Mastering the Second Stage of Your LSAT Studies

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A few weeks ago, we gave you an outline of what you should focus on during the first stage of your LSAT studies. Today we’re going to give you a low down on what to focus on during the second stage.

Santa’s made his list and checked it twice, and students in Blueprint LSAT’s Winter classes are getting a special gift this holiday season — the gift of starting a new family of Logical Reasoning questions! (The verdict is still out on whether this means they’ve been naughty or nice.)

Til now, we’ve been making you perform the laborious task of drawing conclusions from a set of premises. The good news is that you will now be spared that chore! Questions in the Characterization family come with built-in conclusions. The bad news is that there is a whole new set of tasks you’ll have to perform.

First, you’ll learn to identify conclusions in Main Point questions. Finding an argument’s conclusion sounds like it ought to be ridiculously simple, but this is the LSAT, so they find sneaky ways to make it tricky. However, this is an extremely important skill, since your first step for almost every question time from here on out will be to find and identify the conclusion.

Next we’ll move on to identifying how arguments work, including any flawed assumptions they may be making. You might have to figure out how an argument supports its conclusion (Describe questions) or find an argument in the answer choices that works the same way (Parallel questions). Basically, we’ll put you through the wringer to make sure you can figure out how arguments work inside-out and backwards.

In the realm of Logic Games, we’ll be leaving the safe zone of ordering games and moving on to grouping games, which — as the name would suggest — ask you to put things into groups. These games aren’t necessarily harder than ordering games, but your set-up will change, and you’ll encounter some rules that you haven’t previously seen.

And don’t think we’re forgetting about Reading Comprehension either. You’ll get your start on Antithesis passages (which contain two opposing viewpoints, and are the most common type of passage on the LSAT). In addition to being clear on each viewpoint and how they relate to each other (including any ways in which they agree or disagree), you’ll need to keep track of who’s advocating each viewpoint.

We won’t be returning to Logical Reasoning questions in the Implication family for a long time, so if you’re still shaky on any of those question types, now’s your chance to make sure you get a handle on them. Ideally, you should be able to finish each question in about 1.5 to 2 minutes, and you should be able to get most of them right. You also should be getting more comfortable with Logic Games scenarios, and you can attempt some timed one-to-one ordering games, with the goal of finishing them in eight minutes or so on average.

However, don’t bother taking timed practice tests at this point, or even doing timed sections. There’s still a lot you haven’t learned (so there’s no point testing yourself on those questions), and your time is better spent perfecting your skills for the question types that you’ve already covered.

If you’re feeling at all overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructor and course contact — he or she can help you figure out how to prioritize all of the work that may be piling up. As far as gifts go, that’s significantly better than a lump of coal — but we can’t give you that pony you’ve been dreaming about, so you’ll have to keep asking Santa for that one.

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