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Toughest LSAT Questions: Preptest 38, Section 1, Q20

pt 38 climate and geography -magoosh

Putting in the work with your LSAT practice tests? That’s awesome! Taking timed practice tests is crucial to reaching your ideal LSAT score. But sometimes, under the time limit, it’s easy to get tripped up on some difficult questions. Still figuring out the PT 38 climate and geography question? Read on for a quick and clear explanation!

PT 38 Climate and Geography Question Type

This question is a “most strongly supported” question. In this question type, your job is to make an inference based on the given facts. Basically, what can be supported or inferred based on the information given?

We’re told that human industry springs up depending on climate and geology. And, if there’s a dramatic shift in the climate, there’ll be migration. Consequently, with migrations, people intermingle, exchange ideas, and quickly advance civilization.

Our Mission

Remember, to get the PT 38 climate and geography question correct, you have to (1) understand the question type, and (2) make the right conclusion based on the information. So we can think of what we can expect of the right answer before we get started:

We’re accepting these facts as true, so don’t worry about whether they’re false or not. Firstly, the sociologist could be saying that advances in civilization are related to the establishment of human industry. Secondly, it seems that humans don’t want to remain settled where there are massive shifts in climate. And last, exchanging ideas is a necessary condition for fast civilization advances. These were all of the little conclusions I could make after reading these facts.

Answer Choice A

The first choice A tells us that the primary cause of migration is climate. But, note that we only know that climate shifts cause migrations. However, do we know whether that’s the main cause? There could be more prominent causes of migration that aren’t mentioned here. That’s why A isn’t supported.

Answer Choice B

B says that every climate shift produces a “net gain” in human progress. Can you point to where “net gains” or any gains in human progress are mentioned in the question? Nowhere! So how can we say that this is supported? It’s not.

Also note that the sociologist didn’t say that the term “human progress” is equivalent to “advances in civilization.” Let’s not make that decision for him/her.

Answer Choice D

Next, answer D says that populations settle wherever human industry can be established. We can express that as a conditional statement. The sufficient condition would be “wherever human industry can be established.”

Be careful about statements like these. This mixes up our conditions. The passage tells us that climate and geology affect where human industry can come about. But that doesn’t mean that in every place that’s suitable, there’s human industry! We don’t have enough information to conclude this. All we know is that population settlement should be a sufficient condition.

Answer Choice E

Answer E claims that every time there’s migration, there’s a rapid advance in civilization. Did the passage say anything to justify this? We know that the migration brings a necessary condition for rapid advances, and that necessary condition is the mingling of ideas. But, remember that having the necessary doesn’t guarantee having the sufficient condition!

Answer Choice C

Finally, we’ve crossed out every answer but C. C says that people stay settled only where the climate is pretty stable. Is this supported?

Notice that the passage mentions a conditional statement. Drastic climate shift –> Migration. The contrapositive would be, if there’s no migration (or people stay settled), then there’s no drastic climate shift (A.K.A. the climate is fairly stable).

So, the contrapositive really helps us out! That statement is definitely supported, and it should be our “most strongly supported” answer.

Lessons Learned From the PT 38 Climate and Geography Question

Hopefully you’ve learned that contrapositives can really save the day! It’s frequently the basis of answers for “must be true” kinds of questions. We also learned not to mix up sufficient and necessary conditions. With these tips, you should improve and get similar questions right the next time!

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