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#10 - Decision makers tend to have distinctive styles. One

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What do we do if we had NO idea what idiosyncratic meant ?? I tried to use context clues but that did not help. I couldn't even choose an answer I was so confused. (I also unsuccessfully tried to figure out the meaning by breaking the word down, in which I thought of "idio-" as "of words/language," and "-sync" as "together/at the same time," ..which clearly only confused me further when placing it in the context of the sentence... :hmm: )
Adam Tyson
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Context clues are the place to start when faced with unfamiliar vocabulary. Here, the author sets up a contrast by juxtaposing idiosyncratic with "held independently by their advisers", so you should be able to determine that whatever idiosyncratic actually means, here it means "NOT held independently by their advisers" (so maybe, held only by the leaders? Unique to them?)

When context clues fail, you're pretty much stuck. If the whole stimulus makes no sense due to the presence of an indecipherable meaning of a word, if you cannot even make an educated guess based on the rest of the stimulus and the answer choices, then all I can suggest you do is guess and move on. Don't ever get bogged down in a single question, or game, or passage. When stuck, give up that battle and go on to win the war by winning other battles. If time allows, go back later and see if fresh eyes allow you to decipher enough of the meaning to tackle it. Be careful, though, about changing answers - only change if you have clear and compelling evidence that the new answer choice is better than the old one.

You know that old saying about winners never quit? That's nonsense on the LSAT. Sometimes quitting - refusing to get tied down and waste time - is the best way to win.
Adam M. Tyson
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Thanks, Adam - that is incredibly helpful advice! :)
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Some of the other replies talk about an ice cream analogy - how do we know the decision maker will ultimately choose ice cream over vegetables?

In the question, the stimulus doesn't seem to say anything about what the decision maker will ultimately choose - rather says that the decision maker is getting a feel of the opposing position to evaluate his/her own reservations. How can we assume they'll ultimately choose what they believe in? What if, after some discussion, the advisers decide they agree with the decision maker and the decision maker goes with the thing they were initially skeptical of?
Robert Carroll
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The correct answer does not depend on the decision-maker's ultimate choice. Note that answer choice (A) says that the content of the quote "could" be greatly at variance with the decision. This does not require that the decision-maker always argues against his/her own position to solicit feedback and then ultimately decides something different from what was explicitly argued for. All this answer choice requires is that a decision-maker could, in some situation, argue for X and then decide Y instead. The stimulus introduces the possibility of such a situation and explains how it could come about. The stimulus is thus opening up the possibility. That is all "could" requires.

Robert Carroll
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I don't understand this at all. I picked B. I don't understand what A is saying about quoting accurately and at length. Could someone please help me out?

It seems like the decision makers often like to play devils advocate in order to gain an understanding of a wide variety of opinions. is that right? i.e. a democrat arguing from the POV of a republican to figure out what sort of questions they may ultimately be up against so they have broader exposure etc etc. Does that make sense?

If that is right-- i think i have a solid understanding of the stimulus, but i still am having trouble understanding why A would be the correct answer.

I also didn't know what idiosyncratic meant. does not knowing that word kill my chances of being able to get the answer right?
Malila Robinson
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Hi Elewis,
Answer choice A is correct because the stimulus says that the decision makers may argue for things they disagree with just to see what their advisers are saying. If the decision makers are quoted on those things that they argued for, but technically disagreed with, then their final decision (which would likely disagree with the thing) would seem to be contrary to their quote.

In Answer choice B, there is no support for the fact that decision makers are unsure of what they believe in. In fact they would have to know what they believe in order to pretend to argue for a different position in order to assess the value of their advisers' opinions.

For an explanation of what to do if you do not understand a word in the stimulus please see Adam's explanation (above).

Hope that helps!