The LSAT stands for the Law School Admission Test and it is offered to prospective law students seeking admission to their desired program. Each law school has its own standards for what they consider to be a successful LSAT score, and the more prestigious the school, the more important it is to perform well on the LSAT.

By making a good score on the LSAT, students put themselves in a good position to be accepted into their desired school of choice. However, it is important for prospective law students to keep in mind that they are welcome to take the LSAT multiple times, and a less than ideal performance on the first attempt is not the end of the road.

To score well on the LSAT, it is also essential to understand the types of questions that are on the exam. One of the more difficult components for many examinees is the analytical reasoning section of the exam. Subsequently, learning more about the types of questions within the section and giving yourself an adequate amount of time to prepare is imperative.

Although it is challenging for many, there are certain things LSAT takers can do to prepare properly, and we hope to provide insights into how to give yourself the best chance at success on the day of the exam.

The following is a complete overview of the LSAT, particularly the analytical reasoning portion of the examination. We cover an overall review of the entire LSAT structure, what the analytical reasoning portion consists of and tips for performing well on the day of the exam.

About the LSAT structure

The LSAT is a standardized test administered by the Law School Administration Council(LSAC) intended to assess the knowledge and understanding of skills needed throughout law school, such as reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. The test allows students to maximize their opportunity for acceptance into their desired law school if they perform well, whereas a less than the ideal score may serve as a suggestion to the university that the prospective student may not yet be ready for admission.

The test is broken down into five different segments, which are two logical reasoning sections, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, and a variable section. A writing component is also required towards the end of the examination. Each section poses its own challenges, and it is important to be well informed and prepared for each different component.

The reading comprehension component measures the test taker's ability to read and understand similar material to that which might come up during law school. Analytical reasoning deals with assessing certain situations and drawing conclusions about the structure of relationships. The logical reasoning component deals with forming logical arguments and critically evaluating certain scenarios.

It is encouraged to gain an understanding of each segment and properly prepare for the LSAT exam to give yourself the best possible opportunity to score well. The fact of the matter is the LSAT is weighted heavily in the admission process and a good score can set you apart from other applicants, whereas a less than the ideal score may have the opposite effect. You can successfully prepare by taking practice tests and reviewing study material, while also familiarizing yourself with the LSAT test structure in general.

What is LSAT analytical reasoning?

One of the main components of the LSAT is the analytical reasoning section, which consists of a series of questions related to a particular passage. There will be multiple passages and each has a set of questions related to the passage. The LSAC understands that the test taker has not yet started law school, so the questions are not directly related to law scenarios. Instead, they are often more general, such as facing issues with class seating arrangements or ordering tasks according to priority.

Each passage requires the test taker to apply a variety of skills, such as the ability to comprehend relationship structures, effectively form solutions to problems, form conditional statements, infer likely truths within a passage and recognize correlations. Since the content is not necessarily directly related to law issues, studying laws and understanding legal procedures is not nearly as important as having the ability to analyze a general situation and find a reasonable solution to a problem.

Since the LSAT analytical reasoning section is not directly related to knowledge but rather deals more heavily with the test taker's ability to understand and find a solution to a problem, experience dealing with similar questions is far more important than studying content. Subsequently, in the preparation process, answering practice questions and reviewing why a certain answer is correct or incorrect is likely far more helpful than reviewing study material for the LSAT exam.

For many prospective law students who take the LSAT, the analytical reasoning component is a great way to boost your overall score, whereas others may find it more challenging. The key to success with analytical reasoning is practice and preparation. Quite simply, law schools want to know you have the ability to use the knowledge you gain from each class in a practical manner, and scoring well on the analytical reasoning section shows universities that you can take what you learn, analyze the information and effectively apply it to real-life situations once you begin your practice in the law profession.

Tips for success with LSAT analytical reasoning

There are certain things every prospective law student can do to put themselves in a good position to perform well on the LSAT exam, particularly with the analytical reasoning portion of the test. Of course, gaining a good understanding of the format and style of the questions is a great place to start — something students can achieve by taking practice tests to prepare. However, there are other small, somewhat subtle tips the test taker can implement to give themselves an even better chance, such as the following four tips.

Read carefully

One of the most common mistakes test takers make on the analytical reasoning portion of the LSAT exam is not taking their time and rushing to the finish line. Of course, there is a time limit to be mindful of, but overall it is important to not rush any section of the test. One of the best ways to gain an advantage is to read each passage very carefully, rather than skipping back and forth from the questions to the passage. In fact, taking the initial time to slowly and carefully read the passage in its entirety can save you time by not having to constantly refer back to what you read to answer the question.

Take notes

Another great way to remain efficient when answering the analytical reasoning questions is to take notes while you read. If you come across a fact or statement that you feel is important — such as a statement that is raised more than once in the passage — then make a mental and written note of it. Otherwise, you might forget about the important part of the passage when it comes time to answer the questions.

One question at a time

Reading the questions before you read the passage is helpful for some, but when it comes time to answer the question directly, be sure to focus in on the precise question, rather than looking ahead to the next or thinking about how the particular question might relate to others. It may seem obvious, but the questions tend to run together and become confusing if you do not take your time and commit focus to each question you answer.

Practice, practice & more practice

Perhaps the most essential element and strongest correlation that leads to positive scores on the analytical reasoning portion of the LSAT exam is practice. Quite simply, the more you practice the better chance you have to perform well on the LSAT exam. We recommend trying our LSAT preparation courses and practice tests here at TestMaxPrep, and we can help you prepare and get to a feeling of confidence as you walk into the testing facility on the day of your LSAT.

The bottom line

Hopefully, you now have a general idea as to what is to be expected on the LSAT analytical reasoning portion. With proper preparation, you can put yourself in a position to succeed on the LSAT on the day of the test. Here at TestMaxPrep, we want to help you reach your desired score and provide resources — including practice tests for analytical reasoning — to help you do just that.

The next step to take is to schedule your LSAT exam on the Law School Admission Council website, and then visit our website for study material. Also, keep in mind that it is never too early to begin studying. If you are not yet ready to take the LSAT and are years away from applying to law school, then you can still prepare for that step by taking practice tests and reviewing study material well in advance. By doing so, you can ensure you are more than ready when it comes time to take the LSAT.