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#12 - Melinda: Hazard insurance decreases an individual’s

Garrett K
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Hello PowerScore,

For me this question is really frustrating because even though it seems easy, I miss these types of questions a lot. How should I go about solving these problems which ask about an "ambiguity"? I really don't see why the answer is risk as opposed to "judiciously spreading" or "decreases".
Lucas Moreau
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Hello, Garrett,

These questions are tough. You have to really sit down and hash out what is meant by "risk" for both speakers.

Melinda defines risk in a more financial context, referring to the danger of financial ruin caused by a hazard like your house burning down. Jack defines risk in a more physical sense, referring to the actual odds of his house burning down. He is correct that buying insurance doesn't make the house any more fireproof, but it does reduce the risk of having to pay out of pocket to replace all of one's belongings after the house burns down.

The best way to resolve these types of questions is, as I've done, to define as precisely as possible what each person means by the disputed term. That will show the difference, the ambiguity being exploited.

Hope that helps,
Lucas Moreau
lathlee
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Hi. Is this question a type of Point of disagreement , point at issue
Adam Tyson
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It's neither of those, lathlee, but rather a form of Must Be True question. The stem tells us that Jack and Melinda are using a term or concept in two different ways, and it's up to us to figure out which term it is. We should be able to prove that based on the text in the stimulus. All we need to do is draw that inference.

As Lucas said, try asking yourself how each speaker interpreted each of the words or phrases in the answer choices. What did they each mean by "judiciously spreading"? I would say they both meant the same thing - carefully sharing the risk among a larger group. They disagree about the value of doing so, but not about the meaning of the phrase, so answer A is out, and you are on to the next answer to do the same thing. If you have no prephrase for a question like this one (which is somewhat rare, so may not be a big deal), then this is your best approach.

Try that with each answer choice on your own and see what you come up with!
Adam M. Tyson
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deck1134
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Hi PowerScore,

Sorry to ask so many questions!

I am somewhat confused by this question, which is rather embarrassing. Sometimes it is really tricky to figure out what they are referring to. I initially chose answer choice D, because it seemed like the "decrease" of risk is different from "lessoning the chances" of another risk. Are these not the same? ]]I know that the answer is ultimately risk, but it is somewhat unclear how to find the correct answer.

I end up missing these fairly regularly and am not sure how to stop. Any tips?

Thanks so much,

-DK
Adam Tyson
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Applying the test I described earlier in this thread, Deck, what does Melinda mean by the word "decreases"? She means reduces, makes less, minimizes - a literal, common-sense definition of the term. What does Jack think she means? Same thing! He disagrees with her that insurance decreases the risk, but he still understands the term to mean "reduces" in the usual sense. That's why it's not the right answer here. We are looking for a term or phrase that Jack misinterpreted, not just one that he believes is incorrect. We need to find ambiguity, per the stem, and there is nothing ambiguous in the term "decreases".
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam