The LSAT is a difficult exam and most students agree that the most intimidating part of the exam is the logic games section. Good news, the logic games are also the easiest part of the test for students to improve on. The more comfortable you get with the logic games, the less scary they seem. In fact, as you improve, you may even find the games to be fun!
LSAT & Law School Blog
1. Don’t ignore reading comprehension!
Students are often tempted to overlook reading comprehension on the LSAT. It feels familiar. You had reading comprehension on the PSAT, the SAT, and every other standardized test you’ve ever taken. The LSAT can’t be any different. So why bother studying for it? My time is better spent on logic games or logical reasoning. I’ll wing reading comprehension.
There are three basic parts to the LSAT Logical Reasoning question:
- question (what the test writers want you to figure out about the argument)
- answer choices
Mastering the LSAT Logical Reasoning questions requires becoming comfortable with each of the three parts of the Logical Reasoning question. The best way to do this is to break up the question and address each part separately.
1. Read the question.
Starting with the question helps you get in the right frame of mind for what you will need to do answer this question. It helps to focus on what you should be focusing on when reading the argument.
Note: Does the question have the word “EXCEPT” in it? Don’t forget that! Underline, highlight, or circle it. Do whatever works best for you to draw your attention back to this word after you are done reading the argument. It is a common mistake to miss questions with “EXCEPT.” Students get tunnel vision when reading the argument and forget that the question wants them to find the answer that does not fit with the argument. So, reminding yourself of what you are really being asked to do will help you avoid making this mistake and help you get valuable points.
2. Read the argument.
Read the argument carefully. Underline or highlight key words. Pay special attention to anything related to the question. For example, did the question ask about the conclusion? If so, pay extra attention to what the conclusion of the argument is.
3. Put the argument in your own words.
What is the writer really trying to say? Put in plain English. Write a 1-2 line summary for yourself next to the question. This way you have a quick reference that makes sense to you, and you do not have to waste time rereading the argument. Also, the majority of questions focus on the conclusion or main point, so having a good handle on this part of the argument will always benefit you.
4. Put the answer the question in your own words.
Before looking at the answer choices, answer the question yourself. A lot of the answer choices are lengthy or complicated. Putting the answer in your own words first helps you stay on the right track and not get confused.
It can be difficult to put answers in your own words at first, especially for questions that ask you to weaken or strengthen the argument. The temptation is to think: “How could I possibly come up with everything that could weaken/strengthen this argument?” But don’t get overwhelmed. The point is not to come up with every possible answer. The point is to just get you thinking about the right things, so all you need to do is come up with one plausible answer.
5. Find the answer choice closest to your own answer.
It is unlikely that your exact answer is in the choices, but chances are, something similar is. Use your own answer to help eliminate answer choices and help you select the right answer.
The key to the LSAT Logical Reasoning questions is PRACTICE!
The more you do, the more comfortable you will become with these questions. If possible, designate some time on a regular basis to do practice problems. It is better to do 5-10 problems every day than 50 problems in one sitting once a week. Your brain needs time to process what it is learning. You will get more out of your studying if you practice in small amounts on a regular basis than if you have cram sessions on weekends.
Jayeeta is a private LSAT tutor in Chicago and Boston. She holds a JD from the University of Chicago, a M.S. from MIT, and degrees in Physics and Economics from Reed College. She’s worked with several major test prep companies in addition to MyGuru and has been providing private LSAT tutoring for several years.
There are many ways to study for the LSAT effectively. You can study on your own with prep books or online LSAT courses, take a prep class, or hire a private LSAT tutor. However, regardless of which option you choose, you should almost certainly be taking the below five steps to best prepare for the LSAT:
1. Take a timed, full-length practice test
- This is the best way to get a sense of your starting point.
- Your score does NOT matter, the point is to really assess yourself.
- This is the best way to see your strengths and weaknesses.
- Can you set up a logic game effectively?
- Is time going to be an issue?
- How well do you understand what the logical reasoning questions are asking?
- If you work with a tutor, a timed practice test serves as the basis of developing an effective study plan.
There are many ways to have a great experience with an LSAT tutor. The key is to decide what role you want the tutor to play in your LSAT preparation. One sure-fire way to have a bad experience is to develop a certain set of expectations, not communicate those expectations to your tutor, and then become frustrated as the sessions come and go and you aren’t getting what you expected from the relationship.