It’s only six days before the March LSAT, so it’s time for us at Blueprint to dust off our crystal ball, unpack our tarot cards, and focus our powers of divination. That’s right. It’s time to make some predictions for what’s going to be on the March LSAT.
Now, we don’t have any insider information about what’s going to be on the LSAT. We don’t even have especially keen powers of divination — our crystal ball is completely ineffectual (we bought it on sale at CVS) and we can’t read our tarot cards (we just think they look cool). I, for one, am wrong about all sorts of things. For years I thought Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton were the same person. I’m aware of the harm of perpetuating this belief and the social stigma it caries, but I’m sort of willing to entertain the idea that at least part of the moon landing was faked. One of my core, guiding principles is that no name (first and last) should have more than four syllables.
So I’m wrong a lot, and maybe not the most trustworthy person in general. But I do follow the LSAT very, very closely (perhaps more than any sane or healthy person should), and have a pretty solid grasp on where the test is trending. And that, I think, is ultimately more helpful to someone about to take this test. If I made a bunch of a specific predictions, I’d be wrong about most of them (as would anyone trying to predict exactly what’s going to be on the test) and that would be of little use to you. If instead gave you a more general sense of what’s likely to appear on the test, you’d at least have some general guidelines that would help you prioritize certain concepts in your studies during the waning days before the big test.
For March test, then, I’m only going to make one specific prediction, and then I’ll try my best to give you a general sense of the types of questions and concepts that will probably appear on the exam, based on how this test has been trending for the last few years.
So, first up, the specific prediction: They’re going to re-use an old, nondisclosed test for this one. Probably a test that they used for those test takers who observe the Sabbath and cannot take the exam on a Saturday.
Why do I think this? Well, there will be way more LSATs in 2019 than there have been in any previous year. The exam used to be given four times a year. In 2019, it will be given seven times. So LSAC is responsible for making three extra LSATs in 2019, a (check my math) 75% increase in its output.
And if you think taking the LSAT is hard, think about how much harder (and expensive) it would be to write the LSAT. Not only do you have to come up with all the insane topics that show up on these questions, you have to rigorously test the questions to make sure they produce predictable, standard responses from test takers. It is, to put it mildly, a whole thing.
So LSAC probably can’t afford to make three more LSATs every year. Instead, they’ll use an old nondisclosed exam that never got released to test takers or test prep companies. There’s some precedent for this, too. In 2018, LSAC reused the nondisclosed February 2014 LSAT for the then-brand-new July LSAT.
LSAC could theoretically use an old February test again. But I sort of doubt they’ll do that. By using an old February exam last July, LSAC drew quite a bit of ire from test takers who, rightly or wrongly, felt that this gave people who took the February 2014 exam an unfair advantage. (I, for reasons discussed in this old post, thought those test takers were overreacting). LSAC probably doesn’t want to incur the wrath of angry pre-law types again, so I don’t think they’ll use an exam that was seen by as many people as a previous February test.
So I’m thinking they’re going to use a test that’s only been used for an international LSAT administration or a Sabbath-observer administration. An old Sabbath-observers test feels right to me, since the March exam will be given on a Saturday, and Sabbath observers — by both religious custom and LSAC fiat — cannot take the test on a Saturday. So there will be no one — law-school-bound recent Sabbath-observing religious converts aside — who takes the test on March 30th who had seen the test previously.
This is a prediction I make sort of reluctantly. It’s not one I mentioned to any of the classes I taught. I didn’t want anyone to have the idea that the last week before the test should be spent scouring the internet for information on Sabbath observer exams given between the years 2014 and 2017. Since those exams weren’t disclosed, these searches wouldn’t yield anything helpful. And trying to figure out whether an exam was previously used as you took it could be, at worst, a distraction that most test takers can ill afford.
But, I figure if you clicked on a blog called “Predictions for the March 2019 LSAT,” you’re already on that search. So I’m willing to make that prediction for you. I’m nothing if not a people pleaser.
Other than that though, I think can be of more help giving you a general sense of what to do study in these final, fleeting moments before Saturday. In Logical Reasoning, Strengthen questions have been the most common question type. And an increasingly high proportion of Strengthen questions have been of the Principle variety. So study up on those. Other than those, expect somewhere between six and eight Flaw questions, four and six Necessary questions, three and five Weaken questions, and a handful of Soft Must Be True questions. Get lots of practice with each of those questions. We’ve seen fewer and fewer questions that ask you to identify the formal aspects of an argument — like Main Point, Describe, and Role questions — and almost no Must Be False questions, so those questions aren’t worth prioritizing in your studies.
Also, in Logical Reasoning, the two most important concepts have been, and will certainly continue to be, conditional statements and the common fallacies. Recent exams have had a lot of questions involving conditional statements — the average is about ten questions per exam. However, very few of these exams involve making long, ornate transitive deductions. Most just require you to know whether a condition is sufficient or necessary. So study up on the language of sufficiency and necessity. Of course, knowledge of the common fallacies helps you on a ton of questions. But there are a few common fallacies — particularly causation fallacies, comparison fallacies, equivocations, and exclusivity fallacies — that you appear more frequently that you should spend some extra time studying. Recent exams have been positively replete with causation fallacies, in particular, so make sure you study how to identify causal relationships.
Over on Reading Comprehension, I would expect to get a passage about science, a passage about the arts, a passage about the law, and a passage about history or the social sciences. Passages recently have been structured around a few different organizing principles recently — like trying to prove a cause and effect relationship exists, or attempting to answer a question. I wouldn’t be surprised to see most or all of the passages organized around one of those. The relationship between the comparative passages on recent exams have generally been a little oblique (such as, one passage discusses a general problem, and the other discusses a specific instance of that problem), so make sure to practice identifying the big picture relationship between the two passages on the comparative passages you do this week.
Finally, on Logic Games, you will almost certainly get one basic ordering game, one tiered ordering game, one grouping game (probably what we call an “unstable grouping game”) and either a second grouping game, or a game that combines ordering and grouping. The odds of getting a truly bizarre game is fairly low. But it’s possible that they’re going to draw an old exam from the years in which they briefly got super into weird games, so the odds are, unfortunately, not zero. But nearly all or all of these games will be a lot easier if you construct some scenarios before the first question, so make sure to review all the rules and deductions that are commonly useful for making scenarios.
If you place emphasis on these concepts during this last week, then I will make one final prediction: you’re going to do great.