Indubitable* Predictions for the September 2018 LSAT

*Read: speculative

This year, there’s been a July LSAT. There’s going to be a November LSAT. There have never been such things. So it’s good to know that there’s still a September LSAT, at least for now, and it’s coming up this weekend. It’s time to make some predictions.

The usual disclaimers apply. I don’t have any insider knowledge of this Saturday’s test. If I did, I couldn’t tell you, anyway. So the following is nothing but speculation — speculation based on eight or so years of being a little bit too into the LSAT.

September LSATs kind of have a feel to them. Like, kind of a normal LSAT feel. They tend not to have super unforgiving “curves.” They also tend not to have any earth-shatteringly insane logic games or anything. There have been exceptions, of course. These trends may be a mere illusion and anyone who’s ready for the LSAT should know that it would be fallacious to assume that merely because certain circumstances have coincided in the past they will continue to coincide. But I don’t think this is the one that will break the trend.

So what to expect? In the Logical Reasoning sections, I’m going to say there will be a fairly normal breakdown. Lots of Flaw questions. Lots of Strengthen questions, Necessary assumptions and Soft Must Be Trues, too. In other words, normal. There will be a few unusual question types, like maybe an Agree question or a Crux question. But they’re not going to take any one type of question that’s usually uncommon and beat you over the head with it.

There’ll be a question that drives people nuts despite being very short. It’ll probably be a Sufficient assumption or Strengthen question. There’ll also be a few questions that betray the author’s resentment at being underemployed despite having put so many years and dollars into a philosophy Ph.D.

In the world of Logic Games, expect a fairly to-be-expected September slate. Unstable grouping? Check. Tiered ordering? You got it. Maybe a tricky combo game or something. No one game will overwhelm you with its weirdness. But one of the harder games will have some rules that will sound ambiguous to many test takers. You’ll need to carefully consider what they mean in the context of the game’s setup. One game, maybe the same one, will have children’s toys as the variables. You might not notice, because you’ll be stressed out and taking the LSAT, but the fictional toy names will be hilarious.

On all LSATs, there are easier games and harder games. Sometimes, they’re all not so far from the median and range from moderately easy to moderately hard. Other times, you get really easy games and really hard games. This test will be more in the latter category, and it’ll be important to get the easiest game out of the way efficiently so you have time for the hard stuff. But the hardest game won’t be too crazy. It’ll be approachable, with the right technique — scenarios perhaps? Just give yourself time.

In the Reading Comp section, I’m seeing a really abstract passage about the law. That’ll be the killer. The science passage will be on the easier side, for a change. I think most passages will be thesis passages (passages with one main viewpoint). The difficulty will come from figuring out how all the little details fit into the argument, not from figuring out how multiple arguments compare. One of the passages will advance an argument so stupid you’ll wonder why anyone ever published it. Some of the difficulty will come from the trouble you’ll have believing that’s actually what the author said.

You really shouldn’t stress about the score conversion table, or “curve.” It doesn’t make it any easier or harder to get a particular score. If the questions are easier, the “curve” is tougher to make up for it. We’re looking at a September LSAT, so I think the “curve” will be 11 questions wrong for a 170. Often it’s 12, but I think this one will be just a hair tighter. But still right in the range of what’s normal.

Whether the above turns out to be dead on or dead wrong, good luck on the LSAT this Saturday. Check in right here for some discussion of the test in the immediate aftermath.

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