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#22 - At the end of the year, Wilson's Department Store

reop6780
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This is assumption question. I did not quite understand what the stimuli was trying to say. As far as i understand, the reason why the president says the number of salespeople who did not receive the award decreased based upon the fact that the number of people who received the award decreased is due to diminishing size of the total number of salespeople. - 1/3 can receive the award. If this reasoning is right, answer C should be the assumption. Still, answer A and E appear to state similar things as answer C....
Jacques Lamothe
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Hey reop6780,

You are absolutely correct in picking answer choice C. Answers A and E look similar to C, but there are important differences. Answer choice A is not actually about the number of people who receive the sales awards, so it seems unlikely that it is an assumption in the president's argument that the number of people passed over for awards has gone down. If you're ever torn between a couple answer choices on assumption questions, you can always resort to using the Assumption Negation Technique. In this case, negating answer choice A does not disprove the president's argument. Even if hiring policies are more lax, the number of people passed over for awards could have gone down.

Answer choice E is wrong for a similar reason. It is about the calculation of sales figures instead of the criteria for awards. Even if we negate E and assume that sales figures were calculated differently, the company could still be giving awards to the top third of salespeople. The fact that the awards may go to different people if a different sales calculation is used does not affect the president's argument that the total number of people getting passed over has gone down.

I hope that explains why A and E are incorrect even though they look similar to C. Only C actually talks about the criterion for the awards.

Jacques
reop6780
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Negation was the key to solve this assumption problem! Thank you!
smile22
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I am very confused by this question. Can you explain how C is the assumption?
KelseyWoods
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Hi smile22!

This is another Numbers and Percentages question. The president concludes that since they give out their awards to the top third of the sales force, then if the number of people getting awards has declined, the number of people not getting awards has declined as well.

If answer choice (C) is correct and we assume that the company has used the same criterion for giving out the awards for the the past fifteen years, then the president's conclusion makes sense. If you are giving out awards to a specific proportion of your group and the number of awards given out goes down, then the total number of people in your group must have gone down as well.

Think about it this way. Let's say that 15 years ago, they had 99 salespeople working for them. If they gave awards to the top third, then 33 salespeople received awards and 66 salespeople did not. If this year we give out fewer awards than we gave out 15 years ago but we still give out awards to the top third of our sales force, our total sales force must have decreased. In other words, let's say we only gave out 20 awards this year. Twenty is one third of 60. So that would mean that this year 20 salespeople received awards and 40 did not. Therefore, the president's conclusion follows--the number of people not receiving awards has declined as well (40 vs. 66).

Now let's apply the Assumption Negation technique to answer choice (C) and see what happens. To negate (C), we would say that the criterion for handing out awards has changed over the last 15 years. If the criterion has not always been based on a proportion of the salesforce, then we can't necessarily conclude that the number of people not receiving awards has declined.

What if 15 years ago, instead of giving awards to the top third, they gave awards to everyone who sold $100,000 worth of merchandise? Let's assume again that 15 years ago there were 99 salespeople working at the department store. If 65 people sold $100,000 worth of merchandise that year, then 65 salespeople would have received awards and 34 would not have. If that were the case, then the number of people not receiving awards would actually have increased over the past fifteen years (from 34 to 40). This would directly contradict the president's conclusion.

Since the negation of answer choice (C) attacks the president's conclusion, then it is an assumption necessary for the argument. It operates as a Defender Assumption--it eliminates a possible source of attack.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey
Jkjones3789
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Hello, for this assumption question I was a little lost. I just got back into seriously studying after taking the course and not getting my desired score in June. I was going to go with B since I thought it was a numbers and percentages situation but it isn't. Thank you !
KelseyWoods
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Hi Jkjones!

This stimulus definitely presents us with a Numbers and Percentages situation. We know that the number of salespeople receiving the awards at Wilson's Department Store has declined. The president of the company tells us that the awards are given to salespeople in the top third of the sales force and that, therefore, the number of people not getting awards has also declined. We are looking for an assumption of his conclusion that the number of people NOT getting awards has declined.

Answer choice (B) would actually go against the president's argument. If the number of salespeople has increased over the past fifteen years but they give awards to the top third of salespeople, then it would be the case that both the number of salespeople receiving the awards would have increased as would the number of salespeople NOT receiving the awards.

Answer choice (C) is the correct answer here. If Wilson's criterion for selecting award recipients (top third of sales force) has remained the same for the past fifteen years, then it would follow that the number of people receiving the awards would go down as well as the number of people NOT receiving the awards.

Try the Assumption Negation Technique out on answer choice (C). If I say that the criterion has changed, that would attack my argument. What if for 14 years, the criterion was the top half of the sales force and it was only in the last year that the criterion was changed to the top third. In that case, it might be the case that the number of people receiving the awards has declined and the number of people NOT receiving the awards has actually gone up. Since negating answer choice (C) would attack the argument, that is our correct answer.

If you use the Assumption Negation Technique on answer choice (B), the answer choice would read "The number of salespeople at Wilson's has decreased over the past fifteen years." If the total number of salespeople has decreased, that would support the argument that the number of salespeople passed over for the awards has declined as well as the number of people receiving the awards. When we negate an assumption, we want it to attack our argument. When we negate answer choice (B), it supports our argument, so it is incorrect.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey
Oscarg104
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Hi,

Isn't this a Justify the conclusion question, and not an assumption question? Thus, the negation technique would not apply. Please clarify this, thanks!
Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Oscar,

It can be really tricky to distinguish between assumption questions and justify the conclusion questions. I can see where you thought this one might be a justify because it uses the language "allows to be properly drawn." But it doesn't have any indication of sufficient condition. There's no "if true" or "if assumed" or similar language to indicate we are talking about a justify question. Remember the key difference between justify and assumption questions is that justify questions are asking for a sufficient assumption. If we don't have that sufficient language in the question stem, it's unlikely to be a justify stem.

Hope that helps!
Rachael