Top 3 Questions I Receive in LSAT Tutoring

BPPlaura-lsat-blog-top-3-questions-lsat-tutoring
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.

3. Diagramming

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.

2 Responses

  1. John says:

    Laura,

    Is there any advice for role questions? For some reason I don’t do particularly well. I think it’s the questions and not myself, of course.

    • Laura Santoski says:

      Of course! I never get questions wrong; LSAC just writes the questions incorrectly. ;)

      As you no doubt know, the strategy for Role questions is to first put brackets around the phrase they’re asking about, and to then find and underline the conclusion. From there, you have to look at the bracketed section and figure out – is it a conclusion? Is it supporting something else and, if so, what? The correct answer must describe the argument *exactly*, so watch out for answer choices that sound right but incorrectly describe what’s happening (e.g. “it supports the claim that Matt Shinners is the smartest person alive,” when really it supports the claim that Yuko Sin is the smartest person alive).

      It’s hard for me to give specific advice without knowing exactly what’s giving you trouble – feel free to let me know if you have any insights about what, exactly, is tripping you up!

Leave a Reply to Laura Santoski

Your email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>