I'm an extremely lucky guy. I live in San Francisco. I have no boss. I do fulfilling, well-paying work... but I don't work too much. I spend a ton of time hiking up Mt. Davidson, day drinking, and video game playing. I also play a lot of golf. It's a wonderful life. But none of those things make me feel half as lucky as spending every day with Christine Ness. She's the smartest, sweetest, all-around loveliest creature I have ever encountered, and she improves the lives of everyone she meets. I am certain that I do not deserve her. Want to talk about luck? Get this: She loves to watch golf with me on TV.
Guest blogger: Christine Ness
Understanding the precise meaning of scientific and technical concepts is rarely necessary to answer an LSAT question. When I read “copper-alloy kitchen implements,” I was momentarily distracted because I don't know much about copper-alloy (or any kind of alloy for that matter). But I reminded myself not to sweat the science/technical stuff and moved on. As usual, the tech stuff turned out to be irrelevant detail.
What I did focus on was the structure of the argument. The argument's premises are:
-implements found in well -coins dated 375 A.D. found underneath
Based on these premises, the argument concludes that:
-the implements were dropped no earlier than 375 A.D.
Before I read the question stem, I tried to critique the argument. The glaring weakness seemed to be that the argument assumes that the only way the coins could have ended up under the implements is if they landed in the well first and the implements later fell on top and neither moved. But what if some athletic Roman-era gladiators decided to climb down into the well to hide some coins for a rainy day? And what if, when they got to the bottom, they found some implements (that had been there for a couple years already) that they decided to use to cover up the coins? I realized that there could be many alternative explanations like this that could weaken the argument.
I then went on to read the question stem. When it asked for a strengthener, I thought I should look for something that guards against a critique like the one above. So I looked for something that guarded against an alternative explanation as to why the coins were under the implements.
A. Irrelevant. This doesn't help guard the argument against an alternative explanation.
B. This does seem to guard against an alternative explanation. Could the coins have fallen through an accumulation of larger objects (including the implements) that had actually been in the well longer than the coins? This seems good to me if nothing else sounds better.
C. Same as A.
D. Same as A.
E. The fact that there's even older stuff even deeper in the well might tend to strengthen the idea that "the deeper the older," which seems to match the idea of the argument. But does deeper, older jewelry necessarily mean that the medium-deep coins are at least as old as the copper implements on top? I don't think so. I like B better, since it clearly strengthens the argument by defending against a potential attack.
Our answer is B.
From Christine: I went to law school to become a public interest attorney. Nate was my LSAT teacher, back in 2008, and I went from a 156 to a 160. I think the main reason that I didn't improve more is that he and I became good friends (and drinking buddies) during the class and I was having too much fun hanging out with him to study. I don't regret it, we've now been together five years! I recently graduated from UC Hastings, where I realized that I don't have the ideal personality type to be a lawyer. So now I'm working in nonprofit administration and thanking my lucky stars for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. My favorite thing about the LSAT is that once you get a little practice under your belt it feels like a game--these days, I moonlight as an editor of Nate's LSAT books and after all this time I actually find it fun.
Please ask questions and/or suggest corrections to anything that seems confusing... we want to make this the best resource we can for LSAT students. We'll have all the June 2013 explanations up as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading. Tell your friends! --nathan