While the SAT, GRE, MPRE, bar exam and numerous other standardized tests are difficult in their own ways, the LSAT offers some challenges that set it apart from most standardized tests.
One such distinction is that the LSAT does not test your memory, at least not in an overt way. For instance, the bar exam requires that you memorize many rules of law and then competently reproduce these rules of law when writing your bar exam essays. The LSAT requires no such recall.
It should be noted, however, that the LSAT does require a great deal of memory in the form of a highly developed command of the English language and vocabulary. But this reality is true of any exam that has a reading comprehension component.
Instead of testing memory, the LSAT tests one’s ability to reason through problems on the spot in real time. In other words, the test selects for people who are good at what we might call colloquially “thinking on their feet.”
Given this emphasis on real-time thinking, the LSAT calls for test-takers to prepare in the way that a performing artist or an athlete prepares. Cultivating the ability to maintain a high level of concentration or intensity of thought for the duration of the test is, in short, a key aspect of effective LSAT prep.
(Original publication date: August 1, 2011 (LEX))
The law school admission test (LSAT) consists of four scored sections, each section representing one of three section types: (i) logical reasoning, (ii) analytical reasoning, oftentimes called “logic games “, and (iii) reading comprehension or “reading comp”. This blog entry will focus on the reading comprehension section of the LSAT.
Reading Comprehension Overview
Reading comprehension accounts for approximately 28% of the scored questions on the LSAT, while logical reasoning makes up about 50%, and logic games about 22%. Reading comprehension is therefore the second most important section of the LSAT in terms of numerical impact on one’s score.
However, reading comprehension seems to have become increasingly difficult in recent years, making it the “haymaker” section of the LSAT for many students, including those who are scoring well into the 170s. This increase in difficulty may be attributable to a heightened recognition by the test makers that reading comprehension is an indispensable and top-value skill for the successful law student. But whatever the reason, students must be aware that reading comprehension cannot be treated as an afterthought in one’s study regimen—which is all too commonly done as a result of the over-emphasis of the “games” section by most LSAT prep companies.
Check this blog periodically for more information on how you can “Test at Your Best” on actual LSAT day.
Happy reading—and comprehending!
One key skill tested in the logical reasoning section category of the LSAT is that of building—and tearing down—arguments. This skill can appear on the test in many ways, including:
- Making a statement of facts into an argument, either by drawing an inference or by providing support to an unsupported assertion
- Finding an additional premise
- Presenting a “counter-premise”, i.e., a statement that would serve as a premise in a counter-argument
This skill also plays a significant role in bar exam essay, performance test, and MBE sections.
Check this blog periodically for discussion of the argument-construction/destruction skill, how to develop it, how to spot questions that test it, and how to separate good from bad answer choices.
(Original publication date: July 20, 2011 (LEX))