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Dissecting the LSAT

August 19, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is the most important component of the law school admission process. It is divided into three parts: analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension. The test is required by all law schools and is essentially a giant bell curve. At the end of the day, the students with the best verbal skills, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and memory abilities will score the highest on the test.

The Logical Reasoning Section

This section of the LSAT comprises 50-51% of the test. Essentially, this is the argument section. Test takers will be given 3-5 sentence arguments and asked to evaluate them, strengthen them, weaken them, or find a parallel argument. Success on this section has been shown to be highly correlated with law school success. Also, it is somewhat learnable. Students who can recognize the paradigms of logical reasoning will appreciate their position in the bell curve.

Reading Comprehension

Arguably the most difficult section and the hardest to improve on. It is, in fact, the hardest reading comprehension test known to man. Memory, reading for structure, and verbal skills will carry test takers through this frightful section and towards the rightward facing tail of the bell curve. Reading comprehension makes up one section of the test, and it usually involves 26-28 questions dealing with four passages on a wide array of topics: chemistry, art, literature, history, law, social science. If there’s any section that’s un-learnable (there’s not) this is the closest.

Analytical Reasoning

The smallest section of the test and the most foreign, the analytical reasoning section, is referred to by law school hopefuls as the “logic games” section. Essentially, this section requires you to solve difficult logic puzzles. This is the closest section to a math evaluation. This is apparently the most learnable section on the test and some test takers say that everyone is capable of missing only a few on this section. This writer, however, missed almost none on the logical reasoning question, a few on reading comprehension, and 8 questions on analytical reasoning. If I figured this section out I would have scored in the 99th percentile rather than the 90th percentile. Moral of the story: don’t take anything for granted.