Types / Weaken

Average Questions Per Test4.3
Predicted Questions on Modern Test4.4
The weaken standard is the most common standard in the evaluating evidence strand. With this task, the LSAT is asking you to identify which answer has a piece of evidence that makes the conclusion less likely to be true. Answer choices will acknowledge the evidence that has been given in the stimulus, but essentially hijack that evidence to lead to a negation of the conclusion. For causal conclusions, this often means that the answer will say that some other cause has led to the phenomenon in the conclusion.

Distractors for weaken questions will often present information that does not address the stimulus’s conclusion; these distractors are often referred to as being "out of scope." Additionally, common distractors will be neutral pieces of evidence that do not make the conclusion more or less likely to be true. Occasionally distractors will be evidence that strengthens the conclusion, and are thus opposite of what the task is asking you to identify.

The question stem for weaken questions are fairly similar, and thus it is easy to identify while taking the LSAT. A common variant is: "Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the argument.” This stem is emphasizing that the evidence in the correct answer is to be taken at face value, no matter how unlikely it may seem given the other evidence in the stimulus.

The real world cognitive task that is tested by the weaken standard is identifying evidence that can either attack an opponent’s argument or identifying evidence that your argument needs to address in order to be valid. This, of course, is practiced every day by lawyers: we need to evaluate arguments and structure their evidence to make the best case for the client.

Once you've identified that a given question is a weaken task, you should actively read the stimulus and identify the argument’s evidence, bridge, and conclusion. You should be able to draw a mental chart that links the argument's evidence to the conclusion. Once you've identified that link, you can pre-phrase the negation of the conclusion.

For instance: if a stimulus’ conclusion is that reading more books will always lead to an increase in vocabulary, your pre-phrase should be that--despite the best piece of evidence--reading more books will not always lead to an increase in vocabulary. Causal conclusions are typically easier to negate than relative conclusions, but you can easily practice with the following example: Solving poverty is more easily accomplished by the government than the private sector. Although the negation would be "solving poverty is not more easily accomplished by the government than the private sector," that still leaves open the possibility that the routes are equally easily accomplished or that neither route is easily accomplished.

The correct answer choice will acknowledge the evidence from the stimulus, but still lead you to this pre-phrased negation. Thus, you should not try to pre-phrase an actual answer choice. This is because the "if true" evidence in the answer choice could be a multitude of possible pieces of evidence; is not helpful to try and think of all the ways that a given argument could be weakened if some other fact were true.

Once you have this pre-phrase, you can go to the answer choices and actively ask yourself "Combining the evidence in the stimulus and this new evidence, is the pre-phrased negation true?"

This diagram shows the stimulus' evidence leading to the argument's conclusion. The correct weaken answer choice acknowledges that the new technology uses electric currents, but presents new information that shows it is not reliable enough to allow "just in time" evacuations.

Another way of thinking about it is that the new evidence is hijacking the stimulus evidence, and leading it in the opposite direction. For instance: an argument could claim that a country's legislation regulating the safety of workplaces has led to a decrease in employee accidents in manufacturing. The pre-phrase would be that the legislation has not led to a decrease in employee accidents. The correct answer choice could be that increases in automation of manufacturing tasks has led to fewer employees working in manufacturing jobs. This new piece of evidence shows that the legislation is probably not the cause, but rather that there are fewer people at risk of injury due to some external evidence. This external evidence, if true, makes the causal connection between the legislation and the decrease in employee accidents less likely.
TestQ #SectionAnswerYour AnswerDistractorDifficulty
June 200752BEnterMedium
June 200792EEnterEasy
June 2007142EEnterMedium
June 2007153CEnterBHard
June 2007213BEnterEHard
PT 6842BEnterVery Easy
PT 6893AEnterVery Easy
PT 6712AEnter
PT 67172BEnter
PT 6764AEnterC
PT 67104BEnter
PT 67244CEnterE
PT 6652CEnter
PT 6644BEnter
PT 6664CEnter
PT 6684DEnter
PT 6551DEnterMedium
PT 6534DEnterEasy
PT 65194BEnterMedium
PT 6481BEnterMedium
PT 64101AEnterMedium
PT 64131DEnterHard
PT 64153BEnterAVery Hard
PT 6321BEnterMedium
PT 6371BEnterHard
PT 6393CEnterMedium
PT 63163EEnterMedium
PT 62222DEnterBVery Hard
PT 6254BEnterEHard
PT 62144EEnterDHard
PT 61112AEnterCHard
PT 61142DEnterMedium
PT 61202CEnterDHard
PT 6184EEnterMedium
PT 61214CEnterMedium
PT 60131CEnterBVery Hard
PT 60161CEnterAMedium
PT 6043BEnterEasy
PT 60133DEnterCHard
PT 59212CEnterAMedium
PT 59252BEnterEVery Hard
PT 5923AEnterVery Easy
PT 59133DEnterMedium
PT 5851AEnterCVery Hard
PT 58241EEnterDHard
PT 5824CEnterVery Easy
PT 58104DEnterMedium
PT 5792CEnterVery Easy
PT 57142EEnterMedium
PT 57172EEnterDHard
PT 57202DEnterBHard
PT 5763AEnterDHard
PT 57113AEnterMedium
PT 5632BEnterEasy
PT 5682DEnterBMedium
PT 56203DEnterBVery Hard
PT 5571AEnterMedium
PT 5591DEnterEasy
PT 55221EEnterD/BHard
PT 5543AEnterEasy
PT 5593DEnterVery Easy
PT 55223AEnterHard
PT 5432AEnterVery Easy
PT 54142CEnterEHard
PT 54104DEnterMedium
PT 5331BEnterVery Easy
PT 5381DEnterEVery Hard
PT 5343AEnterEasy
PT 5393EEnterEasy
PT 53143AEnterEasy
PT 53163BEnterVery Easy
PT 5233BEnterMedium
PT 5181CEnterMedium
PT 51251AEnterMedium
PT 5113AEnterMedium
PT 5022BEnterEasy
PT 50242AEnterCHard
PT 5054EEnterEasy
PT 50124AEnterCVery Hard
PT 4962CEnterEasy
PT 4982DEnterEasy
PT 49142BEnterMedium
PT 4984AEnterMedium
PT 4811DEnterVery Easy
PT 48191BEnterAHard
PT 4894AEnterMedium
PT 48234DEnterAHard
PT 48264BEnterHard
PT 4721BEnterEasy
PT 47191AEnterBMedium
PT 47221CEnterA/BHard
PT 4743BEnterEasy
PT 47143AEnterMedium
PT 47243EEnterAHard
PT 4682EEnterVery Easy
PT 46222CEnterEasy
PT 46252CEnterEasy
PT 4663DEnterEasy
PT 4521CEnterEasy
PT 45121CEnterDVery Hard
PT 45161CEnterMedium
PT 45181DEnterCHard
PT 4544DEnterEasy
PT 4442CEnterVery Easy
PT 4482EEnterEasy
PT 44202BEnterAHard
PT 4414CEnterEasy
PT 4454DEnterVery Easy
PT 4362EEnterEasy
PT 4383CEnterEasy
PT 43193BEnterMedium
PT 4212AEnterVery Easy
PT 4242AEnterEasy
PT 4262BEnterEasy
PT 42202BEnterMedium
PT 42252CEnterEasy
PT 4264CEnterEasy
PT 41131CEnterMedium
PT 41161CEnterDMedium
PT 41163CEnterEasy
PT 41263BEnterMedium
PT 40171EEnterMedium
PT 4053BEnterVery Easy
PT 40263BEnterMedium
PT 3992DEnterEasy
PT 3914EEnterVery Easy
PT 39224DEnterEasy
PT 38101AEnterBMedium
PT 38171BEnterMedium
PT 38134AEnterBMedium
PT 38154DEnterEasy
PT 3742BEnterEasy
PT 37142DEnterVery Easy
PT 3724AEnterVery Easy
PT 37114DEnterEasy
PT 37184BEnterEasy
PT 3621AEnterVery Easy
PT 3681DEnterEasy
PT 36251CEnterEasy
PT 3623AEnterEasy
PT 3653EEnterEasy
PT 3541CEnterEasy
PT 3581EEnterEasy
PT 35131DEnterAMedium
PT 3554DEnterVery Easy
PT 35174EEnterEasy
PT 35204AEnterDMedium
PT 34122AEnterEasy
PT 34172AEnterDMedium
PT 34252CEnterAVery Hard
PT 3463BEnterEasy
PT 34203AEnterDMedium
PT 3341DEnterVery Easy
PT 33171CEnterEasy
PT 33201CEnterDVery Hard
PT 33251DEnterVery Easy
PT 3373AEnterEasy
PT 33243BEnterMedium
PT 32121BEnterEasy
PT 32171DEnterCVery Hard
PT 3224CEnterVery Easy
PT 3132CEnterVery Easy
PT 3162CEnterEasy
PT 31162EEnterEasy
PT 31192BEnterEVery Hard
PT 31123CEnterEHard
PT 31243DEnterEMedium
PT 3012AEnterVery Easy
PT 3082AEnterVery Easy
PT 30114AEnterEasy
PT 30174CEnterMedium
PT 30244DEnterEasy
PT 29161BEnterAHard
PT 2994DEnterEasy
PT 29244BEnterMedium
PT 2851DEnterVery Easy
PT 28231AEnterMedium
PT 28113CEnterBVery Hard
PT 28153BEnterEasy
PT 28173BEnterAMedium
PT 28253EEnterB/DVery Hard
PT 2781BEnterVery Easy
PT 27101EEnterVery Easy
PT 27154CEnterEasy
PT 27184BEnterCHard
PT 2652AEnterBVery Hard
PT 26122DEnterEasy
PT 26143AEnterMedium
PT 26243EEnterA/CVery Hard
PT 2552BEnterEasy
PT 25152DEnterVery Easy
PT 2534EEnterEasy
PT 25104BEnterEasy
PT 25114DEnterCHard
PT 25244DEnterVery Easy
PT 2472AEnterEasy
PT 24192EEnterDHard
PT 24202BEnterAHard
PT 2463DEnterVery Easy
PT 2493EEnterMedium
PT 24223CEnterEasy
PT 2382DEnterBHard
PT 23262DEnterMedium
PT 23193BEnterMedium
PT 2242DEnterVery Easy
PT 2282AEnterBHard
PT 22202EEnterVery Easy
PT 22194BEnterEHard
PT 22244EEnterDHard
PT 22264DEnterMedium
PT 2172BEnterEasy
PT 21172CEnterBVery Hard
PT 21213BEnterVery Easy
PT 21233CEnterMedium
PT 2021AEnterVery Easy
PT 2041BEnterEasy
PT 20121DEnterMedium
PT 2034BEnterVery Easy
PT 20174EEnterA/CHard
PT 20234DEnterMedium
PT 20254DEnterCMedium
PT 1942DEnterAHard
PT 19122DEnterEasy
PT 1994BEnterEasy
PT 19104AEnterCMedium
PT 19264DEnterHard