Tag Archive: Conditional Statements

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How to Diagram Conditional Statements

Conditional logic can be found all over the LSAT, from Logical Reasoning to Logic Games and even occasionally in Reading Comprehension sections; therefore, understanding conditional statements and how they work is key to doing well on the LSAT. I could write a book on the ins and outs of conditional reasoning – heck, Blueprint LSAT Prep devotes several lessons to it in our course – but for now, I’ll give you a run-down of the basics.

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5 Ways to Consolidate Your LSAT Progress

By this point, most of the students in our live classes have gotten through Lesson 2. If you’re one of those fortunate souls, congratulations on making it this far! There’s a lot left to cover, but you may be feeling overwhelmed from all the meaty goodness in those first two lessons. (Are we not doing ‘phrasing’ any more?) If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and would like to regroup, here’s what to do.

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Justin Bieber launches devastating assault on logic.

A few weeks ago we considered how a variety of celebrities would fit in as attorneys. Aaron Rodgers, for example, who at one point considered foregoing his football ambitions to focus on getting into law school. Or George Clooney, whose wife is such a brilliant attorney that he may be able to pass the bar right now, just based on intellectual osmosis across the pillow. This week we consider Justin Bieber.

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Conditional Logic: You Can’t Succeed Without It

Conditional statements are at the heart of the LSAT. And that’s no surprise, really, because they’re at the heart of the law as well. If this party breaches contract, then these are the repercussions. Unless this nation comes into compliance with international law, these consequences will follow. If you do not take steps to remediate this violation of my client’s rights, we will take legal action.

While each of the above is a conditional statement, expressing what will result if a particular condition is met or unmet, the phrasing and composition varies significantly between them. The simplest form of a conditional statement involves “if” and “then,” as in “if the frosting-to-cake ration is excessive then I will scrape some off.” Here, of course, the condition of excessive sugar-whip is sufficient to necessitate that I excavate my cake.

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LSAT Logic: If You Read This, Then You’ll Be Awesome At Conditional Statments

No discussion of conditional statements would be complete without a thorough review of sufficient conditions. Luckily, and entirely coincidentally, that’s the topic of today’s post in our ongoing review of diagramming LR questions.

Simply put, the sufficient guarantees the necessary. As long as the sufficient condition is satisfied, the necessary must follow. For example:

“If you study hard, then you’ll do well on the LSAT.”

To illustrate this relationship, we’ll want to diagram the above with the sufficient condition leading to the necessary condition, in the form of:

Suff. —> Necc.

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A Necessary Skill for Acing the LSAT

In case you hadn’t already noticed, understanding and manipulating conditional statements is key to success on Logical Reasoning questions. If you don’t master this skill, then your target score will elude you (ya see what I did there?). 

In our ongoing series we’ve covered many of the trickier types of conditional statements, but today we’re going to bring it back to basics with identifying the necessary condition through what we at Blueprint call “indicator words.” 

This skill is fundamental in the sense that it’s necessary (dry puns abound) in order to get your diagramming off the ground. If the necessary and sufficient conditions are misinterpreted and thus diagrammed incorrectly, transitive chains will be missed, sufficient stacks will go unnoticed, etc., etc. Most common, perhaps, is confusing which of two statements in a sentence is the sufficient and which is the necessary.

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How to Diagram Ornery “Only” Logical Reasoning Questions

If only the LSAT would stick with easy-to-diagram conditional statements like “if it’s a carrot, then it’s a vegetable”, or “if I get Mike Tyson’s tattoo, I’ll forever regret it.”

Alas, your Logical Reasoning section will rarely be quite so friendly. You’ll be nailed with parallel flaws, double negatives, “EXCEPT” questions and, most of all, lots of diagramming. So, to perfect your diagramming skills, we’re launching a series of articles that will cover some of the trickier elements of conditional statements.

Up first: “Only” Questions.

If memorization is your forte, then remember simply that “only” always introduces a necessary condition. As in “the only time you’ll see ‘only’ on LR is when it is introducing the proposition that is guaranteed by the sufficient condition.”

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Level Up Your LSAT Diagramming Skills With This Fun Quiz

Knowing how to diagram conditional claims is essential for every scored section of the LSAT. In LSAT Logical Reasoning, you have to diagram conditional claims very often with Must Be True, Must Be False, Could Be True, Sufficient, Necessary, Flaw, Parallel, and Parallel Flaw question types. In LSAT Logic Games, you’ll make some very nasty mistakes by incorrectly diagraming conditional rules. Finally, in LSAT Reading Comprehension, main points can be conditional, and many other question types will also depend on your ability to diagram.

All diagramable questions have very tempting sucker choices. This is because diagraming mistakes are easy to predict. So, an incorrect anticipation will probably show up in your answer choices. This makes diagramable questions pretty difficult.

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Tricky LSAT Phrases to Keep an Eye Out For

The skills that the LSAT tests are complicated and difficult to learn. Whether it’s diagramming conditional statements, assembling the setup to a game, or knowing what to pay attention to in reading comp, this stuff ain’t easy. But what can make things even harder is when the LSAT buries these already-confusing concepts in perplexing linguistic phrasings.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

When you read something on the LSAT that you don’t understand, the worst thing you can possibly do is just move on, hoping the exam won’t ask about it; it will. Often times, understanding a confusing phrase just involves rereading it a few times and rolling it around in your head. But there are a few phrases that the LSAT uses again and again that students regularly get tripped up on. I’ve compiled a few for you here:

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Nothing Puts You in the Holiday Spirit Like LSAT Diagramming

Knowing how to identify and diagram conditional relationships is necessary for doing well on the LSAT (That is, If Do Well on LSAT -> Know how to Diagram); they are seen throughout Logical Reasoning and many of the most confusing rules in Logic Games are often conditional. If you misrepresent one of these rules, it is quite literally game over.

Learning to diagram properly may be difficult at first, and rightly so, as you’re essentially learning a new language, that of logic, but if you master this vital skill early in class you’ll have an excellent foundation for understanding future, more difficult concepts. Below are a number of harder conditional diagramming drills to help you learn this vitally important skill. Try and diagram every conditional relationship you encounter and infer any supported conclusions.