June 2013 LSAT, LR2, Q8, medical specialist qualifications

Crowdsourcing the June 2013 LSAT:  June 2013 LSAT Explanation Central | About this project Ender Markal is way smarter than me in math, knows more about finance and accounting than I do, and runs Ironman triathlons. Pretty studly dude all around. I know him through the Bay Area Tutoring Summit and play poker with him on a semi-regular basis.

Guest blogger: Ender Markal

We are trying to identify an assumption on which the argument "depends," which means we are looking for a Necessary Assumption. The conclusion is the competency of a certain type of person. “Therefore, anyone who has qualified as a medical specialist is competent to practice his or her specialty.”

It may help to rewrite the conclusion as a simpler if/then statement:

If someone qualified as a medical specialist, then he is competent to practice in his or her specialty (If A then B.)

Remember, the conclusion here is that if a person earns the qualification, they are competent.

On a Necessary Assumption question, we're looking for an answer that, if untrue, would cause the argument to fail.

A is not the right choice because it talks about motivation rather than competency of a person. Motivation was never mentioned in the argument.

B is out because it talks about talent rather than competency. Again, talent was never mentioned in the argument.

C is the right answer. The argument had assumed that only competent people could complete the evaluation program and earn the certification. If C is not true, it becomes "some incompetent people complete the certification," which would ruin the idea that only competent people are certified.

D makes me wonder what's so special about 6 to 10 years of training. If it was frequently, or even "usually," possible to become competent in 5 years, or if it "usually" took 11 years, how would that change the argument?

E is basically the same answer as D. Whether 6 to 10 years is "usually" sufficient or "usually" necessary has no effect on whether or not only competent people become certified, because we have no idea how long these people actually stay in school. Our answer is C, because it must be true or the argument will fail.

From Ender: Ender Markal owns SFTutors and tutors all levels of math. He is the author of the GMAT Math Workbook through Barron's. He has been working as a full-time professional academic coach since 2005. The dryness of this explanation may lead you to believe that he once was trained as a lawyer. Alas, being a lawyer is sufficient but not necessary to be this unexciting. He was an engineer in his previous life.

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

Crowdsourcing the June 2013 LSAT:  June 2013 LSAT Explanation Central | About this project