Tag Archive: advice on logical reasoning

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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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Oh, Yes: How to Diagram “No” Statements on the LSAT

With a scurry and dash, a dodge and a slash, the No Ninja appears on the scene. Or: There She Blows, No Torpedoes the Necessary. Maybe, I don’t know…Calamatizes the Consequent, Foils the Following, what have you. 

All of these mnemonics illustrate a very simple but highly effective tool for diagramming “No” statements on the LSAT. These are common conditionals, and they can come in many forms:

· No mathletes have girlfriends.
· None of the above are correct.
· Neither of them are getting her number.
· No one who dislikes Star Wars can be my friend.

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How to Diagram “Unless” LSAT Logical Reasoning Questions

Welcome to our ongoing series on the more nefarious elements of diagramming.

Topping the agenda today are “unless” questions. These are much more straightforward than the “only” conditionals we reviewed last week. Unlike “only” questions, which require one to search for the referent, “unless” questions have a more standardized approach. Consider the following:

“Unless I just brushed my teeth, you’ll find me sipping a cold glass of orange juice”

What does this mean? It tells us that, in all cases where I haven’t just finished brushing my teeth, I’ve got a tall glass of nature’s goodness by my side. To simplify: if I have not just brushed, then I’ve got OJ. Look diagrammable?

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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.