Deconstructing the LSAT
August 4, 2011
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Everyone does it differently, but at the end of the day, everyone still has to take it. That it is the LSAT. Seeing as it’s still relatively fresh in my mind, I thought it’d be something fun to discuss, especially for the prospective monkeys out there looking to go to Law School. The test itself has a total of 5 sections of Scantron Style answers to be filled in and a writing section.
The Scantron portion of the LSAT breaks down into three distinct areas:
1.2 Sections of Logical Reasoning
2.1 Section of Reading Comprehension
3.1 Section of Logic Games
The final section, the experimental section, will be one of those three topics and will usually occur in the first, second or third section of the exam. Everyone has a section they personally find to be easy as all hell and one that they find to be the devil incarnate. Me, I loved the games and hated reading comprehension. I know others that took the test and were absolutely miserable with the games yet loved the logical reasoning. That said, lets deconstruct the LSAT.
Logic Games: Why Playing Tetris Actually Pays Off
I love playing Tetris. In fact, I still do play a lot of Tetris. That game is also the reason why I found Logic Games to be the easiest section on the LSAT. Logic Games are not quite what they sound like. They are not brainteasers or trivia, but sequencing games, much like Tetris. Some games are pretty straight forward and have only one variable and others are a little more interesting with up to 3 variables in a non-linear sequence using multiple groupings. The reason why I find the games to be like Tetris comes down to how you can manage the relationship between the falling pieces and the constantly changing board, much like how you can sort the variables of the game into much more manageable and organizable groups.
For Logic Games, the rules are simple. Take a given set of data and constraints and answer the questions about that set of data and constraints. There are three things to note here. The first is that your explicit data serves as your guidelines for what pairs work and don’t work. The second is that the questions will either ask you to solve for factual data (everything is defined by the constraints) or theoretical data (Say constraint X is in position Y). The final thing is that you can always find a way to group or order your data.
Logical Reasoning: Test Logic Trumps All
Logical Reasoning, while I disliked this area, was an immense challenge for me. LSAT logic is not like normal logic, and being a finance guy, it was definitely foreign to me. LSAT logic isn’t a matter of a basic Yes or No. For the LSAT, Yes or No becomes either Yes and Not Yes or No and Not No. Confusing right? While I don’t know why the LSAT logic is like this, once you understand the construct of logic, it becomes easier to understand how the questions are asked. Like the games, Logical Reasoning focuses on Facts, Theories, and Opinions. Facts are sets of data solely present. Theories are arguments from one person. Opinions are the two person conversation pieces.
The difficulty I had with this section came down to understanding the minutia within each question. I could be asked a question to strengthen the argument but it might fall under one type of subcategory of that question. This would have been the hardest section for me if not for reading comp, but it was difficult and required the most work for me. To prep for this, I was grateful I took a class. I spent hours going over the materials covered after class in order to understand the nuances of Logical Reasoning questions and did as many practice questions as I could get my hands on. I did 3-4 hours a night of Logical Reasoning Homework during the week and 7-8 hours on the weekends. As it reached the end of the course and closer to the LSAT, I did full logical reasoning sections in order to improve my time and ability. It definitely helped me out majorly.
Ralph Wiggum wrote: Me fail English?That’s unpossible.
I don’t know how to describe Reading Comprehension better than this. Ralph Wiggum, the 8-year old classmate to Lisa Simpson, could not speak finer words when he uttered that quote. That’s how Reading Comprehension made me feel. It wasn’t overly difficult, per se, as the logical reasoning questions were the basis for reading comprehension questions. It was just a very time consuming section with materials that I honestly had no clue about. This is the same Reading comprehension that’s on the SAT. This is the same paragraph followed by questions structure we all know. Basically, it’s 4 passages and questions. One of the passages will be 2 different speakers on the same topic and the rest will all be 1 long passage.
Personally, I hated it. To quote Jay Sherman, “It Stinks!”