In this three-part post, we briefly discuss the three graded sections of the LSAT, as well as the most sensible way of preparing for each section. In today’s post, I go through a basic description of the LSAT’s Analytical Reasoning section. This section of the exam used to be called “Logic Games,” and still is frequently referred to by that name. “Analytical Reasoning” and “Logic Games” refer to the same section of the exam.
The LSAT (Part 1): Analytical Reasoning
The Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT is broken into four “games,” each of which has approximately six questions. There are a total of 23 questions in this section of the exam. Each game starts out by giving you a basic, brief description of the scenario: e.g., there are six airplane flights being made consecutively by pilots A, B, C, D, E and F.
You are then given a series of “rules,” or “conditions” of the game: e.g., A must fly before B, C flies before E but after D, etc.
The questions that follow will require you to apply the given conditions. An example of an Analytical Reasoning question would be “If E flies before F, which of the following must be true?” You are then given five different answer choices, exactly one of which is correct.
Using LSAT Practice Exams As A Preparation Tool
The Analytical Reasoning section typically is the hardest section for students to do when they first see the exam. However, in many cases, it also is the section where students can see the most improvement. It is absolutely vital to get good training to learn how to tackle this section effectively.
To some extent, the LSAT’s Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension sections are intuitive, although there is plenty to learn in those sections as well. But of the three sections, Analytical Reasoning is probably the one that can be most impacted by thorough practice and good instruction.
The LSAT’s previously released exams are excellent practice tools. The best approach to tackling the LSAT’s Analytical Reasoning section is to do the following:
- Get good instruction on how to handle the Analytical Reasoning section. You want to learn good, solid techniques.
- Learn how to take Analytical Reasoning questions by working through real practice exams, and then seeing how an expert analyzes those same games.
- Note that there are often different approaches to tackling Analytical Reasoning “games” – I tend to teach a variety of different methods for attacking games (providing my suggested approach) for this exact reason.
- Continue to practice with lots and lots of different “games” from real LSAT exams, studying your work afterward.
- Eventually, begin taking full-length sections of the Analytical Reasoning section in a TIMED environment. Once you get a little better at Analytical Reasoning, you often can do fairly well UNTIMED…but the time limits imposed by the LSAT are particularly challenging in the Analytical Reasoning section.
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