LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

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

PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 8223
  • Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen—Principle. The correct answer choice is (C)

In this stimulus, a consumer advocate provides information regarding a pesticide called TMD that
is used on peaches. When ingested at the rate of the average person in the country, TMD shows no
effect on people’s health, but this is just an overall average, which accounts for those who eat no
peaches and those who eat far more peaches than the national average, meaning they ingest far more
TMD than those who eat peaches at the average rate for the country. Thus, even though TMD use on
peaches is largely a non-issue for most of the population, because of concerns over the individuals
that eat a large number of peaches, the consumer advocate notes that using TMD on peaches has not
been shown to be an acceptable practice.

The question that follows is sometimes mistaken for a Justify the Conclusion question, but it asks for
the principle which most helps to justify the advocate’s argumentation. Since we are looking for the
answer choice that lends most strength to the argument advanced in the stimulus, this a Strengthen
question. Remember, Justify questions require an answer that strengthens the argument 100%; if
there are any words in the question stem that lessen the completeness of the justification, then the
question is a Strengthen question.

Given that a principle is also referenced in the question stem, you must select the answer choice
which most strongly supports the author’s conclusion that using TMD on peaches has not been
shown to be an acceptable practice.

Answer choice (A): This choice fails to strengthen the author’s argument, because it suggests
cautious assessment, but does not support the notion that TMD use is not acceptable.

Answer choice (B): The consumer advocate’s argument is not based on the fact that a majority of the
population uses TMD; the argument is based on the fact that the level of use for some has not been
shown to be an acceptable practice.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice, because it provides a principle which, if
adopted, would strengthen the assertion that TMD has not been shown to be an acceptable practice.
The pesticide has not been shown to be safe when ingested in greater quantities, so, according to this
principle, it is not acceptable.

Answer choice (D): This principle would not apply to the consumer advocate’s argument, because
the average amount of TMD ingested in peaches has been shown to be safe. This choice would not
support the conclusion that TMD use has not been proven an acceptable practice.

Answer choice (E): The consumer advocate does point out that TMD, though safe in average
quantities, is in some cases ingested in much greater quantities. The principle in this answer choice,
provides that protective measures are sometimes detrimental to certain segments of the population.
This principle does not, however, support the advocate’s conclusion that TMD use has not been
shown to be an acceptable practice.
  • Posts: 136
  • Joined: Apr 17, 2013
Hi there PS,

I chose C on this one after really using Process of elimination on the others. But C still threw me because of the "only if it is used for its intended purpose" portion of the answer. That seems like an added condition that was never mentioned into the stimulus. And even though it doesn't harm the argument ... it does seem to qualify it more.
 Steve Stein
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 1154
  • Joined: Apr 11, 2011
Hey netherlands,

That's a good question; you're right, it doesn't seem like the part of the answer about intended purpose is relevant, most likely intended to confuse. It is the second part of that answer choice that really strengthens the advocate's position--the notion that TMD might bring harm to some portion of the population.

I hope that's helpful! Let me know--thanks!

  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: Jun 11, 2017

I did this question and actually picked d instead of c. I don't see a huge difference between the two answer choices. What's wrong with d? I didn't pick c because of the phrase, "only if it is used for its intended purpose." It threw me off a bit so I went with d instead. I think the reason why d is wrong is because it seems to suggest that if average doses given to the larger population are lower than it should be fine, which is exactly what the consumer advocate was trying to disprove. Did I understand the use of the word "population" in that answer choice correctly? When I selected it originally I thought it referred to child population but later I thought they meant larger population. Clearly as you can see that I found the language of this question pretty confusing.

Also, what does the LSAT mean by the word "principle" in these and other question stems? I have seen this word pop up all over the logical reasoning and I don't quite understand what it means in questions.
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 296
  • Joined: May 02, 2017
Thanks for your question!

You are on exactly the right track -- answer choice (D) is flawed since it states that if "average doses received by the population are low and haven't been shown to be harmful to children's health," using the pesticide is acceptable. The stimulus tells us that the studies on pesticide exposure are based on the average per-capita peach consumption nationwide, which shouldn't be relied on because just 20 percent of the population eats 100 percent of the peaches, thereby skewing the "average" peach eater's exposure of the pesticide.

In other words, it looks like you figured this one out on your own -- nicely done!

Best of luck studying!

Athena Dalton
  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: Jun 11, 2017
Thanks so much AthenaDalton! I am glad that I understood the answer choices since the language can be tricky.

Also in this question what do they mean by their use of the word "principle?"
 Alexandra Ruby
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 15
  • Joined: Jun 12, 2017
Hi Mshaikh,

When the LSAT uses the word 'principle' it means a rule of human or societal conduct but not a written law. For example, 'do unto others' is a principle that we should all arguably live by whereas something that states you should not steal is actually against the law. Another example of this might be a corporate principle such as 'the customer is always right' or requiring all employees to wear a uniform while on the job.

Hope this helps!
  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: Jun 11, 2017
Thanks so much! That definitely helps!

Get the most out of your LSAT Prep Plus subscription.

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