After tutoring dozens of students over the last couple years, I’ve noticed that I get asked about a few things over and over. While I hate to risk putting myself out of work by sharing my secrets, I’m catching up on Mad Men on Netflix and every hour of tutoring is an hour that I’m missing out on watching Don’s antics. So without further ado, here are the top three questions I hear in LSAT tutoring, as well as some tips for solving each.
1. Trouble finding deductions in LSAT Logic Games
Deductions are amazing and life-saving for LSAT Logic Games, but they can be a big stumbling block for some students. My tutorees aren’t sure how to find them, and they aren’t sure how to tell when they’ve found all of the deductions and can proceed to the questions.
I could write a whole LSAT book about finding deductions (except for the fact that Matt RIley beat me to it), but it’s usually a good idea to start by looking at players/spots/groups that are very restricted. Also, you’ll want to think about how the rules impact each other, taking special notice of any players who are mentioned in multiple rules.
Knowing when to stop looking for deductions is a skill that develops with more and more LSAT practice. In general, if you’ve thought about all the things that usually lead to deductions (and thought about whether your deductions lead to any additional deductions), you’re probably good to go. But if you get to a question and have no clue what’s going on, that probably means you missed an important deduction and should head back to the drawing board.
2. Flaw questions
LSAT flaw questions are a thorn in everyone’s side, since they are so numerous and so tricky. While anticipating the correct answer is important for every LSAT question type, it’s especially important for flaw questions, since it’s incredibly easy to get tricked by a wrong answer that sounds like a flaw but isn’t, or describes a flaw that doesn’t actually occur in the argument. The good news is that LSAC is kinda lazy and just uses the same LSAT flaws over and over, and the more you do flaw questions, the more you’ll learn to recognize those common flaws.
A fair number of students struggle with diagramming even in the latter half of their LSAT prep course. This is a problem because being able to use and understand diagrams is crucial for both LSAT Logical Reasoning and LSAT Logic Games. You must memorize the key words that indicate sufficiency and necessity (guarantees, precondition, only if, unless/until/without/except, etc.). After doing that, whenever you get a question wrong or are unsure if you diagrammed something correctly, look at an explanation for that question and figure out exactly where you went wrong. Lather, rinse, repeat.
You’ll notice that most of my answers are some variant of “practice; it’ll get better with time.” That’s true of everything on the LSAT. The only way to improve is to work on that skill extensively. So while I may not have answered your specific question, you can probably make a pretty good guess about what my answer would be.