# LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

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## Having a bit of hard time identifying conclusion and premise

General questions relating to the LSAT or LSAT preparation.
TootyFrooty
• Posts: 74
• Joined: Oct 13, 2023
#104475
I sometimes struggle to identify and sometimes am so lost in the process that I assume premise comes first, such as the drill at the end of the justify the conclusion chapter. Any tips?

Some conclusion statements turn out to be facts or simply extra info so I’m struggling a bit
Jeff Wren
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 389
• Joined: Oct 19, 2022
#104480
Hi TootyFrooty,

Determining whether a Logical Reasoning stimulus contains an argument or just a set of facts is a critical first step to solving any LR question. In fact, it is the first step in our list of Logical Reasoning Primary Objectives. Depending on which of the two you are given, you approach the stimulus differently and look for different elements.

About 80% of the LR stimuli contain arguments, while the other 20% are just fact sets.

As for determining whether there is an argument present, ask yourself if there is a conclusion (at least one). In other words, is there a point that is trying to be made/argued (the conclusion) and at least one other statement made in support of that point (a premise)? If yes, then it's an argument.

If it's an argument, the next step is to identify the conclusion. (I'd strongly recommend highlighting or underlining the conclusion in the text once you've identified it.) The conclusion is the most important part of any argument.

The conclusion can appear anywhere in the argument, so you don't identify the conclusion based on where it appears in the argument.

A good place to start in identifying premises and conclusions is studying/memorizing the list of premise and conclusion indicator words and to actively look for them whenever you do any LR question. (These lists are found in Lesson 1 of The PowerScore LSAT Course and in Chapter 2 of The Logical Reasoning Bible.) These words appear in many LR arguments and are really helpful.

Unfortunately, there are some arguments that do not use these words. In this situation, you will need to examine the sentences and follow the logic of the argument to determine which statement is trying to be argued (the conclusion) and which statement(s) provide the support/reasons for that conclusion.

There are also several forms or patterns of arguments that are common in LR that you should learn (which are also discussed in the relevant lessons/chapters.)

This is a fundamental LR skill that takes practice, so you should work on it right away at the beginning of your LSAT studies. This is why we introduce the concept at the beginning of the PowerScore LSAT Course and The Logical Reasoning Bible. Correctly identifying the parts of any argument is critical to any LR question involving arguments, which is almost all of them.
TootyFrooty
• Posts: 74
• Joined: Oct 13, 2023
#104802
Thank you so much. Sometimes I struggle to identify sub conclusion irrespective of knowing the indicator words. Any way around this?
Robert Carroll
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 1787
• Joined: Dec 06, 2013
#105403
TootyFrooty,

Every argument on the LSAT has a certain logic to it, even the flawed ones. The author is trying to prove something. Every premise performs the function of proving that thing; that thing (the conclusion) is what the author wants the reader to take away from the argument. I think it's often best to focus first on identifying the conclusion. What is the overall takeaway? When that's identified, and you also find ANOTHER conclusion, then it's clear that other conclusion is an intermediate conclusion. If the author tries to prove something, but also uses that thing as evidence for something else, it's an intermediate conclusion.

Robert Carroll
TootyFrooty
• Posts: 74
• Joined: Oct 13, 2023
#105409
Thanks a lot! One more followup - some stimulus have conclusion as first sentence, then rephrasing of sorts at the last sentence but with an added criteria. Such as it can say Reducing CO2 by planting trees. And end of the stimulus (with a premise in between) it will say Reducing CO2 by planting trees, without any intervention from technological advances cutting cost...

SO in such a case, is the conclusion reducing co2 and also without intervention from technology or is it just planting trees to reduce co2?

This was a recent stimulus on today's exam, threw me off, but I've seen the pattern in other tests too I think... can't recall which ones tho.
Robert Carroll
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 1787
• Joined: Dec 06, 2013
#105661
TootyFrooty,

This is a question I'd need to see a specific context to answer. One issue I have answering is that it's unclear whether the two sentences really are rephrasings of each other. A small difference in wording can make a big difference in meaning. I will say that, in Logical Reasoning, as opposed to Reading Comprehension, I think it's rare in my experience to see a main point repeated in a stimulus. There just isn't much room in a small stimulus to do that kind of thing. So when something looks like a repetition, try to identify what the differences are and what the relationship is between the two statements. Does the more specific prove the more general? Or vice versa? This will all be based on the specific context of the stimulus, and, as always, the inquiry into what the conclusion is always boils down to answering the question "What is the author trying to prove?"

Robert Carroll
Dana D
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 132
• Joined: Feb 06, 2024
#106000
Hey Alize,

For sub conclusions, you want to use the same strategy as regular conclusions, you will just notice that these ideas end up serving two purposes. The first is that they are standalone conclusions with premises to support them. The second is that they can also serve as a premise for the larger conclusion. One example of how this structure could work is:

Premise 1
Premise 2
Sub conclusion - this is supported by premise 1 and 2.
Premise 3
Main conclusion - this is supported by premise 3 and also the sub conclusion.

Many times, the sub conclusion is one that if true would support the main conclusion; therefore, the author uses premises to support the sub conclusion and prove that it is true. Now having done that, they can move on to making their bigger point.

Hope that helps - if you can find a specific example that might be helpful to look provide as well!

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