Categorized | Law Education

Sections of the LSAT – Analytical Reasoning

Posted on 29 September 2008

The idea that “you can’t study for the LSAT, because it is like an IQ test” is a common misconception.

As a matter of fact, it has been demonstrated that you can improve your performance on standardized IQ tests. Similarly, with the proper preparation methods, you can definitely raise your score on the LSAT.

The activities included on standardized tests can be anticipated. So, by becoming familiar with these activities, learning effective strategies for handling them, and training to perform them under time constraints, you can increase your score considerably.

Since the LSAT is not a test of knowledge but of skill, you do not “study” for it as you would for an exam in school. It is more useful to think of LSAT preparation as a training program that is similar to one you would use in sports. For each section, you acquire a set of key question-solving skills, and then apply them to practice questions for the big game: test day.

As you will see, most questions on the LSAT are quite manageable and, given enough time, many students would achieve near-perfect scores. However, for most people, the test seems harder than it actually is because of its time constraints. Your training should always be directed at achieving a high level of success WITHIN the time allowed for each section.

Analytical Reasoning

(One section: 35 minutes)

This section is often referred to as the “puzzle” or “games” section. It presents a series of relationships that define a situation, and then tests your ability to make deductive inferences from it.

The following is an example of an Analytical Reasoning question:

Eight competitors – Hughes, Ingles, Johns, Kerr, Levi, McEwen, Newman, and Ovitz – take part in a javelin-throwing competition. They are ranked in order from 1st, the winner, through 8th. Each competitor is assigned exactly one rank, and no two competitors are assigned the same rank. The rankings satisfy the following conditions:

Newman ranks higher than Hughes.
Ovitz ranks higher than Kerr.
McEwen ranks higher than Newman and Ovitz.
Johns ranks higher than McEwen.
Ingles ranks higher than Johns.
Levi ranks higher than Newman.

1) Which of the following must be false?

A) Johns ranks higher than Levi.
B) Ovitz ranks higher than Levi.
C) Levi ranks higher than Johns.
D) Levi ranks higher than Ingles.
E) Ovitz ranks higher than Johns.

Sometimes, the questions ask the test-taker to draw inferences based solely on the original conditions described in the situation statements. In other cases, additional information provides extra conditions that have to be considered. This information applies only to one specific question and not any of the others.

Analytical Reasoning requires test-takers to engage in unfamiliar reasoning activities. If given enough time, most people could answer the different types of Analytical Reasoning questions without too much difficulty. Yet under time constraints, this section presents the greatest challenge on the LSAT for many test-takers.

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