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  1. #1
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    Feb 2008

    Default LSAT TIPS

    Greetings MBTIers,

    This thread is to offer some tips for the LSAT. If any of you have taken the LSAT, and would like to add input, go for it. Incidentally, I have been studying for the LSAT on and off for about 3/4 of a year now. Recently, I decided to confront my weaknesses head-on. I did this by cutting out (literally) every problem I have ever gotten wrong and compiling them in folders. Accordingly, I made a folder for Arguments (and in that folder are several sub-folders for Main Point, Assumption, Weaken, Strengthen, Principles, Inference, Reasoning, and Miscellaneous questions), Reading Comprehension, and Logical Games. One of the main purposes of this was to pick up on patterns that I would not otherwise have noticed. In effect, I went through each one and made notes, and if I still found an argument counterintuitive than I literally wrote it out with the answer beneath it with the idea that this would help program my subconscious mind. In what follows below, I outline some tips/strategies that I derived based on my findings:

    Arguments: Main Point

    1. Remember to revisit first line of passage. There may be a particular entity mentioned in the first line (and not conclusion) that could be the difference between a more general or particular (accurate) answer choice.

    2. The main argument may not always be in opening sentence or conclusion (may be in middle).


    1. Usually related to an assumption...the answer choice may explicitly state the assumption which, if true, strengthens the main argument.

    2. The correct answer will support the conclusion.

    3. Be careful with answer choices that give too much information (almost as an inference), or make an unwarrented step.

    4. Look at adjectives in the conclusion. Does it strengthen the conclusion directly?


    1. Pay close attention to wording.

    2. The principle is the reasoning. Look especially at conclusion of argument. Which principle would most allow the conclusion to be drawn?


    1. Watch for irrelevant answers that make sense but don't pertain.

    2. Correct answer may be camoflaged in the answer may have very plain and non-shalont language and facts but, if plugged in,undermines the main argument.

    3. Again on irrelevant answers...beware of the introduction of new adjectives and new words that are too 'particular' and not contained in the passage.


    1. Assumptions are never explicitly stated, but form a base on which the argument rests. Remove it and the argument falls apart. LSAT drafters may try to trick you by putting in something that restates the main argument but don't fall into this trap.

    2. Don't be tricked by what sounds sensible versus what is an actual assumption...don't fall into this trap...Go with the assumption which, if removed, cripples the argument.

    3. Don't fall for the assumption that assumes more than is needed for the argument. Another booby trap.

    4. Assumptions can be very plain (not literally seductive) but still work. Don't be seduced by language. Think through it!


    1. Pay attention to wording that is 'particular' to the argument...the correct answer choice may indeed contain a word or idea introduced in the opening paragraph or conclusion.

    2. Watch wording!

    3. Beware of the tendency to opt for the general rather than specific and particular, all things considered.

    4. Sometimes the passage won't include a conclusion...the conclusion is what is to be inferred from the premises in the passage. I find it helpful to think about it this way. [Passage]-->Therefore-->[Conclusion, which is forced to be true by the premises, and the correct answer choice].


    1. Don't read too deep into reasoning answer choices. The right answer is usually straightforward.

    2. Think basic....answer is salient (maybe even too obvious that you second guess it).

    3. Don't search for something that isn't there.

    4. All things considered, if you narrow it down to 2 go for the more conservative answer.

    5. Watch for the introduction of new language into the answer choices. Also, watch for extreme language. Pay attention to quantifying words like only, some, all, none, always, never, etc.

    6. Do not confuse an error in reasoning with an altering of substance. They may alter the substance in the answer choice but that doesn't make the reasoning flawed.

    7. Beware of answers that are too vague.


    1. Strive for objectivity.

    2. If you can, try to formulate the answer in your mind before going to the answer choice.

    Reading Comprehension

    1. Look at what to elimate.
    a) Not relevant-not discussed in passage.
    b) Wrong force or tone.
    c) Doesn't answer question...maybe random or merely repeat information.
    d) Something with an extra step or a missing step.
    e) The answer choice is only partially right (these can be tricky).
    f) Answer is in wrong direction.

    2. Need to see what arguments are may be disagreeing with a position put forward in beginning of may be about solving a problem.

    3. Pay attention to adjectives, which often quantify the difference between right and wrong answers: some, none, any, all, most, few, etc.

    4. Pay attention to transitional words: however, therefore, hence, etc.

    5. Beware of things explicitly stated in the passage. could have been word for word.

    6. Inference questions show up frequently in essays. The correct answer is usually very basic and straightforward, don't read too deeply into it.

    7. Watch for very restricting language.

    8. An answer choice that taps into how two things differ may be very nuts and bolts and concrete but none the less distinguish between the two.

    9. If there are two answer choices that are similar, there is a higher likelihood that one of those two is correct.

    10. Pay attention to word choice.

    11. Watch for irrelevant answers.

    Some words I came across that I was unsure about

    1. Antiquated_DEF=To make obsolete or old-fashioned

    2. Extraneous_DEF=Inessential or unrelated to the topic or matter at hand

    Logical Games

    1. Diagramming and reading terminology is everything. Take a good amount of time to map out everything. Make deductions.

    2. For Formal Logic/Conditional logic Games, form the contrapositive: If p then q...not q then not p. Make logic chains if applicable (ex: if a->b->c->d...if a-->d).

    3. For Sequencing Games (before-after), form logical chains (ex: B<A<E)

    4. For Linear Games, there may be people in line..(ex:_ _ _ _ _ G), plug in people where they should be. Make deductions. Limit possibilities.

    5. For Complex Linear games, use blocks [BF] and antiblocks [B/F] and boxes [B_F] to define relationships. Use sufficient-necessary (ex: not G1-->G4...not G4--> G1).

    6. For Grouping Games, make numerical groups and spaces for each person that can potentially go into that group. Make deductions for who cannot go in based on the constraints. If in same group I=D..not in same group then H/=B..etc. May need to draw on sufficient-necessary conditional logic.

    7. For Mapping Games, map it out. The word "Adjacent" seems to show up often which means having a common border with another area.

    8. For Pattern Games, use many of the same tools as in Complex Linear Games: sufficient-necessary, boxes, blocks. There may be no end in sight, there may only be pattern constraints (ex: a/=f, g=d, etc).

    9. There are two additional ways to categorize LSAT logic games: as minimized or maximized variable games. Maximized variable games are those in which, after the constraints from the fact pattern have been diagrammed, there are still numerous places and scenarios where each variable can exist. These games require you to make deductions solely based on the rules within the questions. Minimized-variable games , on the other hand, have very limited and constrained positioning options.

    Minimized Variable Games
    ->Will have a severly limiting constraint (limiting number of scenarios)..often large boxes, long sufficient-necessary chains, or extensive grouping rules. With these, you should try to map out all possibilities, and make as many deductions as you can for each scenario.

    Maximized Variable Games
    -> Does not offer much to diagram before the first question is reached. In these games, focus on consolidating the constraints in the game through logic tools.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array scattershot's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    It's been too long since I took it, so I don't remember any specific tips, but I strongly recommend the Princeton Review test prep books. In addition to all the basic stuff about how to evaluate the arguments and solve the games, they also focus on how the test questions and answers are designed. It really helped me spot patterns and figure out which answer they were looking for on each question.

    I'm saying this more as a recommendation for the book than to brag, but I absolutely crushed the LSAT because of a $20 Princeton Review book and a few practice tests. (Moved out of town and dropped out after my 3rd year, so I'm not actually an attorney now. Yay for ENFP lack of follow-through. )

  3. #3
    lackluster primate Array Night's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    You seem to have a strong framework.

    In terms of accelerating reading speed, try to make an "S" with your eyes when you read. Pay strict attention to subject words (nouns, stipulative verbs, etc) while working to ignore extraneous filler (prepositions, postpositions, etc).

    As is the case with any multiple choice scenario, the correct answer is always provided. More often than not, the question itself provides a "giveaway" phrase or term that uniquely relates to one of the multiple choice answers. Try to intuit this as best you can, as it will offer valuable groundwork towards the elimination of unimportant alternatives. (Your "Inference" point is important.)

    Be mindful of your time.

    Work to ignore external distractions (having to use the bathroom; hunger; other people).

    Stay confident.

  4. #4
    scourge Array miss fortune's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    I took the LSAT for fun, and to prove to a boyfriend (ENTJ) at the time that I wasn't an idiot and could probably score higher than he did

    My biggest piece of advice on any standardized test is that your attitude going into it is more important than anything else. If you stress it and feel overwhelmed you're going to do a lot worse than someone who views the test as fun and games... a contest between you and the test makers that you're out to win.

    Stress has KILLED the test scores of a lot of smart people I've known because they would be distracted by thoughts of "OMG, I've got to do well on this because my future depends on it!" instead of focusing thoroughly on the questions asked.

    That's just my two cents though, and yes- I kicked that ex's ass on the test!
    Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? -Terry Pratchett

  5. #5
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    Feb 2008



    Funny you mention that...tonight I went over to my Dad's place and I got talking about the LSAT and my strategy and he asked if I had a spare LSAT he could take. It's pretty sad when you're own father wants to have a pissing contest with you three days before the LSAT. Out of spite, I went to my car and ripped an LSAT out of my book for him to take. Then when I gave it to him he told me to keep the answer key so I'd know he didn't cheat, (which is meaningless because he can cheat by taking extra time), so I told him to keep it and be honest with himself and the time. Besides, I'll know if he cheated or lied based on his score (I should have told him that). His instinct will likely be to obsess over details (for fear of being wrong) and in the process only complete about half the questions if that (may be even worse for arguments/essays because he's not a reader). Last time we had a pissing contest was when I beat him in ten chess games in a row and he kept asking me to set the pieces up again, like a gambling addict who doesn't know when to quite the table. Another time I was over at his place with my girlfriend and solved the rubik's cube in a minute or so and he said that he solved it when they first came out in the 70s--something I can't verify but have reason to doubt. Basically, it boils down to this. He didn't pursue academia or an analytical career but the glue of his ego rests on the assumption that this was a conscious choice, rather than a determined one, and therefore he has to prove (mostly to himself, not proving much to me) that he has what it takes in these other areas. No doubt my Dad is an opportunist; his rationale, whether consciously thought or not, is that he has everything to gain if he gets a better score than me, and if he doesn't it won't matter anyways because nothing was expected. The other half of this story is that his only advice, from a friend, is that you do a few practice tests and what you're going to score is what you're going to score which is bullshit. I used that advice (vice, really) for a while as a pretext not to work harder and it got me no where-it was close-minded pessimism. And when I confronted my weaknesses head on I saw immediate improvements. Maybe this is what's needed though, maybe because he can't see the big picture he needs a highly specific numerical figure to denote his intelligence and analytic-worth, I just hope his ego doesn't get too deflated and especially given that he thinks that raw ability is cast in concrete, I'd hate to see him get a score which (if unchangeable based on his belief) wouldn't even be accepted as a minimum in any law school in the country.

    Sorry for the rant guys. I have to put this behind me and move on. I plan to take a really aggressive approach on Saturday and systematically destroy this test. I'm going to do my best and I'm pushing for a 160-something.

    Well guys, I appreciate all the feedback, you guys are awesome. I admit, I feel a little vulnerable and I am going to risk it all on Saturday. I'm not opting for a (try and do 75% and guess the rest) No. I'm going to really be moving through the questions and trying to get more questions in. That's the only way I'll have a shot, the other way is too passive and I don't risk as much but won't gain either. I'm going for the gold. Wish me luck guys!


  6. #6
    Member Array mbeerti's Avatar
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    Dec 2008


    Ha! Glad I ran across this thread. I'll have to keep these tips handy for the NEXT time I take the LSAT... Let's just say I'm feeling rather dismal about the outcome of the one I just took.

  7. #7
    pathwise dependent Array FDG's Avatar
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    Aug 2007


    Why preparing for standardized tests? The scores have been shown to increment only very slightly even after years of preparation. Multiple choices tests are especially bad in this regard.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  8. #8
    Arcesso pulli gingerios! Array Eldanen's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Why preparing for standardized tests? The scores have been shown to increment only very slightly even after years of preparation. Multiple choices tests are especially bad in this regard.
    In thinking about multiple choice tests, instead of asking myself, "What's the right answer?" I usually pose the question: "Which one do they want me to pick?" Interestingly enough it usually puts me in the right mindset to get high scores, lol.

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