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Unit 1: Lesson 10

Reading Comprehension - Worked Examples

Organizing info | Science passage | The Sun

Watch a demonstration of one way to answer an Organizing information question from a science passage on the LSAT. Created by Dave Travis.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] "The author's discussion of nuclear fusion in the last paragraph serves primarily to," Okay, so, dot dot dot. So what do we remember about the nuclear fusion discussion in the last paragraph? It may make sense to just go up and have a look at that last paragraph. Here it is. "Absent a generally accepted explanation "of how helium and hydrogen could produce the sun's energy, "Payne's findings could not easily override "her contemporaries' preconceptions. "We now know the sun's heat is generated "through nuclear fusion," then it explains fusion, "but this process was so well charted today "that even elementary physics textbooks discuss it. "was inadequately understood in the 1920s." So when nuclear fusion was finally understood, all of the sudden everybody thought, oh my gosh, Cecilia Payne, you were right all along. Okay, so let's do this question again. What is the discussion doing? And you'll notice that I haven't looked at the choices yet. I really wanna have an idea of what I'm looking for, before I look at the choices. So what is that discussion doing? It's saying, look, this is why nobody accepted her findings at the time, because people didn't understand how the sun was gonna generate that heat, and then when nuclear fusion became clear, that that actually works, that actually was a thing, all of a sudden, we understand why, how that sun makes that heat, and everybody accepted Cecilia Payne's findings and she was vindicated. Okay, so again, this is a Purpose of the Paragraph. Purpose of the Element of the Paragraph. What is it doing? It's helping us to understand why the scientists finally came around to accepting her hypothesis, which is really the main point of the whole passage. Here we go. Is it primarily to "illustrate the impact "of Payne's findings on a discipline, "related to, although distinct from, "the one in which she ultimately made her mark?" I don't think that's a different discipline and again, it doesn't match what we're looking for. Helping us with the why it finally came around that her findings were accepted. Okay, B. To "explain in part the reactions "of Payne's fellow scientists to her interpretation "of the data that she analyzed." Uh, yeah, so it does explain why they didn't understand how the sun made all that heat, so that looks kinda good. Let's keep on going and see if there's anything better. The purpose was primarily to "clarify." So one of the things I'm doing here is I'm actually turning all of these verbs into their infinitive form, and that helps me really focus on the actual words that are in each choice, so I'm gonna do that here. So is the purpose to explain? Is it to illustrate? Is it to clarify? To show? Or to demonstrate? Okay, so, obviously, those are all similar, but it really helps to just lock into the structure of each choice. So let's look at B. Is the purpose of it to "clarify an underlying reason "for Payne's rejection of the 'iron' hypothesis?" No, it can't be a reason for her rejection, because she didn't know about it, so that's wrong. D, is the purpose to "show how Payne's findings "came ultimately to be modified "in light of later scientific developments?" No, her findings were not modified. Okay, so that's wrong, too. E, to "demonstrate that Payne's reliance on incorrect data "did not prevent her from reaching a sound hypothesis." Okay, so incorrect data? No, she wasn't relying on incorrect data at all, so that's definitely not right, but let's come back to B, and the reason that B is right is for a couple of reasons. One is that it's supported by the passage. Two, is that we made a decision earlier to look for the choice that matches what we thought it was gonna be. We are trusting ourselves. Trust. And the reason here, it serves primarily to do, was to explain the scientist's position. And that's what we have here with B.