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What do Point of Contention Questions look like?

Point of Contention questions provide you with a short dialogue and ask you to identify a point on which the two speakers disagree. As with Point of Agreement questions, this is often much harder than it sounds. The speakers will probably not explicitly state opposite opinions on any one particular point. Instead, the first speaker will express an opinion on a topic and somehow rationalize that opinion. The second speaker will then typically focus on the rationalization used by the first speaker rather than on the central point being made.
 

A quick example

Matheson: Ted Williams is the greatest baseball player of all time. After all, he’s the only player to achieve a batting average over .400 in more than 85 years.

Rogers: But Nap Lajoie had the highest batting average of all-time, and Barry Bonds hit far more home runs than Ted Williams did during his career. If you only look at one of their statistics, either of those two players could also be considered the greatest baseball player of all time.

In a question like this, there’s sure to be answer choice that says that Matheson and Rogers disagree over whether Ted Williams is the greatest baseball player of all time. Unfortunately, that answer would be incorrect. We don’t know who Rogers think is the greatest of all time; we just know that he believes batting average alone isn’t enough to make that determination. So, it’s more accurate to say that Matheson and Rogers disagree over whether Ted William’s record batting average alone makes him the greatest player of all time. More generally, we could say that they disagree over whether any one statistic is sufficient to make such a judgement.

 

More Resources

Check out the post LSAT Logical Reasoning Point of Contention 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 Point of Contention 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.
 

  • [Speaker #1]’s and [Speaker #2]’s statements most strongly support the claim that they would disagree with each other on which one of the following?
  • The point at issue between [Speaker #1] and [Speaker #2] is whether…
  • An issue in dispute between [Speaker #1] and [Speaker #2] is…
  • Which one of the following most accurately expresses a point of disagreement between [Speaker #1] and [Speaker #2]?
  • Based on [Speaker #1]’s and [Speaker #2]’s comments, it can be concluded that they disagree that…


 
Point of Contention questions can come in many different forms, but they will all contain some kind of language denoting conflict between the speakers. Common words to find are “disagree,” “dispute,” “issue,” and “contention”. It’s also worth noting that Point of Contention questions are going to look a lot like Point of Agreement questions, so read them carefully and make sure you don’t answer the opposite of what the question’s asking.
 
 

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