LSAT Logical Reasoning will always have two scored sections on the exam, making it an important section to master. On the digital LSAT, you’ll still have the same 35 minutes to get through 25 questions in each section. If math isn’t your strength, that’s about a minute and 15 seconds per question to read, predict an answer, evaluate your answer choices, and choose correctly. Fortunately, the Logical Reasoning section has the least need for notes or sketches. In one sense, that makes it best suited for the LSAT’s digital format. Still, effective use of the digital tools can enhance your efficiency and accuracy in this section of the test.
[ RELATED: Guide to LSAT Logical Reasoning ]
We’ve compiled a few strategies for tackling Logical Reasoning on the digital exam interface.
LSAT Logical Reasoning Tip #1: Try highlighting the question type in the question stem
Similar to our approach in Reading Comprehension, some of Kaplan’s LSAT experts used the highlighting or underlining tools to mark language in the question stem that indicates the question type. Well-trained LSAT test takers know that the best approach to, say, Strengthen/Weaken questions is very different from that for Inference questions. Whether you choose to use the highlighting tool is up to you, but knowing the tasks and strategies for each question type is essential to LSAT success. As you hone your practice, you’ll build a skill set for each question type and learn more efficient ways of sussing out the correct answer and for eliminating the wrong ones.
LSAT Logical Reasoning Tip #2: Mark up the stimulus
In the Kaplan Logical Reasoning Method, Step 2 is labeled “Untangle the Stimulus.” In other words, don’t passively read the stimulus. Instead, dissect it with a surgical precision to identify and paraphrase the text needed to answer the question.
Assumption-Family questions (Assumption, Strengthen/Weaken, and Flaw) provide an excellent example. For these questions, test takers need to identify the author’s conclusion and zero in on the explicit evidence the author offers in support of that conclusion. On the paper test, many LSAT experts had a system for labeling these parts of the argument. For example, they might bracket the conclusion and underline the primary evidence.
In translating this approach to the digital interface, our experts tried a variety of approaches; e.g., some highlighted the conclusion in one color and the evidence in another; others underlined the conclusion but left the evidence blank; some even highlighted the evidence and underlined the conclusion; a few made no marks at all. All of these experts are top scorers and seasoned LSAT veterans. The fact that they had such different approaches means that you should adopt your own best practices here. Being able to zero in on the conclusion and evidence is essential; how you get there on the digital test depends on your own practice and your comfort with the various tools. The point is to practice, practice, practice until whichever method you’ve chosen feels intuitive. Don’t try to figure this out for the first time on test day, you’ll be wasting valuable time.
LSAT Logical Reasoning Tip #3: Use scratch paper for Formal Logic
Kaplan’s LSAT experts largely agreed that the one important use for scratch paper in Logical Reasoning is to jot down complicated Formal Logic translations and their contrapositives. When you do this, be sure to label the question with which the scratchwork is associated in case you need to come back to one or more of these questions later in the section. Because the LSAT operates under logic rules that may not “feel” like anything you’re used to—before you became an LSAT master, that is—laying out your “if… then…” will save you from going back to reread the stimulus or question unnecessarily.
LSAT Logical Reasoning Tip #4: Time Management: Mind the Danger Zone
Time management is vital in Logical Reasoning. With 35 minutes for 25 discrete questions, you need to average about 1 minute 15 seconds per question. The “Danger Zone”—the area with the highest concentration of difficult questions—tends to be roughly Question 14 through Question 21. On the paper test, that meant the third of the section’s four two-page spreads was probably the hardest. Some LSAT experts chose to do that spread last to maximize their opportunity to get to the easiest questions first. Don’t forget, all questions are worth the same on the LSAT, and there are no bonus points for answering difficult questions. The digital format makes that approach obsolete. On paper, other experts would work from Question 1 through Question 14 and then work backwards from the end of the section to Question 15. That latter approach is still available.
However you choose to manage the section, remember that the “Danger Zone” is still in place. Don’t get bogged down in this quagmire of hard questions. Skip and guess strategically to maximize your efficiency and your score. This is also where the digital interface and flagging tools are key: You can clearly see which questions you haven’t answered and go back to them quickly. Best of all, whereas of the paper LSAT, skipping a question without skipping its row could lead to a bubbling-in disaster, there is no risk of that on the digital LSAT.