# LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

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

## #6 - A first-term board member should not be on the finance

• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 8224
• Joined: Feb 02, 2011
#33412
Complete Question Explanation

Parallel Reasoning—SN, PR. The correct answer choice is (D)

The stimulus features a principle containing conditional reasoning, which is identifiable by the use of the necessary condition indicator “unless.” After applying the Unless Equation, the principle can be diagrammed as follows:
• 1st Term Serves = First-term board member serves on finance committee
Acct. = Accountant
Support = Support by all board members

Acct.
1st Term Serves or
Support
To serve on the committee, a first-term member need only satisfy one of the two necessary conditions (this does not preclude the possibility of satisfying both conditions, but it is not necessary to do so). In the contrapositive form, the “or” joining the original necessary conditions changes to “and”:
• Acct.
+ 1st Term Serves
Support
The correct answer choice should describe an argument that conforms to this principle. Before examining the answer choices, it is worth noting that the principle only applies to first-term board members, making answer choices (B), (C), and (E) easy to eliminate. Furthermore, note that the principle only establishes what conditions are necessary for a first-term board member to serve on the finance committee, not what conditions are sufficient for it. Therefore, even if a first-term board member satisfies either (or both) of the necessary conditions, we cannot logically conclude that this person should be allowed to serve on the committee (that would be a Mistaken Reversal). Indeed, we can only determine when someone should not be allowed to serve, thanks to the contrapositive of the principle: if a first-term board member is not an accountant and does not have the support of all members of the board (i.e. at least one member opposes his or her appointment), then that person cannot serve on the finance committee.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect, because Simkins need only satisfy one of the two necessary conditions in order to serve on the committee. Just because he does not meet one of the conditions (being an accountant), that is not enough to prevent him from serving: we also need to know if his membership is supported by all the members of the board.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice can be easily eliminated, because the principle specifically applies to first-term board members, and Timmons is a third-term member. Additionally, the principle cannot be used to determine when someone should be on the finance committee; we can only determine when someone should not be on it.

Answer choice (C): If Ruiz was a first-term member when he joined the finance committee, it would be reasonable to conclude that he must have been supported by all the board members. However, since we do not know whether Ruiz was a first-term member, it is unclear whether the principle applies to his case.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. We know that Klein is a first-term board member, so he must meet at least one of the two necessary conditions in order to serve on the finance committee. He is not an accountant, however, so his appointment must be supported by all members of the board. Thus, if any board member opposes his appointment, it is reasonable to conclude that Klein should not be allowed on the committee:
• Acct.
+ 1st Term Serves
Support
By conforming to the contrapositive of the original principle, this answer choice reaches a justified conclusion and is therefore correct.

Answer choice (E): If Mabry were a first-term member, then indeed the conclusion would be properly drawn. As with answer choice (C), however, we have no knowledge about whether Mabry is a first-term board member. Absent that information, we can draw no conclusions regarding his eligibility to join the finance committee.
ngreen221
• Posts: 28
• Joined: Nov 08, 2018
#64905
Hello PS,

For this question I answered C on a timed test, and once I went back through untimed I realized that the correct answer was the contrapositive listed in D.

Just checking the reasoning for C being incorrect. Since it was not stated as to whether Ruiz was a first term or third term board member, we cannot reasonably decide what the conditions were for his being chosen to be on the finance committee. For instance, while Ruiz may not have been accountant, he may have been supported by all the members of the board, or he may have been chosen by a magic rock that spoke to the president of the united states, telling el presidente to place Ruiz on the committee.

To contrast, for answer D, we are told that Klein is a first term board member and not an accountant. If Klein is elected to the committee, then he must have received full support from the board. If any board member does not support Klein, then there is no way he could have a spot on the committee.

basically, the one big difference between the two is the knowledge of the term of the individual. Am I on the right track?
James Finch
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 944
• Joined: Sep 06, 2017
#64940
Hi N. Green,

It sounds like you understand the issue; we don't know whether (C)'s Ruiz fits within the scope of the sufficient condition given in the stimulus of a "first-term board member." The other clue is that the stimulus tells us that these first-termers "should not" be on the board, rather than definitively will not. So there is also the possibility that Ruiz was a first-termer that was neither an accountant nor a unanimous selection but still somehow snuck his or her way onto the board, which in turn means that we can't actually draw any conclusions from Ruiz's presence on the board.

(D) by contrast fits exactly with the contrapositive of the conditional logic in the stimulus (it's very common for one of these principle questions to test whether test takers understand the contrapositive, especially if all that's given is one conditional statement), including matching the specific scope of Klein being a first-termer who should not be on the board.

Hope this helps!
ngreen221
• Posts: 28
• Joined: Nov 08, 2018
#65020
Thank you James!

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