LSAT Logical Reasoning : Main Point / Main Conclusion

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Logical Reasoning

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Main Point / Main Conclusion

Sociologist: The results of recent studies show that population growth has actually slowed in Asia and Africa in the last five years, while it has accelerated in parts of North America and Europe. But we should not put too much stock in this trend, for growth rates are cyclical, and are thus likely to equalize within another ten years.

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the sociologist's argument?

Possible Answers:

Population growth rates are cyclical, and are likely to equalize given a sufficient amount of time.

It would be unwise to make broad generalizations about population growth based solely on the results of recent studies.

Population growth has, in fact, been slowing in various parts of the world.

If ten years passes and growth rates have not equalized, it can be safely deduced that the current population growth trends are likely to continue.

North America and Europe will soon overtake Asia in overall population if trends demonstrated by recent growth studies are allowed to continue.

Correct answer:

It would be unwise to make broad generalizations about population growth based solely on the results of recent studies.

Explanation:

The correct answer is the only answer choice that restates the sociologist’s main conclusion, which is that “we should not put too much stock in this trend” – that is, the trend exemplified in the results of recent studies.

Example Question #11 : Main Point / Main Conclusion

In driving from work to the supermarket, a man’s path of travel is publicly exposed to pedestrians and other drivers. Each trip that he makes is in public view. However, a single trip does not lend much insight into a person’s life. As a puzzle piece only reveals a small portion of the greater scheme, a single trip to the mall or a friend’s house reveals only a small amount about a person. However, by affixing a GPS tracking device to the undercarriage of a man’s car, it is possible to determine not only the locations he travels to over an extended period of time, but also the time of day and frequency that he visits them. Repeated visits to a female coworker’s home suggest one thing, while frequent stops at a liquor store reveal another. GPS technology can uncover the individual puzzle pieces of a person’s weekly routine, and expose intimate details once those pieces are fit together.

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the excerpt?

Possible Answers:

Technology is developing at such a rapid pace that it is infringing on the privacy of the public at large. 

The whole is often greater than the sum of its parts; by looking at the big picture instead of focusing on small pieces of information, we can often get a more accurate sense of the reality that we face. 

GPS technology can reveal when a man might be cheating on his wife, or when a person might be suffering from an alcohol problem. 

GPS devices are powerful tools that are easily concealed, as they gather incredible amounts of information and can be affixed to the undercarriage of a car without detection. 

The process of gathering data can reveal patterns that lend insight into a person’s life that could not have been realized by the observance of a single action. 

Correct answer:

The process of gathering data can reveal patterns that lend insight into a person’s life that could not have been realized by the observance of a single action. 

Explanation:

Often times, the correct answer can be found using a process of elimination. The following answer choices are incorrect for the following reasons:

The passage does not say that technology is developing at a rapid pace, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Although two of the answer choices reveal what GPS is capable of, they do not capture the main conclusion of the passage. These answer choices are too narrow.

Finally, "The whole is often greater than the sum of its parts . . ."  is too broad and does not relate enough to the content of the text. 

The only option choice left is the correct answer, which draws a conclusion that is neither too narrow, nor too broad. 

Example Question #11 : Main Point / Main Conclusion

Over the past four years, Ecuador has received on average more than twenty million dollars of assistance from USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development. However, USAID has the discretion to decrease aid to Ecuador if the human trafficking conditions there remain the same or worsenThe U.S. Department of State monitors conditions of human trafficking in countries around the world by compiling the Trafficking in Persons Report each year. Unfortunately, the conditions of human trafficking in Ecuador have worsened in recent years. As a result ___

 

Which one of the following most logically completes the argument?

Possible Answers:

The United States may consider cutting diplomatic ties with Ecuador.

Ecuador may experience even more increased rates of human trafficking. 

USAID has the discretion to decrease funding. 

USAID may criticize Ecuador, but not remove the funding. 

Ecuador should increase its efforts to combat human trafficking. 

Correct answer:

USAID has the discretion to decrease funding. 

Explanation:

This is the most logical answer. USAID has the discretion to remove funding if Ecuador's human trafficking conditions worsen. Ecuador's human trafficking conditions did in fact worsen. 

Therefore, it is logical that USAID would have discretion to remove funding from Ecuador. 

Example Question #11 : Determining Which Answer Most Accurately Expresses The Main Idea Of The Argument

Writer: There's often no way a good author can estimate how many pages he or she will write per day. I say this because some people think that once a writer reaches a certain level of proficiency, it's easy to crank out a consistent output. That is simply not true. The creative mind is a fickle thing. One day's inspiration is often followed by weeks of stagnation. A page-driven quota does not help matters. In fact, the quality of the overall work is likely to suffer as a result of such quotas.

Which of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the writer’s argument?

Possible Answers:

Most written works produced as the result of page-driven quotas are lower in quality than those produced without such quotas.

Inspiration, when it comes to writing, is not the result of writing a set number of pages per day.

It is incorrect to believe that a writer, even a proficient one, can easily produce a consistent output.

Estimating the number of pages he or she will write per day is impossible for even the best writers.

A writer's creative mind is a fickle thing.

Correct answer:

It is incorrect to believe that a writer, even a proficient one, can easily produce a consistent output.

Explanation:

The main conclusion of the argument is a refutation of what "some people think" -- i.e. that it's easy for proficient writers to crank out a consistent output. The other answer choices either restate premises rather than the conclusion, are unsupported by the argument, or go beyond the argument's scope.

Example Question #12 : Determining Which Answer Most Accurately Expresses The Main Idea Of The Argument

Smoking cigarettes continues to be a common practice despite countless studies demonstrating that the habit causes deadly diseases. The government has attempted to reduce the number of smokers with advertising campaigns that explain the consequences of smoking, but the campaigns have been ineffective because the habit continues to be as prevalent as it was previous to the campaigns. The government should try one or more of the many alternatives to advertising. For instance, the government could raise the tax on cigarettes to the extent that smoking is prohibitively expensive.

Which of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

Possible Answers:

Advertising campaigns cannot reduce the number of people who smoke cigarettes

The government should increase taxes on cigarettes so that they are prohibitively expensive

Smoking cigarettes continues to be a common habit despite government initiatives to reduce the number of smokers

Smoking cigarettes can cause deadly diseases.

The government should take a new approach to reduce the number of people who smoke cigarettes

Correct answer:

The government should take a new approach to reduce the number of people who smoke cigarettes

Explanation:

The primary point of the passage is that the government should take a new approach to reducing the number of smokers.  The passage mentions the prevalence of smoking, failure of advertising campaigns, and harms caused by smoking to support that conclusion.  The passage mentions raising taxes merely as an example of one possible approach.

Example Question #13 : Determining Which Answer Most Accurately Expresses The Main Idea Of The Argument

Whales are well known for periodically leaping out of the water to the delight of those who are near enough to see the display.  In fact, the entire success of the whale-watching industry may depend on the fact that whales leap out of the water.  Interestingly, we really don't know why they leap.  Various plausible theories have been proposed, but none has been shown to be correct.

Which of the following best expresses the main point of the passage?

Possible Answers:

We do not know why whales leap out of the water

Whales do not regularly leap out of the water

Viewers are delighted when they see whales leap out of the water

Whales leap out of the water

The whale watching industry depends on whales leaping out of the water

Correct answer:

We do not know why whales leap out of the water

Explanation:

The author mentions the whale-watching industry to support the claim that it is widely known that whales leap out of the water.  The main point of the passage, however, is to establish that we do not know why whales do so.

Example Question #11 : Main Point / Main Conclusion

Physical trainer: Exercise is one of the most important parts of one's day. Many people are aware that 30 minutes of exercise lowers the heart rate, burns calories, and strengthens muscles. Many people, however, do not know that 30 minutes of exercise can also provide the benefits of elevating a person's metabolism and increasing productivity at work or school.

 

Which of the following best expresses the trainer's main point?

Possible Answers:

Most people do not know about the most important benefits that exercise provides

Exercise is important because of a variety of benefits, some of which are widely known and some of which are not well known

People are more likely to exercise if they are fully aware of the benefits of doing so

30 minutes of daily exercise is important for lowering a heart rate, burning calories, and strengthening muscles

There are important benefits of exercise, but there are some negative consequences as well

Correct answer:

Exercise is important because of a variety of benefits, some of which are widely known and some of which are not well known

Explanation:

The trainer's main point is not simply to express that exercise is important.  The trainer's point is to communicate the particular benefits and to note that there are even more advantages than most people are aware of.

Example Question #11 : Determining Which Answer Most Accurately Expresses The Main Idea Of The Argument

It is a costly, needless error to require extensive training for all medical professionals.  Some perform complex surgeries and some eye exams, but all are required to receive broad training.  If training requirements were more appropriately adapted to particular jobs within the medical field, many medical professionals could more easily become certified to practice and would charge less for their services. 

The author of the passage is most likely to agree with which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The jobs performed by most medical professionals should not require extensive training

Many medical professionals receive broader training than they need, but this is preferable to the risk of too little training

All medical professionals are currently required to receive the same training

All medical professionals are currently required to receive broad training

There would be no negative effects from reducing the training required for many medical professionals

Correct answer:

All medical professionals are currently required to receive broad training

Explanation:

The passage expressly states that all medical professionals are required to receive broad training.  The author does not express agreement with any of the other statements.

Example Question #11 : Main Point / Main Conclusion

Eye surgery has become a viable alternative to wearing glasses. There have been questions about long term effectiveness for many years, but the doubt seems to be disappearing. Few people have reported negative effects even years after surgery and many people say their improved vision has lasted. We should see the demand for eye surgery increasing drastically as a result of doubts being dispelled. Yet, the number of people obtaining eye surgeries remains relatively constant.

Which of the following best describes the main point of the passage?

Possible Answers:

In the past, there were legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of eye surgery, but these concerns have recently been dispelled

Eye surgery should be a more common alternative to glasses and contacts than it is currently

Since concerns about the effectiveness of eye surgery have recently been dispelled, it is surprising that eye surgeries have not become more popular

Concerns about the effectiveness of eye surgery have recently been dispelled, so these surgeries will become more common in the future

Despite what was once thought to be the case, eye surgeries are unlikely to be a viable alternative to glasses and contacts

Correct answer:

Since concerns about the effectiveness of eye surgery have recently been dispelled, it is surprising that eye surgeries have not become more popular

Explanation:

The purpose of the passage is to explain that it is perplexing that eye surgeries have not become more popular as a result of concerns about effectiveness being dispelled. The passage is not intended to take a position on whether eye surgery should be used more often.

Example Question #12 : Main Point / Main Conclusion

Professor: I cannot agree with the common sentiment that there should be fewer math requirements for children. While few children will directly use math for their careers, studying math strengthens important skills. Through math classes, children learn to follow complex instructions, reason, and confirm results. These skills are valuable for life and careers. Besides, most other subjects that children learn are also only indirectly useful.

Which of the following best expresses the professor's main point?

Possible Answers:

Through math, children learn skills that they cannot learn in other ways

Most subjects teach children fewer skills than math

Children gain valuable skills by studying math even when they do not directly use math in their careers

There should be no changes to math requirements for children

Those who suggest that children should have fewer math requirements underestimate how often children will directly use math in their careers

Correct answer:

Children gain valuable skills by studying math even when they do not directly use math in their careers

Explanation:

The professor concedes that children are unlikely to directly use math in their careers.  The professor's main point is that math produces skills that are indirectly useful.  Further, while the above argument is a response to those who would reduce math requirements, it is not clear precisely what the professor believes are the appropriate requirements. 

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