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The LSAT ranks among the most
difficult standardized tests. Unlike other standardized tests, the LSAT
does not test your knowledge of facts or information. Instead, it tests
your ability to perform specific intellectual tasks. Learn how to
perform these tasks and you learn how to master the LSAT.
There are three question types on the
LSAT: Analytical Reasoning Diagramming Games, Logical Reasoning
Argument Passages, and Reading Comprehension Passages.
The Analytical Reasoning Diagramming
Games are the hardest part of the LSAT. In this section you are asked
to perform apparently silly tasks, like ‘line up seven beads on a
string.’ You must practice many sample questions before you become
comfortable with the games. There are four major strategies for doing
well on the games.
- First, know the 8 types of diagrams
and how frequently they appear. Four of the diagram types are almost
never tested while the other four types are always tested.
- Second, know how to use the
diagram templates and the appropriate diagramming symbols.
- Third, know how to make additional
conclusions about the diagram using the facts already provided.
- Fourth, know how to use
elimination techniques to reduce the number of potential answer choice
before you begin diagramming. The most important elimination technique
is to eliminate answer choices that contain one element that
contradicts the facts of the question.
The Logical Reasoning Argument
Passages count for half your LSAT score, so they are an important part
of your overall strategy. This is the section where you do lawyerly
things like ‘weaken an argument’ or ‘identify an assumption.’ There are
three strategies for this section.
- First, know that there are 10
question types. Again, some question types are tested more often than
others. For example, the ‘make a conclusion’ question type is tested
22% of the time, while the ‘identify the point at issue’ question type
is tested only 2% of the time.
- Second, learn the techniques for
answering each question type. For example, with questions that ask you
to ‘identify the flaw in the reasoning’ there are 4 common logic flaws
to watch for.
- Third, know how to use elimination
techniques. The major elimination techniques for this section include
choices that are too similar, choices that are off the subject, and
choices that use overly definitive adjectives.
The Reading Comprehension section
tests your ability to read a long, complex passage and answer questions
based on the passage. Similar to the other two sections, there are only
a handful of question types. Test takers use a wide variety of
strategies in this section. Some take extensive notes, while others
employ speed-reading. Some test takers do not attempt to answer all the
passages. Some preview the questions before starting the passage. The
strategies you should use depend on your natural reading speed and
Eliminating the wrong answer choices,
continued– In all three sections of the test it is vital to efficiently
eliminate wrong answer choices. Learn to identify the common mistakes
made in the answer choices. By eliminating wrong answer choices
quickly, you simplify the task of choosing the correct answer. There
are several common answer choice mistakes: choices that are too
similar, choices that are off the subject, choices that contradict the
facts, and choices that use overly definitive adjectives.
Preparing for the LSAT. There are no
short cuts to prepare for the LSAT. Whether you use self-study books,
intensive review courses, multiple week courses, or tutoring, plan to
spend many hours preparing. For every three LSAT takers there is only
one first-year space. The level of competition is so high that those
who do not prepare score poorly.
The important role the LSAT plays in
law school admissions. Law schools rely heavily on a mathematical
formula to make admissions decisions. This formula combines your
undergraduate GPA and your LSAT score in roughly equal proportions. The
result is that a strong LSAT score can make up for a weak GPA, and vice
versa. Since your LSAT score counts as much as your GPA, any
preparation you do for the LSAT is time well spent.
How about a here
to see how well you can score!