Logical reasoning represents the most heavily weighted portion of the LSAT exam, accounting for 50% of one’s total score. This substantial emphasis stems from the inclusion of two LSAT logical reasoning sections, while the remaining sections of reading comprehension and logic games appear only once, each contributing 25%.
Poor performance on the logic games or reading comprehension section will detrimentally impact one’s score. However, struggling comprehensively across both LSAT logical reasoning sections may profoundly jeopardize an otherwise potential result.
Therefore, familiarity with the nature of LSAT logical reasoning stands critical. One must understand the style of questions and hone the sharpest strategies to demonstrate proficiency in this section that bears such heightened impact in the LSAT exam. This article will thoroughly explore LSAT logical reasoning and equip readers to approach it with confidence and discernment.
What is LSAT Logical Reasoning
As a future lawyer, you gotta know how to break down arguments, figure out what information matters and what doesn’t, and use persuasion to win debates.
The LSAT Logical Reasoning questions test if you can tap into those skills by analyzing regular arguments and poking holes in them. These questions will reference short passages from a range of sources, including newspapers, magazines, scholarly publications, advertisements, etc. These arguments exhibit similarities to legal reasoning in terms of the types of arguments provided and their level of complexity, while few of the arguments pertain to legal matters.
Each Logical Reasoning question stems from a short passage and then asks one or two questions about it. The goal is to test your critical thinking abilities that have proven vital for legal analysis. The logical reasoning LSAT tests a bunch of critical skills, including:
- Spotting the different pieces of an argument and how they connect
- Comparing different types of arguments and picking out similarities and differences
- Drawing rock-solid conclusions backed up by the facts
- Using analogies to reason through a situation
- Detecting where there are misunderstandings or disagreements about something
- Figuring out how new evidence impacts an argument in one way or another
- Calling out assumptions an argument relies on that aren’t explicitly stated
- Identifying relevant principles and rules and applying them
- Spotting holes in an argument or places where it goes wrong
- Finding the explanations that prove a point or justify a conclusion
The LSAT sections are LSAT Logical Reasoning, LSAT Logic Games, and LSAT Reading Comprehension. Once you get your raw score, it will be converted based on the LSAT Raw Score Conversion. Nailing Logical Reasoning is essential since it allows up to 50% of your total score!
Logical Reasoning Section LSAT Structure
Each of the two Logical Reasoning sections has 24-26 questions that you’ll need to power through in 35 minutes. It’s multiple choice with 5 answer options. You just need to pick the right choice.
Some questions say “EXCEPT” in all caps. For those, you pick the answer that doesn’t have the trait the rest do. The questions have three parts:
- The Stimulus: A short paragraph laying out an argument. Some of the points come from academic subjects and history, while others are made up to make up situations. You should believe the scenarios that are outlined as true, even if you know something else.
- Question Stem: A single sentence asking something about the stimulus argument. These tend to follow patterns for different question types (more on those soon!).
- Answer Choices: Contains 5 choices, though something might be true but still wrong. Also, beware of paraphrases from the stimulus with subtle sneaky changes.
To prep, use LSAT practice questions and work through the best LSAT prep books to get exposed to tons of LSAT logic reasoning questions. That’s key so the questions and patterns get familiar before your actual LSAT exam!
LSAT Logical Reasoning Question Types
Over the years, the LSAT has changed, but it still features familiar LSAT LR question types that appear repeatedly. The LSAT assesses the particular skills mentioned earlier and formulates questions to gauge those skills. Here are some LSAT LR questions to look out for.
Dig into what unstated assumptions an argument relies on. There are two types:
1. Necessary Assumption: These ask what assumption HAS to be true for the argument to work. If you negated/disproved the necessary assumption, the whole argument would fall apart. Watch for questions like:
- “What does the argument assume?”
- “What assumption does the argument require?”
2. Sufficient Assumption: These ask what missing premise would be enough to properly support the conclusion if you assumed it was true. The right answer will link the existing premises to the conclusion. Watch for:
- “What assumption would allow the conclusion to logically follow?”
- “What, if assumed, enables the conclusion to be properly drawn?”
When tackling assumption questions, understanding the existing premises and conclusion is key to finding missing links. Mapping it out can help, especially for sufficient assumption questions.
Inference questions ask what MUST be true based only on the information given. You can’t bring in outside knowledge.
It’s tempting to make assumptions, so mapping out the argument can help avoid that. Understanding basics like:
- Transitive inferences: If A → B and B → C, then A → C
- Contrapositive inferences: If A → B, then ~B → ~A. And if B → C, then ~C → ~B
These show how statements logically connect or disconnect. You must also watch for question stems like:
- “Which of the following must be true based on the argument?”
- “What logical conclusions can be drawn from the statements above?”
Incorrect choices will contradict the stimulus, won’t be fully supported, or will only possibly/probably be true when they need to DEFINITELY be true.
Paradox questions don’t show up a ton but can trip you up if you’re not ready for them. This presents information that seems contradictory or at odds. As you read the stimulus, highlight any contradictions, paradoxes, or things that don’t seem to line up.
Some paradox questions are:
- “Which of the following resolves the paradox?”
- “What contributes most to explaining the discrepancy described above?”
- “What helps account for this discrepancy?”
Watch out for wrong choices that fail to actually resolve the paradox, or align with just one side rather than allowing both contradictory parts to be logically true.
The right answer choice will resolve the paradox and explain how the contradictory components can both be true. Find the answer choice that delivers that while staying consistent with the entire stimulus.
Principle questions require understanding the core reasoning behind the stimulus argument. You need to boil it down to the basic guiding principle or generalization it illustrates.
Sometimes you’re given a principle in the stimulus and asked to identify a situation that matches it. So, the right answer choice will accurately capture that underlying reasoning.
Watch for principle question stems like:
- “Which generalization is best shown in the passage?”
- “What principle, if valid, helps justify the reasoning above?”
- “What judgment conforms most closely to the principle cited?”
Any answer choice that doesn’t precisely reflect the stimulus’s principle or reasoning is incorrect. You’ve got to distill these logic questions LSAT down to their essence and match on that core level.
Strengthening & Weakening Questions
These questions ask you to either strengthen or weaken the argument from the stimulus. You need to make the conclusion more or less likely to be true – but not completely prove or disprove it. Focus on the information that has been provided.
- Strengthening Questions: If it’s a strengthening question, your job is to make the conclusion more likely to be true. Look for the choice that backs up the logic already there or provides a missing piece that fits nicely into the puzzle. You’re affirming and supporting what’s already in place.
- Weakening Questions: Gotta weaken the argument instead? Then you put on your detective hat to spot flaws or questionable leaps in logic. Choose the answer that challenges or undercuts an existing premise/assumption. You’re unveiling cracks in the reasoning that make the conclusion questionable.
Many times there’s a suggested causal relationship to dig into. The questions ask what “most” strengthens or weakens. So pick the choice with the greatest logical impact, even if other choices have some effect.
Watch for question stems like:
- “The above statement is strongly supported by which of the following?”
- “What most weakens the argument?”
- “What statement, if true, logically weakens the argument the most?”
Ask yourself “Does this bolster the argument big time or blow holes in it?” That’s what separates the right strengthen/weaken choice from others that may have milder effects or are irrelevant.
Flaw questions ask you to identify logical errors within the stimulus argument. After understanding the argument, predict potential flaws before reading the answers.
Did you notice gaps in logic or questionable assumptions? The right answer must describe an actual logical flaw that occurred in this specific argument. Wrong choices either won’t describe flaws or will describe flaws not present.
Watch for question stems like:
- “What error in reasoning does the argument commit?”
- “The reasoning is flawed in that the argument…?”
- “What most accurately describes a flaw in the reasoning?”
You first critique the argument to anticipate flaws. Then find the choice reflecting an actual flaw you spotted. Beware descriptions of flaws that sound logical but didn’t happen here. The flaw needs to be accurately matched to this argument.
Tips for Practicing LSAT Logical Reasoning
One helpful approach to getting ready for the LSAT LR section is to start by getting acquainted with the typical LSAT logic reasoning question types. Understanding the different question types will help you identify the relevant information in the answer choices.
It’s a good idea to start with an LSAT diagnostic test to gauge your current abilities before putting together a detailed study plan. Here are our tips for improving your logical reasoning skills on the LSAT and being prepared for test day!
Master fundamentals before pursuing speed. Take time upfront to let arguments sink in. Don’t worry about pacing yet. Absorb stimuli completely before tackling questions. Quality over speed to build skills.
Develop a Reading Strategy
LSAT LR questions demand meticulous reading. Develop a habit of active reading, where you’re constantly questioning and analyzing the argument presented. Pay special attention to conclusion indicators (thus, therefore) and premise indicators (since, because). This approach helps in better understanding and dissecting the arguments.
Practice Identifying Conclusion and Premise
The core of any argument is its conclusion and supporting premises. Practice identifying these elements in everyday arguments, not just in LSAT material. This hones your instinct to pinpoint the argument’s main point, a skill critical for answering LR LSAT questions effectively.
Question the Argument
Don’t take the argument at face value. Ask yourself: What’s missing? Are there any gaps or logical leaps? This critical evaluation is crucial for answer choices that ask you to strengthen, weaken, or identify a flaw in the argument.
Repeat LSAT LR Question Types
Practice builds intuitive patterns. Drill the same question types over and over until their internal logic becomes second nature. This instinct comes from repetition.
Practice with Timed Sections
Getting used to the tight time limits of the Logical Reasoning section takes some real work. Beating the clock requires rewiring your brain through relentless repetition to unlock that autocorrect speed. It’ll feel impossible at first, but stick with it! Once your subconscious takes over, you’ll be shocking yourself with how fast you comprehend through LSAT logical reasoning questions.
Seek Expert LSAT Guidance
Seeking out the best LSAT prep course like Odyssey Test Prep is a super smart move to stay consistent and get expert guidance tailored to your needs. Having a real pro mentor provides the structure, accountability, and personalization you desperately need for consistent, efficient LSAT prep. Investing in yourself through a course pays back huge on test day!
Master the LSAT Logical Reasoning Section with Thorough LSAT Prep
The Law School Admission Test serves as the make-or-break gateway to top law schools, with the LSAT logical reasoning section alone comprising half of your total LSAT score. This intense portion tests your capacity for analytical thinking – the very skill that drives legal careers.
Odyssey Test Prep offers multi-layered support optimized specifically for LSAT excellence:
LSAT Prep Course
Enroll in our LSAT Prep Course to master Logical Reasoning strategies, sharpen your critical thinking skills, and boost your confidence for success on test day. Our LSAT prep course breaks down even the most complex logical reasoning concepts until they become second nature. Through hands-on practice with real LSAT questions, we’ll equip you to confidently tackle challenges within this vital section. You also gain access to our LSAT Logic Games Course, designed specifically to enhance your prowess in tackling this critical and intricate section of the exam.
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We also provide end-to-end law school admissions consulting, offering strategic guidance on application timelines, school options, essay editing, and more so you can present the strongest application possible.
The LSAT Logical Reasoning requires strong analytical and critical thinking abilities – skills foundational not only for the exam but a legal career. With diligent preparation of these reasoning skills and test-taking strategies, mastery is within reach.
Get started on your LSAT logical reasoning journey by taking advantage of Odyssey’s LSAT Free Consultation. This is an opportunity to discuss your target law schools, identify areas for improvement, assess our LSAT prep services, and receive tailored advice from our LSAT and admissions experts to begin crafting your study plan. You can also join our LSAT Free Class for 3 weeks of expert instruction, totaling 10.5 hours, with weekly 3.5-hour sessions. Get comprehensive study materials, test day simulations, and personalized feedback to excel in your LSAT preparation.
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