Spring Break: LSAT Style

BPPtodd-lsat-blog-springbreak
Spring Break: LSAT Style

I know, I know. It’s not easy being an LSAT student. Many of you are in your senior year of college, and it’s spring break season. Others are heading to warm, sunny locations to party, hook-up, and yell “Spring Breaaak!” to those who don’t have calendars. You, on the other hand, are holed up with your LSAT books. As a fairly recent college graduate, I fondly remember my early April trips to Florida and Mexico, so I can sympathize with you to an extent. As someone who took the LSAT last year and is about to buckle down for my first year of law school, I am also here to tell you to suck it up. This is likely the most important exam you will ever take, so missing out on body shots in Cabo one time isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But for those you who are missing out on spring break, I wanted to do a quick review of the concepts you have learned thus far, Spring Break style (Disclaimer: Reading the following Spring Break themed LSAT example is in no way designed to reflect the actual Spring Break experience). Enjoy.

Causal conclusions:

Tiffahni, who is currently vacationing in Daytona Beach with her sorority sisters, couldn’t help but notice that during each of the last three nights she has had a few tequila shots. Each night she has also hooked up with her ex-boyfriend, who has also made his way down to Daytona Beach. With a giggle, Tiffahni concludes that drinking tequila is what leads her to her boyfriend’s Winnebago each evening.

At college campuses across America, this is known as “The Cuervo Defense”, and it is shaky at best. The LSAT teaches us that just because two things tend to occur together, it is extremely difficult to conclude that one thing (tequila), caused the other (ending up in the ex’s Winnebago). If we were trying to weaken Tiffahni’s conclusion, we might look for alternate causes, and they might look something like this:

– In the days immediately before the road trip to Daytona, Tiffahni repeatedly told her closest friends how much she still cared for her ex-boyfriend.
– Tiffahni failed to secure her own lodging and sleeping arrangements for her trip to Daytona.

We could also look for no cause, same effect. This would be a winning answer choice:

– On the fourth day of her vacation, Tiffahni only drank ice water during the day and one diet Coke during the evening. She still ended up in her ex-boyfriend’s Winnebago.

The moral of this hastily crafted and immature example is that you should always be extremely skeptical when you read any causal conclusion. The folks at LSAC will make more persuasive arguments than our girl Tiffahni, and it is important that you train your brain to think skeptically.

Diagramming:

And now we’ll take a look at the other concept we’ve learned so far. Diagram the following statements AND their contrapositive. Remember all of the key words that indicate sufficiency and necessity:

1) It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock’n’roll.
2) No sleep ’til Brooklyn!
3) No woman, no cry.
4) Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.
5) Every little thing she does is magic.

Answers:

1) WANT TO ROCK –> LONG WAY TO THE TOP
(LONG WAY TO THE TOP —> ROCK)

2) BROOKLYN –> SLEEP
(SLEEP –> BROOKLYN)

3) WOMAN –> CRYING
( CRYING –> WOMAN)

4) SHE’S GONE –> SUNSHINE
(SUNSHINE –> GONE)

5) SHE DOES IT –> MAGIC
(MAGIC –> SHE DOES IT)

I hope you have enjoyed this quick interruption. Now please resume studying.

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