June 2007 LSAT, III, #12

Onward through the June 2007 LSAT. Section 3, Question 12 very simply asks us to identify the main conclusion of an argument. Like this: Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion drawn in the argument? 

Shouldn't be too tough.

To answer a main conclusion question, ask yourself "why is the speaker wasting my time with this?" Your answer to that question will be something like "well, the author was trying to prove XYZ." From there, all you have to do is pick the answer choice that best matches your prediction.

Here, the author has said three things:

1) Novel X and Novel Y are both semiautobiographical novels and contain many very similar themes and situations, which might lead one to suspect plagiarism on the part of one of the authors.

2) However, it is more likely that the similarity of themes and situations in the two novels is merely coincidental...

3) ...since both authors are from very similar backgrounds and have led similar lives.

The order in which the elements are presented is irrelevant to the logic. The main point can be first, last, or in the middle. But some of the things the speaker says provide support for the other things the speaker is says. The thing that is supported by the other things will be the answer. Like this:

"Both authors are from very similar backgrounds and have led similar lives" tends to support the idea that "the similarity of themes and situations in the two novels is merely coincidental." So the author seems to disagree with anyone who suspects plagiarism.

The conclusion of the argument is "it is more likely that the similarity of themes and situations in the two novels is merely coincidental," since that's what the author was trying to prove.

A)  This doesn't match our prediction. We need "coincidental," or a synonym, in our answer.

B)  This was the first sentence of the argument, but the speaker went on to say "actually, it's probably just coincidental." So this can't be the author's main point.

C)  This was evidence that supports the author's main point, but not the main point itself.

D)  This is the best answer so far. It comes closest to matching our prediction.

E)  This goes further than the speaker actually went. The speaker says "it's probably not plagiarism," but that doesn't mean that the author thinks suspicion of plagiarism is unwarranted. Furthermore, the facts already state that the two authors are from very similar backgrounds, so this answer is nonsensical when it starts off with "if they are from similar backgrounds, then..." We already know they are from similar backgrounds!

Our answer is D, because it best matches the author's main conclusion. This is a very basic type of question. Master this one first, before proceeding to other, more difficult, types of questions.