The Most Complete List of LSAT Essay Writing Prompts and LSAT Writing Topics.
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LSAT Essay Prompt 01
1. The Citizens’ Association of Winchester is deciding whether to renovate the town’s original Park and Shop shopping center or to demolish and replace it. Write an argument favoring one plan over the other based on the following guidelines:
• The association wants to increase the variety of shops and services in the neighborhood by attracting new merchants to the area.
• The association wants the building to remain a center of community-oriented activity for residents of the neighborhood.
One proposal calls for renovating the Park and Shop by adding two stories to the existing structure for additional shops and a restaurant. The original two-story structure, surrounded by thirty parking spaces, currently houses twelve family-owned businesses, including a gift shop, a bakery, a hardware store, and a small clothing boutique. The building also houses the offices of a doctor, an attorney, and a dental group. It is architecturally undistinguished, but it blends well with the neighborhood, and every Saturday morning, a section of the parking lot is used for a flea
market where people from the neighborhood come to buy crafts and fresh produce. The current shop-owners are not likely to be able to afford the rent if the center is demolished and a new building is constructed.
The other proposal is to demolish the existing Park and Shop and replace it with a six-story building that features a dramatic forty-foot atrium and an underground parking garage. The top two floors of the new structure will be used for offices, the ground floor will house a four-screen movie theater, and the remaining floors will be used for clothing and jewelry stores, exotic gift shops, and the like. Three “open air” restaurants, each with an ethnic theme. will surround the atrium on the first floor. The developer has agreed to provide a large room on the ground floor rent- free for ten years for community art work and projects.
LSAT Essay Prompt 02
The large publishing firm that owns financially troubled Westerly Books has allocated $50,000 to the small company in one major effort to save it. Write an argument for spending the money on one of the following plans. The publishing firm has set the following conditions for keeping Westerly in business.
• Westerly must show a profit within one year by significantly increasing total sales.
• Westerly must change its image from an elite literary press to one with a broader audience appeal.
The Series Plan calls for contracting with a commercial artist who designs covers and book jackets. Westerly primarily publishes fiction by young and little-known writers whose names are recognized by only a small reading audience. This artist successfully launched a series of biographies for another small press by designing distinctive covers that became a trademark for the series. She believes that she can do something similar for Werterly by developing individual cover designs that will also become recognized trademarks. Book stores have told Westerly that its covers lack visual appeal and estimate that sales of its twenty current titles could jump at least 50 percent with better designs. The artist wants a $50,000 contract to undertake this project.
The Star Plan calls for spending the money on promotion of one promising novel. Westerly’s books are generally well received by the critics but rarely sell more than five thousand copies. Westerly usually does not have the resources for extensive national advertising. As a result, young writers who start out with Westerly usually sign with larger publishing houses once they achieve some success. Westerly has published two novels by a writer whose popularity has grown steadily. He is about to complete his third novel and claims that, with the right promotion, sales of this novel alone will exceed those of Westerly’s entire line. Though optimistic, Westerly’s staff has a more conservative estimate of expected sales. To remain with Westerly, the author wants a promotional campaign costing the entire $50,000.
LSAT Essay Prompt 03
Springfield, faced with a 15 percent decrease in the city budget, must cut services in one area. Write an argument in favor of making the cuts
in one or the other of the following two areas, keeping in mind two guidelines:
• Springfield wants the cuts to defer spending in a way that will have minimal impact on the quality of services delivered.
• Springfield wants to avoid any negative publicity that could undermine the city government’s reputation for effective management.
One way to cope with the budget cuts is to deny funding for the proposed plan to improve Springfield’s emergency services. This plan was created after an article in the local newspaper documented problems caused by outdated equipment and one instance in which slow ambulance response may have been responsible for a person’s death. A new director with a record of successfully improving services in another town was brought in to take over the emergency services. She designed a plan that calls for hiring three paramedics specially trained with the most advanced equipment. The centerpiece of the plan is the purchase of a computerized dispatching system to improve response time, and a package to train existing staff to use the system.
The alternative is to make cuts in the educational budget. One cut would deny teachers their requested salary increases for the coming year. In recent years, Springfield teacher salaries and benefits have risen to compare with the best in the region. The teacher’s union has publicly stated that these gains are responsible for the dramatic improvements in student scores on national achievement tests during the last three years. A second cut in the education budget would put off construction of an addition to the high school, at a time when serious overcrowding has already forced the placement of four mobile classroom units behind the existing building. Officials predict that two additional units per year will be needed until the addition is built.
LSAT Essay Prompt 04
Ralston, the capital city, is planning its 200th anniversary celebration, which will end with speeches in from of City Hall. The town is considering
including a theatrical performance. Write an argument favoring one of the following two productions over the other, with two considerations guiding your decision:
• The town wants to promote significant out-of-town interest in the event.
• The town wants to encourage as much community participation as possible.
First Lady, a serious drama, was written by a local author who is also a community leader in Ralston. It is the story of Ada Jeffers, the controversial outspoken wife of the first governor. Jeffers’ unceasing, uncompromising stance against various forms of oppression was the subject of a nationally broadcast television special last year. Teri Alan, a native of Ralston and famous film actor, will play the lead. She has promised to recruit a small professional cast to perform the parts of the main characters in the play, and all other roles will be filled by area residents. The town’s newspaper, the Ralston Times Daily, in conjunction with the town historical society, will publish a special anniversary edition featuring Jeffers’ many activities.
Ralston Redux is a musical revue based on a fictionalized account of the colorful life and exploits of Herbert Ralston, the town founder and confidence man. Two of the region’s leading satirists adapted the script from a popular play. The show includes a children’s chorus and a number of crowd scenes, all to be played by community members. Leading roles will be filled through auditions. The director of a successful summer stock company has offered her assistance and the services of her professional technical crew. The Ralston High School Band, which has won the regional competition for the past three years, will provide the music. Local merchants have contributed money for a fireworks extravaganza that will be part of the play’s finale.
LSAT Essay Prompt 05
The port city of Cedarville is considering two offers for the purchase of a large waterfront tract just within the city limits. Write an argument for one offer over the other with the following considerations in mind:
• Cedarville wants to reverse recent declines in both unemployment and population.
• Cedar ville wants to boost its dwindling tourist industr y.
Excel Glassware Company proposes to build a three-story factory on the site. It will employ 150 people and include a research laboratory. The company, part of an international conglomerate, is known for its extensive training programs and other employee benefits. Excel manufactures glassware for private and commercial use, including a world-famous line of crystal. The offer includes a promise to bring an award-winning crystal collection to be housed in a specially designed gallery built as part of a park next to the factory. Excel promises an advertising campaign promoting guided tours of the gallery and demonstrations of glassblowers at work.
Nature Life, a national conservation organization, wants to turn the site into a wildflower and animal sanctuary. The organization plans a tourist area, complete with slide shows, nature paths, and guided tours. The facility would employ a small staff of naturalists and would include a restaurant and a lodge with accommodations for 100 guests. The organization also plans to use the site as a training center and summer school for high school and college students considering a career in conservation. Since the river contains an extensive variety of marine life, including some rare and endangered species, the state university has expressed an interest in locating a branch of its research facility nearby if the sanctuary is built.
LSAT Essay Prompt 06
Green Earth, an organization devoted to preserving the environment, has decided to expand its activities into the field of publishing. Write an argument in favor of selecting one or the other of the following manuscripts as the organization’s inaugural publication. Consider the following when making your decision:
• Green Earth wishes to develop a reputation as a publishing house for scholarly and influential works on the environment.
• Green Earth is financially dependent on the voluntary contributions of its supporters and hopes to raise significant funds through proceeds from the book.
John Dailey, a journalist who has spent most of his career travelling the world in order to gain first-hand knowledge of environmental issues, has submitted a collection of essays discussing both his experience and a variety of environmental problems. Dailey’s work has always been extremely popular, and his book would likely prove one of the few accessible texts addressing the difficult scientific issues underlying many of today’s environmental problems. Despite his extensive experience and careful research, several scholars have recently expressed concern about the scientific accuracy of some of Dailey’s reports. Dailey, currently researching a new article on herbal medicines obtained from endangered plant species in the Amazon rain forest, has not yet had time to prepare a response.
Ginny Fredericks, a professor and author of several well-known scientific studies of environmental issues, has submitted a manuscript proposing a sweeping plan of action for preserving the environment. Dr. Fredericks’ reputation as a scientist guarantees that the book, the crowning achievement of her long and distinguished career, will receive a significant amount of media attention. However, those accustomed to her impartial approach to environmental questions may be taken aback and perhaps outraged by her impassioned argument for a very radical program of action. Dr. Frederericks has volunteered to donate a percentage of the proceeds from a lecture tour she plans in conjunction with her book to the book’s publisher, but William Stone, a noted philanthropist and long-time supporter of Green Earth, has expressed concern over the organization’s support of such a potentially controversial figure.
LSAT Essay Prompt 07
The city of Stockton must choose an event to inaugurate its new auditorium, an open-air stage with seats for about 15,000 people and a
surrounding lawn with room for 30,000 more. Write an argument in favor of hiring either of the following performers with these considerations in mind. • The city hopes the inaugural performance will raise as much money as possible to pay off the auditorium’s construction loans.
• The city wants to obtain considerable positive publicity for the new auditorium.
Astrani, one of the legends of popular music, is giving a farewell concert tour before retiring. He has proposed holding the final three concerts in Stockton; because of his elaborate sets and costumes, tickets would be sold only for the auditorium’s seats and no lawn seating would be available. Astrani never allows souvenirs to be sold at his concerts, but the city will receive 20 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales. If the tour ends in Stockton, a well-known director will film the historic event and plans to release a full-length feature which will share the final shows with fans around the world.
A number of prominent bands have organized “Animal-Aid” to raise money for endangered species. The concert has already generated significant attention in the press and a number of important arenas competed for the privilege of hosting the event. Stockton’s new auditorium is the organizer’s first choice s the site for the all-day concert and the city would be allowed to design and sell souvenirs commemorating the event. While tickets would be available for both the seats and surrounding lawn, all of the proceeds rom ticket sales would go to “Animal-Aid.” The auditorium’s security expert is concerned that the facility’s novice staff may not yet have the experience to handle a large crowd during an all-day event.
LSAT Essay Prompt 08
The English department at Corbett University must choose a text for the college’s first-year composition course. Write an argument in favor of
selecting either of the following texts with these considerations in mind:
• The department has a strong commitment to teaching basic writing skills, such as grammar and essay organization. • The department wants to increase the students’ enthusiasm for and interest in writing.
During the three years that the department has used The Standard Textbook of English, instructors in other departments have reported significant improvement in students’ writing skills. Nicknamed “The Best and the Dullest,” the text contains classic essays from both ancient and modern authors and is organized to illustrate the various forms of the essay—such as narration, exposition and persuasion. The essays average more than 10 pages, and almost all are written in a formal style. While students find some of the subjects foreign, they feel the materials covered are often useful in their other coursework.
A new text, The Modern Writer, contains both an introduction describing the basics of grammar and a number of journalistic essays by contemporary authors. The pieces are typically short (only 2 to 3 pages) and explore topics of interest to most college students, such as popular music and career planning. The style of the essays tends to be informal, even colloquial. Each chapter contains several essays on a given topic and exercises designed to aid students in developing essays of their own. Although the introduction provides an adequate overview of basic grammar, the text does not discuss the essay form.
LSAT Essay Prompt 09
Valerie, a first-year graduate student in mathematics, needs a part-time job, and competition for jobs in the small town where her university is located is keen. With the following considerations in mind, write an argument in support of one of Valerie’s two job offers over the other:
• Valerie wants the income from her job to minimize the money she must borrow for living expenses.
• Valerie wants the job to interfere with her graduate program as little as possible.
The university’s Undergraduate Learning Center has offered Valerie a job tutoring groups of students taking introductory mathematics courses.
Valerie has been assigned five 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM sessions, for which she will receive $160 per week. The ULC also provides free individual tutoring for students in advanced mathematics courses who request it. As a graduate student employee, Valerie would be eligible to serve as an individual tutor, in addition to her regular sessions, for which she would receive $15 per hour. The schedule of this job will require her to make changes in the courses she had planned to take this semester. She will also miss the afternoon office hours that most professors set aside to work individually with graduate students.
Milano’s, a local restaurant, has offered Valerie a job as a food server. She will work Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights each week, starting at 5:00 PM. The salary is $130 per week plus tips, which can range anywhere from $80 to $140 for four nights of work. Milano’s is often crowded on Friday’s and Saturday nights but rarely during the week. A server at Milano’s told Valerie that although the restaurant’s kitchen closes at 11:00 PM, servers must stay until all customers have left, which can be midnight or later. Valerie’s most demanding class meets at 8:00 AM Wednesdays and Fridays and cannot be rescheduled. Taking this job also means that she must give up the evening meetings of her study group.
LSAT Essay Prompt 10
The program director of a television station must select the guest for the first edition of Timewaves, a new talk show. Write an argument in
favor of selecting one of the guests over the other, with the following considerations in mind:
• Timewaves must have enough mass appeal to attract a significant viewing audience in a competitive time slot. • Timewaves must continue the company’s tradition of providing serious commentary on current topics.
Jeanne Josephs—a popular writer, is known for her sharp analysis of national issues. Her most recent article, published in a widely read news magazine, was entitled “Success: Who’s Got It and Why.” In the article, Josephs interviews celebrities in various fields, including sports, business, and the arts, about their views on success and how they achieved it. Josephs has not appeared on a television talk show in several years. Last year, however, she won a prestigious journalism award for “The Private Pain of Politics,” a series of articles on the toll public office has taken on the family lives of prominent politicians. At that time reports about Josephs and her work appeared in many major newspapers.
“Dr. Kingston Evans—a prominent psychologists, recently led an expert panel in a study of drug use in several affluent suburban communities. The panel’s controversial final report, “Drugs in Suburbia,” is to be published as a book soon after the first edition of Timewaves is shown. The report is said to expose establishment figures, including public officials, as narcotics suppliers to the suburban market. The study received some media attention after the panel’s conclusion—that drugs are more prevalent though less visible in the suburbs that in the inner city—was inadvertently revealed. At the same time, there have been accusations that the study is an inaccurate, sensationalized account of a serious issue. Dr. Evans, however, is a distinguished professor with a well-respected body of academic research to his credit.
LSAT Essay Prompt 11
The publisher of Willow Creek Dispatch, the morning newspaper in the small town of Willow Creek, is hiring a new editor in chief. Write an argument favoring one candidate over the other based on the following considerations:
• The Dispatch wants to gain a reputation as a leader among small town newspapers.
• The Dispatch needs an editor in chief who understands the issues that are important to the residents of Willow Creek.
Amanda Fitzgerald is currently the editor of the local news section of a major city newspaper, where she worked as a reporter for over a decade
before becoming an editor eight years ago. While a reporter, she won five national journalism awards for articles on public housing, community control of schools, and the demise of neighborhood businesses. Her colleagues describe her as an “advocate for excellence” as an editor. She grew up in Forest Knolls, a small town near Willow Creek; though she has not lived there for 23 years, she returns occasionally to visit her brother and his family.
Molly Chu was born and raised in a large city. She is the editor in chief of the Lumberton Gazette, the morning paper in Lumberton, a nearby town of comparable size to Willow Creek. She has worked at the Gazette for the past eleven years, becoming the editor in chief two years ago after a highly praised stint as the newspaper’s only staff reporter. The Association of Small Town Newspapers awarded her third place in last year’s editorial competition. In addition, parts of her article about health care in small towns were quoted in a story about health care that was the lead article in a national magazine.
LSAT Essay Prompt 12
Newhall City’s television station is choosing between two shows on steroid drug use. Write an argument supporting one show over the other
based on the following considerations:
• The station wants to attract younger viewers to its informational programs.
• The station wants its educational programs to be recognized for their in-depth analysis.
“A Question of Health” is an investigation of teenage steroid use in Newhall City’s four high schools narrated by Marlene Seligman, prizewinning health columnist, for the local newspaper. Seligman interviews a number of local students as well as school administrators, coaches, and faculty about the effects of steroid use on the students’ lives. She also visits local hospitals and counseling centers to interview doctors and psychologists, who outline the serious physical and psychological effects of using steroids. Included in the show are detailed descriptions of treatment options available in Newhall City and their costs, as well as advice for parents who suspect their children of using steroids.
“David’s Game” follows the story of 16-year-old David Worsley, a high school track star from another city who was removed from the team and lost a college scholarship offer after using and selling steroids. A physician who worked with David is interviewed, but the show focuses primarily on David, his family, and his teammates, all of whom describe how David’s increasing dependence on steroids gradually distorted both his appearance and his personality. Family and friends discuss their helplessness as they watched him become more aggressive and violent. David explains the pressures he felt to excel in sports, to the exclusion of all other interests, and he suggests ways in which the larger culture intensifies this pressure. David ends the show by directing a plea to other teenagers to avoid steroids.
LSAT Essay Prompt 13
Sea Coast University is hiring new faculty for its science program and has narrowed its selection to Louise Park or the team of Joe Echevarria and Jean Mydral. Assuming the cost of hiring Park alone or the team is comparable, write an argument supporting one choice over the other based on the following considerations:
• Sea Coast University wants to develop a science program that will attract more undergraduate science majors.
• Sea Coast University wants to increase private and public support for its scientific research.
Louise Park, an internationally recognized scientist, plans to retire in three to five years. The recipient of numerous prizes for several key discoveries, Dr. Park has published extensively in scientific journals. While many of her graduate students have become influential scientists, undergraduates often find her inaccessible. Dr. Park is eager to leave her current university for Sea Coast’s warmer climate, and she will bring a large, well-equipped laboratory if she comes to Sea Coast. This year, as usual, Dr. Park has secured grants from public and private sources to support her research.
Joe Echevarria and Jean Mydral number among the most promising young scientists in the country. They have begun to publish in respected scientific journals and have received research grants from major foundations. Last year, their team-teaching approach won them a national teaching award. They recently published an article detailing their groundbreaking research on commercial uses of biotechnology; this research has attracted the attention of major corporations, several of whom are eager to fund their future work.
LSAT Essay Prompt 14
The economically depressed town of Sterling Falls has received a grant allowing it to provide a low-interest loan to fund one of the following
development proposals. Assuming costs are roughly the same, write an argument supporting one proposal over the other based on the following criteria:
• The town wants to find a way to offset the unemployment caused by the recent closing of a nearby manufacturing plant.
• The town wants to preserve the integrity of its wildlife refuge area, which attracts thousands of migratory birds.
Lakeview Hotels proposes building a three-story hotel on the edge of the wildlife refuge. This wood and glass structure would be designed to fit into the natural environment with many of the 100 rooms having a view of the refuge’s major lake. The hotel would also have a family restaurant and gift shop featuring work by area artisans. Lakeview wants to pave a one-lane road through parts of the refuge and provide several vans to take guests on guided tours. Lakeview promises to dedicate a substantial percentage of the hotel’s profits toward maintenance of the refuge, whose upkeep costs have been rising steadily in recent years. Scientists familiar with the area have expressed concern that the traffic might cause many of the migratory birds to take refuge elsewhere.
Porterfield Associates, a family-owned development company prominent in the Sterling Falls area, proposes renovating the hostorical Sterling Hotel on the town’s main street. A once-elegant structure, the building is currently a boardinghouse in need of repair. The renovated structure would have 30 rooms and a small gourmet restaurant. In support of this proposal, Bruce Alexander, a local philanthropist friendly with the Porterfield family, has offered to establish an educational center at the refuge. While the center would open with a staff of only twenty, Alexander believes that interest, along with external funding, would grow. Alexander will not fund the center if Lakeview’s proposal is approved.
LSAT Essay Prompt 15
Coach Mineko Sato is choosing members of her team to form a squad that will compete in this year’s Big Basin Invitational Games. Each
squad member will compete in one event, and the overall prize goes to the squad whose members win the most events. With four of the five squad members chosen, Coach Sato is selecting a skier to compete in the 10K cross-country event. Write an argument supporting one of two candidates over the other based on the following criteria:
• To win the overall prize, Coach Sato needs a skier who is likely to win the 10K event.
• Coach Sato wants a skier who will provide leadership and inspire the squad to work well together.
One of cross-country skiing’s all-time greats, Andrea Anderson has won the 10K event at the Big Basin games for four straight years, twice setting a new world record. Shortly after last year’s games, Anderson suffered a serious knee injury that has hampered her performance for most of this season, although a team physician has predicted that her knee will be fully healed in time for the Big Basin games three months from now. Anderson is both outgoing and outspoken. Her vivid sense of humor and high energy have made her popular with teammates, yet several times in the last year she received bad press for publicly criticizing a teammate.
Undefeated so far this season, Bettina Schmidt is viewed by many as cross-country skiing’s next great champion. Schmidt’s recent achievements include her first-ever defeat of Anderson, a goal that had eluded her for several years. She performs best on hilly, winding courses like the one at Big Basin. She recently missed several team meetings, claiming that her time was better spent working out, and she rarely joins in the team’s social activities. Her teammates, nonetheless, admire her skill and drive, and she is known for her encouragement during competition, especially when someone on the team suffers a difficulty or setback.
LSAT Essay Prompt 16
Zelmar Corporation, an advertising company, must move its offices from their current location. The company is considering an alternate building
downtown and a suburban location. Write an argument favoring one of these choices over the other based on the following considerations: • Zelmar wants as many employees as possible to remain with the company.
• Due to recent financial setbacks, Zelmar wants to make the coming year as profitable as possible.
The downtown location is in a somewhat smaller building a few blocks away from Zelmar’s current offices and within the general area where a large proportion of the company’s clients have offices. Rental costs would be slightly lower than those of its current location. Near a subway stop and close to numerous shops and restaurants, the building is located one block from a day care center that promises discounts to Zelmar employees, many of whom have preschool children. Because of space restrictions, about half of Zelmar’s employees would have to give up their offices and work in a large open area subdivided by portable walls.
The suburban location is twenty miles from downtown, and the commute for many employees would at least double. While there is ample free parking, the subway line does not extend to this location; there is a bus stop directly outside the building. Zelmar would pay far less in rent than it currently does, and most employees could have their own offices. Located in an office park complex, this building has excellent facilities for large meetings and ample space for Zelmar to expand business. A large cafeteria in the building offers food from 7 A.M. until 6 P.M. at a cost considerably below that of commercial restaurants. Employees from other offices have proposed a day care center to serve the entire complex.
LSAT Essay Prompt 17
Albert Tyrone, an aspiring young actor, has just been offered a continuing role in a television soap opera and a supporting role in a new play being staged by a major regional theater. Time constraints prohibit him from accepting both roles. Write an argument in support of one role over the other based on the following criteria:
• Tyrone needs a role that will launch his acting career.
• Tyrone needs enough income to cover both his living expenses and the monthly payment on his substantial college loans.
In the soap opera, which is watched daily by millions of people, Tyrone has been cast in a minor role as a young, unmarried doctor who has just moved into town. The director has told Tyrone that the role could be expanded if viewers respond favorably to his character. Tyrone’s weekly salary will be reasonable given his lack of experience and will increase if his role becomes more important. The director, while known to be difficult, prides herself on nurturing young talent; several of her protégés have gone on to highly successful film and television careers. Last year, the soap opera’s ratings fell appreciably, and the show could be canceled if ratings do not improve this season.
A well-known playwright has written a much-heralded new play that will have a two-month run at a nationally respected regional theater. The production is certain to be reviewed in the national media. Tyrone has been cast in a supporting role as the leading lady’s brother; he has two monologues and spends much of the play on stage. One of the playwright’s previous plays went from a regional theater to lengthy runs in New York, Toronto, and London. Another won several prestigious awards but was not a commercial success. Her last play closed after one week. Tyrone’s salary for the regional theater will be modest and will end, of course, when the play’s run is over.
LSAT Essay Prompt 18
Increased traffic has made it almost impossible to drive on Main Street in the historic town of Winfield. The town council has been presented with
two proposals for remedying the problem. Write an essay supporting one proposal over the other with the following in mind: • The council wants to facilitate the flow of traffic on Main Street.
• The council wants to preserve and improve the town’s attractiveness as a historic site.
The first plan would prohibit parking on Main Street and construct a four-story concrete garage on what is now an empty lot at one end of Main Street. The garage could be built in less than a year, and buses would shuttle people up and down Main Street. The garage would be significantly taller than any other building in town. If parking fees were set at the level currently charged on Main Street, the garage would pay for itself in five years; thereafter income could be used to renovate historic buildings that have fallen into disrepair and to maintain the historic district along Main Street.
Proponents of the second plan point out that much of the traffic on Main Street is merely passing through Winfield on its way to various surrounding towns. They propose building a bypass around the town and continuing to allow parking on Main Street. The county government, eager to speed traffic between the surrounding towns will provide funds for the project, but three years would be required to build the four-lane highway and the only available route separates Winfield from a local battlefield that is an important element in the town’s history. However, the highway will provide access to the original, but later abandoned, site of the town of Winfield. If the highway is built, a nearby museum plans a historically accurate restoration of the settlement.
LSAT Essay Prompt 19
Elstar, a manufacturer of video games for children, has sufficient funds to promote one of two games for the coming season. Write an
argument in support of promoting one game rather than the other based on the following criteria:
• Elstar must reverse a recent decline in sales.
• Elstar has received a good deal of criticism for its excessively violent video games and wants to improve its image.
“Peacekeepers” was developed by the creators of “Warlords of the Cosmos,” the game that put Elstar at the top of the industry. In this game, as in “Warlords,” the player engages in battles against a succession of adversaries. In “Warlords,” the battles involved alien enemies; in “Peacekeepers,” they are drawn from actual historical situations. In one sequence, the player confronts a tyrannical leader’s threat to world peace by progressing through a series of diplomatic and military confrontations until the leader is defeated. This game ends with a review of key historical military leaders.
“Guardians of Gaia” was developed by Techwise, the leading maker of educational videos that have sold well to schools but have not been extensively marketed to the general public. Players contend with natural and human-made obstacles as they attempt, using their knowledge of science and geography, to reach a destination or solve an environmental problem. Players travel everywhere from the Galapagos Islands to the Arctic Circle, journeying over geographically accurate maps displayed on Veratope, Techwise’s cutting edge video display system, never before used in commercial video games. It will run on existing commercial systems. In one sequence, the player must brave Veratopic wild rivers and greedy poachers in order to find an relocate the last remaining pair of a rare bird species.
LSAT Essay Prompt 20
Roberto Martinez, owner of a small used bookstore, has recently purchased an adjacent store and is deciding how best to use it to expand his
business. Write an argument in support of one plan over the other based on the following criteria:
• Martinez wants to attract a significant number of new customers.
• Martinez wants to retain the loyal clientele who look to him for out-of-print books and first editions
One plan is for Martinez to begin carrying best-sellers and popular fiction. Because of his downtown location, publishers of these works are likely to put his store on their book tours; although the large bookstore chains have taken hold in the suburbs, none has yet located in the downtown area. Under this plan, however, Martinez would have enough room to keep only the best books from his current inventory. To capitalize on this collection, he is considering an occasional evening series called “Rediscoveries,” featuring discussions of authors whose out-of-print books he carries, particularly several authors who are currently enjoying a resurgence of critical attention.
An alternative plan is for Martinez to use the new space to open a small coffeehouse with a limited menu. He would furnish the area as a sitting room with couches and chairs and a few regular dining tables. Although there are several restaurants nearby, they offer primarily full meals in more formal settings. Retaining much of his inventory of used books, he would add novels, poetry, and nonfiction published by small presses to feature lesser-known writers whose work is difficult to find in this community. These small presses include a number of local authors who are eager to read and discuss their work in the coffeehouse.
LSAT Essay Prompt 21
To celebrate the June completion of its downtown renovation project, the Rockland Merchants Association must decide between a street festival and a benefit auction. Write an argument supporting one event over the other based on the following criteria:
• Merchants in the downtown area want the event to showcase the entertainment, dining, and shopping opportunities available in the downtown area.
• The Merchants Association wants to establish the event as an annual tradition that builds a sense of community and civic cooperation among all of Rockland’s residents.
The street festival would have the Main Street area of downtown blocked off for an entire Saturday. In addition to the stores and restaurants that would be open all day, booths would feature the work of local artisans and craftspersons. At one end of the street, a farmer’s market would sell produce and flowers. At the other end, in the community center, local bands would volunteer their services and a space would be provided for dancing. A group of actors from City Stage, the resident theater in the downtown area, would perform comedy every other hour with no admission charge.
The auction would be held one Saturday evening to benefit Rockland General, the city’s only hospital, located in the downtown area. Owners of the stores, galleries, and restaurants in the area would donate merchandise or gift certificates for the auction, in addition to keeping their businesses open for the evening. The nominal admission fee for the auction would entitle the buyer to a buffet supper, catered by downtown restaurants, to be held in the community center. Students from local schools would provide entertainment in the form of music, dance, and dramatic readings at City Stage. Proceeds from both the admission fee and the auction would go to the hospital.
LSAT Essay Prompt 22
To fill the position left by the retirement of of the only physician in the rural township of Oakley, the town’s medical advisory board is deciding between Chris Sandor and Pat Harrison. Write an argument in support of one candidate over the other based on the following criteria:
• The board wants an experienced physician able to work with patients who have a variety of problems and concerns.
• The board wants a physician who will help expand health education and preventative medicine efforts in the community.
Dr. Sandor is a cardiologist who has practiced for the past decade in a major city, where she has lived all her life. Now she is willing to take a lower salary in order to leave the fast pace of the city and spend more time with her two young children. She has been active in professional organizations, and her frequent volunteer activities include working in a nursing home and a high school clinic. During interviews, she proved herself a skillful negotiator; she convinced the advisory board of the need to raise funds for a mobile unit to serve those unable to get to the clinic.
Dr. Harrison completed his medical training as a generalist. He has worked for the past five years in a neighborhood clinic in the same city where Dr. Sandor practices. Prior to that, he did his residency in the student health center at a large university. Dr. Harrison, who grew up on a farm, says that he wants to return to small-town life. He has written articles on health issues for popular magazines, often focusing on the doctor-patient relationship. During interviews he established an immediate rapport with several members of the advisory board, who were particularly impressed by his idea of writing a weekly column on medical topics for the Oakley Gazette.
LSAT Essay Prompt 23
To support efforts to treat congenital nervous disorders, Lifetime Foundation is funding a two-year grant, for which BioSearch and Hanson
Pharmaceutical are the two finalists. Write an argument in support of one company over the other based on the following criteria:
• The grant money must be used to develop projects that will provide relief to persons currently suffering from these disorders.
• The grant must be awarded to a company that has the financial resources to continue such projects after the grant has expired.
BioSearch, a small company with a strong reputation for pure medical research, has been facing financial difficulty for the last two years. Recently, its scientists developed a chemical compound that can, according to many researchers unconnected to the company, treat certain congenital nervous disorders and may lead to a new family of drugs useful in the treatment of a wide range of these disorders. BioSearch plans to use part of this grant to hire one of the leading scientists in the field, Dr. Ruth Sherman. Dr. Sherman has identified another funding source that will match Lifetime’s grant, should it be awarded to BioSearch.
Hanson Pharmaceutical is a profitable drug manufacturer. It has recently purchased the rights to a drug, originally developed by researchers at a medical school, that could have immediate application in the treatment of one fairly common nervous disorder. At this time, however, there is no commercially viable method to produce the drug. Hanson is seeking this grant to help defray the cost of researching a new production method, one that will make this drug cost-effective. Hanson has in the past successfully developed streamlined production methods that made certain prescription drugs more affordable.
LSAT Essay Prompt 24
For the past five years, Martin Shreve has been the head chef in a popular resort in a small town. He has decided to move to a large city,
where he has received two job offers. Write an argument for his accepting one offer over the other based on the following considerations: • Shreve wants to learn as much as possible about the restaurant business.
• Shreve likes being his own boss and wants to have as much control as possible over his working environment.
For nearly a generation, Chez Marie was known as the premier restaurant in the city and still has a loyal and influential clientele. In recent years, however, the restaurant has declined in popularity. Lars Ginacres, the strong-willed owner and founder, has insisted on micromanaging every aspect of the restaurant and has lately resisted changing trends in dining preferences. Now that the last manager and several experienced employees have quit, Ginacres admits that he knows the time for a more collaborative management style has come. He has offered to make Shreve the manager in charge of hiring staff and developing a new menu.
A new restaurant in an affluent suburb, Cafe Caribe is owned and operated by Nicole Lawson. Known for her high standards and demanding style, Lawson opened her first restaurant a decade ago and quickly turned it into one of the most popular establishments in the area. She currently owns a chain of over a dozen cafes throughout the region, all featuring a house specialty characteristic of the area or neighborhood where it is located. Each is run by an on-site manager, who reports directly to her. After learning Lawson’s formula for success in a six-month training period at one of her cafes, Shreve would be expected to adhere to that formula in managing Cafe Caribe, though he would have the opportunity to develop the specialty that would distinguish his restaurant.
LSAT Essay Prompt 25
The transit Authority of Metropolitan Yorkville (TAMY) is plagued by various problems. Its fares are the highest in the nation. Because of
declining ridership, a significant shortfall in TAMY’s budget for next year is projected. TAMY receives limited financial support through government subsidies, but taxpayers are increasingly reluctant to endorse even this limited support because of a widespread perception that TAMY wastes money. Given the severity of TAMY’s crisis, TAMY’s governing board has concluded that a radical restructuring is necessary. It has decided to hire a management consulting firm to study the situation and recommend changes. The board has narrowed its choices to two firms, Transit Analysts and DeWitt Consulting. Using the following criteria, write an argument in favor of the board’s hiring one firm rather than the other:
• The board wants to hire a firm with expertise particularly relevant to TAMY.
• The board wants to hire a firm with a proven record of success in devising radical business restructurings.
Transit Analysist specializes in public transportation. It has far more experience analyzing troubled transit authorities than any other management consulting firm in the nation. Most of Transit Analysts’s consultants are former officials of various transit authorities. A sizable majority of the transit authorities that have employed Transit Analysts have subsequently experienced satisfactory recoveries. But Transit Analysts has never recommended dramatic changes to any of the transit authorities it has analyzed. The newest member of Transit Analysts’s team of consultants, however, is a former airline executive who is known for advocating a radical overhaul of the nation’s public transportation system.
DeWitt Consulting has experience in many industries but not in public transportation. All of its consultants have backgrounds in the private sector; none has worked in any industry closely related to public transportation. But DeWitt Consulting does have experience analyzing several troubled municipal utilities. After evaluating each of these utilities, DeWitt Consulting recommended radical changes in their operations, and as a result each utility rapidly achieved dramatic gains. Additionally, DeWitt Consulting has typically advised the private companies it has analyzed to completely restructure their businesses, resulting in comparable successes.
LSAT Essay Prompt 26
The city of Williamsville is considering two proposals to develop a large vacant lot on the northern end of its downtown area. Write an argument
in support of one proposal over the other based on the following criteria?
• The city wants to reduce its unemployment rate, which is very high.
• The city wants to improve the appearance of its downtown area, which has deteriorated substantially over the past two decades.
The owner of the Owls, a major league baseball team, has offered to move the team to Williamsville, which currently has no major league baseball team, if the city agrees to build a stadium for the team. The stadium would give the downtown area a major attraction and could, some city officials believe, promote enough interest in downtown to reverse the trend of deterioration. However, in order to pay for the new stadium, the city would need to borrow so much money that it would have to eliminate a job creation program and would be unable to restart the program during the fifteen years it would take to repay the loan. Construction of the stadium would create jobs in the short term, but once the stadium was constructed, it would employ only about 100 local residents.
The Acme Tire Company proposes to build a factory in Williamsville. The factory would employ 2,000 people, only a few of whom would be transferred from other Acme locations. Acme has a reputation as a dependable employer; it has never closed a factory and has a policy of laying off workers only as a last resort. Acme factories in other cities produce unpleasant odors and large quantities of air pollution. However, in order to help beautify downtown, Acme has offered to build a small park next to the factory.
LSAT Essay Prompt 27
A local television station is deciding which of the two comparably priced films to purchase for a public interest program. Both films are about homelessness, which has recently become a serious problem in the medium-sized city where the station is located. Write an argument in support
of purchasing one of the films rather than the other based on the following considerations: • The station desires to preserve its reputation for serious reporting.
• The station desires to increase the size and diversity of its viewing audience.
Patsy: Portrait of a Homeless Woman, a thirty minute color movie, is a dramatic portrayal of the life of Patsy Harper. Named after Patsy Cline, she left her home in a small industrial town seeking stardom. While a teenager, Patsy achieved phenomenal success in the country music industry, but mental illness destroyed her career and she lived on the streets for the next two decades. Her recent recovery was worldwide news. The movie stars a popular talk-show host who is outspoken about the concerns of homeless people. The result is a heart-rending depiction of the realities of homelessness.
Can’t God Home, a one-hour black-and-white documentary film, explores the issue of homeless people in today’s cities. The film received positive reviews in the several medium-sized cities in which it played last year. Can’t Go Home features narrated documentary footage interspersed with short interviews with homeless people of every imaginable description in diverse urban settings. The film also includes interviews with local and federal agency leaders discussing the social and financial causes of homelessness. Can’t Go Home is an eye opening, revealing, and well-paced overview of a deep social problem.
LSAT Essay Prompt 28
Dorchester University has a vacancy for a fine arts librarian. Write an argument in support of hiring one of the two candidates described below,
taking into account the following considerations:
• Dorchester wants to publicize in the community at large its collection of early Asian musical instruments and its recently donated collection of related artwork;
• Dorchester needs to raise money to improve and update its entire fine arts program, including its museum.
Xiang Chen, who holds an undergraduate degree in music, was born and raised in China; he speaks fluent English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi and Japanese and has lived throughout Asia. He has been translating ancients Chinese texts for a major library over the past year. Two years ago, Mr. Chen served as art consultant to the Japanese Consulate as it began its collection of contemporary Asian sculpture. An accomplished musician, he has studied piano with the well-known composer Mei-Ying Liang. Mr. Chen who often performs at benefit concerts, suggests a chamber music series, featuring Dorchester’s collection of early Asian instruments, to raise funds.
Elise Bogart received a master’s degree in library science ten years ago. She has complted the ccoursework for a master’s degree in ethnomusicology and is finishing her thesis, which analyzes the work of four Asian composers. Ms. Bogart worked as assistant fine arts librarian for two years at a prestigious museum of contemporary art, and before that was the head librarian for six years at Connor & Doud, a major law firm. After persuading the firm to begin an art collection, she organized a gala opening exhibit, which featured contemporary local artists. Four years ago, during her tenure as president of a community service organization, Ms. Bogart organized about fifty other volunteers and ran a successful scholarship fund-raising drive.
LSAT Essay Prompt 29
Janet and Joe Wilson want to open a restaurant in Clearmont, a city of about a million people. The restaurant would feature country French
cooking. The Wilsons are considering the two locations described below. Using the following guidelines, write an argument in favor of one of the locations.
• The Wilsons have only a modest amount of capital to start their restaurant and therefore need to generate income fairly quickly.
• The Wilsons want the restaurant to be distinctive enough to attract a steady clientele.
The Wilsons could take a 5-year lease, at $1200 per month, on a storefront property on Main Street in Clearmont’s theater district. Within ten blocks of this location are four theaters, three movie houses, and ten other restaurants. Only one of the ten restaurants serves French food. The Wilsons have spoken with the owner of the French restaurant and the restaurant appears to be doing well financially. The space they are considering has an exterior like any other plate-glass storefront and an interior of one large room. The Wilsons would like to have an outdoor café, and the sidewalk is wide enough to accommodate a dozen outside tables. Parking is a problem, but there is plenty of public transportation. Because of its downtown location, the restaurant should have no trouble attracting a first-class kitchen and serving staff.
The Wilsons could also take a three-year lease, at $900 per month, on a charming farmhouse; the lease would include an option to buy the property at the end of those three years. The farmhouse, which is about fifteen minutes from downtown Clearmont, has lovely views and adequate parking, but no area available for outdoor tables. During peak rush hours, getting from Clearmont to the expressway that goes near the farmhouse can be slow, but at other times it is a quick and direct drive to this location. The area ground the farmhouse is largely undeveloped, but it is beginning to attract antique and specially craft shops. There is only one other nearby restaurant and it caters to vegetarians. The Wilsons could have a large garden and grow their own herbs, vegetables, and flowers. If the Wilsons choose this site, a local food critic, who writes a weekly column in the newspaper, is interested in joining them in a partnership.
LSAT Essay Prompt 30
Houlihan must choose between two job offers. Write an argument in favor of one of the two, taking into account the following guidelines: • Houlihan, a recent graduate of journalism school, is concerned about repaying her student loans.
• Houlihan’s career goal is to have a column in a major newspaper.
The Herald, the only daily paper in a small town, has offered Houlihan a job as a reporter. According to its editor, Houlihan’s initial job responsibility would be writing about local politics, including school board activities, city elections, and tax assessments. Houlihan would have sole responsibility for the focus of her assigned stories and would have the opportunity to develop other stories on her own. Because of its small staff, journalists for The Herald are expected to move into positions of responsibility quickly. The editor of The Herald can pay Houlihan only a modest salary, but the cost of living in the town is low and a modest salary will be more than enough to cover her living expenses.
The Sun Journal, one of two daily newspapers in a major city, has offered Houlihan a job on its metropolitan desk. The entry-level job involves more fact checking and research than actual reporting. Promotion to staff writer, which usually takes 12 to 18 months, is a reward for hard work and perseverance. At the staff writer level, there are many reporters and competition for the best assignments is fierce. Houlihan’s first assignment would likely be to the police beat, covering local crime. It would probably be five years or so before she would be covering stories, such as profiles of prominent people in business and government, that are likely to be picked up by the national news services. The cost of living in the city is high and Houlihan will have to budget carefully if she is to cover her living expenses.
LSAT Essay Prompt 31
The Norton Community Travel Club is considering two travel packages for its annual summer vacation trip. Write an argument for selecting one trip over the other, keeping two guidelines in mind:
• The club is committed to serving the needs and interests of its membership, drawn from a retirement community and a subdivision of moderately priced homes.
• Club members are eager to keep costs down as much as possible.
Worldwide Travel Agency has offered a two-week guided tour of three South American countries. The group will travel together in an air-conditioned bus and stop at major attractions. All members will be expected to be packed and ready to leave each morning at a designated time. Round-trip airfare, meals, and accommodations are included in the price of the trip. While serviceable, the accommodations are not first-class; first-class accommodations are available to those who pay an additional fee. Worldwide is an experienced travel agency that has been running this particular tour for fifteen years. The agency has a reputation for knowledgeable, personable tour guides.
For the same price, Leisure Tours has offered a three-week trip to three major South American cities. Included in the fee will be round-trip airfare, airfare to each of the three cities, and a shared room in highly rated hotels; the cost of meals is not included in the price. On the first day of each stop, Leisure Tours schedules a guided tour of the city, provides brochures and maps, and offers suggestions for those wishing to take side trips. Otherwise, there are no planned activities. Leisure Tours, a relatively new company, recently received an award for superior service from the Association of Business Executives. Leisure Tour’s president is a well-known travel writer.
LSAT Essay Prompt 32
Helene has recently purchased an established art gallery and is trying to decide which of two artists to feature in her first show as owner. Write
an argument supporting one artist over the other based on the following criteria:
• Helene is aware that the gallery has gained a reputation for featuring traditional artwork but wants to begin promoting art that is more exciting and contemporary in style.
• Helene needs to at least break even on the show, so it is important that the show draw a good crowd and generate several sales of the works of the featured artist.
Celia has only recently been showing her artwork. She has never had her own show and has never sold a piece of her art. Yet, a highly respected art magazine focusing on contemporary art has recently published a favorable review of Celia’s work, describing her as “an exciting young artist poised to take the art world by storm.” Celia has enthusiastically responded to Helene’s queries about the possibility of coordinating a show. Further, Celia has connections with a group of young artists who have begun to receive favorable reviews for their highly creative work. Featuring Celia’s work in the show would likely lead to later exhibitions of the work of these other artists.
Andre is a well-established artist who has had many shows and has sold several works in the past year. Recent reviews of Andre’s work have been favorable, but less glowing than in the past. Still, Andre’s shows tend to be well attended, and he has a loyal following; many of those attending would likely be influential dealers and wealthy collectors of traditional art. In addition, Andre has a longstanding contract with a major publisher of expensive, high-quality art books and Helene would be entitled to royalties if this publisher were to produce a catalog to accompany Andre’s show at her gallery. Andre would have to be convinced to participate in the show but would probably be willing to do so because the gallery that Helene purchased is well-known for being supportive of his style of art.
LSAT Essay Prompt 33
The mayor of Highport, a small town on the North American east coast, must decide between two development proposals, each of which precludes the successful completion of the other. The proposed projects are roughly equivalent in cost. Write an argument in support of adopting one of the proposals, with the following criteria in mind:
• New projects undertaken by the town should enhance the flow of money to the area.
• The mayor wants to maintain Highport’s desirability as a tourist destination.
The first proposal is to build a light rail system connecting Highport to several nearby urban centers. Although Highport is near several major metropolitan areas, it has no public transportation system linking it to these cities, even though Highport has a large population of residents who work in the nearby cities. Highport’s present infrastructure consists of old, narrow roads and while traffic congestion is usually noticeable, it is particularly bad at rush hour. In addition to providing an additional incentive for tourists to travel to Highport, having a light rail system in place would help Highport increase its tax base by attracting new residents to the town who might otherwise choose to live in urban locations more convenient to their workplaces.
The second proposal is to restore and preserve a historic military fortress that lies directly in the path of the planned light rail system. Restoration experts agree that buildings on the historic site cannot be moved and that in order to preserve the fortress the light rail project must be abandoned. Highport has a rich history of both local and national importance, and over the past decade has been successfully cultivating its attractiveness as a tourist destination, to such an extent that tourism is now Highport’s largest industry. Because the military fortress is a unique piece of national history, completion of this project will ensure that Highport receives new government grants for the maintenance and preservation of national historic sites.
LSAT Essay Prompt 34
Faced with declining ticket sales, Funtown, a 1950’s-era theme park, has decided to undertake a program of capital improvements to enhance the park’s appeal. There is sufficient capital in the park’s reserve fund to undertake one major construction project. The park’s board of directors must choose between a proposal to revamp Futureland, one of the park’s signature attractions, and a proposal to build Whirling Water, a new thrill ride that would be a cross between a roller coaster and a whirlpool. Write an essay in which you argue for one proposal over the other based on the following considerations:
• Funtown wants to increase park attendance.
• Funtown wants to exploit the latest technology to update its image.
Futureland put Funtown on the map as a tourist destination. When the park opened in 1954, Futureland quickly became its most popular attraction. Over the years, however, Futureland’s vision of the future has become dated, and visitor interest in the once-novel attraction has flagged. The proposed renovation would overhaul Futureland completely, incorporating a fully interactive multimedia center featuring a virtual reality experience of life in the year 3000. The plan also calls for graphic designers to reinvent “the look of the future” depicted in Futureland’s exhibit spaces. Initial marketing surveys indicate that a renovated Futureland would have strong appeal among families with younger children, although teenagers who were surveyed were somewhat less enthusiastic.
As Funtown’s popularity has waned, ticket sales at a nearby water park have increased, especially among teenagers and young adults. Supporters of Whirling Water assert the need for a brand new attraction to revitalize Funtown. Whirling Water’s proponents acknowledge that the water park features a full range of aquatic rides and attractions, but they believe that Whirling Water would be even more successful than the water park’s newest and most popular offering. Designed to take advantage of cutting-edge engineering techniques, Whirling Water would be both bigger and faster than any attraction at the water park. However, since the ride could be frightening to young children, Whirling Water would be closed to those under the age of ten.
LSAT Essay Prompt 35
Lexcorp, a professional services company occupying a one-story building in an outlying suburb of a large city, has outgrown its present office
space. Two possible solutions are being considered. One is to enlarge the present building by adding a second story. The other is to move the company into space available in a large office building in the city. Write an essay in which you argue for one alternative over the other based on the following considerations:
• Lexcorp wants to obtain office space most suitable to its needs for the best price.
• Lexcorp wants to minimize disruptions to its employees.
Roughly 70 percent of Lexcorp’s employees live within a half hour’s drive of the suburb in which the company is located, roughly 20 percent commute from the city, which is about an hour’s drive, and the rest come from even farther away. It would take almost a year to add a second story, during which time construction noise and debris would constitute a distraction for the workers. It is estimated that the company would have to be shut down entirely for 4-5 weeks. But the addition would be tailored to the company’s needs and would enable Lexcorp to continue to be housed by itself in its own building, which is desirable since the company handles confidential materials and is concerned for their security.
Space in the large office building can be had immediately and the move could be accomplished in a week or two. Lexcorp would occupy several floors of the building, at least one of which it would share with other businesses. The cost, offset by the sale of the present building, would be significantly less than that of adding a second story to that building. Property tax is also lower in the city. The city, however, imposes a 3 percent income tax, and in order to retain its employees, Lexcorp would probably have to raise their salaries to compensate for this loss. There is good public transportation connecting most suburban areas with the city, but current employees living farthest from the city would face an even longer commute.
LSAT Essay Prompt 36
The Cuthbert Foundation. a philanthropic organization promoting community renewal and redevelopment is conducting its annual grant competition. Two finalists are competing for the award. Acting for Hope, a nonprofit organization founded by a local theater director, is seeking funding for a municipally approved school-based community theater program for urban children. The other finalist, the city of Philmont, is seeking funding to continue its municipal mural-arts program. Write an essay in which you argue for one program over the other based on the following considerations:
• The Cuthbert Foundation wants to support youth-centered programs that increase adult volunteerism within communities.
• The Cuthbert Foundation wants to reward programs that visibly improve the physical infrastructure of communities.
Through partnerships with local public schools, Acting for Hope will offer drama classes and after-school acting workshops led by volunteer working actors. Free public performances are planned. To ensure adequate staffing for these events, parents of participating students will be asked to donate their own time and recruit additional volunteers in exchange for their children’s involvement with the program. The program’s director plans to renovate an abandoned downtown movie theater to serve as a performance venue, but even if he wins the Cuthbert Award he will be able to renovate only the interior of the building; he will require additional funding to refurbish the exterior.
Philmont’s popular mural-arts program was founded by a local artist to improve the quality of life for inner-city residents by involving urban youth and their families in the process of community revitalization. The design and execution of each mural is supervised by a volunteer artist from the community, who works with a team of local teenagers from start to finish. Murals painted by program participants now adorn a handful of abandoned buildings throughout the city, and residents living near the beautified buildings consider the murals an asset to their neighborhoods. They report that there has been noticeably less litter and graffiti on their blocks since the murals were painted.
LSAT Essay Prompt 37
The publisher of a popular how-to book on a computer graphics software product is deciding between two courses of action. The first is to order a new printing of the current edition of the book, which would otherwise probably be out of stock within three months. The second is to forgo a new printing and risk running out of copies until a revised edition of the book is ready for publication, at which point there will be no need to print more copies of the current edition. Write an argument supporting one of these courses of action over the other, using the following considerations to guide your decision:
• The publisher always tries to avoid printing more copies of a book than it can sell.
• The publisher wants to have a ready supply of some edition of the book so that customers do not instead purchase a competing publisher’s book.
The particular software product that the book covers is soon to be updated, which will render the current edition of the book out of date. The revised edition of the book, which will cover only the new version of the software, can be in print within six weeks after work on the revision is begun. The company that produces the software has a history of releasing a new version every twelve months, and if the company keeps to this schedule the new version will be released within three months.
In order for a new printing of the current edition of the book to be cost-effective, the publisher must sell copies of the book at its current rate or better for at least six months. The current version of the book has been selling well and demand for the book has remained fairly steady. A source within the software company has hinted to the publisher that release of the next version of the software is likely to be delayed several months. In the past when a new version of the software was released, the majority of its users did not upgrade to the new version for months.
LSAT Essay Prompt 38
Due to declining student enrollment, the school board of the Winterdale School District has decided to close either Brookhaven Elementary or
Oakwood Elementary. The district will need to renovate the school it leaves open. Write an essay in favor of closing one school over the other based on the following considerations:
• The school board wants to minimize renovation costs.
• The school board wants to minimize the impact of a school closing on students and staff.
Brookhaven was built in 1925, and although it is a solid building, its plumbing and heating systems are outdated, and its classroom layout will need to be reconfigured to accord with current trends in school design. The renovations required to bring Brookhaven up to date will be extensive, and architects estimate that the project will take a year to complete. The contractors chosen for the Brookhaven renovation will be able to do the most disruptive work over the summer, however. They anticipate that all classrooms will be available by the start of the school year. Only half of the administrative offices will be available, so administrators plan to share these offices until the rest can be finished. After Brookhaven is renovated, the 209 students enrolled at Oakwood will be bused to Brookhaven. All but a handful of them already take the bus to school.
Oakwood was built in the 1950s but underwent limited renovation in the 1990s. Because the plumbing and heating systems do not now require replacement, architects estimate that renovations will consist mainly of reconfiguring the administrative offices and updating the building’s facade. These renovations are expected to take six months. Due to an irresolvable scheduling conflict, the contractors chosen for the Oakwood renovation will have to do all the work while school is in session. During construction, Oakwood’s administrative offices will be housed in trailers located on the school’s athletic fields. which will consequently be unavailable for student use. After Oakwood is renovated, the 215 students enrolled at Brookhaven will be bused to Oakwood. About half of them currently live close enough to Brookhaven to walk to school.
LSAT Essay Prompt 39
Susan, an archaeologist, has the opportunity to participate in one of two archaeological digs and must choose between the two. Write an argument for the archaeologist’s choosing one option over the other, keeping in mind the following goals:
• The archaeologist wants to achieve prominence in her field.
• The archaeologist wants to have autonomy in her work.
The first excavation is in an area of known archaeological significance abroad, and although it is not certain that the dig will yield anything for the archaeologist, if it does yield something it is likely to be an important find. This archaeological zone receives more than a million tourists a year who are attracted by its historic importance and architectual grandeur, and even at this late date exciting discoveries can still be made. The dig is already well underway and the archaeologist’s role would be limited to serving as a member of the excavation team, though she would have almost complete control over the part of the excavation to which she is assigned. There would be several prominent archaeologists at the site with whom she would be able to collaborate.
The second excavation is at a local site, where she would serve as site director. The dig is sure to produce finds, but they would probably be less important than the finds that the first dig could yield. She would be the sole professional at the site, overseeing volunteers and students, with the responsibility of directing the project from start to finish. The archaeologist would have the freedom to structure the dig in the way that suited her best, although her work would be subject to occasional review and approval by officials from the agency that is funding the dig. The end of the excavation would not by any means be the end of the archaeological investigation; afterward, the archaeologist would be able to analyze the collected finds, the plans, and all the deposit information recorded during the fieldwork for publication in a professional journal.
LSAT Essay Prompt 40
The Brighton Land Conservancy, an organization dedicated to protecting wilderness areas, is contemplating its next land acquision. It has been
offered two tracts of environmentally sensitive land, but it has sufficient funds in its budget to acquire only one. Write an essay in which you argue for the purchase of one tract over the other based on the following considerations.
• The Land Conservancy wants to preserve as much of the most environmentally sensitive land in the area as it can.
• The Land Conservancy wants to increase public appreciation of and contact with natural places.
The first tract, Elkton Marsh, consists of 3 square miles (5 square kilometers) of freshwater tidal marsh land. The parcel is relatively small and is surrounded by commercial development, but it is home to six officialy endangered native plant species. The marsh ecosystem functions as a nursery, pollution filter, and water purifier for a nearby river. It also serves as a rare haven for migratory waterfowl pasing through the area. Elkton Marsh is close to major population centers and will be open to the public for nature study if it is acquired by the Conservancy; however, because of its small size and delicate ecology, it can sustain only a small number of visitors.
The second tract, Cobbett Woods, is a 7 square mile (11 square kilometer) parcel of wooded wetland comprising the area’s best example of a coastal-plain forest. The woods contain eight rare plant species, two of which have been officially classified as endangered. They are also home to a native species of owl whose numbers are declining precipitously. The parcel features the area’s oldest willow oak tree, a massive 300 year-old specimen. Cobbett Woods is contiguous to a 5 square mile (8 square kilometer) tract that is already protected from development by conservation easements. The combined tracts will be open for camping and nature study if the Conservancy acquires Cobbett Woods, which is located in a sparsely populated area approximately an hour’s drive from the nearest large city.
LSAT Essay Prompt 41
A scholarly professional association must select a site for its annual four-day conference. The association has narrowed its choices to either the city of Phillipsburgh or the Rancho Mesa Hotel. Write an argument in favor of one of the sites over the other based on the following criteria:
• The association wants the conference to be as well attended as possible.
• The association also wants to persuade conference attendees to remain in the hotel for talks and organized events such as dinners.
Phillipsburgh is traditionally a very popular destination for travelers. It offers many fine restaurants, theaters, museums, and opportunities for shopping and sight-seeing. While conferences held in Phillipsburgh in the past were well attended, past experience also shows that, because of the many attractions of Phillipsburgh, many conference events are under-attended. However, one of the most celebrated scholars in the field has indicated an interest in speaking and attending conference events if the conference is held in Phillipsburgh. Expense is a concern: several hotels offer conference rates, but the rates are still high enough that graduate students and most young scholars may be priced out of the conference if it is held in Phillipsburgh.
The Rancho Mesa is a luxury resort hotel located in an isolated high desert setting, and it is highly rated by many travel guidebooks. In the past, the association has sometimes found it difficult to attract large numbers of attendees to isolated resort settings, but it has also found that members who travel to conferences in such settings are apt to attend more conference events. To attract the association’s patronage, Rancho Mesa is offering a large discount to association members, making the room rates quite reasonable. As attractions for its guests, the hotel offers activities such as swimming, hiking, and horseback riding. The hotel also offers excellent food and large group dining facilities that the association can use for its dinner events, and meals are included in the room rate. Unfortunately, since Rancho Mesa is far from any travel hub, getting to the hotel is time consuming and usually costly.
LSAT Essay Prompt 42
The executors of the estate of a late, famous author recently found the manuscript of an unfinished novel among the author’s papers. They must decide whether to publish the manuscript or donate it to a university library. In order to avoid unfortunate comparisons between a heavily edited published version and the original manuscript, they will not do both. Write an argument for choosing one option over the other based on the following considerations:
• The executors want to preserve the author’s reputation as a literary genius.
• The executors want to maximize interest in the author’s work among both scholars and the public.
Critics who have read the manuscript agree that the work is intriguingly experimental but that it is not among the author’s best. If the novel is to be published, it will require heavy editing to make it seem complete. Its style differs greatly from that of the author’s most popular novels, so it is unclear how well the novel will sell. Most of the author’s other novels stayed on the bestsellers list for months after publication, but it has been more than a decade since her last work was published. The publisher promises a large printing, wide distribution, and an aggressive marketing campaign. If the work is published, the executors will sell the original manuscript to a private collector who would not allow it to be copied or viewed by scholars.
Scholars have voiced a strong preference for access to the unedited manuscript. One prominent scholar has expressed dismay at the publisher’s intention to alter the original manuscript in order to make the novel marketable. If donated, the manuscript will become part of a permanent display in the university’s library, which is open to the public. Individual copies will be made available for a nominal fee to scholars and any others upon request. The donation of the manuscript to the university would likely revive warning scholarly interest in the author and lead to a new wave of commentaries by literary critics and biographers. Past commentaries on the author’s life and work have sold well even beyond academic critics.
LSAT Essay Prompt 43
Alma owns a small art gallery that is situated in the middle of a busy commercial district. She is considering two different approaches to
adding to the inventory of pieces she offers for sale. Write an essay in which you argue for one plan over the other, keeping in mind the following goals:
• Alma would like to specialize in locally produced artwork.
• The new items should attract new customers.
In the first plan, Alma would introduce a line of metalwork sculptures, made available through a regional consortium of artists, to fill a gap in her inventory for small, affordable gift items. Initially, the items would bring in new business from existing foot traffic and from those browsing or shopping during the lunch hour. Should these pieces do well, she would then bring in additional small-scale artwork in the hopes of establishing herself more firmly in the market for smaller pieces. Although Alma would be able to cater to a wider customer base, she would have competition from several stores in the area that also offer small gift items, although none specializes in the original artwork of local artists.
In the second plan, Alma would take advantage of an opportunity to become the sole representative for the artwork in the estate of a deceased painter whose works are now being valued at ever increasing amounts. The painter lived most of his life in the area, but his later works, making up most of the paintings in the estate, were actually painted elsewhere. By becoming the sole representative for the painter’s work, she would acquire a limited collection of paintings for which there is a well-established niche market. The art gallery presently has only a small number of very expensive pieces, but attracting this small, specialized clientele would give Alma an established audience for other high-end works she might acquire in the future.
LSAT Essay Prompt 44
The program manager of a public television station intends to purchase a documentary program on diabetes and has narrowed the choice down
to two programs. Write an argument for purchasing one program over the other, taking into account the following:
• The program manager wants to increase youth awareness of diabetes by engaging a younger audience.
• The program manager wants to air a well-researched and accurate depiction of the challenges of living with diabetes.
“What’s Up, Doc?” tells the story of 19-year-old Carlene, a popular rap artist. A physician who worked with Carlene is interviewed, but the documentary focuses primarily on Carlene, her family, and the musicians who work with her. The discussion centers on how Carlene has dealt with her diabetes since it was diagnosed at the age of 14. Carlene explains the innovative and interesting ways she found to integrate the daily monitoring and control of the disease into her very demanding schedule. The program touches on risk factors, warning signs, complications, and self-care skills for managing diabetes. Carlene ends the program by directing a plea to teenagers to learn about the symptoms of diabetes and become more aware of the disease.
“Living with Diabetes” is an investigation of teenagers with diabetes in four different high schools across the country narrated by Andre Smith, a well-known, prizewinning health reporter. Smith interviews a number of students with the disease, along with school administrators and teachers, about the effect of diabetes on the students’ lives. He visits local hospitals and counseling centers to interview doctors and psychologists, who outline the various physical and psychological effects of diabetes. The camara also takes viewers to the Diabetes Research Institute’s information outreach program, where visitors meet researchers and learn what they are doing to find a cure for the disease. Included in the program are detailed descriptions of treatment options available and their costs, as well as advice about prevention and testing.
LSAT Essay Prompt 45
An architectural firm is growing dramatically and needs additional space. The firm is deciding whether to expand and remodel its present
building near the center of the city or to build a new building on the city’s outskirts. Write an argument in favor of choosing one option over the other, based on the following considerations:
• The firm needs to economically provide functional, convenient, and comfortable workspace for its growing staff.
• The firm wants to create an architecturally noteworthy showplace building to make a statement to prospective clients and enhance its image and reputation.
The firm is presently housed in an architecturally important historic building that has become associated with the firm’s image. The building is in a popular, historic neighborhood of the city near the business district and public transportation. However, parking is difficult and quite costly. Expansion and remodeling would have to meet the stringent restrictions of the historic district, limiting the design options and adding to the complexity of the construction. The project would spotlight two of the firm’s strengths: designing building additions that aesthetically complement existing structures, and creating modern working spaces in older buildings. The firm has a strong reputation for such work and dominates that type of business in the city, which has a large stock of older buildings.
Alternatively, the firm can build a new building on the outskirts of the city in its own distinctive architectural style, which integrates a building with its landscape and surroundings. A new building would require purchasing land, but it would provide more space than the alternative, and the lack of architectural constraints would allow for more design freedom and greater efficiency in creating working space. However, the city’s outskirts are not well served by public transportation and many employees who drive to work would face longer commutes as well. There would, however, be plenty of room for on-site parking. The firm believes that the majority of the future architectural work in the area will be new buildings outside the city.
LSAT Essay Prompt 46-A
Directions: The scenario presented below describes two choices, either one of which can be supported on the basis of the information given. Your essay should consider both choices and argue for one and against the other, based on the two specified criteria and the facts provided. There is no “right” or “wrong” choice: a reasonable argument can be made for either.
The Tribune, a growing large-city newspaper with a civic-minded publisher, will be adding a new column to the Arts and Leisure section. The publisher must decide between a restaurant review and a theater review. Write an essay in which you argue for one proposal over the other, keeping in mind the following two criteria:
• The publisher wants to increase the paper’s circulation, making it more attractive to advertisers.
• The publisher wants to contribute to the revitalization of the city’s Lakewood district, which is a magnet for nightlife and is
perceived as being crucial to the city’s development.
The Tribune’s chief competitor, the Standard, publishes a restaurant review that is one of the most popular lifestyle features. Surveys indicate that readers of the Tribune would be receptive to a restaurant review in its pages. An established reviewer from an alternative newspaper in a larger city would write the column. He lacks the prestige of the Standard’s reviewer, but is less traditional and would probably appeal to a different audience. Several local restaurants have indicated that they would be more willing to advertise in the Tribune if it featured a restaurant review. Some of these are in the Lakewood district, whose already flourishing restaurant scene would likely improve with the interest another restaurant review column would generate.
It the Tribune were to publish a theater review, it would be the only one in the city, since the Standard does not publish one. The Tribune has the opportunity to hire a distinguished reviewer from a major metropolitan newspaper, who would like to return to her home city, where The Tribune is located. Her coming to the Tribune would be an event that would attract considerable publicity. The Tribune’s current readers express little demand for a theater column, but interest in theater in the city is growing, and with a distinguished theater critic on a city newspaper, it would be spurred considerably. All of the city’s major theaters are located in the Lakewood district, which would therefore benefit from such a development. Currently, advertising by theaters is a significantly smaller source of revenue to newspapers than advertising by restaurants.
LSAT Essay Prompt 46-B
Directions: For this essay you are presented with an argument that offers reasons for drawing a particular conclusion. Your essay should analyze and evaluate the line of reasoning and use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may want to discuss how the logic of the argument is flawed or could be improved, or what counterexamples or alternative explanations would undermine the argument. You may also want to consider what, if any, questionable assumptions undermine the reasoning and what additional information or evidence may have been overlooked that would strengthen or weaken the argument. Note that you are not being asked to present your personal opinion on the subject with which the argument is concerned.
The following appeared in an article in a popular newsmagazine.
“Archaeologists have recently discovered an ancient wooden carving near the site of the prehistoric village of Kainoos on the island of Palo. Archaeologists have never seen this type of carving on Palo before, though it was quite common among the prehistoric people of the island of Ferawak. No carving tools have been found at the Kainoos site, so people from Palo could not have crested the carving. But there is evidence that the people of Ferawak had boats capable of traveling between the two islands Thus, although scholars claim that the Palo people and the Ferawak people did not trade with each other, the ancient Ferawak carving on the island of Palo shows that they are undoubtedly mistaken.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
LSAT Essay Prompt 46-C
Directions: The scenario presented below describes two choices, either one of which can be supported on the basis of the information given. Your essay should consider both choices and argue for one and against the other, based on the two specified criteria and the facts provided. There is no “right” or “wrong” choice: a reasonable argument can be made for either.
Dennis Gunot, a landscape architect with his own, one-person design company, has been offered a partnership at S-scapes, another, somewhat larger, landscape architecture firm. He must choose either to accept S-scapes’s offer or to continue working for himself. Write an essay in which you argue for on choice over the other, keeping in mind the following two criteria:
• Dennis wants to be interested and engaged in the work he does. • Dennis wants to further his professional reputation.
S-scapes currently has two partners as well as an office manager. In the five years since the company’s founding, it has won several national awards for landscape design, and with its increasing national visibility it now has more work than it can handle. The work is varied, ranging from public parks and gardens to private commissions. Decisions as to which projects the firm takes on would be made jointly by all three partners, but the firm could also take on projects in which Dennis is not interested but on which he would have to work nevertheless. The firm’s next major project, to which Dennis would be assigned if he accepts the offer, is to design the landscaping for a suburban housing development.
Dennis has generally enjoyed the independence afforded by his current situation. He likes being the sole beneficiary of any critical acclaim his company’s work receives. He can decide which jobs to accept and which to reject, although for financial reasons he has had to accept some jobs that he would rather not have taken on, among them residential landscape design. At other times, however, he has had so much work that he has had to turn down potentially interesting projects, especially since a local magazine carried a story about his award-winning design for a park in the town where he lives. Dennis feels he spends too much time taking care of administrative work, but he does not have the time to train an office manager and does not feel his company earns enough to justify the additional expense. It he does not accept S-scape’s offer, he is considering bringing on another landscape architect.
LSAT Essay Prompt 46-D
Directions: For this essay you are presented with an argument that offers reasons for drawing a particular conclusion. Your essay should analyze and evaluate the line of reasoning and use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may want to discuss how the logic of the argument is flawed or could be improved, or what counterexamples or alternative explanations would undermine the argument. You may also want to consider what, if any, questionable assumptions underlie the reasoning and what additional information or evidence may have been overlooked that would strengthen or weaken the argument. Note that you are not being asked to present your opinion on the subject which the argument is concerned.
The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper, the Danburg Gazette.
“With the recent population growth in this area, upgrading municipal services in the city of Danburg has clearly become the most important issue for voters, After all, when the city failed to negotiate a new contract for trash collection last year, Mayor Harris was voted out of office. But improving and extending city services can be expensive. The city should, therefore, pay for the improved or expanded municipal services that inevitably result from population growth by charging large fees to any developers seeking approval for commercial building projects in the city. Most developers could afford those fees, and, besides, new offices and other commercial facilities would in all likelihood raise the city’s expenses and increase demand for its services.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
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