So here we are again – three days out from the June LSAT. Stress abounds, rumors spread like wildfire, and personal hygiene has all but been abandoned. Of course, this also means that it is time for me to make some predictions.
Wouldn’t it be great to know what form the ugly beast was going to take on Monday? Well, let me see if I can help, section by section.
There will be two sections, each one will have roughly 25 questions, and both cholesterol levels and the extinction of the dinosaurs will be discussed. That’s the easy stuff. Here are some more interesting predictions.
1. “Best illustrated” Questions
It is very common for Logical Reasoning questions to ask you to find an answer choice that is supported by the stimulus. However, in the increasingly common breed, you are asked to identify a general answer choice that is best illustrated by the case study in the stimulus. Hopefully, that sounds weird, because normally that is a fallacy. Jimmy wore Brut to his date on Saturday night and got lucky, thus any guy who wears Brut will get lucky. This is a mistake on the LSAT (and in real life). However, knowledge of this fallacy can actually lead you directly to the correct answer. One case can only support a very weak proposition, and this is what you should seek. It’s possible to get lucky while wearing bad cologne? That sounds much better.
2. Tough to Diagram Sufficient Questions
I’m looking into a crystal ball, and I am seeing either two or three very difficult Sufficient questions that will require quick and accurate diagramming. In these questions, conditional premises are intended to support a conditional conclusion. However, there is one big premise that is missing, and this forms the sufficient assumption.
Try this one on for size:
All hypochondriacs visit the hospital regularly. Clearly, then, only employee-of-the-month-award recipients are hypochondriacs, since one cannot live a healthy lifestyle without being an employee-of-the-month award recipient.
Can you spot the assumption in this argument? If you are thinking that anyone that visits the hospital regularly must live a healthy lifestyle, then you are cool. If you are struggling, make sure you review some diagramming. (For all you Blueprint folks, that would be Lesson 12.)
3. The “New” Fallacies
Sure, there will mistake correlation for causation a couple times. Yes, necessary conditions will be treated as though they were sufficient. And personal attacks will be treated as a good way to defeat an argument. But there are a couple less frequent flaws that have been popping up on recent exams. And my bet is that they will pop up again.
First, watch out for times when a comparative statement is taken to imply an absolute claim. Simply because the economic incentive to pursue a course of action is greater than it once was, that does not imply that there is a legitimate incentive. Taller don’t mean tall, in other words.
Second, beware the deceitful swap between percentages and amounts. If more people have been injured while riding a bicycle than have been injured while wrestling alligators, this does not mean that riding a bicycle is more dangerous. This fallacy is committed most often when the lovely LSAT forgets to account for the relative frequency of the two actions.
Here is my best stab at the section, based on months and months of empirical data analysis.
Game 1: 1:1 Ordering
They start out with something nice (possible six instruments that are being played in six consecutive time slots at a music show, likely featuring the recorder).
Game 2: Stable Grouping
In this one, you will have to organize three smallish groups (say, three different taxis with two passengers each). Watch out for rules that can help you quickly break the game into scenarios. The most common candidates for this are “either or” or “gotta hang out together” rules.
Game 3: Tiered Ordering
One word: scenarios.
Game 4: In and Out Grouping
This one is all about simplifying the relationships. Some girl, I’m seeing a Nina, will have to choose some types of furniture to place in here bedroom. Clearly, the space limitations restrict the options.
The makers of the test have been ramping up the difficulty of the comparative passages, so make sure to bring your A game for that one. Other than that, my advice is something that I stress 18,736 times in class. Keep your eyes on the author. If you understand the author’s stance, you are golden.
In terms of predictions, it should seem obvious that there will be a passage devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright and another brutal one discussing the mechanism of homeostasis in various animal species.
If you want to read about how the LSAT actually proceeds, check out this post that I wrote before I took my last real exam.
Good luck to everyone on Monday. Make it your bit*#.