Thursday, January 20, 2005

Why People Like Me Will Have Trouble With the LSAT

Because people like me will have to answer questions like this (no, I'm not making this up, it's in my practice book):

Every adult male woolly monkey is larger than even the largest female woolly monkey. In colonies of woolly monkeys, any adult male will dominate any female.

If the statements above are true, which one of the following must on the basis of them be true of woolly monkeys?

A. Size is the primary determinant of relations of dominance among woolly monkeys.
B. Some large adolescent male woolly monkeys dominate some smaller females of the species.
C. If a male woolly monkey is larger than a female of the species, that male will dominate that female.
D. If a female woolly monkey dominates a male of the species, the dominated male monkey is not an adult.
E. An adult male woolly monkey can dominate a female of the spcies only if that female is also an adult.

You guys don't really think I could answer that question dispassionately, do you?

I'd be more likely to write in an answer, F:

F. If the female monkeys gang up on the male monkeys, they will kick the male monkey's asses, and teach them that female monkeys are vicious fucking fighters when provoked. All the monkeys will be happy and live in harmony after that, and when Big, Evil Male Monkeys try to dominate by sheer force of size, they will be brutally castrated and kicked out of the troop, where they will then be eaten by scavengers, making effective use of "natural" selection. It will be a great day for monkeys everywhere.

Think I could get into law school with that one?


For the record, the answer is D. My initial knee-jerk answer was C, which shows just how many of my own cultural biases I'm carrying around.

Must... learn... to... be... logical....

4 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I saw a similar question in my GRE book. Those questions piss me off. 

Posted by Bent Fabric

Anonymous said...

It's funny, cause with a background in history, and writing feminist SF, what I immediately want to do is *not* assume that X and Z statements are true. My first instinct is to question the assumptions behind X and Z and figure out if they're "true" or just "assumptions," and then try and extrapolate how those "facts" could actually be different.

Which, of course, is why I plan on spending so long studying for this.


Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

I was stuck between B and D, and settled on D. I was considering going to law school and studied for the LSAT. I remember those kinds of questions. I had to get past the "I know that's not true of woolly monkeys" thinking and just look at the question and the available answers.

Sometimes I think they put questions like that in tests just so that you get your dander up so that it's more difficult to think logically. 

Posted by Trish Wilson

Anonymous said...

Testmanship. Don't think about truth, think about what the designers of the test expect. 

Posted by NancyP