Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest Blog Post: LSAT Tips

The following guest blog post is for those of you who are considering going to law school. Before you start writing your stellar "Why do I want to go to law school?" admission essay, you need to study for and take the LSAT.  I highly recommend taking a KAPLAN course, but whether you decide to study on your own or through a prep course, it is important to practice as many questions as you can. I hope the following post is helpful to you as your prepare for the LSAT.  If anyone else has tips for the LSAT, please feel free to share in the comments! 

5 LSAT Logic Games Tips
By Robert Tauler, LSAT Freedom
in conjunction with David Greenberg, Parliament Tutors 
Here are 5 simple, yet helpful, LSAT Logic Games tips that will help you excel on this difficult section:
Read the conditions carefully
Every word counts on LSAT logic games. Not all questions (like LSAT Reading Comprehension questions) require intense analysis.  With Logic Games, however, details are crucial and you need to keep them straight.  If you misinterpret a rule, you will likely get an incorrect answer (or a string of them).  The LSAT will intentionally try to confuse you.  Read the conditions carefully, and you will be able to avoid this.

Focus on what you can find out about a Logic Game
As explained above, each LSAT Logic Game provides you with a set of conditions or restrictions.  And you obviously have to read these closely so you understand them.  Two additional benefits, however, of reading and analyzing these conditions are that you can (a) use a condition to determine what it means for the rest of the game and (b) infer additional conditions based on the ones already presented. 
For example, a condition can help you set up a game and realize that there are only two or three specific possibilities for the arrangement of the variables or that a certain variable can never go in a certain spot.  For instance, if you know that A must come before B in a lineup, you know that you can rule out A as the last variable in that lineup.  If you are presented with a condition that has this effect on a game, that is a valuable piece of information.
In addition, assume one condition states that A must come before B, and another condition states that B must come before C.  Well, if you know A has to come before B, and B has to come before C, you can logically infer that A has to come before C.  Get it? 
Neither of these benefits are gimmicks or shortcuts; rather, they represent valid logical inferences, and that is precisely the kind of skill the LSAT tests (i.e., inferential reasoning).

Identify and prepare for the different types of LSAT Logic Games
The LSAT Logic Games section tests three different types of skills: grouping, ordering, and assignment.  Each Logic Game usually falls into one of these categories, and some of them will test more than one skill.  You should study each of these skills, recognize how they operate and how they are different, and become an expert in them through repetitive practice.  When you can recognize a particular LSAT Logic Game as a “grouping game” or an “ordering game,” you’ve already undertaken half the battle and know what to expect.  Familiarity is key on the LSAT.   

Diagram the Logic Game
This tip requires two steps: First, write out all the rules using shorthand.  That way, you can better understand and remember them and use them to figure out additional or advanced inferences and conditions.  Second, diagram the actual game.  If the game calls for six students being placed in a line, draw six spaces, number the spaces, and write out the letters that indicate who the students are.  Approaching these games visually will help you understand what’s happening question by question, and you will not overlook or forget any key details.

If You’re Stuck, Skip Ahead to a Question That Adds a Condition
If you’re stuck on a particular question, you should look for and skip ahead to a question that adds a new condition into the mix.  Each game often has several of these types of questions.  By adding a condition (“If A is the first person in line . . .”), the question yields fewer possibilities since an additional part of the game has been set for you.  Accordingly, you can say this kind of question will be easier than questions that do not offer an additional condition.  

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