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## #23 - There are about 75 brands of microwave popcorn on the

• PowerScore Staff
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#24569
Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True-CE. The correct answer choice is (D)

The argument states that since many people buy microwave popcorn despite the fact that it costs over five times as much as conventional popcorn, it shows that many people are willing to pay a high price for just a little additional convenience.

Answer choice (A): The stimulus states that the 75 brands of microwave popcorn together account for over half of microwave food sales, though it has not addressed whether a single brand accounts for a large share of microwave food sales. Thus this answer does not have to be true.

Answer choice (B): We know that there are 75 brands of microwave popcorn on the market, but we don’t know how many brands other microwave food products have. For example, there could be 100 brands of microwave poptarts.

Answer choice (C): We know that microwave popcorn costs more than conventional popcorn by weight. We also know that microwave popcorn accounts for over half of microwave food sales. We don’t know, however, whether more microwave popcorn is sold than is conventional popcorn, and we certainly don’t know whether more microwave popcorn is sold by volume.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. Since microwave popcorn takes three minutes to cook, and it accounts for over half of microwave food sales, we know that more than half of microwave food sales is on food that takes three minutes or less to cook (microwave popcorn). Thus more money is spent on microwave food that takes three minutes or less to cook (microwave popcorn) than on microwave food that takes longer to cook.

It is true that we don’t know how long it takes to cook all other microwave food products besides microwave popcorn, but since microwave popcorn alone accounts for over half of microwave food sales, there must be more money being spent on microwave popcorn than all other microwave food products, thus answer choice (D) has to be true.

Answer choice (E): We only know that microwave popcorn accounts for over half of microwave food sales, but we don’t know whether microwave popcorn accounts for over half of microwave food products. Thus it does not have to be true that most microwave food products on the market are microwave popcorns.
willmcchez
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#42602

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. Since microwave popcorn takes three minutes to cook, and it accounts for over half of microwave food sales, we know that more than half of microwave food sales is on food that takes three minutes or less to cook (microwave popcorn). Thus more money is spent on microwave food that takes three minutes or less to cook (microwave popcorn) than on microwave food that takes longer to cook.

It is true that we don’t know how long it takes to cook all other microwave food products besides microwave popcorn, but since microwave popcorn alone accounts for over half of microwave food sales, there must be more money being spent on microwave popcorn than all other microwave food products, thus answer choice (D) has to be true.
So, this might be painfully obvious and I'm just not understanding it. BUT, I'm struggling to understand how one can ascertain that microwave popcorn takes three minutes or less to cook.

The stimulus states that "it takes three minutes to pop corn in the microwave." I just don't know how one infers that it could take less time.

Now that I'm reviewing the answer choice and have time to do so, I understand "it takes three minutes to pop corn in the microwave" as "three minutes is required to pop corn in the microwave." I view that as the following diagram:

Corn Popped In Microwave Three Minutes of Cooking

TMOC CPIM

From that, I don't see how anything LESS than three minutes could be valid.

The LR bibles encourage us -- especially in MBT questions -- to not bring outside information into the problems. Granted, some common knowledge is needed and assumed. That being said, I understand that in, say, 2 minutes and 45 seconds, MOST of the popcorn would be popped. So from that, I could see why one could infer that microwave popcorn COULD take less than three minutes to cook. But I feel like that is too far outside of the common knowledge assumed by the LSAT makers.

But using that logic, "less than three minutes" could also imply "5 seconds," in which case almost none, if any, of the popcorn could be cooked by then.

So, I understand that D must be true IF it said "three minutes" not "three minutes or less." It is the "or less" that, I feel, makes the statement not NECESSARILY true.

Furthermore, using the logic I've used above, I feel as though there is more evidence pointing to the idea that a more justified statement would be that "microwave popcorn takes three minutes OR MORE to cook," due to the fact that three minutes is required (again by my logic) for the popcorn to cook. Considering the second half of the correct statement speaks about other products that take LONGER than three minutes to cook, I'm supremely confused.
willmcchez
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#42646
Just a quick bump to try to get this addressed. Feel free to delete this post once it has been answered. Thanks!
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#42680
The thing to remember here, willmcchez, is that "3 minutes or less" includes everything that takes exactly 3 minutes. If all the microwave popcorn takes exactly 3 minutes, no more and no less, and if over half the money on microwave food is spent on microwave popcorn, then more than half the money is spent on food that takes 3 minutes to cook. That means that if we then add in all the food that takes less than 3 minutes, plus all the popcorn that takes 3 minutes, more than half will be in that group - even if there are NONE that take less than 3 minutes (because the popcorn already represents more than half the money). Of course, if there are some foods that take less time, including if some popcorn takes less time, then for sure more than half the money is spent on foods that take 3 minutes or less.

Again, and to sum up - if something takes 3 minutes, it is included in the group of things that take 3 minutes or less. The only things not in that group are the things that take more than 3 minutes. That has to represent less than half the money spent on microwave food products in this question.

Keep popping!
andriana.caban
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#67625
How does this argument contain causal reasoning?
KelseyWoods
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#71582
Hi Andriana!

Remember that causal reasoning exists whenever you have a relationship in which one thing (the cause) actively makes another thing happen (the effect). In this case, the author says that people are willing to pay a higher price for the added convenience of microwave popcorn. So the convenience of microwave popcorn is the cause that is actively making people pay a higher price for popcorn.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey
KG!
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#76543
HI, I've re-read the problem/explanations, however, I am having a difficult time understanding why C is not the correct answer. I suppose I am reading the stimulus incorrectly, but I don't see how we can infer that in D "more money is spent on microwave food.."

Jeremy Press
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#76629
Hi KG,

With answer choice C, focus on this simple question: do we know from the stimulus how much conventional popcorn is sold? No, because they don't tell us anything directly about conventional popcorn sales. The only sales we have some details about are (1) microwave popcorn sales, and (2) microwave food product sales. Since conventional popcorn doesn't fall in those categories, we have no way of knowing how much is sold and thus no way to get to the comparison answer choice C makes.

Consistent with the original explanation of answer choice D, as well as Adam's helpful summary above, we know that microwave popcorns (which take three minutes to pop) "account for a little over half of the money from sales of microwave food products." That means it's true, no matter what, that things that take three minutes or less to cook in the microwave (the popcorns) account for more than half of the money from microwave food sales, and therefore that more is being spent on them than other microwave foods combined, including those that take longer to cook.

Hope this helps!

Jeremy
ericsilvagomez
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• Joined: Oct 16, 2023
#104267
Hi,

I chose answer choice A. Although I understand the explanation, I am a bit confused about questions like this where there is an answer choice that must be true. When reading the reasoning behind why answer choice A is wrong, I thought it could also explain why I figured it was correct when I answered it initially. From my understanding, it is true that no single brand of microwave popcorn accounts for a large sale of microwave food products, correct? But it does not have to be true. What does that mean?
Jeff Wren
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#104290
Hi Eric,

You stated "From my understanding, it is true that no single brand of microwave popcorn accounts for a large sale of microwave food products, correct?"

First, I want to check what you mean by this statement/question and how you arrived at this idea?

Are you basing the statement that no single brand of microwave popcorn accounts for a large sale of microwave food products on the information in the stimulus or on your "real world" knowledge/experience?

If you're basing it on what is true in the "real world," then that is a mistake. You are to only use the information presented in the stimulus to prove your answer in a Must Be True question.

If you're basing it on information in the stimulus, then you've either misinterpreted/misread something in the stimulus or made an unwarranted assumption based on the information in the stimulus. No where in the stimulus does it state or imply that no single brand of microwave popcorn accounts for a large share of microwave food products. This is not discussed at all and we have absolutely no way of knowing if this must be true or not based on the information in the stimulus.

Second, it looks like you're trying to make a distinction between whether something "is true" versus "must be true".

The best way to think of the answer choices to a Must Be True question is that the correct answer is something that "Must Be True" and the incorrect answers are "Not Necessarily True," which is the logical opposite of Must Be True.

We discuss the concepts of logical opposites in lesson 2 of The PowerScore LSAT Course and in chapter 3 of "The Logic Games Bible."

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