Getting into law school is no easy task. In fact, for most students, it's an even more stressful process than getting into college. Your undergrad courses, your GPA, and your scores on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) will all be considered.
The LSAT measures your ability to read critically, analyze arguments, and apply logical reasoning. It also includes a writing sample which does not contribute to your score. One of the simplest ways to improve your chance at law school acceptance is to master the LSAT, and this includes the two logical reasoning sections.
What Is the LSAT Logical Reasoning Section?
LSAT Logical Reasoning makes up two of the four scored LSAT sections. The other sections are reading comprehension and analytical reasoning. There is also an LSAT writing sample that is not scored. Each section of LSAT logical reasoning lasts for 35 minutes and contains 24-26 questions. The questions in these sections are designed to measure your ability to:
- Recognize specific parts of an argument and how they relate to one another
- Recognize similarities and differences between patterns of reasoning
- Draw well-supported conclusions
- Reason by analogy
- Recognize misunderstandings or points of disagreement
- Determine how additional evidence supports or weakens an argument
- Detect assumptions employed by certain arguments
- Identify and apply principles or rules
- Identify flaws in arguments
- Identify explanations
In the LSAT logical reasoning section, you will read a short passage and then answer a question or two about it. The passages come from a wide range of sources, including newspapers, magazines, scholarly publications, and advertisements. You're then asked to critically evaluate the arguments as presented in these sources. Though few of these arguments are actually about legal matters, all employ legal reasoning and complexity.
It's important to know that these questions are not specialized in nature. For example, you will not be required to use or know specific legal terminology. That being said, you will need at least a college-level understanding of the basic concepts. These include: arguments, premises, assumptions, and conclusions.
How to Study for the LSAT Logical Reasoning Section
The best way to study for the LSAT logical reasoning questions is through a combination of preparation and practice. This means you'll need to both study the materials and do practice tests and practice questions. Here are four steps you should consider taking if you want to master your LSAT:
1. Become Familiar With the LSAC Website
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is the administrator of the LSAT and provides a wealth of important information about LSAT prep and the test in general on its website. One section of the LSAC website is dedicated to the suggested approaches for the logical reasoning section.
One of the primary recommendations from LSAC to test takers is to remember that the logical reasoning passages and questions contain all of the information you need to answer them. This means that you will never have to bring your own background knowledge to get the right answer. Instead, all the information you need is already provided.
The LSAC website also contains logical reasoning practice questions. In this section, you can put your knowledge to use on actual logical reasoning sample questions and familiarize yourself with the format and question types to expect.
2. Study the Test Content
While there is no specialized knowledge or vocabulary required for LSAT logical reasoning practice, there is still specific content you can study to prepare for this section of the LSAT.
One great resource for this is the Khan Academy LSAT prep page. Here, you'll find video tutorials, written lessons, and lots of practice test questions with answer choices. In certain sections, you'll get a chance to see complete explanations of why a particular answer is the correct answer.
You'll also get a good idea of the general level of logical reasoning you'll be required to express if you want to be successful on the test.
3. Complete LSAT Practice Tests
The only way to get a sense of the pace and rigor of the actual exam is to take lots of practice tests. This can help you prepare for the actual test day in a couple different ways.
First, taking several practice tests can help you work through any test anxiety you might experience on test day. The more comfortable you are with the test instructions, and the more familiar the whole thing feels to you, the less likely you are to experience test day anxiety.
Next, pacing is critical on the LSAT. In the logical reasoning sections, you have just 35 minutes to complete 24-26 questions, each of which comes with a short passage to read. This means you have under 90 seconds to read and complete each question. You will want to get used to this pace so you can maintain it through the entire section.
Finally, taking practice tests will help you recognize common question types. Recognizing assumption questions or questions of conditional reasoning can help you solve them faster. And if you're unfamiliar with those terms now, don't worry. The study materials linked above can help.
Also be sure to check out the complete list of official LSAT prep books available from LSAC.
4. Hire a Professional
Ultimately, no amount of studying and prep can replace real world expertise. Standardized tests require highly specialized thought processes and finely tuned strategies. Even excellent critical thinkers can struggle with the LSAT.
This is why we also recommend hiring a professional tutor. LSAT tutors are experts not just in the field of law in general, but also in the types of questions commonly seen on the LSAT itself. There's no better insight into the test than someone who's already taken it and aced it.
You can find virtual LSAT tutors available on demand at TutorMe. You can even use the search filter to select tutors who specialize in specific sections of the LSAT, including logical reasoning.
Acing the LSAT Logical Reasoning Section
Standardized tests can be intimidating, and the LSAT is no exception. With law school admissions on the line, you may be feeling the heat.
Luckily, there's plenty you can do to prepare for this big test ahead of time. By getting to know each section of it, especially the logical reasoning section, which accounts for half of its scored content, you can make sure you arrive for test day as prepared as possible.
Start your prep by becoming familiar with the section. This means both its content and its format. You might use study books, online tutorials, or information straight from the LSAC website. Then, dive into some practice tests to apply your knowledge and get used to the pacing and general test environment.
Finally, think about hiring an online tutor who specializes in this specific standardized test. Like all standardized tests, the LSAT requires you to think in certain ways that may feel unfamiliar at first. Tutors are experts not just in the subject area, but in the test itself.
With all these supports lined up, when test day rolls around, you'll be ready to maximize your performance on the LSAT logical reasoning sections and wow admissions committees with your strong score.