These passage-driven questions ask you to find the answer that describes a flaw in the given argument:
If you see the word “EXCEPT” in a Flaw question, then the argument has several flaws. The wrong answers will each describe a problem with the argument. The correct answer will describe something that either doesn’t happen in the argument or isn’t a problem for the argument.
Ideally, you’ll have already pinpointed at least one problem after carefully reading the argument. But if not, take a moment to find one. Here’s how:
Focus on exactly what the argument is saying to avoid subconsciously helping it. Don’t make the very assumptions that the test writers are trying to hide.
Many arguments have more than one problem. After you spot one or two, those are your predictions. It’s time to read the answers.
Weed out incorrect answer choices by asking yourself these two questions:
As a rule of thumb throughout the LSAT, if a sentence sounds wordy, long, or confusing, then break it into parts. The underlying idea is usually simple.
On Flaw questions, answer choices often sound abstract. When you read them part by part, ask yourself whether that part accurately describes something that happens in the argument. Consider this question and one possible answer:
The professor’s reasoning is flawed in that her argument…
(A) treats a condition that by itself is enough to make an action wrong as though it were necessary for that action being wrong.
In your mind, break this answer into two parts:
Restate part 1 in your own words. It says that there’s a sufficient condition in the lawyer’s argument for something being wrong. Ask yourself: “Does the passage contain a sufficient condition that makes an action wrong?” If not, move on to the next answer choice. But if so, keep reading, because it could be the right answer.
Part 2, in simple terms, says that the argument takes part 1 to be necessary.
Since the question assumes that “the reasoning in the lawyer’s argument is flawed,” the author is saying that the lawyer is treating a condition as though it’s necessary when it’s actually sufficient. Ask yourself: “Does the lawyer in the passage treat the sufficient condition from part 1 as if it were necessary?” If so, keep reading this answer choice.
You’ve established that the answer choice is describing something that the lawyer actually does. Next, ask yourself:
The correct answer will accurately describe something that’s happening and will be a flaw or problem with the argument. If the answer is “no” to any of the questions above, you can stop and move on—that answer is wrong.
Watch Ben discuss these flaws in more depth here.
Match the following arguments to the criticisms to which they’re most vulnerable. These are examples of some of the most common flaws that appear on the LSAT.
A) Infers, from the fact that a certain condition is necessary for another condition to exist, that the first condition must be sufficient to prove that the second condition exists.
B) Infers causation, where only correlation has been shown.
C) Assumes what it purports to show is true.
D) Assumes that if all parts of a whole have a certain characteristic, then the whole must have that same characteristic.
E) Assumes that if a whole has a certain characteristic, then each part of the whole must have that same characteristic.
F) Criticizes the proponent of a policy rather than the policy itself.
G) Proposes a distorted version of an opposing viewpoint, in order to more easily attack that viewpoint.
H) Relies on a sample there is reason to believe is biased.