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What do Parallel Flaw Questions look like?

Parallel Flaw questions provide you with a short scenario that involves a faulty chain of reasoning. Your task is to identify the answer choice containing the same flaw as the original. The trick here is to remember that all or most of the answer choices will contain flawed logic, but you are looking for the one that is flawed in the same way as the stimulus. That can be a bit confusing. Paired with the fact that you have to map out the original scenario and those of all five answer choices, this is a beast of a question type. It will probably take more time than any other question type, so along with Parallel Reasoning questions, it’s a good candidate to leave for the end. Luckily, there will only be one per Logical Reasoning section.

A quick example

Every time I take the bus, I’m late to work. Yesterday, I was late to work. Therefore, I must have taken the bus.

If you already see the flaw, you’re halfway there. Let’s map it out briefly. If I take the bus (A), I’m late (B). That can be written as “If A, then B.” Yesterday, I was late (B), so I must have taken the bus (A). In other words, “B, so A” (which is the same thing as saying “if B, then A”). If you’re not already familiar with the basics of contrapositives, you should get caught up on them now. Otherwise, you probably noticed that we reversed our original terms (A and B), but didn’t negate them. That’s faulty logic. So, we need to find an answer choice that makes the same mistake. It starts with “If A, then B,” and uses that alone to conclude “B, so A.”

That’s a quick look at a Parallel Flaw question. The key thing to remember is that most if not all of the answer choices will be flawed, but only one of those flaws will match the original. That said, the sentences in the correct answer choice don’t have to appear in the same order as they did in the stimulus. They just need to be the same pieces, so that you can construct a similarly flawed argument by rearranging the order of the statements, if necessary.


More Resources

Check out the post LSAT Logical Reasoning Parallel Flaw 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 Parallel Flaw 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.

  • The pattern of flawed reasoning exhibited by the above argument most closely parallels that exhibited by which one of the following?
  • Which one of the following contains flawed reasoning that most closely parallels that in the argument above?
  • Which one of the following arguments is vulnerable to a criticism most similar to that which can be applied to the argument above?
  • The argument above exhibits flawed reasoning most similar to the flawed reasoning in which one of the following?

Parallel Flaw questions, as you might have guessed, contain elements of both Parallel Reasoning questions and Flaw Questions. Therefore, they will often feature language like “parallel” or “similar” paired with language like “flawed reasoning” or “vulnerable to criticism.”

This question type, along with Parallel Reasoning questions, tends to be found in the latter half of most Logical Reasoning questions. This is a clue to its difficulty level. Parallel Flaw questions are typically among the most difficult questions in a section, so it’s a great idea to leave them until the end and tackle them only once you’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit.

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