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#23817
Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (E)

Switching to Popelka could save you 15% or more on car insurance, right? Wrong! Here is why:

The advertisement boasts that most auto insurance policyholders could save hundreds of dollars by switching to Popelka. This is because new Popelka policyholders report savings of $250 a year, on average, as a result of making the switch. At first glance, this argument appears quite strong, at least until you encounter the question stem and realize there must be an error. This a critical moment: when the question stem indicates that an error is present, but you did not realize that one exists, you must return to the stimulus and analyze it for any flaws. Do not proceed to the answer choices thinking that they will clarify or reveal the error to you! On the contrary: four of the five answer choices are purposefully designed to draw your attention toward irrelevant side issues. It is far preferable that you find the error first, and then find the answer choice that correctly describes it.

Since the conclusion is based on the results of a survey, you need to examine the reliability of that survey. What can possibly go wrong with it? For one thing, notice that the conclusion makes a claim about “most people who hold auto insurance policies,” whereas the survey only talks about the savings reported by “new Popelka policyholders.” It is entirely possible that the two groups are not identical in their potential for saving money by switching their auto insurance. What if the Popelka policyholders represent a biased group, such that only those who expect to save money ultimately switch? If switching is a hassle, this might discourage those who don’t expect to save money from ever going through with it! This prephrase is crucial and quickly reveals answer choice (E) to be correct.

Answer Choice (A): The advertisement only reports the average amount of money saved per policyholder, and never promises that everyone who switches to Popelka will save money. Even if some new Popelka policyholders saved no money by switching, this would not weaken the conclusion of the argument.

Answer Choice (B): The advertisement makes no assumptions regarding the cost of Popelka auto insurance for new policyholders as compared to that of long-term policyholders.

Answer Choice (C): The advertisement never promised that switching to Popelka will save auto insurance policyholders the most amount of money possible. So, even if switching to another insurance company turns out to be more cost-effective than switching to Popelka, that does not negate the fact that people who switch to Popelka could save hundreds of dollars.

Answer Choice (D): The advertisement assumes that those who were surveyed did not overestimate how much they saved by switching to Popelka, but it does not have to assume the opposite assessment. Indeed, if any policyholders underestimated how much money they saved, this would only strengthen the conclusion that others could save money by switching.

Answer Choice (E): This is the correct answer choice: the argument fails to address the possibility that those most capable of saving money by switching to Popelka are the ones who are most likely to switch. If true, this would suggest a selection bias in the group surveyed, and prevent us from extrapolating the results to a wider sample of people.
 mkmkll
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#32099
Hi,

Would it B be correct if it were, "It overlooks the possibility that the new Popelka Auto Insurance policyholders do not pay no less for their auto insurance, on average, than do people who have held Popelka Auto Insurance policies for a longer period of time."

Thanks!
mk
 David Boyle
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#32122
mkmkll wrote:Hi,

Would it B be correct if it were, "It overlooks the possibility that the new Popelka Auto Insurance policyholders do not pay no less for their auto insurance, on average, than do people who have held Popelka Auto Insurance policies for a longer period of time."

Thanks!
mk

Hello mk,

Your re-forumlation of answer B might not be more helpful than the original version, in that both versions just talk about Popelka policyholders, rather than also dealing with those who are not currently Popelka policyholders, which answer E does.

Hope this helps,
David
 nutcracker
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#39612
Hi,

I find it problematic to conclude that most people could save hundreds of dollars on the basis of an average savings of $250. It is entirely possible that most people save very little while a few save a huge sum of money. And this flaw in numbers seems to be exactly what answer choice (A) is describing. Is it not considered a flaw in this particular instance? Thanks!
 Eric Ockert
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#39815
Hey

While the most language here is pretty broad, the could language softens it up. So, they are really claiming it is possible for more than half of policyholders at other companies to save hundreds (a tad ambiguous) by switching to GEICO...wait, did I say GEICO? I meant Popelka. That's a far more timid claim than it appears (like many, many advertisements both in the real world and especially on this test).

Also, notice answer choice (A) is saying the author overlooked the fact that at least some new policyholders saved little or no money. But did the author really overlook this possibility? For that to be true, the author would have to assume that nobody saved little or no money. That didn't happen here. The author said the average was $250. That certainly leaves open the possibility of a customer saving significantly more or less than $250. So, perhaps some didn't save much. Either way, an average of $250 is a big average savings and probably does support that conclusion on its face.

The problem, however, is that it is possible that all (or at least a big chunk) of the people who can save hundreds of dollars have already switched. It may be that the people out there who are left to switch over really couldn't save all that much. This is the issue that answer choice (E) gets at.

Hope that helps!
 harvoolio
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#45199
I saw the same flaw as nutcracker i.e. that an average of $250 could mean a median significantly different (suppose 25% saved a thousand or more).

Would answer (a) have been more appealing if phrased as "It overlooks the possibility that a good portion of the New Popelka Auto Insurance policyholders surveyed reported that they saved little or no money when they switched their auto insurance coverage to Popelka. Or is this equally wrong because "some" and "good portion" are still not "most"?

It seems to me that mean versus median is a correct flaw, but answer choice (a) does not adequately state this because some is not most and could be just one person.

Thanks.
 Alex Bodaken
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#45261
Harvoolio,

Interesting question. I agree that answer choice (A) could have been a more appealing flaw if it had said "It overlooks the possibility that MOST of the new Popelka Auto Insurance policyholders surveyed reported that they saved little or no money when they switched their auto insurance coverage to Popelka." Because, as you know, this is possible and would have exposed a median/mean issue. I think "good portion" is tricky...right in-between some and most. Fortunately, they use "some," which the advertisement does not overlook (i.e. by saying most people would save, it allows for the possibility that some would not). So (E) is the better flaw, and the credited answer.

Thanks,
Alex
 harvoolio
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#45308
Thanks Alex.
 lsatprep1215
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#73801
Administrator wrote:Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (E)

Switching to Popelka could save you 15% or more on car insurance, right? Wrong! Here is why:

The advertisement boasts that most auto insurance policyholders could save hundreds of dollars by switching to Popelka. This is because new Popelka policyholders report savings of $250 a year, on average, as a result of making the switch. At first glance, this argument appears quite strong, at least until you encounter the question stem and realize there must be an error. This a critical moment: when the question stem indicates that an error is present, but you did not realize that one exists, you must return to the stimulus and analyze it for any flaws. Do not proceed to the answer choices thinking that they will clarify or reveal the error to you! On the contrary: four of the five answer choices are purposefully designed to draw your attention toward irrelevant side issues. It is far preferable that you find the error first, and then find the answer choice that correctly describes it.

Since the conclusion is based on the results of a survey, you need to examine the reliability of that survey. What can possibly go wrong with it? For one thing, notice that the conclusion makes a claim about “most people who hold auto insurance policies,” whereas the survey only talks about the savings reported by “new Popelka policyholders.” It is entirely possible that the two groups are not identical in their potential for saving money by switching their auto insurance. What if the Popelka policyholders represent a biased group, such that only those who expect to save money ultimately switch? If switching is a hassle, this might discourage those who don’t expect to save money from ever going through with it! This prephrase is crucial and quickly reveals answer choice (E) to be correct.

Answer Choice (A): The advertisement only reports the average amount of money saved per policyholder, and never promises that everyone who switches to Popelka will save money. Even if some new Popelka policyholders saved no money by switching, this would not weaken the conclusion of the argument.

Answer Choice (B): The advertisement makes no assumptions regarding the cost of Popelka auto insurance for new policyholders as compared to that of long-term policyholders.

Answer Choice (C): The advertisement never promised that switching to Popelka will save auto insurance policyholders the most amount of money possible. So, even if switching to another insurance company turns out to be more cost-effective than switching to Popelka, that does not negate the fact that people who switch to Popelka could save hundreds of dollars.

Answer Choice (D): The advertisement assumes that those who were surveyed did not overestimate how much they saved by switching to Popelka, but it does not have to assume the opposite assessment. Indeed, if any policyholders underestimated how much money they saved, this would only strengthen the conclusion that others could save money by switching.

Answer Choice (E): This is the correct answer choice: the argument fails to address the possibility that those most capable of saving money by switching to Popelka are the ones who are most likely to switch. If true, this would suggest a selection bias in the group surveyed, and prevent us from extrapolating the results to a wider sample of people.
"What if the Popelka policyholders represent a biased group, such that only those who expect to save money ultimately switch?" This is exactly what I was prephrasing when I approach this question, however, I was stuck when looking over the answer choices, I was looking for something saying that the advertisement overlook the possibility that those people who saved hundred of dollars already expected that and that's why they switch to Popelka Insurance. This is the flaw I have in my mind, I was not able to see how Answer E is related to this so I ended up picking A because the stimulus is saying policy holders saving 250 dollars a year on average so A also attack this flaw. Can someone explain if there's any problem with my prephrase/ thought process and also is A incorrect because the stimulus conclusion stated that most(not all) people could save money?
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 KelseyWoods
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#73824
Hi lsatprep1215!

I think your prephrase is great--you just need to recognize how it connects to answer choice (E)! Answer choice (E) says that the argument fails to adequately address the possibility that people capable of saving hundreds of dollars by switching their auto insurance coverage to Popelka are disproportionately represented among the new policyholders. That's exactly what you said--the people who have just switched (the new policyholders) were mostly people capable of saving hundreds of dollars by switching.

Answer choice (A) is incorrect because the argument doesn't overlook the possibility that some of the new policyholders saved little or no money by switching. The advertisement tells us that the $250 is the average savings (meaning some could have saved much less) and the conclusion is just that most people would save hundreds of dollars (but not necessarily ALL people). So the argument isn't overlooking the possibility that some policyholders didn't save money, it is acknowledging that possibility.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey

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