September 2016 LSAT: It’s Finally Here!

It’s okay. Leave the pencil alone.

Yesterday, scores from the September 2016 LSAT were released, to much fanfare. Or, depending upon how you did, to a mix of sadness and anger. When you get your scores, we at Blueprint get the exam. So let’s take a brief little look at what the deal is with this sucker.

First, the curve was looser — ever so slightly! — than the June 2016 exam. Basically, for most scaled scores (120-180) you’d have needed to get one extra question correct to get that score. For instance, in June you’d need to have gotten 90 of 101 questions correct for a 170. This time around, it was 89. This could have something to do with the fact that there was a crazy game (which, it turns out, was less crazy than it seemed) as well as a brutal RC passage that people seemed to get caught up in.

Logic Games

Three of the four games were pretty straightforward. The first game was Overbooked Ordering. Games two and three were both Unstable Grouping. Game four… ahhh, game four. That was the vaunted computer viruses game, where the computers were infected serially with viruses. One was infected first, and then, you had to determine the order in which the subsequent computers were infected.

It could be looked at as Unstable Ordering in that it was possible for two computers to be infected by the same computer before, meaning that there could be, for example, more than one computer infected third. The key to this game was to realize that the slot setup was basically useless, and the construction of ordering chains was the key. With that understanding, the game was not terrible.

“Damn you, Eileen Gray!”

This cry reverberated through the halls of testing centers across the country during the September exam. The main difficulty with this passage was its veiled argument structure. In short, the passage was mostly descriptive of Gray’s work, rather than an assertion of a particular argument. Blueprint — along with any test prep service worth its salt — ingrains an obsession with argument structure, which we call Primary Structure, in our students. The passage did indeed have an argument, but it took weeding through flowery descriptions to find it.

There was also, surprisingly enough, a passage about Contract Law. The near total absence of law-related material on the exam has long frustrated and mystified future lawyers studying for the exam.

Logical Reasoning

First, it appears that Resolve questions are becoming more prevalent on the exam. The reason for this is not clear, and, not surprisingly, the makers of the LSAT will obviously never comment on such a thing. Necessary Assumption questions also proliferated on this particular exam.

There was an odd Flaw question that asked specifically how one speaker misinterpreted the language of another speaker. That made it difficult to understand as a flaw question, but they basically told you it was equivocation and asked you which term shifted in meaning between speaker one and speaker two.

Other than that, Logical Reasoning was fairly straightforward.