Matt Shinners’s December 2012 LSAT Predictions

Holiday music is playing. I’m five pounds heavier than last month. And Starbucks rolled out its Christmas blend about a month ago. It’s official: The season of the December LSAT is upon us.

It seems to start earlier every year.

While LSAT test-taker numbers are down, tens of thousands will still head to an LSAT test center this weekend. What should they expect when they get there? Here are my predictions for the December 2012 LSAT:

December LSAT Prediction I: Logic Games

Games on the October LSAT were pretty straightforward, albeit with one killer at the end. Here’s a rundown:

• The first game was a two-group grouping game, although complicated a bit by tiers (the majors of the students). Though this definitely makes the game harder, it doesn’t come close to approaching the last tiered grouping game we’ve seen (mauve dinos) in difficulty.

• You couldn’t ask for a better second game – 1:1 basic ordering. They even threw in an ‘if, but only if’ rule and a highly-constrained player (S).

• Three bumped it up a notch with an overbooked ordering game, a tricky fourth rule (how easy it is to overlook the possibility of Science and Hobbies in the same aisle!), and no elimination question. But then it threw four conditional questions at you and an elimination-type MBF question.

• And then there was the Zones game. Mentioning this in class last night caused one student who took the October LSAT to go deathly pale. Yes, it has a lot going on. Yes, there’s addition involved. But the most complicated part of this game was figuring out what your setup should look like (and what some of the questions were asking). If you cut through the convoluted language, it ended up being a straightforward (though admittedly difficult) game.

What’s this mean for the December LSAT? It definitely continues the trend of having very consistent games. There aren’t any walk-in-the-parks, but there aren’t any absolute killers, either. Expect more of the same, albeit with convoluted language to make you second-guess yourself.

December LSAT Prediction II: Logical Reasoning

Logical Reasoning has seen an up swell in the number of principle questions over the past year or two, and that trend continued on the October LSAT. Expect this to continue on the December LSAT.

We’ve also seen fewer diagrammable questions, though the ones that do lend themselves to the tactic tend to be trivialized by it. Don’t force it, but if you see something that can be diagrammed, it’s worthwhile to do so.

Other than that, LR has been pretty unremarkable as of late. They’ve gotten a little creative with the prompts at times, but it hasn’t (yet) created a new question type. Just focus on what you’ve been practicing, and you should be fine.

December LSAT Prediction III: Reading Comprehension

Many October LSAT test-takers (including our own Colin Elzie) found Reading Comp to be the hardest section of the most recent October LSAT. RC is definitely the section with the largest changes in difficulty between recent exams. And while I wouldn’t take it easy, I’d expect there to be a decrease in difficulty for the RC (which means the LR and LG sections may be pumped up a bit).

Also, there was a whole lot of attitude on the October 2012 LSAT – much more than we’re used to seeing from authors. Expect that to change on the December LSAT; I think there’s going to be more passages with absent authors, or authors whose viewpoints are more subtle (qualified approval, for instance).

December LSAT Prediction IV: The LSAT Curve

While I think RC is going to ease up a bit on the difficulty, I think the average difficulty of the December LSAT is going to be a bit higher, but mostly because of a few very difficult LR questions. We’ve had two -10/170 LSAT curves in a row, although the LSAT curve for a 160 LSAT score has been fairly standard. I think that 160 LSAT curve is going to stay where it is, while the 170 LSAT curve is going to get a bit looser to account for the increase in difficulty at the top. Let’s say -12 for a 170, -24 for a 160.

December LSAT Prediction V: Specific Predictions

Logic Games:

• Expect to see a straight-forward In/Out or two-group grouping game
• Expect a complicated tiered ordering game
• Expect two scenario-based games
• Expect some really convoluted questions that become easy once you understand what they’re asking

Reading Comp:

• Expect less attitude
• Expect a “hard science” passage (biology/chemistry/physics/math) early in the section
• Expect no literature passages
• Expect an easy comparative passage

Logical Reasoning:

• Testosterone and Alzheimer’s (again)
• Computers in education
• Market speculation
• Werewolves and/or vampires


• There will be an experimental section outside the first three sections.

On this post:

• At least one person will think I’m Matt Riley

9 Responses

  1. AbbyTheGreat says:

    …you’re not Matt Riley? :-(

  2. Yesenia says:

    can you do this again for the Feb. LSAT? and, if possible, a little earlier than just a couple days before the exam? its super helpful!

  3. verena wutz-morrill says:

    i am getting nervous!!!!

  4. R.C. Kent says:

    Two quibbles:

    (1) You identify “the last tiered grouping game we’ve seen” as “mauve dinos,” quite clearly the third game on Prep Test 57. By no means was this the last grouping game involving tiers; rather, “Bicycle Tests” from Prep Test 64 was. It involved tiers for a different reason, granted, but two tiers were appropriate, nonetheless. If you’d rather discount “Bicycle Tests” given that the groups were only of size one, that’s fine (but arbitrary): “Travel Magazine Interns” from Prep Test 60 also involved two tiers.

    (2) You mention that logical reasoning “hasn’t (yet) created a new question type.” I grant that the twelfth logical reasoning question in one of the sections—it reads: “Which one of the following most accurately describes the manner in which the doctor’s second set of recommendations and the results of its application support the doctor’s initial hypothesis?”—could be, if you squint at it, loosely construed as a “plays which one of the following roles”-type question, but that’s a stretch. In my judgment, that Question 12 was almost entirely unique (there’s only one other question from logical reasoning that approximates it, and it was asked ten years ago). I’m not suggesting we’re likely to see this question asked again, but it’s yet another quibble. (I told you there’d be two of ’em.)

  5. Blake says:

    a shocking number of your predictions were correct! hope the -12 turns out to be too.

  6. john says:

    what made you predict that the experimental would be outside the first three sections?

  7. Mo says:

    Interesting predictions, you did pretty good on a couple of the sections. Experimental had some tough material. But it was an incredibly interesting section though, a couple questions were pretty killer. Overall I thought this test was very entertaining compared to a lot of ones I have seen. Lots of interesting ideas put forth (sometimes quite complex) by test makers compared to some of the more dry content that they sometimes go with (obviously based on my own interests). Best of luck to everyone and their scores.

  8. Erika says:

    Why would you predict that the experimental is outside the first three sections?

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