If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Inferences about information | Quick guide

What is implied? Or: what else is likely to be true?

Some questions in the Reading Comprehension section will ask you to make an inference about information in the passage. The answer may not be explicitly stated in the passage, but it will be supported by the content of the passage. In other words, you’re being tested on your ability to ‘connect the dots’ or ‘read between the lines’ and determine what is implied.

Examples

  • “The passage provides the most support for which one of the following statements?”
  • “The passage most strongly supports which one of the following statements regarding _____?”
  • “The passage implies that _____ is...”

Strategies

  • Use process of elimination to get rid of inferences that can’t be supported, until you find one that is.
  • Don’t get thrown by the word “inference.” On many more basic inference questions, you’ll find all the support you need for the answer in one part of the passage. The correct option might not do much more than simply restate an idea that is made fairly explicitly in the passage—the implication is often just under the surface. The answer is always the choice that has the most support in the passage; it won’t be a choice that requires you to use your imagination.
  • On more challenging inference questions, you may have to pull together information from various parts of the passage to identify the answer.

Common wrong choice types:

Here are the two most tempting wrong choice types you might encounter:
  • Out of scope Sometimes a choice will bring up a topic that is related or tangential to the topics in the passage. These choices can be quite glittery—they are especially attractive because they sound like they’re in the same ballpark as the point the author is making. However, they go beyond what can reasonably be inferred from the statements in the passage itself.
  • Too strong or extreme Some incorrect choices will reflect the basic idea of the correct response, but take it further than what can be supported by the passage. Be wary of “extreme,” all-encompassing words like always, all, every or never. Authors of passages on the LSAT usually don’t make broad, general points like this, since they don’t want to claim something they can’t support!

Comparative Reading variants

Inference about information questions don’t often come up on paired passages, but when they do, they often ask you to find an inference that is supported by both passages:
  • “Which one of the following statements is most strongly supported by both passages?”
The same strategies apply here, with the added requirement that both passages must support the choice. Remember: in such cases, even if the two passages have contrasting conclusions, theses, or recommended plans-of-action, there will be some basic common ground that both passages acknowledge.

Want to join the conversation?

  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Leul‎‎‎‎‎‎
    Is there another way of making sure you don't pick a "out of scope" answer?
    (5 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • leaf green style avatar for user dyoffis
      there isnt any shortcut if thats what you are looking for, though if your logical reasoning is weak i suggest you get a strong grip on necessary vs sufficient. not just assumptions, but the whole concept of them. and you should try the logical reasoning articles on here, they are good, though they are compacted a lot. so you will have to do a lot of thinking on your own and explore their depth. lemme know if i can help in any other way.

      tho if you want a better explanation, heres my try.

      first thing you have to know is what an inference means, its something that can be 'logically deduced or followed' from that passage. so just as an example, if i tell you that:

      "All Indians are Asians and all Asians are smart."

      then think about this if this would be correct.

      "All Indians always score an A+."

      This would be a false choice, because though the topic of smartness and grades is tangentially related, there is no specific mention of grades in that line. what is implied, though it is not said, is that 'all indians are smart'.

      Now intuitively you might wanna argue that if someone is smart that they will get an A+, but that is external knowledge since there is no talk about the relation between school and smartness. maybe some indians could be called smart because they are very ingenius at farming and have amazing techniques. the statement presented to us doesnt define smartness so we cannot reach any conclusion about smart people. also notice the use of the word 'always' in the choice, even if someone is smart that doesnt gurantee A+ unless the statement has explicitly told us that it does guarantee that.

      so though that choice might seem tempting, you cannnot infer it from the lines that were given. the implication ends at "all indians are smart". what kind of smart? no information given. you have to be open to making mistakes and learning and thinking and teaching yourself. like they say, build the basics really strong, it might seeem like you are going slow at first, but the speed will come later on.

      p.s: im just a student too so take it with a grain of salt.
      (32 votes)