Types / Most Similar in Flawed Reasoning

Average Questions Per Test2.0
Predicted Questions on Modern Test2.0
Today we'll introduce one of the most infamous tasks on the LSAT, one that frequently closes out a difficult LR section with a 400 word monster: most similar in flawed reasoning.

This Zen task is easy to recognize but difficult to complete, if only because the entire text for a question can take up one column on a logical reasoning section's page. In addition to their length, the questions turn on your ability to take abstract logic, identify the logic's flaw, and then compare it against multiple subtle distortions of that logical structure: many people's idea of mental torture.

Identifying the task is exceedingly easy, however. On a modern LSAT, the following stem would be common:
Which one of the following is most similar in its flawed
reasoning to the flawed reasoning in the argument above?
In order to accurately complete this task, you should focus on positively identifying the reasoning error exhibited in the argument; thankfully, these are usually much easier than the stand alone fix by removing questions. As you read, you should also take note of the actors, their explicit relationships, and the degree of certainty for those relationships. The argument's conclusion is also helpful to identify, and it almost always simple to do so for even the most difficult most similar in flawed reasoning questions.

Once these elements are identified, you can turn the stimulus into a pre-phrase similar to a principle or into a formal logic statement with symbols similar to a logic game diagram, making special note of the reasoning error. These tools can then be compared against the answer choices until a perfect match is found, starting with the explicit conclusion (but be careful with contrapositives!), following up with the argument's structure, and fact-checking the error.

For example, suppose the following argument:

Boston is America's largest higher education market.
Police in Boston arrest far more people during the academic school year than they do during the colleges' winter and summer breaks. Thus, Boston police arrest more students than non-students.

The flaw: associating a raw number change with a relative comparison between actors, without any evidence for that comparison.

Type of conclusion: comparative (more students arrested than non-students)
The actors: police, academic and non-academic time, students and non-students

The relationship: arrests increase during non-academic and decrease during academic

Degree of certainty: raw number changes
Combining all of these elements together, you can start eliminating answer choices. Some example distractors might be eliminated because their conclusions aren't comparitive:
  • e.g., a definitional conclusion, as if the students were criminals, not that more of them are arrested
  • e.g., a relative conclusion, as if the students were more likely to be arrested than non-students
Other types of distractors might be based on miscontruals of the stimulus' flaw, such as comparing the two different actors without any evidence linking them or utilizing cause and effect.

Finally, the argument structure distractors might introduce extra actors or omit the bridge.

Once you apply these subsequent layers of elimination, there should only be one correct answer choice left; if there are multiple, you should not try to repeat the same process. Once you only have a couple of answer choices left, you should focus on the relevant factors in a side-by-side comparison of the answer choices, rather than comparing them back to the stimulus. Thinking about the answer choices in a different way will almost certainly help you more than thinking harder about the same process.

As we mentioned earlier, many test prep companies recommend skipping this question type for anyone with significant timing issues on the logical reasoning sections.  While this may be solid advice for those not finishing 5 or more questions per section, we don't generally advocate skipping tasks for those hoping to score above 165.
TestQ #SectionAnswerYour AnswerDistractorDifficulty
June 200722BEnterEasy
June 2007203CEnterAHard
PT 68252BEnterDHard
PT 68243CEnterVery Easy
PT 67232BEnterA
PT 67254DEnter
PT 66242CEnter
PT 66244DEnter
PT 65111AEnterDHard
PT 65244AEnterDHard
PT 6491BEnterAMedium
PT 64233EEnterMedium
PT 63241EEnterAHard
PT 63253AEnterCHard
PT 6272CEnterAHard
PT 6294CEnterAMedium
PT 61232DEnterAHard
PT 61264BEnterDMedium
PT 60211BEnterA/CHard
PT 60233CEnterDHard
PT 5992CEnterEasy
PT 59153CEnterEasy
PT 5871BEnterVery Easy
PT 58224CEnterEHard
PT 5782EEnterA/CHard
PT 57153CEnterEasy
PT 5672CEnterEasy
PT 56143BEnterEasy
PT 5511BEnterEasy
PT 55233CEnterMedium
PT 54212AEnterEasy
PT 5484CEnterVery Easy
PT 53211AEnterHard
PT 53133BEnterAHard
PT 5231AEnterMedium
PT 51201BEnterEasy
PT 51223BEnterCHard
PT 50172AEnterMedium
PT 50244DEnterCMedium
PT 49262CEnterMedium
PT 49244AEnterEasy
PT 48231EEnterAVery Hard
PT 4844BEnterEasy
PT 47211BEnterAMedium
PT 47253DEnterCHard
PT 46202BEnterDHard
PT 46193EEnterDHard
PT 45111CEnterEasy
PT 45204AEnterDVery Hard
PT 44222EEnterDHard
PT 44194BEnterCMedium
PT 43242CEnterEasy
PT 43223DEnterMedium
PT 42242BEnterEasy
PT 42224AEnterEHard
PT 41231AEnterEasy
PT 4183BEnterVery Easy
PT 40201DEnterEMedium
PT 40173AEnterB/EHard
PT 39182AEnterDHard
PT 39264DEnterEasy
PT 38161DEnterVery Easy
PT 38174BEnterEasy
PT 37212AEnterDHard
PT 3744EEnterEasy
PT 36211AEnterMedium
PT 36193BEnterAHard
PT 35241CEnterVery Easy
PT 3564BEnterVery Easy
PT 34242BEnterMedium
PT 34233DEnterEMedium
PT 33151CEnterEasy
PT 33183BEnterMedium
PT 32221DEnterVery Easy
PT 32214AEnterMedium
PT 31212CEnterBVery Hard
PT 31233CEnterMedium
PT 3062BEnterVery Easy
PT 30254AEnterEasy
PT 29231BEnterAHard
PT 29214CEnterMedium
PT 2831AEnterEasy
PT 28213DEnterEHard
PT 27111BEnterVery Easy
PT 27134DEnterVery Easy
PT 26202CEnterBHard
PT 26133EEnterMedium
PT 2522CEnterVery Easy
PT 25124DEnterCMedium
PT 2452DEnterVery Easy
PT 24163AEnterVery Easy
PT 23232EEnterEasy
PT 23233BEnterDHard
PT 22232EEnterEasy
PT 2264CEnterEasy
PT 21152AEnterBVery Hard
PT 21212AEnterMedium
PT 21253EEnterBHard
PT 20171DEnterVery Easy
PT 20204EEnterMedium
PT 19222DEnterCHard
PT 19214CEnterMedium