# LSAT & Law School Blog

One of the best ways to prepare for the LSAT, or any standardized test, is to do actual LSAT problems, review the correct answer, and analyze why you answered the way you did.

In the following article, we’re going to work through an LSAT logical reasoning problem using our virtual whiteboard tool to explain how to approach a real LSAT logical reasoning problem created by LSAC.org. You can either read this article or watch this LSAT logical reasoning video on YouTube.

## LSAT Logical Reasoning Practice Question

The mayor has been accused of taking a bribe based on the fact that a consultant that does business with the city paid for improvements to the mayor’s vacation house. In his own defense, the mayor has said that he paid every bill for those improvements that was presented to him.

Which of the following, if true, most undermines the mayor’s defense?

(A) Authorities are investigating the consultant for taking bribes from officials of other cities.

(B) The mayor was aware that many of the bills were being presented to the consultant rather than to the mayor.

(C) The building contractor in charge of the improvements to the mayor’s house has done business with the city in the past.

(D) The improvements to the mayor’s house were done with expensive materials and involved thousands of hours of labor.

(E) The amount of money that the city paid the consultant over the last year greatly exceeded the cost of the improvements to the mayor’s house.

### As is the case with every LSAT strategy that our LSAT tutors recommend, the first step is to identify and underline the question task.

In this case, we're being asked to find what, if true, most undermines the mayor's defense. In other words, our task is to identify which answer option would make the mayor’s defense least likely.

### Now that we’ve identified the task at hand, it’s time to read the whole prompt.

Keep in mind that not all logical reasoning prompts provide conclusions, so it’s obviously only necessary to bracket the conclusion in cases where there is one. In this case, there is a conclusion: the last sentence about the mayor’s defense, which reads “In his own defense, the mayor has said that he paid every bill for those improvements that was presented to him.”

Our next step is to predict what the answer should do because developing a general idea of the answer you’re looking for will save you valuable time and energy in the long run. In this case, we can surmise that the answer should undermine the mayor’s defense. In order to undermine the Mayor, note subtle term shifts between the evidence and the conclusion to identify potential assumptions to address through the correct choice.

In this prompt, we have a pretty clear term shift that happens between the evidence, or the scenario at the beginning, and what the mayor's defense is. In other words, there is a shift between the notion that the Mayor has been accused of taking a bribe based on the fact that the consultant paid for improvements and the Mayor’s claim that he paid every bill that was presented to him. With this in mind, our prediction of how to undermine the mayor’s defense ought to revolve around the idea that what the consultant paid for isn’t equal to every bill presented to the Mayor.

Now that we've got a prediction that we can harness to aid our process of elimination, the key is to check all five answer choices and identify one that reflects that. If you're going to eliminate an answer choice, be sure to highlight the specific element that allowed you to confidently do so. If you can't come up with a reason, don't eliminate it.

With regard to choice A, we see that authorities are investigating the consultant for taking bribes from officials of other cities. Although this answer may be tempting, what happens in other cities is not relevant to what happens in this city. We can therefore eliminate Choice A.

Choice B says that the Mayor was aware that many of the bills were being presented to the consultant rather than to the mayor, which matches our prediction pretty directly since it contradicts the Mayor’s defense. We can therefore put a little check next to this question and move on.

Although it’s clear that choice B is likely the option, we should always check all 5 options to be sure. You can, however, move a little more briskly when you’ve already identified a strong contender.

Choice C states that the building contractor in charge of the improvements of the mayor's house had done business with the city in the past. Because what happens in the past does not matter for the future, we can eliminate this choice with confidence.

Choice D mentions that the improvements to the mayor’s house were done with expensive materials and involved thousands of hours of labor, but the price paid reveals nothing about who made the payment. We can therefore rule choice D out.

Lastly, choice E says that the amount of money that the city paid the consultant over the last year greatly exceeded the cost of the improvements to the mayor’s house. We don't care about what the city paid, because we’re only interested in the Mayor, so we can eliminate that for having a new variable that is ultimately irrelevant.

### Conclusion

Evidently, choice B remains our most viable option. Through prediction, we were able to aggressively work through the problem and come to the right solution.