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What do Inference Questions look like?

Inference questions ask you to determine which answer choice is most likely to be true given only the information provided in the stimulus. These are a bit different than most other Logical Reasoning question types because the stimulus is not actually an argument. Instead, it’s just a string of premises–or facts–that you must assume are true for the purposes of the question.

For example, an Inference stimulus might tell you that:

  • Alaska experiences financial trouble whenever oil prices fall,
  • that oil prices fall whenever there is a spike in oil production,
  • and that Congress just passed a bill that will result in an increase in the oil supply due to expanded drilling in the Arctic.

 
Given all of the above:

  • A proper inference is that Alaska will suffer financially.
  • Now, those of you who know more about the oil industry than I do might argue that Alaska could do something to force higher prices or to make itself less reliant on oil revenue. That may be true, but it’s irrelevant in this question because we can only use the information provided to make our inference. In this case, that information makes it clear that Alaska suffers when the oil price drops, the oil price drops when supplies increase, and supplies are about to increase. We don’t really care about the real-world accuracy of the facts provided. We just need to pretend they’re the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and roll with it.

    Check out the post LSAT Logical Reasoning Inference 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 Inference 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 one of the following answer choices is most strongly supported by the information above?
    • Which one of the following can be properly inferred from the statements above?
    • If all of the above statements are true, then which one of the following must also be true?
    • The statements above, if true, most logically support which of the following conclusions?
    • Which one of the following most logically completes the sentence above?


     
    Most Inference questions will include some form of the word “inference” or some form of “most strongly support(ed).” However, the real key to recognizing an Inference question is paying attention to what’s supporting what. In Inference questions, the statements in the stimulus will support an answer choice. In most other Logical Reasoning question types, the answer choices will support (or weaken, or parallel) an argument in the stimulus. Just remember that an Inference question is asking you to determine a new fact based solely on the ones explicitly provided in the stimulus.
     
     

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