Complete Question Explanation
Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (C)
In Strengthen questions, the correct answer choice will provide additional support for the conclusion.
The conclusion of this argument is, “Residents of this locale should not consider their loss of farming as
a way of life to be a tragedy.” Why? Because when the residents of this locale had farming as a way of
life, the area was economically depressed. Now that farming is no longer a way of life in this area, the
area is prospering economically. Of course, this change could still be considered a tragedy if the value
lost (rural, farming-based way of life) is greater than the value gained (economic prosperity). In order to
strengthen the resident’s conclusion, it must be shown that the residents of this locale gained at least as
much or more than they lost and answer choice (C), if true, does just that.
Answer choice (A): The increased efficiency of farming may help to explain why the locale could not
continue to maintain a rural, farming-based economy (increased efficiency means that fewer farms
would be needed), however this answer choice does not strengthen the conclusion that the loss of farms
in this locale is not tragic. Regardless of how efficient farms become, this answer choice does nothing to
show why residents should prefer economic success to their former, rural lifestyle.
Answer choice (B): This answer choice suggests that the residents of the locale gained more valuable
contributions to national security through the development of high-tech industry. But there is no basis
given for concluding that this gain is worth more to the residents than the loss of farming as a way of
life. If residents consider farming as a way of life to be more valuable than contributions to national
security, then their loss could still be considered a tragedy.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. This is only answer choice that provides a
basis for comparing what was lost to what was gained. The stimulus states that although the area was
once rural and economically depressed, it is now industrializing and economically prospering. Since,
according to answer choice (C), the residents feel that the loss of a rural way of life was no greater than
the gain of economic prosperity, they should not consider this loss a tragedy.
Answer choice (D): The knowledge that many residents now make more money than they did before
does not determine how they should feel about the loss of farming as a way of life and whether that loss
is tragic. The non-monetary benefits of farming may outweigh the increased income for these residents.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice weakens the conclusion. It suggests that farms are worth more
than their simple monetary value. If that were the case, than the loss of farming as a way of life would
likely be a tragedy regardless of how much the area is now prospering.
#14 - Resident: Residents of this locale should not
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Can D also be eliminated because it is somewhat repetitive? The stimulus already mentions that this are is "now a growing...industry with high wage jobs."?
Yes. You're correct that answer choice (D) adds nothing new to the resident's argument, and doesn't justify his conclusion.
Good luck studying,
Something that really tripped me up about the answer to this question was the fact that the conclusion is stating that the residents SHOULD not feel the loss as tragic. In the correct response, its more concrete? (i dont know if that is the right word). I totally see the connection and I prephased this answer in my head, but when i saw it, that fact that it says the farmers DO NOT value made me pause. I guess i was thinking that the speaker is assuming they do value the rural and therefore feel its loss as tragic, however they shouldnt feel this way [insert other reason]. After reasoning this D looked more attractive although I too initially thought it was just a restatement of the stimulus. However, the stimulus does explicitly state the residents are somehow directly benefiting rather he just said the area became economically prosperous. I am not sure if my reasoning make sense or if I was overthinking it? How can I avoid making a mistake like this in future? I feel this is a pretty easy question and the fact that I did not answer correctly is disheartening.
There's the key, asuper! When you have an answer that makes sense and matches your prephrase, don't allow the creeping doubt and "but" to get in your way. That is indeed a case of overthinking it and talking yourself out of a perfectly good answer.
Because this is a Strengthen question, we want additional information that will make the conclusion more likely to be true. Think of the answer as being an additional premise in the argument. If answer C is true, and if it is inserted into the argument, it makes the conclusion - residents shouldn't view the change as tragic - more likely. That's the test! We don't need the language of the answer to match that of the stimulus, and in fact stronger language in the answer (certainty instead of opinion) can be even better. Stronger language can mean more help!
Answer D doesn't help as much, if at all, because while it adds support to the premise about economic improvement in the area, it fails to address the "loss of farming as a way of life" aspect of the argument. Also, while many residents are doing much better financially, it could be that many more are doing worse.
Trust your prephrase, asuper, and don't second guess yourself. More often than not, you'll be right, and you will be able to move through the questions with greater confidence, speed, and accuracy.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
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