Cinco de Mayo is here! It’s kind of like the Fourth of July but with less Bruce Springsteen and more accordions. This holiday has a varied significance, but for us at the LSAT blog, Cinco de Mayo means that there is one month left before the June LSAT. Don’t panic. Panic doesn’t mix well with a belly full of tacos and tequila.
To help you get over the guilt of getting drunk on a Monday, here are five tips to improve your LSAT score:
LSAT Tip Numero Uno: Memorize your Logical Reasoning flaws
The June LSAT will spend at least 50 questions testing your knowledge of a dozen common logical reasoning flaws. Most LSAT questions involve describing, exploiting, fixing, or avoiding flawed reasoning. If you don’t know your flaws, your June LSAT will be more disappointing than a piñata filled with raisins and black licorice.
LSAT Tip Numero Dos: Read more slowly
Speed-reading is a myth. To increase your LSAT Reading Comprehension you need to slow down and actively look for keywords and logical structure.
As you’re reading, you should also try to anticipate what the author might say next. If you read an evaluative or causal claim, you should expect some evidence. If the author opens with, “Most people believe,” you should think, “But I bet the author doesn’t.”
Commit yourself to reading slowly, but exactly once. Rereading is the real time killer.
LSAT Tip Numero Tres: Look for common elements between Logic Game rules
To succeed on the Logic Games section, you need to get deductions by combining rules. The key to this skill is actually quite simple: look for common elements — elements that show up in more than one rule.
The common element can be a particular distribution (“exactly two cars”), a particular slot (“the fifth floor”), a particular group (“the showroom”), or a particular player (“the Honda Civic”). My students are often very good at spotting common players, but they too often miss common slots, groups, and distributions. These latter common elements often produce the more valuable deductions.
Just remember: rules that have common elements can be combined for a deduction.
LSAT Tip Numero Quatro: Copy all of your absolute deductions for each Conditional Question setup
You should always write out a new hypothetical setup for any LSAT Logic Game questions that contain the word “if.” We call these Conditional Questions.
Too many people forget the key step of adding all of their absolute deductions to their new setup. Your absolute deductions are the inferences you made based on the original rules. It’s really easy to miss an important step, or spend too much time, simply because you failed to add your absolute deductions to your hypothetical setup.
A lot of students think that not rewriting their absolute deductions will save time. In my experience, the opposite effect is much more likely.
LSAT Tip Numero Cinco: Look back on all of your improvements and stay positive
If you let it, the LSAT will beat you down, sap your self-respect, and kick your dog. But remember, you don’t have to be perfect to get an amazing LSAT score. You can miss about 10 questions and still score in the 99th percentile.
So, instead of giving yourself panic attacks about your practice LSAT scores, look back on how much you’ve improved already. You’re reading the prompt first. Your timing is a bit better. Logic Games are less mysterious. You know what a Composition Flaw is. You’ve gotten better at bubbling inside the circle. In short, you are awesome.
Have a safe Cinco de Mayo, and keep working hard!