A Look at the June 2017 LSAT: Logical Reasoning

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June LSAT scores came out last week. When scores come out, we LSAT instructors get a chance to look at the test. It’s pretty much like Christmas morning for us, and it comes three times a year. Aren’t we lucky? I woke up early to work through the Logical Reasoning sections this morning, and here’s what I thought of that part of the test. Check this blog for analysis of the other sections in the coming days.

On the whole my impression was blah. Nothing much stood out. It was just Logical Reasoning. It was normal. There were easy, medium and hard questions as usual but very few stood out as particularly hard. Nothing looked weird to me. That’s the big takeaway: it’s a normal LSAT. But we’ll look at the details anyway.

There were tons of Soft Must Be True questions. Ten, by my count. Some were really typical in the sense that the premises given led you toward a particular conclusion. A couple required a little outside common sense to justify the answer. For example, one question required you to infer that an animal only using a tool when its caretaker wasn’t watching constituted deception. But that’s normal, too.

Also on the topic of the distribution of question types, there were fewer Strengthen questions then usual. Lately, there have been many more Strengthen questions than Weaken questions, on average. This test had roughly equal numbers of each. There were roughly half as many Strengthen questions on this test as on the average test from the last couple years.

Other than this, the assortment of questions was pretty normal, though. I’ll also note that there was only one Must Be True question. There have been fewer of these in recent years. Keep in mind that the number of each type of question always varies a bit from test to test. It would be a big mistake to infer anything about what to expect in September from the above. It’s just a reminder not to neglect any one kind of question. On test day, you might encounter more of any question type than you expect.

There wasn’t much brutal formal logic. Conditional logic concepts were tested a few times, in a few different ways. It was important to know your sufficient and necessary conditions, and diagramming was helpful. But there wasn’t any question that bombarded you with loads of diagramming. All of my diagrams were short and to the point. There also weren’t many quantifiers in the section. But again, there might be a bunch in September.

A couple questions required that you infer a little bit of context to what was in the stimulus. One question required identifying a counterexample to a view that wasn’t explicitly stated. There’s also the aforementioned question about animal behavior. These questions didn’t require any outside knowledge. It’s still the LSAT, after all. They did, however, require that you use common sense about why the claims in the stimulus might have been made, or about what real-world ramifications they might have.

There was a question about light versus dark roast coffee, which entertained this coffee snob and made him pause to take another sip. There were also questions about topics that are in the news, such as free speech and climate change. But all in all it was a normal LSAT.

Nothing was too brutal, but when you hear that you might start to fear the “curve.” You’d be right. The absence of really tough questions was counterbalanced by an unforgiving score conversion table. There wasn’t much room for error to get a really top score. You could only miss nine questions to get a 170. That’s a little bit fewer than usual. I haven’t looked at the games or reading comp yet, but if those sections were challenging that would make this a tough LSAT.

But in sum, the logical reasoning from this LSAT shouldn’t make you reevaluate anything. It’s a normal LSAT. If you prepared for the LSAT based on the last twenty years of released tests, you probably wouldn’t have found anything surprising.

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