6 Logical Reasoning Tips for the LSAT
The logical reasoning sections on the LSAT account for roughly half your score! Over the years, they are also the section that has changed the least. If you find yourself struggling with them during your prep, here are some tips to help you along your way!
1. Time your LSAT prep every time!
You need to time yourself every time you do LSAT prep. The most important skill to develop when taking the LSAT is not the material but rather managing the sections in the given time. You have 80 seconds, on average, to complete a logical reasoning question. If you do not practice under timed conditions when you study, it will be much more difficult to complete sections in the allotted time because your brain has not been trained to know when your time is running out for a particular question. Get in the habit of timing yourself early in your prep. Your mind will intuitively learn when to move on.
2. Read all the options.
Some prep courses teach a technique where you read the passage and the question stem, predict an answer, and then choose your answer based on that prediction. While that can be an OK technique if you are running out of time, it contains a pretty big flaw. The LSAT logical reasoning section deals in degrees of truth. Often a question will have two answers that are both technically correct and may differ only by small details in wording. If you do not read every option presented to you, you may not even read the correct answer, and choose instead the “nearly right” one.
Given that you have about 80 seconds per question, there is plenty of time to read the passage, question stem, and all the options before making your choice. The LSAT does not allow you to move on to another section if you have time left in one you have already finished. So, why not use the entire time allotment for the logical reasoning sections to make sure you have analyzed every choice and select the best one?
3. If you are not sure, move on.
Sometimes, logical reasoning questions do not reveal their answers right away. This advice may seem counter intuitive, but it is OK to move on to another one if you get stuck. Yes, you may have to read the passage and question stem again when you come back to it. But you will more than make up for that wasted time by not spending 2-3 minutes agonizing over any single problem. It might be that the last 5 questions in a particular section are easier for you. If you spend too much time on a question halfway through, you will never get to them. Plus, distancing yourself from a problem can give your mind a reset that allows it to process the question differently the second time around.
4. Gradually build up to full sections.
Most people cannot run a marathon without having ever run before. The same idea holds true for the logical reasoning questions. The sections can be mentally exhausting even for those who have done months and months of prep. They require mental dexterity and stamina that can only be built through practice and repetition. A useful tip is to start with small chunks of questions and gradually build up to an entire section. Not only does this make prep seem less draining, it also prevents frustration by allowing your mind to get acclimated to the type of logic framework these questions require you to think in over time.
5. Review your answers to see if you struggle with a particular type of question
Analyze the questions you answer incorrectly, and see if a pattern develops. It might be that you struggle with a certain type of question. If so, you can focus additional study on those specific types of questions. Without analyzing your answers, however, you may never know that only one or two types of questions give you trouble.
6. Once you take full sections, keep track of your overall score.
Keep a journal or log of how well you do on logical reasoning sections over the course of your prep. Tracking your progress as you do your LSAT prep can give you valuable insight into how well your studying is going. If over time your scores do not increase, you’ll know you need to reach out for additional help.
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