LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

Get expert LSAT preparation and law school admissions advice from PowerScore Test Preparation.

PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 7881
  • Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Please post your questions below! Thank you!
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: Jun 11, 2020
I am confused as to why E is the correct answer choice. I could see it making sense as a conclusion to the passage, but how is it the main point? The vast majority of the text discusses norms and principles and their practical usage.
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 1086
  • Joined: Dec 15, 2011
Hi rileeh,

It might help if you think about what you see as the difference between a main point and the conclusion. While reading comprehension passages are longer and more complex than the arguments we see in logical reasoning, we can still analyze the argumentation in the passage as we try to figure out the main point.

Here, our author starts by explaining what customary international law is in principle, but then describes how actual practice differs. Customary international law is supposed to only consider what countries do in real life, not just what they say they'll do, however there are several examples where this does not hold up. The author then suggest that scholars should consider these norms which are professed but not practiced as ideology, not norms which countries actually follow. The author moves into his final portion of the argument in the last paragraph. Since countries aren't abiding by their ideologies, we should find alternative ways of enforcing these professed norms.

How does that all lead us to answer choice (E)? It's true that the author only talks about treaties and negotiations at the end of the passage, however, the rest of the passage is setting up why the treaties and negotiations are preferable. The main point of the passage is that since the current system isn't really working to enforce these norms, we need to find a different way to do so---treaties and negotiations.

Hope that helps!
User avatar
  • Posts: 73
  • Joined: Aug 18, 2022
Question about answer choice (D) for fun: Isn't this one an opposite answer? Shouldn't it say "Deciding which nations have violated laws governing transboundary harm is critical to the debate regarding which environmental norms are part of customary international law"? Didn't they just flip the concept in paragraph 2 around? Even so, my modification does not encapsulate the precautionary principle either, nor does it mention the main conclusion of the argument, which is presented in (E). Is my analysis correct?

I ask this question for my understanding of the tricks they like to do to entice students.
 Robert Carroll
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 1550
  • Joined: Dec 06, 2013

That does seem like a Reverse answer. Note - that's not opposite! Reversing that relationship is not logically opposed to the relationship, but just expresses a different relationship.

Robert Carroll
User avatar
  • Posts: 14
  • Joined: Aug 24, 2022
Hello! I was torn between B and E, but ended up going with B because I thought E was too narrow. I can see now why it is correct due to the explanation above, but can someone explain what makes B wrong? Thank you!
User avatar
 Jeff Wren
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: Oct 19, 2022
Hi Bmas,

There are really two problems with Answer (B), one which definitely makes it wrong if you catch it.

First, the answer is actually a reverse answer. It describes the collective ideals as "reflecting what nations DO rather than what they PROFESS." This is backwards. They actually reflect what nations PROFESS rather than what the actually DO according to the passage (lines 33-35 and the rest of the third paragraph).

Second, even if the answer had correctly described the current problem that the author sees with international law, this still misses the real main point, which is what the author proposes be done about it, which is described in the final paragraph.

Notice the first words of the final paragraph "In light of this fact" (line 47). These words set up the author's real main point, which is that these scholars have been misdirecting their efforts on cases and should focus on treaties and negotiations instead, which Answer (E) best captures.

Get the most out of your LSAT Prep Plus subscription.

Analyze and track your performance with our Testing and Analytics Package.