It’s the last week of LSAT prep, and most of you are struggling with a specific section. The LSAT blog is here to help.
In general, you don’t want to focus solely on your weakest LSAT section. It seems counterintuitive, but you’ll progress faster if you mix up your practice. There’s some good science behind this – you can read about it in Make it Stick – or you can just take my word for it.
Let’s get down to specific tips:
If you’re struggling with Reading Comprehension:
Reading Comprehension is probably the most difficult LSAT section to prep for, but improvement is definitely possible. The battle is won or lost as you’re reading through the passages, so I’ll focus my advice here.
1. Reading Comprehension: Slow down
First, make sure you read the passages slowly. Your target time should be five minutes, or just under. Try it. You’ll find you have plenty of time to pause, mark-up the passage, tag paragraphs, and most importantly, you’ll read slowly enough to actually understand everything. This will make answering the questions much easier and quicker, since you won’t have to waste time going back to reread giant chunks of the passage.
2. Reading Comprehension: Make your own paragraph breaks
Paragraph breaks on LSAT Reading Comprehension passages often appear randomly. So, don’t rely on the author’s paragraph structure; make your own by tagging complete thoughts in the margins. Just draw a bracket around the relevant text and summarize the content or role.
Shoot for 4 to 6 tags. Tags are more useful if they look like answer choices to Role questions (“evidence for the main point”). To save time, use shorthand (“evid. for M.P.”), or if the author gives you a nice summary for the complete thought you identified, just underline it.
3. Reading Comprehension: Anticipate answers to common questions
While you’re reading through the passage you should look for answers to the following common Reading Comp questions:
1. Main Point
2. Authors Attitude
3. Passage Organization
5. Specific Detail
Most of the Specific Detail questions are based on the following structural elements: examples, causal claims, studies/experiments, named advocates, and definitions of technical terms. If you can spot these structures as you’re reading you’ll be ready to answer specific detail questions without having to re-read aimlessly.
If you’re struggling with Logical Reasoning…
Logical Reasoning requires you to keep your focus while constantly shifting gears between different topics and skills. Here’s how you can get better at this:
1. Logical Reasoning: Read the prompt first
Instead of trying to find the main point, the flaw, thinking about how to completely fix the flaw, and make it worse all at the same time, only to find out none of that matters because you’re doing a Must Be True question, read the damn prompt first!
If you read the prompt first, you can give yourself a specific, narrow task for reading the stimulus. This will make you a better reader.
2. Logical Reasoning: Anticipate what the correct answer choice will look like
You don’t have to know the exact correct answer choice; you just have to know what the correct answer will look like. Imagine you’re dealing with a Weaken question. The author concludes that the government put fluoride in the water supply just to keep us under control. You can anticipate specific answer choices that will weaken this, but even something like, “I’m looking for some other reason why the fluoride is there,” is enough.
3. Logical Reasoning: Go over all the questions you missed from day one
Getting questions right during your LSAT prep is useless. It won’t make you any better. The questions you missed are the good stuff. Reviewing these will lead to improvement. I want you to look back on all the questions you’ve missed so far. All of them. Your goal is to:
1. Understand why the wrong answer is wrong. It should be painfully obvious.
2. Figure out how you could have better anticipated the correct answer.
3. Identify any misunderstandings or flawed thinking on your part.
4. Logical Reasoning: Memorize the common LSAT flaws
The great majority of Logical Reasoning questions will test your ability to spot, fix, exploit, or avoid flawed reasoning. If you don’t have the common LSAT flaws memorized by heart, you’ll have a really hard time with Logical Reasoning.
If you’re struggling with Logic Games…
Hopefully most of you have made great leaps in Logic Games. Here are a few tips people often find helpful:
1. Logic Games: Always pause for deductions
After you represent the rules, you should always pause to combine rules with common elements. If you move on too quickly, you’ll end up wasting a ton of time.
2. Logic Games: Use the distributions for deductions
If a game has uncertain distributions, you need to narrow down the possibilities by “playing the numbers.” However, this isn’t usually enough. You should always try to get at least one deduction based on the distributions.
3. Logic Games: Redo games
Grab a stack of all the games you’ve already seen and start redoing them. Flawlessly. Do each one a dozen times. Put in a few hundred games of prefect practice. You’ll get faster, you’ll start noticing just how repetitive the games section is, and you’ll make fewer errors.
I hope that helps. If you have any specific burning questions, feel free to leave us a comment.
Good luck and keep working hard!