This question asks which tree will completely determine the order, if you place it in lot 2.

You should think logically about what’s restricted before looking at the answers. We know that lot 2 *needs *one of the maple or the oak. So placing a variable that *isn’t *the maple or the oak is more restrictive.

Next, we know two other things about lot 2:

- If we place the oak, then H and one other tree must also go there. (rule 1)
- If we place the maple, then the walnut can’t go there. (rule 2)

So walnut and hickory are special, because they interact with other variables. And hickory isn’t in the answers.

Let’s try the walnut. If we plant W, then we can’t plant the maple and we must plant the oak. Having the oak forces the hickory to go in lot 2 as well (rule 1):

Next we must obey rule 5. Lot three needs more trees than lot one. The only way to do this is to put one tree in lot 1 and three trees in lot 3:

Next, rule three says that the larch or the walnut has to be in lot 1. Since the walnut is in lot 2, we must place the larch in lot 1:

Only M, S and P are left to place. Only lot three has space, so they must go there:

This diagram obeys all the rules, and it’s the only possible diagram if we put the walnut in lot 2.

So **A **is **CORRECT.**

On question like this, you could in theory test each of the answers to check that there are indeed multiple possibilities. But that would take a long time. If you’re sure about the rules, you can be confident about choosing **A. **

However, it is possible to do some elimination. **B **and** C **are wrong because the sycamore and the plum are interchangeable. Both answers can’t be right.

And the right answer to the first question eliminates **D **and** E. **That answer places both the larch and the maple in lot 2. The sycamore and the plum are in lots 1 and 3 respectively. Those two variables are interchangeable, so they could switch.

Thus even when the larch and the maple are both in lot 2 the order is not completely determined, and **D **and** E **are wrong.

It wasn’t necessary to disprove answers **B-E, **but it also didn’t take that long. The LSAT often has shortcuts like the ones I mentioned. If you’re not completely sure, I’d eliminate the answers.

And for most questions I do check all the answers. The only reason I advocated skipping it here is that it could potentially take a long time to conclusively disprove answers **B-D. **The only reason it didn’t is because the LSAC gave shortcuts.

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Shannon says

“However, it is possible to do some elimination. B and C are wrong because the sycamore and the plum are interchangeable. Both answers can’t be right.”

Do you mean D and E?