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What do Paradox Questions look like?

Paradox questions ask you to provide an explanation for a pair of facts that seem to contradict each other. These are similar to Assumption questions in that each answer choice will introduce a new piece of information that could affect how you interpret the facts in the stimulus. The difference between Paradox and Assumption questions, however, is that in a Paradox question there is no argument being made. The stimulus is just a couple of facts.
 

A quick example

The highest mountain on earth is Everest, which rises 29.029 feet above sea level. However, Everest is not the tallest mountain on earth. That title belongs to Mauna Kea, which only rises 13,796 feet above sea level.

Again, there is no argument presented in the stimulus above. It’s just a couple facts about some tall mountains. The paradox lies in the fact that the tallest mountain on earth is not the highest mountain on earth. Why? Because Mauna Kea extends another 19,700 feet below the surface of the ocean, making its total height over 33,000 feet. The correct answer would need to provide this information to explain the seeming contradiction in the facts presented.

So, the key to Paradox questions is to find a piece of information that just makes sense. Kind of a relief, right?
 

More Resources

Check out the post LSAT Logical Reasoning Paradox 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 a Paradox question can be phrased. As usual, 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, if true, most helps to resolve the apparent discrepancy in the information above?
  • Each of the following, if true, helps to resolve the apparent paradox in the statements above EXCEPT…
  • Which one of the following, if true, most helps to explain why…
  • Which one of the following, if true, most contributes to a resolution of the discrepancy above?


 
Paradox questions are one of the easiest types to spot on the LSAT. They almost always include some form of “resolve” or “explain” along with “apparent,” “paradox,” and/or “discrepancy.” There aren’t many uncommon variations in phrasing, and these question types tend to appear more in the first half of a section, meaning they are on average a bit easier than most other question types.
 
 

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