Identify the Conclusion Questions

In Identify the Conclusion questions you will be provided with an argument which leads to a particular conclusion. That conclusion will be expressed as one of the answer choices. The statements in the argument are premises or reasons on which the conclusion is based. Often the conclusion itself will be provided in the argument and then merely restated as one of the answer choices. The goal of these questions is to test your ability to identify the main point of the argument. You must be able to separate the conclusion from the premises of the argument.

Take a look at the following actual LSAT question stems for Identify the Conclusion questions. Notice that they are all quite similar and all look for you to identify the main conclusion or main point of the author’s argument.

Question Stems:

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the Psychologist’s argument? (LSAT 46, Sec 3, Q 5)

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion of the argument? (LSAT 46, Sec 3, Q 21)

The author is arguing that (LSAT 45, Sec 1, Q 1)

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion of the argument? (LSAT 45, Sec 1, Q 17)

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the argument? (LSAT 45, Sec 4, Q 1)

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion drawn by the public health expert (LSAT 45, Sec 4, Q 9)

The question stems for Identify the Conclusion questions are relatively easy to identify and they are all quite similar. They each ask you to look for the main point or main conclusion, or the idea that the author is arguing for.

Be aware that within the argument you will encounter many premises and only one main conclusion. This conclusion can be placed anywhere in the argument. Many students are inclined to expect the conclusion to come at the end of the argument. The creators of the LSAT know this and will attempt to trick you by placing the conclusion at the start or middle of the passage. They will also create answer choices that merely rephrase the last sentence. Do not expect the conclusion to fall within the last sentence. It could be anywhere in the argument.

Right answer choices:

The correct answer will have all of the following elements: (1) The author would agree with the answer. (2) It is the main purpose of the author’s argument. (3) The majority of the rest of the argument leads to this answer and can be used to support it.

Ensure, first of all, that your chosen answer is something that the author would agree with. If the author does not agree with the statement it can no possibly be their main conclusion. Make sure that your chosen answer is the MAIN purpose of the argument. It should not be merely a peripheral point that the author would agree with. When you think you have found the correct answer, look to the rest of the argument and see if the other parts of the argument lead to and support this conclusion.

Wrong Answer Choices:

One of the most common wrong answer choices in Identify the Conclusion questions is the mentioned point. These are points that are mentioned in the argument but are not the conclusion. Often the LSAT creators will simply rephrase and repeat information from the argument that was not the conclusion.

Other wrong answer choices are conclusions that go beyond the scope of the arguments main point or exaggerate statements made in the argument. For example if the argument is:

“Investment will drop next year as interest rates are expected to rise.”
The conclusion is that “Investments will drop next year.” This is based on the premise “Interest rates are expected to rise.”

If an answer choice were expressed as “The economy will suffer next year.” This is not a correct conclusion as it goes beyond the scope of the argument. The scope was limited to investment and interest rates, and did not encompass the economy as a whole.

Also, watch out for too strongly worded answer choices. In the example above, “There will be no investments next year,” would be too strongly worded. We know that there will be LESS investment but not that there will be NO investment.

It is also possible to have wrong answers that are true or should be true on the basis of all that was provided by the information in the argument; however they are still not the main conclusion. The correct answer must be something that the author would agree with, however, merely because the author would agree and the argument supports it does not make it the correct answer. It must also be the main point, or main conclusion of the argument. In the above example, “Business growth will slow down next year,” would be an incorrect answer. The author would agree with it and it would likely be true on the basis of the information provided but it is not the conclusion of the argument.

The key to picking out the conclusion is distinguishing it from the premises of the argument. The conclusion must be the main point that all the other points are leading towards. Remember that the conclusion can and will be anywhere in the argument from the start to the finish.

Some examples of Identify the Conclusion questions that have appeared on past LSATs are:

PrepTest

Section

Question

46

3

5

46

3

21

45

1

1

45

1

17

45

4

1

45

4

9

Here we provide the answers and full explanations for each of the Identify the Conclusion questions listed above. Unfortunately because this is a free resource we cannot provide the full questions themselves as they are under copyright by LSAC. If you would like a copy please contact us. Or you can purchase copies of these tests directly from LSAC

Identify the Conclusion question from actual LSAT 46, Sec 3, Q 5:

5. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the psychologist’s argument?

Analysis:

The first sentence starts off with “Because…” and later another “Because…” these words indicate that a reason is being given, not the conclusion. The first part of the next sentence “They should not be,” is our conclusion. The word “Should” here indicates our conclusion and all the remaining parts of the argument are reasons supporting this conclusion.

Answer Choices:

(A) Certain psychotherapists practice age discrimination.
This point is true but not the conclusion. It is a point mentioned in the passage as a reason why elderly people feel discouraged about psychotherapy. None of the other parts of the passage support this point.

(B) Elderly people are better able to benefit from psychotherapy than are younger people.

This is a point that the author of the argument would agree with but it is not the main conclusion. The Author suggests this in the last sentence, but it is merely a point that will support the conclusion.

(C) Elderly people should not be reluctant to undergo psychotherapy.

This is the conclusion of the argument. The argument proceeds by giving reasons why there is a problem. The problem is that elderly people feel discouraged about trying psychotherapy. The author then concludes that “They should not be,” and continues with reasons to support that conclusion.

(D) Characteristics associated with maturity are important factors in psychotherapy’s success.

This is another point that the author of the argument would agree with but it is not the main conclusion. The Author suggests this in the last sentence, but it is merely a point that will support the conclusion.

(E) Elderly people are less inclined to try psychotherapy than are younger people.
It is stated that elderly people are discouraged, and that many young people have already benefited from psychotherapy, which implies that this statement is true and that the author would agree with it. It is not the conclusion, but merely a true statement. The argument is not leading us to this as a conclusion, and it is not the author’s main point.

Identify the Conclusion question from actual LSAT 45, Sec 1, Q 1:

1. The author is arguing that

Analysis:

The argument begins by making a statement that tells us that the true nature of economic well-being is not fully understood when only measured by consumption. The next statement provides support for the first sentence. By stating that we get very little satisfaction from certain examples of consumption the author supports the first statement. This makes the first statement the author’s conclusion. The statement supported by the rest of the argument, or that which the rest of the argument leads us to believe is true, is the conclusion.

Answer Choices:

(A) economic well-being cannot be defined solely in terms of consumption
This is a summary of the main point of the first sentence and is supported by the information given in the second sentence. It is our conclusion.

(B) satisfaction is possible without consumption
This is probably true and yet it is not stated in the argument, nor is it the main point of the argument. Be careful of answer choices that are true and make perfect sense in the real world but do not answer the question asked.

(C) valid measures of consumption cannot be devised
The argument makes no discussion of other possible measures or whether valid measures can be devised, it merely states that consumption as a measure is not enough. This statement goes beyond the scope of what the author is arguing. Not that it is very strongly worded: “cannot”. This should be a warning sign. Check if the author is really stating something that strong.

(D) modern products are designed for early obsolescence
While the last sentence may suggest that this is true, it falls well outside the topic of the argument. The argument is discussing consumption as a measure for economic well-being. The fact that some products are consumed is only support for the main conclusion. Also, there is no discussion of the design of the products.

(E) satisfaction can provide an adequate quantitative measure of economic well-being
The author believes that consumption is not a sufficient measure for economic well-being. However, there is no discussion of satisfaction as a proper measure, and definitely no discussion of it being a “quantitative measure”. This falls beyond the scope of the argument.

Notice that in the sample questions the majority of the wrong answers are something that could be true on the basis of the provided information, and that the author would likely agree with. We are not looking for true or agreeable answers; we are looking for the conclusion or main point of the passage. The correct answer is something that the rest of the passage leads us towards. The passage will consist of reasons that support the final conclusion, and that conclusion can be hidden at the start, end or in the middle of the passage. Keep an eye out for key words that identify parts of the passage as the conclusion or a premise on which the conclusion is based.

Sample Identify the Conclusion question from Actual LSAT 46, Sec. 3, Q 21:

21: Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion of the argument?

Analysis:

The first statement here “Baumgartner’s comparison… is misleading.” is our conclusion. The next two sentences provide information which backs up this claim. “He examines only production…” and the statistics on resource use and air pollution help demonstrate how his comparison is misleading.

(A) This is a simple restatement of the first sentence which is our conclusion and the author’s main idea. Some students get hung up on the word deceptive, but it is essentially another way of saying that the comparison is misleading. (A) is our Correct Answer.

(B) The author would agree with this point, but it is only a fact that is used to support the author’s claim.

(C) It is not stated that Baumgartner used inaccurate data, only that not enough data was used. Baumgartner looked only at production and not the whole life of the vehicles.

(D) This answer choice goes beyond the scope of the argument. The argument specifically addresses the claim in relation to two types of automobiles, not life cycles of any product.

(E) The author would likely agree with this statement. It is suggested that this point it correct by the information given in the passage but it is not the conclusion. This information about electric cars being less hazardous to the environment is used to support the fact that Baumgartner’s comparison was misleading. It is a premise upon which the conclusion is based.

Identify the Conclusion question from Actual LSAT 45, Section 1, Q. 17:

17. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion of the argument?

Analysis:

The first sentence is giving a fact. Note that this fact may not be entirely correct but in an LSAT question what is stated by the author as a fact must be accepted as fact for the purpose of the argument. Given that this situation is true, the author makes a conclusion which is that the government’s view is not necessarily the correct view. The author then proceeds to criticize anyone who disagrees with this conclusion.

(A) This is a restatement of what the author states anyone who disagrees with the main conclusion would believe. If you disagree with the author you will hold this view point. However the author does not hold this view point.

(B) The author states this as the conclusion. The author tells us that the government’s views are expressed by the officials and the courts, and that these views may not always be correct. The beginning of the argument sets up a situation or fact upon which the author can make her conclusion and the last part of the argument criticizes those who hold different view points. (B) is our correct answer.

(C) This is once again the belief that the author tells us is held by those who disagree with the author. If you disagree with the author you will believe that you only have such rights as the government chooses to grant. The author herself does not agree with this statement and so it can not possibly be the conclusion.

(D) The first sentence states that the police will do what the officials and courts say. It does not state that they agree with them. Also this is only a fact mentioned in the argument, and is not the main point.

(E) The author does not mention anything about what one should or should not do. The author merely states that the government might not always be correct. We can not go beyond this statement and add extra information about what the author thinks we should or should not do.

Identify the Conclusion question from Actual LSAT 45, Section 4, Q. 1:

1. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the argument?

Analysis:

This argument begins with setting up the factual situation or reality in which this argument will occur. This includes the claim made by some that the mayor’s policies only benefit the rich. The author then enters with his own conclusion which is that the claim made against Mayor McKinney is unfair. The rest of the passage then provides support for that conclusion by demonstrating that McKinney does make some policies for the benefit of the less affluent.

(A) The argument is not concerned with whether McKinney is more or less committed to one group over the other. It is only concerned with showing that McKinney is not totally committed to one group (the wealthy) to the exclusion of the other (the less affluent).

(B) This is simply a restatement of the factual situation provided in the first sentence. This is taken as fact and used as a situation in which the author can make his claim that these criticisms are unfair.

(C) This is a restatement of a point mentioned in the argument. It is a point that supports the conclusion by telling us that yes some of the mayor’s policies are helping the less affluent.

(D) This restates the author’s conclusion. This point is made at the end of the first sentence and the remainder of the argument is used as support for this one statement. (D) is our correct answer.

(E) This is a restatement of a point mentioned in the argument. It is a point that supports the conclusion by telling us that yes some of the mayor’s policies are helping the less affluent.

Identify the Conclusion question from Actual LSAT 45, Section 4, Q. 9:

9. Of the following, which one most accurately expresses the conclusion drawn by the public health expert?

Analysis:

The conclusion of the public health expert here is that the public health strategy would best if changed to one of informing people about diseases. The argument begins by stating the previous belief of people in the success of the current policy. Then reasons are given why this policy is no longer a good one and finally the public health expert concludes that best option is to change the policy to the one suggested in the last sentence.

(A) This statement is made by the public health expert as support for why the policy needs to change. It shows that there is a problem with the old policy. It is a premise upon which the conclusion is based.

(B) The public health expert does not state that patients CAN NOT be cured by present methods only that present methods are causing other problems and should be changed. The public health expert would not agree with this point and so it can not possibly be the conclusion of the public health expert’s argument.

(C) This is the conclusion. The public health expert discusses the old policy and the problems associated with it as support for why it should be changed. A better and more specific summary of the conclusion would be that the current policy should be changed to one of informing people about the transmission of microorganisms, but this simplified summary of the conclusion is our best answer. (C) is our correct answer.

(D) The author does not go nearly so far as to suggest that “NO ONE” who is fully informed will “EVER” fall victim. The author merely states that informing people would be a good health strategy. Watch out for these very strongly worded answer choices. They are seldom correct.

(E) It is not stated that the rapid reproduction was IGNORED. In fact the public health expert states that this information only recently become available. Also the discussion of rapid reproduction is only support given for the conclusion and not the conclusion itself.

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