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Complete Question Explanation

The correct answer choice is (C).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B):

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (D):

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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To me, this question seemed pretty easy to answer, but also very frustrating. It uses Must Be True language, but there isn't MBT-level proof of C. We know that mixed programs were the norm in the early 1900s, which seems to imply that the individual films were shorter than modern feature-length films, but that doesn't prove they were or tell us how long they were. The only exact reference to length I see is at the end of the first paragraph, where the author says that "in the early 1910s most films were under fifteen minutes." That's hardly enough to actually know that "most films in the early years of the twentieth century" were that length. Without another piece to this puzzle, it seems like sloppy writing by the LSAC - they could have phrased the question stem slightly differently and made more sense. If I interpret the question charitably, C is obviously right, but usually that kind of charity is anathema on the LSAT.

I may be in a rut in this passage, where I can't look at it with fresh eyes and see a small detail or the big picture, so if I am, please do point out what I'm missing!
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Hi powerscoreQasker!

We're always looking for the best answer out of the options given and sometimes we end up unsatisfied with what the LSAT has given us as the best answer.

But in this case, I'd say that we have some pretty strong support for answer choice (C):

Q: How long were most films in the early years of the twentieth century?
A: "in the early 1910s most films were under fifteen minutes"

Is there a little ambiguity there? Could the films between 1900-1910 have been longer than the ones in the early 1910s? Possibly, but given the rest of the passage this seems very unlikely to have been the case. Do we have support for any of the other answer choices that even comes close to the support for answer choice (C)? No.

There is some degree of subjectivity to the interpretation of language which means that sometimes there are going to be LSAT questions that frustrate us and that we think could have been worded better. But, since we are not test writers, our goal is only to learn the language of this test--including its frustrating idiosyncrasies. In a MBT question, the vast majority of the time the answer choice can be 100% proven with the statements above. Are there still some MBT questions in which the answer choice isn't totally proven? Sure. That's why the LSAT always tells us to look for the best answer out of the five options they've given us.

It may be frustrating, but you were still able to find the correct answer to this question--that means you're learning the language of the test makers!

Hope this helps!

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Thanks for taking the time to write a response, Kelsey - it does help. Obviously C has the strongest support by far, and that's what the LSAT credits, so at a certain point it's not worth worrying more about this question.

[RC veterans will anticipate the but:]

But, I don't agree that it's "very unlikely" that, given the passage, other films from the early 1900s were longer. I may be missing something, but I don't think it's warranted to assume that films were the same length in the 19 aughts as in the 1910s. Beyond that, "the early years of the twentieth century" is never defined. For all we know, that period could easily include years after "the early 1910s" - it could comprise, for example, the entire period from 1901-1925. All of this isn't to say that C is wrong; I'd instead argue that it's uncharacteristically reliant on the test-taker helping the answer choice with additional assumptions.

It might be too specific of a question, but since you mentioned that some MBT questions aren't fully proven, could you point me to a different MBT question that you feel has a similar level of ambiguity to this one?

Regardless, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think your point about learning the LSAT's language is a good one and it's certainly the most important takeaway here.
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 Ryan Twomey
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Hey Powerscore Qasker,

"Gathering together several short films (and in the early
1910s most films were under fifteen minutes) by the
same maker or studio, while useful for historians and
academics, is often profoundly dull for the viewer."

This statement helps give us an idea of "How long were most films in the early years of the 19th century." Also it is implied throughout the passage that these types of films were short films. There is not some type of divergence into other types of longer films mentioned in the passage.

It is the best answer out of the five as I cannot find any sort of evidence for the other four answer choices. I view must be true in reading comp as picking the best out of the five answer choices, not the perfect answer choice. This happens once or twice per section in reading comp on average. I would have to do an entire section to find another one, but continue to let us know as your questions come up.

To reiterate though, I agree with you that this is not a perfect answer choice, and it is one of the harder questions in the section.

Good luck with all your studying and continue posting!


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