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For this one, I was not very confident on the answer I picked. I thought B was the strongest answer. I don't see how D is right and why E wouldn't work as well. To me, D doesn't really fit as well in comparison to the other two answered. It has a more in depth answer in comparison to the idea described in the stimulus. Also. is this a MP question or a parallel?
Thanks in advance!
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Can an Administrator provide an answer to this question? Thanks!
 Jon Denning
PowerScore Staff
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Thanks for the questions guys (and speedmc welcome to the Forum!)—let me post a breakdown of it here and then you let me know if this clears things up :)

These Fill in the Blank questions generally function as a part of the Must Be True family, either as strict MBT or as a Main Point (which this one is). Often there's no real discernible difference in answer choice between the two, so from a practical standpoint we're really just looking to take the information provided in the stimulus and derive a valid inference from it, but I'd label this Main Point based off both the question stem and the "since" that begins the first half of the blank's sentence: that tells me there's a conclusion coming, and it's my job to supply the best one with the correct answer choice. (Note: for Parallel we'd have a complete argument in the stimulus, and five additional arguments in the answer choices, which doesn't occur here)

First though I need to understand what I'm being told in the stimulus.

The initial sentence is straightforward enough, and actually gives us a conditional statement: no one with a serious medical problem would rely on an average person to prescribe treatment. Put another way, anyone who has a serious medical problem would not rely on the average person to prescribe treatment.

I don't think that necessarily warrants a diagram, but for the curious:

..... Serious Medical Problem :arrow: Rely on Avg Person Prescribe Treatment

This describes the behavior of those in a particular type of need, essentially saying that reliance on the average person's treatment/solution for that need is to be avoided. Makes sense too! If I think I'm having a heart attack I'm calling a doctor or an ambulance, not stopping strangers on the street to have them feel my pulse or diagnose my symptoms and propose a remedy.

And then we encounter a comparison, tipped off by the use of the word "Similarly" to start sentence two: a good public servant has the interest of the public at heart...and that's meant to tell us something about how that public servant should behave.

So based on what we know from the first sentence—broadly, that those with serious problems shouldn't rely on the average person's solutions—what does that mean for a good public servant with the interest of the public at heart? They, too, should be wary of what the average person proposes!

Personally, as I read this question the thought that occurred to me, the moral of the lead-in if you will, was that "the average person isn't worth much when it comes to solving real problems." So as soon as the next sentence introduced "good" public servant with the public's interest at heart, I immediately prephrased "don't just listen to the average person's advice!" Obviously that made answer choice (D) stand out as correct, and if you interpreted the question similarly (or can see it as such now) then I suspect it presented little trouble for you either.

But for those who didn't put it together in the same fashion I also want to touch on a few wrong answers so that you have strong reasons to remove them and still, hopefully, come out on top.

Answer choice (A) is a tricky Shell Game type answer, where it confuses relying on the average person's prescribed solutions with simply being concerned "about the outcomes of public opinion surveys." That's not the same thing on a few different levels: (1) strict reliance vs merely being concerned, (2) the average person's advice vs the overall results of public opinion polls (where we don't know who participated, or how well those results reflect the average person, etc), and so on.

Answer choice (B) also introduces a similar, but different idea, when it attempts to compare an average public servant to the average person. We can't make that comparison because we have no information to know just how "average" the average public servant is: does being a public servant automatically make that person above average? Below average? Who knows. Further, the second sentence in the stimulus is about good public servants, so that doesn't make sense as an introduction to a conclusion about the "average public servant." Be careful here!

Answer choice (C) is fortunately less attractive than the first two, as it makes a sweeping, and somewhat insulting, claim about all public servants suggesting that they should be more knowledgeable about the public good than they are. Not only can we not know that, but it doesn't make any sense following an intro about good public servants who have the interest of the public at heart.

Answer choice (D), as noted above, is correct: if the average person's suggestions/recommendations aren't to be relied upon for serious matters, and a good public servant has the interest of the public at heart, then basing decisions entirely on the recommendations of the average person seems unwise.

Answer choice (E) is out for a number of the same reasons that ruled out (A) and B): we can't compare public servants (good, average, or otherwise) to the average person, for one, nor can we know what it would take to make someone a good public servant. That is, saying that "being more knowledgeable about the public good than is the average person would PROVE that you're a good public servant" is far too strong (and thus unknowable) from the few lines of stimulus text.

Tricky question, but as always answers are right and wrong for defensible reasons! If you find yourself overly-attached to a wrong answer take a step back and come at it from the angle of "how would LSAC defend eliminating this one?" The better you can see answers through that lens the easier the traps are to avoid!

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