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What do Assumption Questions look like?

Assumption questions ask you to find a gap between the evidence presented in a stimulus and the conclusion drawn. For example, it might tell you that there are thousands of apple trees on a certain farm and then argue that the farm must make most of its money selling apples. The evidence relates to the number of apple trees whereas the conclusion is about the relative value of those trees. So, there’s gap between number and value that must have been bridged by making some assumption about the relationship between those two elements. The assumption is that the farm doesn’t have any other sources of income that are more profitable than its thousands of apples trees. That may be true or it may be false. We don’t ultimately care about the actual accuracy of the assumption. All we care about is this: if the assumption is false, does the conclusion hold?

Check out the post LSAT Logical Reasoning Assumption Questions for a more detailed overview of this question type and how to approach it, or visit our Logical Reasoning Library for tons of information on this section of the exam.

Below is a list of some of the common forms in which an Assumption question can be phrased. If you’ve seen one that isn’t on this list, please leave it in a comment so we can include it.
 

  • Which of the following is an assumption that is required by the argument?
  • The argument requires the assumption that…
  • The conclusion can be properly drawn if which one of the following is assumed?
  • The conclusion is properly drawn if which one of the following completes the argument?
  • [Person 2]’s response most strongly supports the claim that he understood [Person 1]’s argument to be that…


 
Most Assumption questions will have some form of the word “assume” in the prompt. However, the last two examples above illustrate how this is not always the case. With Assumption questions, the trick is to identify that the question is asking you to provide a piece of information that is not explicitly stated, but that must be true in order for the argument in question to make sense.
 
 

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2 Responses to What do Assumption Questions look like?

  1. Karleigh Wike May 24, 2018 at 1:05 PM #

    If the assumption is false, and the conclusion does hold, then it is not the right answer choice, correct?

    Thank you for all of these blogs! They are super helpful.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 25, 2018 at 11:42 AM #

      Hi Karleigh,

      I’m so glad that these blogs are helpful! You might find this blog post from our GMAT product to be useful (the GMAT has questions that are very similar to the LSAT logical reasoning questions) : Assumptions and the Negation Test.

      I’m a little unsure about your statement and don’t want to muddy the waters, so I’ll give the basic “negation test” here:
      If you take a statement (answer choice) to be false, and the conclusion can still be true, then that statement is NOT an assumption on which the argument depends.
      If you take a statement (answer choice) to be false and the conclusion cannot still be true, then that statement IS an assumption on which the argument depends.

      If you are ever in doubt, you can use this handy guide to identify assumptions!


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