- Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:08 pm
As with most LR questions, it's a good idea to start by identifying the conclusion. What's this author trying to prove? In this case it's the last sentence, starting with "So", and it boils down to "that doesn't work" (my paraphrase for "it's not a successful strategy").
What's his evidence for claiming that having a hobby isn't a successful strategy? It's found mainly in the sentence just before the conclusion - if they lose interest, things may get worse (again I am paraphrasing, another powerful tool on the LSAT).
Assumption questions often come down to a missing link - the author makes a leap from his premises to his conclusion, and assumes whatever was needed to make that leap. That's where you come in - it's up to you to find the answer that best fills in that gap.
Your prephrase was really more of a paraphrase - you did a good job of breaking down what the argument was all about. A prephrase, though, is about predicting the answer based on the information given, and as such it needs to do more than just repeat what was given, but should expand on it. For an assumption question, that means you need to figure out what will best fill in the missing link - something the author didn't say but must have believed.
Here, that prephrase should probably be something like "if it makes things worse (that's the evidence) then it won't work (that's the conclusion)". See how that bridges the gap and pulls the whole argument together? Try the Assumption Negation technique on it and you get something like "even if it makes things worse it could still succeed" - if that was true then our author's conclusion would be bogus, right? That's how you know you have the right answer - the negation ruins the argument.
Finally, match that prephrase to an answer choice and you get answer B, which is a contrapositive of our prephrase (it could be paraphrased as "if it works, it doesn't make things work"). That's logically equivalent to our prephrase and therefore works just as well.
Try that process as you practice assumption questions - identify the conclusion, identify the evidence that supposedly supports it, prephrase what's missing (and sometimes it's really obvious - don't let that dissuade you), and match your prephrase to an answer.
Good luck! Keep up the good work!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam