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#5 - Recently, highly skilled workers in Eastern Europe have

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Complete Question Explanation

Weaken-CE. The correct answer choice is (B)

The author of this stimulus draws a questionable conclusion based on a single premise.

Premise: Skilled workers have been leaving Eastern Europe.

Conclusion Therefore those who stayed in Easter Europe must be in high demand.

The author appears to believe that the number of jobs has stayed the same, leaving more openings for those skilled workers who stayed behind. The answer choice to this Weaken question might provide some reason to doubt that presumption.

Answer choice (A): The preference of factories can't guarantee that jobs will remain in Eastern Europe—no matter how much they like their home country workers, if the jobs aren't there then the workers can't get hired.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. If many skilled jobs disappeared, then the skilled workers who stayed in Eastern Europe might not be in higher demand as presumed by the author.

Answer choice (C): What happens to those skilled workers who leave Eastern Europe doesn't affect the strength of the author's conclusion regarding the demand for those who stayed, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): This answer choice strengthens the author's argument. Such a plan would indicate the increased demand for such workers.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice also strengthens the author's argument, bolstering the case that there will be strong demand for skilled workers in Eastern Europe.
avengingangel
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I originally chose D . The conclusion in the stimulus states, "It is therefore likely that skilled workers who remain in Eastern Europe are in high demand in their home countries." But if, according to D, many NEW workers are being trained to replace the highly skilled workers who have left, then the skilled workers that remained might not be in high demand, because there is a new set of workers being trained that would replace them." I see how I misinterpreted this answer choice -- it's not introducing a third group of workers. But, just posting this up here to see to if anyone has any advice on how to avoid a interpretation like that in the future...
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, Avenging,

Actually, the introduction of a third set of workers does not in and of itself make this a poor answer choice. In fact, on Weaken and Strengthen questions, sometimes the correct answer will address some flaw in the reasoning that you did not notice or the information may be relevant in a way you have not expected. Rather, consider your reasoning.

To make answer choice (D) work, you introduce a new assumption, your own supposition that at some point in the future when all these new workers are trained, the old skilled workers will no longer be in demand. This is a common tendency among students to start to make elaborate justifications of how different answer choices might work given the truth of some other unstated circumstances. You must try to avoid this pitfall.

One way to improve at this process is to improve your prephrases and anticipate exactly what a correct answer will do. For instance, start by noticing what's wrong. In other words, how is it possible that even though there are far fewer skilled workers left, they are actually not in demand? Well, what if there's actually no work for them? Maybe they remained behind for some other reason.

Answer choice (B), the credited response gives you strong evidence that they are likely not in demand.

Answer choice (D) on the other hand actually gives you a Strengthen answer. The country needs to train new workers for the open positions because there is an acute demand for the skilled workers.

I hope this helps!
avengingangel
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Thanks for the response, Jonathan -- I unfortunately do not remember where I encountered this question (it was from either the Course book, or a LR problem set from the OSC), so I am not able to reference it. Can you please tell me, if it's in the Course book, and if so, on what page, so I am able to revisit please ??

I think I mostly get the gist of what you are saying here, but would of course be very helpful if I had the stimulus and answer choices in front of me. Thanks again !!
avengingangel
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Hello! I found the question. I just attempted it again, and yeah, I totally chose B and stuck with that. My prephrase was super general, just pretty much "a reason why the remaining Eastern European workers might not be in high demand," and then I deliberately searched for that response, which B gave to me perfectly. I now see why D, even if it is talking about a third group of workers, would not make it a good answer. All it's really saying is that the workers that have left really need to be replaced! (or as you said, a strengthen answer). I see that I took my thought process a little too far, and created a whole new scenario/assumption, that is NOT stated in that answer choice (the assumption that the newly trained workers would replace the skilled workers who remained). On the other hand, B, while not guaranteeing that the conclusion would not turn out to be true, it definitely casts doubt on it.

Thanks so much again !!! I feel like this was a good lesson for me. Strengthen & Weaken questions are my... weakness!! :ras: Having such a range of intensity (in how it affects the argument) in the correct answer choices really throws me off.
jessicamorehead
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Hi there,

I thought the cause and effect was this:

CAUSE:
workers moved from east to west

EFFECT:
workers still in the east are high in demand

I took the author's argument as - because so many of the skilled workers left the east, there are now more job openings than are skilled workers. Therefore, the skilled workers are in high demand because fewer of them are there in the east.

I chose answer A - Eastern European factories prefer to hire workers from their home countries rather than to import workers from abroad - because this offers a different reason as to why the eastern workers are in demand. The author said the eastern workers are in high demand because of less eastern workers being there, but this answer choice offers an alternative reason saying that they are in demand because they are the preference.


Why is A wrong and B correct?
Dave Killoran
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Hi Jessica,

Thanks for the question! Your cause and effect breakdown looks good to me, and I'd agree that the author seems to be thinking that given all those workers emigrating, it's a lack of skilled workers remaining in Eastern Europe that is causing the high demand for remaining workers.

Let's start with answer choice (B) first. In (B), if the jobs are gone from Eastern Europe, this breaks the chain from cause to effect so that even if many workers left, that doesn't force demand higher because there simply aren't the same number of jobs that need filling. In other words, the cause doesn't have to actually cause the effect. Here's a roughly analogous argument:


    Stimulus: Recently there has been a great reduction in wagons available for use in our city. Thus, the remaining wagons must be in great demand.

    Answer (B): The recent introduction of the automobile has caused many users of wagons to switch to cars, leading to a lowered demand for wagons.

Now let's look at answer choice (A). Taking this as true, we see a preference for hiring domestic workers as opposed to imported workers. Does that guarantee an alternate cause that leads to high demand? No, because we can't see or understand the workers-to-jobs relationships that underlies this entire discussion. Meaning, even if they do prefer to hire domestic workers (and let's say they hire a domestic workers for every single available job) that doesn't mean there's a high demand for them. To use our analogy above:


    Answer (A): Users prefer wagons from our town as opposed to wagons from elsewhere.

As you may see there, this answer addresses just the nature of what is happening to the workers (wagons) without addressing the relationship of the workers to the jobs available.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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wapet1
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I ruled out answer choice (D) b.c it says “the highly skilled workers who have emigrated” while the stiml. is talking about remaining skilled workers. Other than that I am having hard time understanding why answer choice (D) is strengthener... :( cause if new workers are replacing old high skilled workers I thought it is pretty much self explanatory , declining number of old high skilled workers in the future.
Jay Donnell
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Hi Wapet1!

You are correct in eliminating D as a contender in this Weaken question, and that's the most important factor here!

It's important to remember that the incorrect answers in a Weaken question fall short because they either strengthen the conclusion or leave the argument unchanged.

I think your question relates to an earlier reply that explains D away as a answer that would strengthen an argument. I think that is an idea that is worth pondering, but again, it's most important to see that it doesn't weaken the argument. I can see the line of reasoning that hints at D providing support, in that if these countries are planning on training new workers so that they become highly skilled then it implies there is ample need for highly skilled workers. That idea would lend support to the idea that the highly skilled workers who remained behind as the others emigrated would still have professions that would be interested in hiring individuals with their skillsets.

I would have a hard time seeing the LSAT give this as the correct choice if this stimulus was given as a Strengthen question, as it requires a larger stretch of reasoning, but hopefully this helps further cement the reason why D fails as a Weaken answer choice.