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THE LSAT AND GENERAL TEST TAKING STRATEGIES

(summarized from LSAT Preptest and Information Book, LSAC)

 The LSAT is designed to measure reading, reasoning, and writing skills that are necessary for success in law school. These skills are developed over a long period of time, but it is necessary to prepare by reviewing the format of the exam and practicing with sample questions.

Strategies for the Reading Comprehension Section

  1. Measurement of your ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those encountered in law school.
  2. Read the passage and the questions carefully and thoroughly before choosing your answers - do not just skim, you may miss fine details and meanings.
  3. Try to separate main ideas from supporting ideas and the author's own ideas or attitudes from factual, objective information.
  4. Mark passages for main ideas or arguments, circle transitional words ("although", "correspondingly", "nevertheless", etc.)
  5. Always read all of the answer choices before choosing the best answer. Respond to the specific questions being asked, don't choose an answer just because it is a true statement.
  6. Choose your answers based on the information provided in the passage, not on our own knowledge or views on the subject
  7. Methods for reading the passages*
    • Question Analysis method: read the questions first, then read the passage carefully - making mental notes about the questions, underlining significant words, and reading the passage to extract the necessary information.                              
    • Question Asking method: read the passage closely - marking it for key words and information, formulating questions as you read, then read and answer the questions.
    • Skim and Reread method: skim both the passage and the questions, then go back and read the passage carefully, marking the text for key information.
    • Read and Check Back: read the passage closely first and as you attempt each question, check back to the passage whenever the answer seems uncertain.
    • Whatever method is used - always give the passage at least one careful reading before answering the questions and mark the passages for significant words and information

Strategies for the Analytical Reasoning Section

Requires you to understand the structure of relationships and to draw conclusions about the structure. You will be asked to make deductions from a set of rules or conditions that describe relationships among persons, places, things or events.

  1. Read and analyze carefully to determine the exact nature of the relationships involved.
  2. In reading the conditions, be careful not to make unwarranted assumptions.
  3. The questions are not intended to trick you, however, you must read for precise meaning - pay attention to words which describe or limit relationships ("exactly", "never", "always", etc.)
  4. Each question should be considered separately from the other questions in its group.
  5. Underlining key points in the text and diagramming the relationship structure are helpful for many people

Strategies for the Logical Reasoning Section

This is an evaluation of your aptitude for understanding, analyzing, criticizing, and completing a variety of arguments. Abilities that will be tested include the following: recognizing the point or issue of an argument, detecting assumptions, drawing reasonable conclusions from given evidence, identifying the method or structure of an argument or chain of reasoning, detecting reasoning errors or misinterpretations, determining how additional evidence affects an argument or conclusion, and recognizing resolutions of conflicting facts or arguments.

  • Read each question carefully, making sure you understand the meaning.
  • Make sure you understand the meaning of each answer choice and ways it may or may not relate the question posed.
  • Do not pick an answer simply because it is a true statement.
  • Answer each question based on the information provided.

(From The Official LSAT Preptest by Law Services)

Before the Exam

  1. Determine your method of preparation, procure the necessary materials, and allow at least two months for study and practice. The more you practice with timed sample exams the better you will become at pacing, speed, and accuracy. Your practiced familiarity with the exam content and format will also build your self-confidence to tackle the real thing.
  2. Don't study up until the last minute before the exam. Conclude your preparation and take some time off for relaxation before the exam day.
  3. Get a good night's sleep before the exam.
  4. Carefully read directions for the exam day procedures and regulations. Check the schedule for the exam day and breaks or lunch time allowed, and plan accordingly.
  5. Eat wisely before the exam - it will be a long morning.
  6. Dress comfortably and in a manner which allows you to adapt to any room temperature.
  7. Make sure you know exactly where the exam will be held and plan to arrive early. Once exam procedures have commenced no one will be admitted late. Racing to the exam room at the last minute and worrying about being too late can adversely affect your positive frame of mind.

On Exam Day

  1. Read all test directions carefully.
  2. Make an effort to pace yourself.
  3. Be sure that the numbers of your answers on the answer sheet correspond correctly with the question numbers in the test booklet.
  4. Mark your test booklet for key words and make margin notes as necessary. Use blank space for diagrams if necessary.
  5. In each section, do not spend too much time on questions you find too difficult to answer quickly. You want to be able to correctly answer as many questions as you can. For questions about which you are uncertain, give a preliminary answer and circle those questions in your test booklet. After you have finished that section, go back and reconsider answers to those more difficult questions. NOTE: in the analytical reasoning section it is generally better to finish an entire passage before starting another because much time may be lost in reestablishing familiarity with relationships.
  6. Be certain to answer every question - there is no penalty for guessing. Generally it is best not to change your first instinctive guess unless you determine that you misunderstood the question or if you find the correct answer hidden in a later question. If you run out of time in a section, choose one letter and blacken in all remaining answers.
  7. Use all the time available for each section.
  8. Do not become upset if you cannot answer every question - you can still do very well without answering every question and without completely finishing every section.
Last Updated: 1/24/17