QUESTION TEXT: At a large elementary school researchers studied…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: Chess made the children smarter.
REASONING: Children in the chess program started getting better grades.
ANALYSIS: This argument presents one possible cause of the higher grades. It wants you to forget that there are other possible causes. The chess program might have increased grades for a reason other than reasoning power or spatial intuition.
The right answer seems like its out of left field, and you might have avoided it for that reason. But “out of scope” is not a useful tool. If something affects the argument, then it’s relevant, even if it wasn’t a term mentioned in the argument.
- So? Take weaken question answers at their weakest. This could mean one single student learned chess outside the program. And we don’t know whether or how it impacted their grades.
- If you picked this, you probably thought “ah, the stupid kids failed to learn chess, and the smart kids did learn. That explains the difference.”
Nope. The issue is not that those who finished the program had higher grades. It’s that their grades improved. So if someone had a C, now they have a B. If someone had an A, now they have an A+.
The relevant comparison isn’t between students; it’s between an individual student’s grades before the program and after.
- CORRECT. This provides an alternate reason for the grade increase. The students wanted to be on the chess team, and to do that they needed to improve their grades. So they worked harder or something.
- Who cares? This could mean one student who wasn’t in the chess group improved their grades. That’s normal – students improve their grades all the time for reasons unrelated to chess. This tells us nothing about the chess group.
- So? This could mean a single person who didn’t finish the program was better than one person who did finish. The program could have had 1,000 students. This answer has zero impact.
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Graeme teaches how to break down arguments, quickly