Last week, Laura took a look at the Logic Games and Reading Comprehension sections of the June 2015 LSAT. This week, I am going to cover the Logical Reasoning sections of that test. I want to start by thanking Laura for covering Logic Games because… Logic Games are the worst. My personal hell would probably involve completing endless Logic Games while “It’s a Small World After All” plays on an endless loop (on a related note, I’m pretty sure anyone who enjoys Logic Games is some sort of demon).
With that aside, let’s take a look at the Logical Reasoning sections in the June 2015 LSAT. For the most part, the consensus seems to be that the Logical Reasoning sections were fairly straightforward. My own review of the test seems pretty consistent with that general sentiment. Nevertheless, there are a few questions worth highlighting from both of the sections.
In the first Logical Reasoning section, the last five questions included both a parallel flaw question (i.e. identify the flaw in the stimulus, and then identify a similarly flawed answer choice) and a parallel reasoning question (i.e. identify the pattern of reasoning in the stimulus, and then identify a similar pattern of reasoning in one of the answer choices). Based on my experience, these questions generally take the longest to answer. There is rarely a shortcut for eliminating answer choices quickly. Often, it is necessary to diagram these questions, which can burn time. As this test demonstrates, LSAC likes to include these types of questions at the end of the section, when you’re already rushed for time, so you need to make sure that you allocate sufficient time to answering them thoroughly. For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to go through either of these questions in depth.
In the second Logical Reasoning section, there were not many clear patterns. I will say, however, that there were a very large number of “flaw” questions, in one form or another. Again, this is a common feature of Logical Reasoning sections from many past tests. It should reinforce the notion that test-takers must be extremely familiar with commonly discussed reasoning flaws.
As for notable questions from the Logical Reasoning section, I’ve really only encountered question four of section one (pertaining to babbling babies) being discussed frequently. As the prompt to this question suggests, it is quite clearly a “describe” question (i.e. find the answer choice that best describes or summarizes the pattern of reasoning in the argument). Once we get the set-up—that we are dealing with a study pertaining to the babbling sounds made by babies—the first step is to identify the conclusion (which, conveniently, is the concluding sentence of the stimulus). The sentences preceding that conclusion are the most confusing aspect of this particular question. Rather than saying that linguistic tasks involve opening the right side of the mouth wider than the left, we are told that nonlinguistic tasks generally involve opening the left side of the mouth wider. Nevertheless, by inference, we can use this evidence to support the scientist’s conclusion. Consequently, answer choice ‘E’ is correct—we are given the two possible interpretations of babies’ babbling (linguistic vs. nonlinguistic) and then given evidence that supports the linguistic interpretation and contradicts the nonlinguistic interpretation (the right side of the mouth is opened wider, which runs contrary to the generalization regarding nonlinguistic vocalizations). In the end, this question is a great example of why test-taking methods are so important—if you identify the conclusion and read carefully, you can rule out the incorrect answer choices fairly quickly (A—there is no counterargument to the conclusion; B—there is no generally-accepted principle at play; C—we are never told that the test is necessary; D—there are no counter-assertions to the conclusion that must be overcome).
The TL;DR version of this post is as follows: be comfortable with parallel flaw/reasoning questions, know all of the commonly tested flaws like the back of your hand, and practice your methods – lest you run afoul of the babbling babies.