How To Prepare For The “New” LSAT

Beginning in August, the LSAT is having one of the most significant format changes in over 40 years. The infamous Logic Games section is going away, and the Logical Reasoning section is doubling in point value. There are a series of things prelaw students preparing for the LSAT should do to address these changes. Here are five key changes to make (or avoid making) to your LSAT preparation to ensure that you will be ready:

  1. Don’t be overconfident. This isn’t a change in the advice I’d give to LSAT Prep students, but it is so important that I mention it upfront. Having taught LSAT Prep to thousands of students for over 20 years, I feel comfortable saying that an overwhelming number of students simply don’t prepare for this test as adequately as they should. With Logic Games going away, I believe many students may become overconfident and the potential for the “underpreparation problem” will increase. Consider the following:
    • Your LSAT score will be the single most important factor in your law school application, by far.
    • The LSAT is a different type of exam than you probably have ever taken, and requires a different type of preparation than any exam you have ever taken.
    • Since small improvements in your LSAT score can radically improve your law school options AND potential for merit-based scholarships (that potentially can exceed $100,000), the LSAT is likely to be the most important exam you will ever take.
    • Students can improve their LSAT scores – often dramatically – with high-quality instruction and sufficient preparation.
    • If the above four bullet points don’t convince you to prepare for and take the LSAT seriously – and to avoid the overconfidence problem – I’m not sure what will!
  2. Give yourself sufficient preparation time. This also isn’t exactly a change in the advice I’d give, but I have a hunch many students will think that the elimination of Logic Games means that you can lessen your preparation time. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap. The LSAT operates on the equivalent of a “curve,” a statistical process they refer to as “equating.” Any changes made to the LSAT that YOU are taking also are being made to the LSAT everyone else is taking. Since the LSAT is now limited to only two graded sections, you need to prepare extra diligently on those sections (Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp) IF you want to maximize your LSAT score.
  3. Learn all the “little things” necessary for the Logical Reasoning section. Logic Games allowed us to provide students with a basic system on how to prepare for all sorts of different games. Although approaches differed, students could find a system they liked and use it consistently. In other words, once students got a basic Logic Games system down, they simply needed to practice it on lots of game sets. Logical Reasoning, in contrast, requires learning far more “little things.” I refer to this in my ScoreItUp courses as the “100 Legs of Logical Reasoning.” For example, there are approximately 15 different Logical Reasoning “question types,” 14 major “logical fallacies,” and dozens of additional concepts to learn. Not all of the “100 legs” will appear in each section, but the cumulative impact of learning these “100 legs” of Logical Reasoning is likely to provide you with a major benefit in handling the two Logical Reasoning sections.
  4. Double your Logical Reasoning preparation time. There are two reasons why you should double the time you spend preparing for the Logical Reasoning section for the “new” LSAT. First, Logical Reasoning is now worth twice as much of your LSAT score (roughly 2/3 of your LSAT score). Second, as mentioned above, there are a huge number of “little things” to learn when it comes to Logical Reasoning. Learning those “little things,” and then practicing with lots of different real LSAT questions to see how they are applied in actual test questions, takes time. Give yourself the opportunity to both learn and apply all of the various “little things” that Logical Reasoning tests.
  5. Learn the precise meaning of words and phrases tested in Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp. The LSAC has described the LSAT as testing “the logic and legal reasoning skills used in law school and the practice of law.” Logic Games was a bit of an anomaly – it didn’t really test anything you actually did in law school. In contrast, Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp definitely do. For example, Logical Reasoning heavily tests your ability to understand arguments, identify flaws in arguments, learn how to strengthen and weaken arguments, recognize analogies and parallel arguments, etc. These skills go to the very heart of what law school students and lawyers do. Similarly, Reading Comp tests a students ability to understand what they read, a key skill for law school students and lawyers. In both the Logical Reasoning and Reading Comp sections, the LSAT tests precision in language. Because these sections involve a variety of subtle differences in the meaning of words and phrases that recur frequently, it is important that you learn and grasp the precise nuances of these words and phrases.

The good news is that your LSAT Prep can now become more focused, since only two sections need to be mastered – just be careful that doesn’t cause you to let your guard down! Questions? Please contact me at mark@scoreitup.com.