Is the LSAT Relevant to Law School?
June 24, 2016
Debating the case for LSAT content
Today, we’ll be debating the relevance of the LSAT’s content in preparing for law school. First at the debate podium, we have Might B. Pointless, who contends that the LSAT’s selection of various question types are completely arbitrary and suggests their presence might be merely an attempt to increase overall difficulty. Craft E. Brilliance, at the other podium, rebuts these claims, demonstrating that there is always a method to the madness.
What’s the point of logic games?
Might B. Pointless concedes that the presence of reading comprehension on the LSAT makes perfect sense. A law school prospect’s ability to read complex passages and analyze that material for various components is essential. Therefore, it stands to reason that the LSAT would test that very thing. However, Pointless points out that the analytical reasoning section, or logic games, serve no such obvious purpose. Law schools will be unlikely to present students with such games, just as legal professions are generally devoid of logic games as well.
Craft E. Brilliance contends that Pointless misunderstands the role of these logic games. The LSAT is not attempting to locate logic game experts, but rather to calculate something else entirely. The games, in essence, are a tool of measurement. In order to complete the games effectively, one must be able to make deductions. Given a few pieces of information, what else do you know for sure? This is a skill necessary for law school and for a legal career, and logic games merely provide a way of gauging that skill.
What’s with all these “random” question types?
In response to the reasonable explanation supplied by Craft E. Brilliance, Pointless shifts gears and moves on to logical reasoning. This section contains a wealth of different question types. The inclusion of some is more self-explanatory, such as flaw questions (spotting faulty arguments) and strengthen/weaken questions (spotting relevant information that affects the argument in a desired way), just to name a few. Certain other question types, however, appear to be suspect.
Why assumption questions? These are all over the LSAT. What about parallel reasoning? And do not overlook paradox questions. How random are these? They cover everything from economics to obscure animal habits. What could the relevance of such question types possibly be? It seems like the LSAT is randomly mixing things up just to raise the difficulty.
Thinking like a lawyer
Craft E. Brilliance yet again rises to the occasion. Nothing on the LSAT is random—everything holds relevance to your future as a lawyer. No matter how haphazard a question seems, or how unrelated to law, there is always a purpose. Spotting assumptions is hugely important. An assumption is, by definition, something believed that may or may not be true. If it isn’t proven, then it is a hole in the argument. If you can spot assumptions, then you can win arguments all day long. Parallel arguments allow for comparison, contrast, and precedent, all of which are valuable. Finally, the paradox question type demands that the test-taker seek out a resolution. It’s not about being familiar with wild and varied topics, but rather searching for relevant information that, if true, resolves a contradiction and increases our understanding of a given situation.
While these are by no means the only reasons certain question types are included, they do provide a couple demonstrations of how LSAT content is always relevant. The LSAT tests a lot of different skills, so it makes sense that it uses a lot of different question types. Law school requires an individual to think in a certain way, and the LSAT strives to find those candidates who are best suited to the challenge.
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