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Sample LSAT Critical Reasoning Section

Time —35 Minutes

25 Questions

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  1. One of the truisms of the advertising industry is that it is rarely necessary to say something of substance in an advertisement in order to boost sales. Instead, one only needs to attract the potential customer’s attention; memory does the rest, for it is more important for sales that people know of a product than that they know something about it.

Which of the following is assumed by the argument?

(A) People can remember a product without having much information about it.

(B) Advertisements, in their own way, function to improve people’s memories.

(C) Attracting a potential customer’s attention is a simple matter.

(D) The advertising industry knows little of substance about the products it promotes.

(E) Advertisements seldom tell the truth about a product.

2.Why save endangered species? For the general public, endangered species appear to be little more than biological oddities. A very different perception is gained from considering the issue of extinction in a wider context. The important point is that many major social advances have been made on the basis of life forms whose worth would never have been perceived in advance. Consider the impact of rubber-producing plants on contemporary life and industry: approximately two-thirds of the world’s rubber supply comes from rubber producing plants and is made into objects as diverse as rubber washers and rubber boots.

The point of the passage is made chiefly by

(A) acknowledging the validity of two opposing points of view

(B) appealing to the emotions of the audience rather than to their intellects

(C) suggesting a useful perspective for viewing the question raised at the beginning of the passage

(D) trying to discredit the view of an opponent without presenting an alternative hypothesis

(E) generalizing from similar to dissimilar cases.

3.Only a member of the Regionalist party would oppose the bill for a new recycling law that would protect the environment from industrial interests. Ellen cannot be a member of the Regionalist party because she supports the bill.

Which of the following statements points out why the conclusion is invalidly drawn?

(A) Regionalist party members have organized to oppose industrial interests on several other issues.

(B) Industrial interests need not oppose the protection of the environment.

(C) Past attempts to protect the environment through recycling laws have failed.

(D) It is possible that some Regionalist party members may not oppose the bill for a new recycling law.

(E) Ellen has attended programs and distributed literature prepared by the Regionalist party.

4.Roberta was born in 1967, and so in 1976 she was nine years old. It is clear from this example that the last two digits of a person’s birth year will be the same as the last two digits of the year of that person’s ninth birthday, except that the position of the digits will be reversed.

Which of the following is the best criticism of the assertions made?

(A) The generalization is valid only for those birth years that do not end in two zeroes.

(B) The example does not exhibit the same principle as is expressed in the generalization based on it.

(C) The generalization is valid only for those birth years in which the last digit is one greater than the second-to-last digit.

(D) The example cannot be shown to be correct unless the truth of the generalization is already presupposed.

(E) The generalization is valid only for those birth years in which the last digit is greater than five.

5.The greatest chance for the existence of extraterrestrial life is on a planet beyond our solar system. The Milky Way galaxy alone contains 100 billion other suns, many of which could be accompanied by planets similar enough to Earth to make them suitable abodes of life.

The statement presupposes which of the following?

(A) Living creatures on another planet would probably have the same appearance as those on Earth.

(B) Life cannot exist on other planets in our solar system.

(C) If the appropriate physical conditions exist, life is an inevitable consequence.

(D) More than one of the suns in the galaxy is accompanied by an Earth-like planet.

(E) It is likely that life on another planet would require conditions similar to those on Earth.

6.The state with the greatest fraction of its population in urban areas, if the urban areas are considered to include the suburbs, is California. The West is highly urbanized, but California is exceptional even in that region: 91 percent of its population lives in urban areas. Geographically, however, California is rural: 96 percent of its land is outside urban areas.

If all of the statements are true, which of the following is best supported on the basis of them?

(A) No state has a smaller fraction of its population in rural areas than California has.

(B) The current rate of population growth in California’s urban areas exceeds that current rate of population growth in California’s rural areas.

(C) In California 96 percent of the population lives on 9 percent of the land.

(D) No state has a smaller area devoted to urban settlement than California has.

(E) California’s population density is among the highest of all states in the United States.

7.A ten-year comparison between the countries of Arudia and Cazonia in terms of crop yields per acre revealed that when only planted acreae is compared, Cazonian yields are equal to 68 percent of Arudian yields. When total agricultural acreage (planted acreage plus fallow acreage) is compared, however, Cazonia’s yield is 114 percent of Arudia’s yield.

From the information above, which of the following can be most reliably inferred about Arudian and Cazonian agriculture during the ten-year period?

(A) A higher percentage of total agricultural acreage was fallow in Arudia than in Cazonia.

(B) Arudia had more fallow acreage than planted acreage.

(C) Fewer total acres of available agricultural land were fallow in Cazonia than in Arudia.

(D) Cazonia had more planted acreage than fallow acreage.

(E) Cazonia produced a greater volume of crops than Arudia produced.

8.In the United States between 1850 and 1880, the number of farmers continued to increase, but at a rate lower than that of the general population.

Which of the following statements directly contradicts the information presented above?

(A) The number of farmers in the general population increased slightly in the thirty years between 1850 and 1880.

(B) The rate of growth of the United States labor force and the rate of growth of the general population rose simultaneously in the thirty years between 1850 and 1880.

(C) The proportion of farmers in the United States labor force remained constant in the thirty years between 1850 and 1880.

(D) The proportion of farmers in the United States labor force decreased from 64 percent in 1850 to 49 percent in 1880.

(E) The proportion of farmers in the general population increased from 68 percent in 1850 to 72 percent in 1880.

9.The 38 corporations that filed United States income tax returns showing a net income of more than $100 million accounted for 53 percent of the total taxable income from foreign sources reported on all tax returns. Sixty percent of the total taxable income from foreign sources came from the 200 returns reporting income from 10 or more countries.

If the statements above are true, which of the following must also be true?

(A) Most of the total taxable income earned by corporations with net income above $ 100 million was earned from foreign sources.

(B) Wealthy individuals with large personal incomes reported 47 percent of the total taxable income from foreign sources.

(C) Income from foreign sources amounted to between 53 and 60 percent of all reported taxable income.

(D) Some of the corporations with net income above $ 100 million reported income from 10 or more countries.

(E) Most of the tax returns showing income from 10 or more countries reported net income of more than $ 100 million.

10.The greater the division of labor in an economy, the greater the need for coordination. This is because increased division of labor entails a larger number of specialized producers, which results in a greater burden on managers and, potentially, in a greater number of disruptions of supply and production. There is always more division of labor in market economies than in planned economies.

If all of the statements given are true, the which of the following must also be true?

(A) Disruptions of supply and production are more frequent in planned economies than in market economies.

(B) There are more specialized producers in planned economies than in market economies.

(C) The need for coordination in market economies is greater than in planned economies.

(D) A manager’s task is easier in a market economy than in a planned economy.

(E) Division of labor functions more effectively in market economies than in planned economies.

11.Therapists find that treatment of those people who seek help because they are unable to stop smoking or overeating is rarely successful. From these experiences, therapists have concluded that such habits are intractable, and success in breaking them is rare.

As surveys show, millions of people have dropped the habit of smoking, and many people have successfully managed a substantial weight loss.

If all of the statements are correct, an explanation of their apparent contradiction is provided by the hypothesis that

(A) there have been some successes in therapy, and those successes were counted in the surveys

(B) it is easier to stop smoking than it is to stop overeating

(C) it is easy to break the habits of smoking and overeating by exercising willpower

(D) the group of people selected for the survey did not include those who failed to break their habits even after therapy

(E) those who succeed in curing themselves do not go for treatment and so are not included in the therapists’ data

12.”On the whole,” Ms. Dennis remarked, “engineering students are lazier now than they used to be. I know because fewer and fewer of my students regularly do the work they are assigned.”

Which of the following identifies a flaw in Ms. Dennis’ reasoning?

(A) Plenty of people besides engineering students do not work as hard as they should.

(B) Ms. Dennis does not consider the excuses her students may have for being lazy.

(C) The argument does not propose any constructive solutions to the problem it identifies.

(D) The argument assumes that Ms. Dennis’ students are representative of engineering students in general.

(E) Ms. Dennis does not seem sympathetic to the problems of her students.

13.The overall operating costs of many small farms are reduced when the farmers of small farms eliminate expensive commercial chemical fertilizers and pesticides in favor of crop rotation and the twice-yearly use of manure as fertilizer. Therefore, farmers of large farms should adopt the same measures. They will then realize even greater total savings than do the small farmers.

The argument assumes that

(A) it is more cost-effective for small farm farmers to eliminate the use of commercial fertilizers and pesticides than it is for large farm farmers to do so

(B) a sufficient amount of manure will be available for the fields of large farm farmers

(C) large farm farmers would not realize similar cost benefits by using treated sewage sludge instead of commercial chemical fertilizers

(D) large farm farmers generally look to small farm farmers for innovative ways of increasing crop yields or reducing operating costs

(E) the smaller the farm, the more control the farmer has over operating costs

14.Factory workers in Beltania are guaranteed lifetime jobs, bonuses paid on the basis of productivity and corporate profits, and a wage rate that is not attached to a particular job. Paradoxically, these guarantees do not discourage factory owners from introducing labor-saving machinery. Such innovations are to the factory owners’ advantage despite the fact that the owners must protect the wages of their workers.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain why the introduction of labor-saving machinery is advantageous to factory owners?

(A) Before a Beltanian Factory worker is hired, he or she must present a record of his or her previous productivity.

(B) Labor-saving machinery increases productivity, thus yielding profits that more than cover the cost of retraining workers for other jobs.

(C) The purchase and maintenance of new machinery adds significantly to the final cost of the goods produced.

(D) Factory workers demand a change of procedure in the routine tasks they perform.

(E) Limited competition exists among Beltanian factories for consumer markets.

15.During the day in Lake Constance, the zooplankton D. hyaline departs for the depths where food is scarce and the water cold. D. galeata remains near the warm surface where food is abundant. Even though D. galeata grows and reproduces much faster, its population is often outnumbered by D. hyaline.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to resolve the apparent paradox?

(A) The number of species of zooplankton living at the bottom of the lake is twice that of species living at the surface.

(B) Predators of zooplankton, such as whitefish and perch, live and feed near the surface of the lake during the day.

(C) In order to make the most of scarce food resources, D.hyaline matures more slowly than D. galeata.

(D) D. galeata clusters under vegetation during the hottest part of the day to avoid the Sun’s rays.

(E) D. galeata produces twice as many offspring per individual in any given period of time as does D. hyaline.

16.A study attitudes toward prime-time television programs showed that programs with identical rating sin terms of number of people watching received highly divergent marks for quality from their viewers. This additional piece of information could prove valuable for advertisers, who might be well advised to spend their advertising dollars for programs that viewers feel are of high quality.

Which of the following, if true, supports the claim that information about viewers’ perceptions of the quality of television programs could be valuable to advertisers?

(A) The number of programs judged to be of high quality constituted a high percentage of the total number of programs judged.

(B) Many of the programs judged to be of high quality were shown on noncommercial networks.

(C) Television viewers more frequently remember the sponsors of programs they admire than the sponsors of programs they judge mediocre.

(D) Television viewers tend to watch new programs only when those programs follow old, familiar programs.

(E) Television viewers report that the quality of a television advertisement has little effect on their buying habits.

17.Each year, fires in the United States cause $ 12 billion in property losses, insurance costs, fire-fighting expenses, and loss of worker productivity. These fire losses are seven times those in Japan on a per capita basis.

Which of the following, if true, would be LEAST likely to be a factor contributing to the difference between fire losses in Japan and those in the United States?

(A) Significantly more money per capita is spent each year on fire-prevention efforts in the United States than is spent on such efforts in Japan.

(B) The rate of arson, a major contributor to fire statistics in the United States, is almost negligible in Japan.

(C) Most Japanese homes, unlike those in the United States, are equipped with specially designed and effective fire-extinguishing equipment.

(D) Foam-based and plastic furniture, less popular in Japan than in the United States, ignites readily and releases twice the heat energy of equivalent weights of natural fibers.

(E) Japanese fire departments devote proportionately more personnel time to inspection, training, and public education than do United States fire departments.

18.Some would have you believe that the economic problems of Western Europe in the 1980s were caused by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel. This is nonsense. After all, Great Britain was not dependent on OPEC oil and yet Great Britain suffered from the same economic problems that afflicted France and West Germany.

The author’s point is made primarily by

(A) offering Great Britain as a counterexample

(B) analyzing the economic difficulties of France and West Germany

(C) pointing out a misconception in reasoning

(D) proposing an alternative Explanation

(E) drawing an analogy between France and West Germany

19.Why save endangered species? For the general public, endangered species appear to be little more than biological oddities. A very different perception is gained from considering the issue of extinction in a wider context. The important point is that many major social advances have been made on the basis of life forms whose worth would never have been perceived in advance. Consider the impact of rubber-producing plants on contemporary life and industry: approximately two-thirds of the world’s rubber supply comes from rubber-producing plants and is made into objects as diverse as rubber washers and rubber boots.

Any of the following facts could be used as illustrative examples in addition to the example of rubber-producing plants EXCEPT:

(A) The discovery of the vaccine for smallpox resulted from observing the effect of the cowpox virus on the hands of dairy workers.

(B) The major source of our pharmaceutical supplies is plants, some of them commonly thought of as weeds.

(C) Certain antibiotics were originally derived from mold growing on cantaloupes.

(D) Plastic is a unique product derived from petroleum and petroleum by-products.

(E) Hamsters and other rodents have played an important role in laboratory tests of medicine for use on humans.

20.Superficially, college graduates in 1982 resembled college graduates of 1964; they were fairly conservative, well dressed, and interested in tradition; they respected their parents. But there was a deep-seated difference: a majority of the members of the class of 1982 who were surveyed in their freshman year stated that making a good income was an important reason for their decision to go to college.

The statements in the passage, if true, best support which of the following conclusions?

(A) The concerns of college graduates of 1964 were superficial compared to the financial worries of college graduates of 1982.

(B) Fewer than half the students of the class of 1964 declared as freshmen that they entered college in order to increase their earning potential.

(C) Educational background did not play as significant a part in determining income in 1964 as it did in 1982.

(D) A majority of the members of the class of 1964 revised their reasons for attending college between their freshman year and college graduation.

(E) College graduates of 1964 were actually less conservative than college graduates of 1982.

21.The Supreme Court is no longer able to keep pace with the tremendous number of cases it agrees to decide. The Court schedules and hears 160 hours of oral argument each year, and 108 hours of next year’s term will be taken up by cases left over from this year. Certainly the Court cannot be asked to increase its already burdensome hours. The most reasonable long-range solution to this problem is to allow the Court to decide many cases without hearing oral argument; in this way the Court might eventually increase dramatically the number of cases it decides each year.

Which of the following, if true, could best be used to argue against the feasibility of the solution suggested?

(A) The time the Court spends hearing oral argument is only a small part of the total time it spends deciding a case.

(B) The Court cannot legitimately avoid hearing oral argument in any case left over from last year.

(C) Most authorities agree that 160 hours of oral argument is the maximum number that the Court can handle per year.

(D) Even now the Court decides a small number of cases without hearing oral argument.

(E) In many cases, the delay of a hearing for a full year can be extremely expensive to the parties involved.

22.Some insects are able to feed on the leaves of milkweed, a toxic plant, by first cutting and draining the vein that secretes the toxin. This method of detoxification guarantees that some insects will always be able to eat milkweed, because the plant could never evolve to produce a toxin that is lethal in the trace amounts left after the vein is cut.

The argument depends on which of the following assumptions?

(A) The insects that successfully detoxify milkweed are not able to undergo the evolutionary changes necessary to allow them to detoxify other plants.

(B) Unlike milkweed, other kinds of toxic plants would be able to overcome their vulnerabilities to predators through evolutionary changes.

(C) The toxin-carrying veins of the mildewed plant can never evolve in such a way that insects cannot cut through.

(D) The method of detoxification used by insect predators of mildewed would not successfully detoxify other kinds of toxic plants.

(E) There are insects that use means other than draining the toxin in order to feed on toxic plants.

23.”On the whole,” Ms. Dennis remarked, “engineering students are lazier now than they used to be. I know because fewer and fewer of my students regularly do the work they are assigned.”

Ms. Dennis’ conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?

(A) Engineering students are working less because, in a booming market, they are spending more and more time investigating different job opportunities.

(B) Whether or not students do the work they are assigned is a good indication of how lazy they are.

(C) Engineering students should work harder than students in less demanding fields.

(D) Ms. Dennis’ students are doing less work because Ms. Dennis is not as effective a teacher as she once was.

(E) Laziness is something most people do not outgrow.

  1. In recent years shrimp harvests by commercial fishermen in the South Atlantic have declined dramatically in total weight. The decline is due primarily to competition from a growing number of recreational fishermen, how are able to net young shrimp in the estuaries where they mature.

Which of the following regulatory actions would most help increase the weight of shrimp harvests by commercial fishermen?

(A) Requiring commercial fishermen to fish in estuaries

(B) Limiting the total number of excursions per season for commercial fishermen

(C) Requiring recreational fishermen to use large-mesh nets in their fishing

(D) Putting an upper limit on the size of the shrimp recreational fishermen are allowed to catch

(E) Allowing recreational fishermen to move out of estuaries into the South Atlantic

  1. Veteran screenwriters, aiming at creating a 120-page screenplay for a film, usually turn in 1 135-page first draft. As one screenwriter put it, “That gives those in charge of the movie a chance to be creative when they get the script: at the very least, they can cut 15 pages.”

The screenwriter’s statement cited above conveys which of the following propositions?

(A) Screenwriters for a film are generally not involved in any aspects of filmmaking besides providing the script.

(B) Seasoned screenwriters are resigned to, and make allowance for, draft scripts being altered by those evaluating them.

(C) Truly creative screenwriters are too temperamental to adhere to page limits set for their work.

(D) It takes a special kind of creativity to recognize what is best left out of a film script.

(E) Even experienced screenwriters cannot be expected to write scripts of consistently high quality throughout.