be something that would make sense to the average person listening to the argument. You should also remember that the negation technique helps with necessary assumption questions as well. To be completely honest, I don't love doin the negation technique, but it is effective. Having said all this, you should remember what I said earlier. Predicting the answer is only something that should HELP you get to the right answer, in many cases it wont suffice just to predict the answer. When you predict (as best you can) an answer and you're able to effectively eliminate answer choices, you then have the tools you need to solve almost any question on LR. In fact, the entire point of prephrasing is to help you better understand the argument, which as a result helps you to eliminate better. As I said earlier, in many cases it will be hard to think of a prediction. In those cases, you should try as best you can to think about the argument and find an answer that responds to the question given.

You should also be aware that sometimes (especially on necessary assumption questions) you'll go into a question feeling confident you know what the flaw is because of your prediction and you'll find that it's not articulated in any of the answers choices. Why? Because an argument can have multiple flaws in it, and just because you did not see the flaw you predicted, doesn't mean the process of prediction was useless. In those situations your prediction should at least help you understand the gist of the argument. If you understand the gist of the argument you should still be able to eliminate at least two to three questions. Also, when I approach a problem I like to negate the conclusion and then read the reasoning for it. This helps me with prephrasing.

Above all else, remember to be skeptical about an argument and it's answer choices. Ask yourself why could even the best argument still be flawed, and why does this answer choice not do what I need it to. You should even be skeptical of your own answer. Try to find reasons to eliminate the answer you choose.

So that was a lot lol... I hope It helped. If anyone feels I missed something feel free to point it out.

Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests