Facing the LSAT may very well form the most challenging part of the law school application process. The test has a reputation for being notoriously difficult, measuring a set of abstract reasoning skills that were not likely featured in much of your undergraduate coursework. Success on the LSAT requires not only the development and exercise of these skills, but knowledge of the test’s mechanics and format; the skills alone may not be sufficient to earn you the score you want if you run out of time due to each section’s tough time limit or misread your own notes when dealing with a particularly knotty logic game. With the LSAT carrying so much weight on law school applications—slightly more than even your GPA—it is prudent to know exactly what you will be walking into on test day so that your preparation can benefit from fine-tuned efficiency. Whether you need LSAT tutoring in Atlanta, LSAT tutoring in Houston, or LSAT tutoring in San Francisco, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.
Your biggest concern in preparing for the LSAT will likely be your performance on its Logical Reasoning section. Compared to the test’s other two sections, Analytical Reasoning (also colloquially called “Logic Games”) and Reading Comprehension, the Logical Reasoning section receives more exposure on the exam; at least two of the five sections presented to you on test day will be Logical Reasoning sections, whereas you will see at least one Analytical Reasoning section and Reading Comprehension section. Homing in on the Logical Reasoning section is thus prudent, as it accounts for half of your final score. The content of the Logical Reasoning section is focused on analyzing short prose arguments. One such argument accompanies every Logical Reasoning question, and the question itself concerns such elements as the argument’s premises, its assumptions, its strengths and weaknesses, and how new information introduced in the question stem affects its strength and validity. Varsity Tutors also offers resources like free LSAT Diagnostic Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an LSAT tutor.
Of course, many students find that their preparation for the Logical Reasoning section hums along and provides no great difficulty, but that the real behemoth of the LSAT is its Analytical Reasoning section, notorious for its “logic games.” On test day, you face four situations (the “games”), and each is associated with five to eight questions. These must be answered in thirty-five minutes. Questions might ask about the game as it is presented, or present a change in the question stem and ask how the change affects the game’s components. It is crucial to develop a method of organizing your knowledge of the rules in the game’s premises; an efficient and well-practiced system of note-taking can save you much stress and help you differentiate between the game’s initial conditions and any conditions introduced only for a single question.
At first glance, the Reading Comprehension section may seem an unlikely candidate for the most difficult section on the LSAT, but many students are shocked by how challenging its material is. Part of what makes the Reading Comprehension so difficult is its particularly unforgiving combination of complex content and restrictive time limit. Test-takers must navigate through four passages, one of which is a pair of texts, and the five to eight questions associated with each in only thirty-five minutes. Each passage is about five hundred words of dense prose about a topic in the humanities, the natural sciences, the social sciences, or law. Passage topics may be unfamiliar, questions may ask about subtle and abstract points of analysis, and the time limit can make the whole experience feel unpleasantly similar to a 100-meter dash. In addition to the LSAT Flashcards and LSAT tutoring, you may also want to consider taking some of our LSAT practice tests.
If you are focused on one particular section with apprehension as to how you will face it on test day, consider your situation this way: at least you know which section is apt to give you the most difficulty. Taking time to calmly familiarize yourself with the details of each of the LSAT’s sections can help you make the time you devote to studying for each one as relevant and efficient as possible. The free LSAT study tools available on Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools site can assist you in identifying particular problem types or question topics that trip you up, allowing you to calibrate your review even more to address your particular strengths and weaknesses. Approach your LSAT review with the dedication needed to run through practice content repeatedly and the composure to slow down and really analyze the mistakes you make, and you can develop the skills you need not only to earn your best LSAT score, but to face the test with confident composure.