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 Jeremy Press
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#83350
Hi fk,

Yes, you've got it! If they start 1991 with 10, and end 1991 with 9 or less, then there's no way the country mined more than it consumed during 1991 (because if they had, they'd end 1991 with 11 or more). Keep up the good work!
 180bound
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#86659
I'm tempted to agree with another poster in this thread. I understand the LSAT allows for common sense assumptions, but it seems as though what is considered "common sense" and what is considered superfluous is rather arbitrary at times. The question states that the total available coal supplies is "the total amount of coal that has been mined throughout the country but not consumed". In my opinion this was left intentionally ambiguous. I think the reason test takers assumed that total available coal supplies was mined coal --(minus) consumed coal for that year was because the stimulus was framed in such a way. I agree that one could assume roll-over, but at the same I don't see why assuming there was no roll-over would be incorrect or superfluous. It seems that LSAC had an answer in mind, and thus of course one would need to make the roll-over assumption to get this answer correct. BUT I feel they also could have constructed 5 DIFFERENT answer choices in which the correct answer would depend on assuming that there was NO roll-over as well. I think that it why one of the previous posters was so frustrated. I think LSAC wanting the answer they constructed to be correct to, in fact, be correct is what made the polarizing assumption in this question "common sense". An assumption like this (that there was roll-over) would have made for an incorrect answer on a myriad of other questions in my opinion.
 Adam Tyson
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#87294
There is nothing ambiguous about "the total amount of coal that has been mined throughout the country but not consumed", 180bound. It's when students make an unwarranted assumption that this applies only to a one year period that the analysis becomes problematic, and the authors laid that trap brilliantly as evidenced by how many people fall right into it. There is no assumption needed about rollover - the unjustified assumption so many of us make here is that there is NOT rollover. Take that assumption out of your thought process and just take the information as it is presented to you - the total mined minus the total consumed. "Total" is all, not "all within one year." If that tally decreases over some period of time it can only be because more was consumed than was mined during that period.

This question causes a lot of pain and frustration, and you aren't alone, but you have to recognize that it is you, the test-taker, making the assumption here, not the author of the question or LSAC. They meant exactly what they said, and we must base our answer on what they said and not what we assume they meant.
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 ridolph.lauren
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#93834
It took me some time to understand this question. The first clue I had that made me think answer A was wrong was that it felt way to simple of an answer. It felt like a "gimee." Those are not easy to come by in these LSAT questions. If you are not someone who is savvy to economics, it is so easy to interpret the stimulus wrong.

The sentence "a tally is made of the country's total available coal supplies- that is, the total amount of coal that has been mined throughout the country but not consumed" is where you can get totally mixed up. When they define "coal supplies" as "coal that has been minded" "but not consumed," you automatically see coal being mined and never going to the market shelves, never having the opportunity to be consumed. This is not what is happening here. You have to envision end of year "total country's coal supplies" as those that are left over after people have bought what was available on the shelves, like any other goods. Not consumed is just that....not taken to be used. To me the sentence would have been clearer if it read " that is, the total amount of coal that has been mined throughout the country but not consumed off the shelves." In other words, what was left over after the amount of coal that was mined was made available for consumption. The ones left on the shelves, have not been consumed.

So when you go to pick an answer when they say " In 1991 that amount (consumed) was considerably lower then it had been in 1991," they are essentially saying that the amount you started out with at the beginning of the year 1990/1991 was considerably higher than the amount you ended up with at the end of the year. That is all we know, nothing else.

Think of it like this: You have $1,000.00 in your savings account at the end of 1990/the beginning of 1991. In December 1991 you go to see what you have left in your savings account and you have $200.00 left, meaning that you used $800.00. The same goes for what is being actually said in the stimulus. So that is why answer B can be the only logical answer: "In country Q, the amount consumed in 1991 was greater than the amount of coal mined." This is like saying : "The amount of money taken from your savings account was $800.00 more than what you started out with $1,000.00." Or, $800.00 less than what you had ($1,000.00).

This question reminds me of that psychological picture/painting of the young woman vs the old woman. There are two pictures in the stimulus.
 Adam Tyson
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#93852
Good analysis, ridolph.lauren, but it's a little bit more than just that $800 was taken out of the account. It's that no matter how much was put IN to the account, $800 MORE than that was taken out. If zero went in, $800 was taken out. If $500 went in, $1300 was taken out. Etc. It's about a relative relationship - more out than in - rather than an absolute relationship where we can quantify exactly what went in or out.
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 rjulien91
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#99016
Can I get a numerical representation of what the stimulus is saying. Cannot currently visualize this one.
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 Jeff Wren
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#99023
Hi rjulien,

The first sentence in the stimulus states that each Dec. 31, Country Q makes a tally of the total available coal supply. This is basically what you'd think a total available coal supply would mean, i.e. all of the coal that the country has available based on all of the prior years of mining that hasn't already been used.

To pick a number, let's say that Country Q had 10,000 tons of coal at the end of 1990.

Then during 1991, Country Q (presumably) mined some more coal and also consumed some of their coal, but we don't know exactly how much they mined or how much they consumed.

What we do know is that at the end of 1991, the total available coal was considerably less than at the end of 1990. Let's say Country Q now has 3,000 tons of coal available, just to pick a number that would qualify as "considerably less."

Since Country Q doesn't import or export any of its coal (which would be other possible explanations for the change in the amount of coal), the only way that the overall total of available coal would go down from the end of 1990 to the end of 1991 is if Country Q consumed more than it mined in 1991 (Answer B). Using our example above, maybe Country Q mined 5,000 tons but consumed 12,000 tons, for a net loss of 7,000 tons, leaving 3,000 tons remaining. Of course, this is just one possibility, but it shows the idea.

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