This post is part of an ongoing series of question explanations for the LSAT. In this post, I explain LSAT PrepTest 52, Section 1, Question 1. If you are looking for a copy of PrepTest 52, check out my post on where to find LSAT PrepTests. If you already have a copy, keep it on hand as you read the explanation.
Question Type: Identify the Conclusion
Identify the conclusion questions require us to 1) analyse the argument’s reasoning structure, 2) identify the argument’s conclusion, and 3) choose the answer that most clearly expresses the same content as the conclusion.
Analyzing the Argument’s Reasoning Structure
The first two sentences of the argument explain a system used by some companies (ranking employees according to job performance, rewarding the top 10%, and penalizing the bottom 10%). After explaining the system, the author of the argument makes the assertion that the system is unfair to workers. The author then provides two reasons to believe the assertion. First, the author claims that some good workers might get bad rankings simply because they are in a group composed mostly of even better workers. Second, the author states that some managers may provide good rankings to workers that share the managers’ interests instead of ranking solely according to job performance.
Identifying the Argument’s Conclusion
In this case, the conclusion is “this system is unfair to workers.” We know this because it’s the only assertion in the argument that receives support from other statements. The final two sentences in the argument provide us with reasons to believe that the conclusion is true. Our conclusion, on the other hand, does not provide us with a reason to believe anything else in the argument. Simply put, we know the assertion “this system is unfair to workers”” is the conclusion because it receives support from other parts of the argument but does not provide support to anything else in the argument.
Choosing the Answer
Answer A: This is a piece of information mentioned in the argument, but it is not the author’s main point. It is not supported by anything; rather, it provides background so that we can understand the author’s argument.
Answer B: Just like answer A, this is a piece of information mentioned in the argument, but it is not the author’s main point. It is not supported by anything; rather, it provides background so that we can understand the author’s argument.
Answer C: Correct! This answer matches the content of the argument’s conclusion.
Answer D: This is a reason to believe the conclusion; it provides support for the conclusion of the argument. Thus, it is not the argument’s main conclusion.
Answer E: Just like answer D, this is a reason to believe the conclusion; it provides support for the conclusion of the argument. Thus, it is not the main conclusion.