LSAT prep might feel like a fresh new form of torture to you, but the truth is that students have been slaving under LSAC overlords for years upon years. It just so happens that I’ve also been teaching the LSAT for a few years myself. And while each and every student I’ve taught is a special and unique snowflake, over time I’ve noticed a few trends in terms of the questions students ask most often. Now you, dear reader, can be the beneficiary of my years of accumulated wisdom. Behold, some of the most common issues faced by people studying for the LSAT:
Timing is a delicate balance – you want to increase your speed, of course, but not at the expense of accuracy. We’ve actually run a great series of posts on increasing your speed: check out some general tips on improving speed, a delightful post chock full of tips for Reading Comprehension, and even more tips on Logic Games. All three posts are worth reading, so go ahead – take a gander right now. Really; I’ll wait. Ok, now that you’re back, here’s the summary for how to improve your speed: (1) Do your homework. Do it thoroughly. Do it well. (2) Be patient. If you jump directly into trying to get faster, you’ll make mistakes. Instead, spend a long time on each question, breaking it down until you understand it inside and out. It’s a detail-oriented process, but the more you do it the better you’ll get. And as your understanding of the questions improves, your speed will (magically!) improve as well.
Some students struggle with knowing when to diagram – the solution is to notice diagramming keywords, which help indicate conditional statements. Others struggle with the process of diagramming itself. Diagramming, like most things, gets much easier with practice; if diagramming is one of your areas of weakness, find yourself a stack of diagrammable questions and get to it. (Protip for Blueprint LSAT students: under the “Practice” tab of your MyBlueprint page, you can find an additional practice set titled “Diagramming Practice,” which is exactly what it sounds like.) We’ve also had some recent posts on MSS that should help clear up any lingering confusion about diagramming: tips on necessity, how to diagram “no” statements, how to diagram “unless” statements, and how to diagram “only” statements.
Finding deductions and scenarios in Logic Games
Finding deductions is an essential skill for completing Logic Games accurately and efficiently, but it’s also a skill that takes some time to develop. I actually wrote a post about finding deductions last week; the short version of that post is that you’re looking for rules that are restrictive or that interact with other rules in some way. If you miss a deduction on a game you’ve done as part of your practice, you should carefully analyze the rules that led to the deduction or scenario so that, if you encounter a similar rule in the future, you’ll know how to approach it.
The good news is that many previous students have faced the challenges that you now face. The other good news is that any issues you’re having with the LSAT are certainly fixable – it’s just a matter of taking the right approach to fixing them. If I missed your most burning LSAT-related question, let me know in the comments and I’ll pass along any tips I may have.