The LSAT exam is challenging, but a high score can be the difference between a scholarship or paying out-of-pocket for law school, not to mention getting into your choice of school in the first place. Improving your score is not easy, but the logical reasoning section of the exam is the best place to start. Why? Because it accounts for half of your LSAT score. It’s also a learnable topic.
Still, to make the most of the logical reasoning section of the LSAT, you’ll need to put in serious preparation time. Furthermore, you’ll need to work smarter, not harder. So, read on to learn about the best logical reasoning tips for the LSAT. We’ll take you through six preparation tips and five test-day tips to help you ace the exam.
Tips for Test Preparation
Before diving into test-day tips, we’ll first review a few preparation suggestions. Without the proper prep, you’ll be in big trouble. While everyone uses different methods of studying, practice makes perfect. There are a few ways to practice for the logical reasoning section, but our favorite is practice exams.
1). Take Practice Exams
Practice exams can be found online and through LSAT preparation courses. Some practice tests are free, but others you’ll have to pay for. Still, we recommend practicing with questions from previous exams as the questions will be similar to the ones on the current year’s exam. While they’ll be different, they’ll be properly structured and will familiarize you with what to expect in logical reasoning prompts.
When it comes to practicing, we recommend setting up a rigid study schedule. This way, you’ll be able to set aside dedicated study time each week. To get started, make sure you account for all your prior obligations. Then, give yourself some free time. Use the remainder of your time for logical reasoning study sessions. Always make sure you fully understand a question or topic before moving on; you don’t want to leave yourself guessing on test day.
2). Time Yourself
In many ways, the LSAT is about speed. Therefore, while taking your practice tests, make sure you time yourself. This is especially important for the logical reasoning section as you only have around 80 seconds to complete each question. Timing yourself and seeing how fast you get through the logical reasoning questions will determine how well you’ll do on the actual test. Putting yourself under timed conditions also gets you used to the pressure of working against the clock.
If you don’t practice timing yourself, you could find yourself way behind on the official LSAT exam. Once you get into the habit of timing your responses, your brain will get in the habit of moving at a particular pace.
3). Work Your Way Up to Full Sections
The logical reasoning section is challenging to say the least. Not only are these questions exhausting, but they require a certain level of speed and mental agility to get you through. Therefore, when you start prepping for the LSAT, gradually work your way up to full sections.
For example, rather than setting yourself the difficult task of doing the entire section in a set time, try doing chunks of questions instead. As you get faster, start to incorporate more questions until you’re able to rehearse full sections in the allotted time. Not only does this ease you into the logical reasoning section, but it can also be less tiring.
4). Avoid Burnout
Burnout is something that happens all too often. Students cram in a handful of late-night study sessions before the exam and end up burning themselves out. Furthermore, studying for too long has proven to be counterproductive. It leads to misremembering information or failing to comprehend information at all. This is why we recommend the 90-20 rule.
How the 90-20 Rule Works
The 90-20 rule is quite simple: for 90 minutes, focus on studying the material. Then, for 20 minutes, take a break. You’re free to do what you like on the break, but it’s essential to give your brain time to recover.
According to researchers, the brain uses up the glucose needed for focusing within 60 to 90 minutes. The more daunting the task, the shorter that time will be. Therefore, the 90/20 rule is perfect for the logical reasoning section of the LSAT. While you’ll need to find solutions, it’s less mentally taxing than performing calculus or writing an essay. A great way to put this into practice is to dedicate one 90-minute session to two prompts and another 90-minute session to the other two prompts.
With burnout, you also want to avoid studying every day of the week. More studying sounds excellent, but you need to leave time for other sections of the LSAT. Therefore, we recommend focusing on the logical reasoning sections three days each week. This leaves two days for the other sections and allows two days to give your brain a rest.
5). Study with Peers
Studying with peers is one of the best ways to prepare for the logical reasoning section of the LSAT. If you’re able to explain your logic to a peer, and it makes sense, that displays mastery over a subject. For this reason, studying with peers is a great way to prepare for the exam.
We think this works best for a small group of people, with four peers being the ideal number. This is because the logical reasoning section of the exam includes four different prompts, each with its own set of questions. So, with a four-person group, everyone can focus on one prompt.
At first, this seems counterproductive. Wouldn’t it be better to tackle each prompt on your own rather than move on? Well, yes and no. By focusing on one prompt, you have time to fully understand and evaluate the questions. Furthermore, you’ll have to explain your answers to your peers, which gives them opportunities to learn the prompt and find flaws in your logic.
While peer studying is useful, it’s not something you should do every day. Try to keep a few peer sessions in your study as part of your routine but make sure you spend time going through practice questions on your own. If you don’t have peers preparing for the LSAT, don’t be afraid to bring in a few friends or family members. You don’t need specific knowledge to answer the prompts, which means anyone can be helpful.
6). Work with an LSAT Tutor
If you’re looking to boost your LSAT score, working with a qualified tutor is one of the best ways to do it. With innovations like video calling, you can find tutors with excellent availability, even for evening hours. There are some superb LSAT tutoring programs like LSATMax, as well as plenty of private tutors to choose from.
While working with a tutor is useful, you need to make sure they’re a high-quality instructor. Before working with one, check their LSAT score and area of focus. For example, a tutor that focuses on writing samples is not a good fit for the logical reasoning sections of the exam, especially if they didn’t get an exceptional LSAT score.
Tips for During the LSAT
Preparing for the logical reasoning section of the LSAT is essential, but preparation is only half the battle. To score well, you’ll need to do your best on test day. Luckily, we have some great tips you can use as early as tomorrow.
1). Determine the Type of Question
First and foremost, figure out which type of question you’re looking at. The logical reasoning section has several types of questions, which makes this easier said than done. Here is a brief look at some of the questions you’ll find:
- Strength/weakness: Determine flaws in the logic of an argument or find what bolsters the argument.
- Assumption: Determine what the argument is inferring without facts.
- Parallel Reasoning: Choose a statement that has a logical connection to the argument.
- Conclusion: Choose a statement that presents a different perspective of the argument.
Knowing what type of question you’re looking at is a great start. That said, you want to focus on more straightforward prompts first. This will give you more time to focus on tough questions later and ensure you get the most possible points. Before the exam, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the question prompts.
We recommend starting with strength/weakness and assumption questions first. The reason is the answer is usually found in the prompt, making these quicker and more straightforward. Then, with your remaining time, finish up with parallel reasoning and alternative conclusion questions.
2). Find the Argument’s Conclusion
To correctly answer a logical reasoning question, you need to know what conclusions the argument is drawing. While the conclusions can sometimes be found at the end of an argument, more often than not, they’re hidden within. Skim through the prompt once, then slow down and look for words that point to the conclusion.
Some of these words include “therefore,” “consequently,” and “however.” These words are typically presented before the argument is about to make a significant conclusion. From there, you’ll want to circle the statement that concludes.
Finding the conclusion is crucial because it helps you answer the questions faster. You’ll be able to reference one short statement instead of having to read through the prompt four or five times. You should also do the same thing when a question introduces new information. Make a note of what that information is and where it connects to the original conclusion from the argument.
3). Look for Keywords
Keywords can give you excellent hints and lead to relevant information. Unfortunately, many words can act as keywords in a logical reasoning question. Still, there are some great ways to separate keywords from filler words.
To begin, look for words that lead to a phrase or statement. These are words like “few,” “sometimes,” “many,” “except,” and “this.” These words usually lead to the introduction of relevant information. From there, you’ll want to circle words that contribute to the argument. So, be on the lookout for pertinent details like locations, names, items, living things, and numbers.
Once you’ve found the keywords within the argument, move on to the questions and answers where you’ll want to do the same thing. Circle any keywords you find within questions and answers. This allows you to draw quick connections between the prompt, the questions, and the solutions.
We recommend reading through the prompt more than once because it will give you a better understanding of the information. Don’t be afraid to write all over the prompt and highlight phrases that seem relevant to the questions. To conserve time, it’s essential to do one quick read and one slow read. This works best.
4). Find the Wrong Answers First
The logical reasoning section consists of multiple-choice questions. It’s great that you don’t need to write out any answers, but the tradeoff is that you’re being presented with a handful of wrong answers. Furthermore, some of the answers will be similar and only differentiated by a few words, which makes getting the right answer harder than you think.
Therefore, get rid of any wrong answers first. A few solutions will be noticeably wrong, so cross them out and move on. Then, read the remaining answers carefully and more than once. You want to ensure you fully understand what the answer is suggesting before eliminating it.
Finally, make sure the answer you choose is the best one. Unfortunately, some logical reasoning questions have more than one correct answer. For this reason, you need to select the solution that makes the most sense. Your answer shouldn’t have noticeable flaws or make any assumptions without facts.
5). Pace Yourself
Along with speed, the LSAT is all about pacing. With the logic reasoning portion taking up two sections, making sure you’re going through the questions fast enough is crucial to your success. Still, this is easier said than done. The logic reasoning section has many short prompts you need to read through, and new information can be added to questions. This is where your timed preparation during the practice tests will come in handy.
First and foremost, take your eyes off the clock. Every second you spend looking at the time is a second wasted. Furthermore, never spend too long on a question if you can’t come up with the right answer. Nobody likes leaving points on the table, but with the LSAT, sometimes you have to take what you can get. If you’re stuck, narrow down the options and make a guess. Every question is worth the same number of points, so keep moving!
Putting These Tips Into Practice
Doing well on the logical reasoning sections of the LSAT requires focus and determination. You want to take a balanced approach, making sure you’re prepared for test day and able to tackle the questions correctly. Furthermore, you want to make the most of your time. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t be afraid to move on!
On the actual test day, make sure you put these tips into practice. It’s important to start the exam with confidence and reduce any lingering anxieties. If you feel anxious during the test, practice breathing exercises to calm yourself down. If your thoughts are out of control, it’s going to make your life difficult.
The good news is that these logical reasoning tips will help. With suggestions like these, you’re setting yourself up for success during preparation and on test day. So, stay calm, remain focused, and get ready to show the logical reasoning section who’s boss.