Introduction to Logical Reasoning or Arguments

Logical Reasoning questions make up approximately 1/2 of the LSAT or 2 out of the 4 scored sections. These questions are designed to evaluate your ability to understand, analyze, criticize, and complete a variety of arguments. Each logical reasoning question requires you to read and comprehend a short passage, then answer one question about it. The questions test a variety of abilities involved in reasoning logically and thinking critically.If you have ever taken a course in critical thinking you will have learned some of the skills necessary for this portion of the LSAT.

This portion of our Free LSAT course will teach you to understand, analyze and critique arguments in the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT.

To begin with, each Logical Reasoning section starts with the following directions:

Directions: The questions in this section are based on the reasoning contained in brief statements or passages. For some questions, more than one of the choices could conceivably answer the question. However, you are to choose the best answer; that is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the question. You should not make assumptions that are by commonsense standards implausible, superfluous, or incompatible with the passage. After you have chosen the best answer, blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.

You should read and understand this now but DO NOT read it during the actual LSAT. The directions do not change and this is a waste of 30 seconds. It may not seem like much but in the end it could mean the difference between getting one more question right or one more wrong; and this could mean the difference between getting into your law school of choice or not. Read it now, read it tomorrow but DO NOT read it on the actual LSAT.

Next there will be approximately 22-26 questions. Each question will consist of a short paragraph or argument followed by a question and then your answer choices A to E.

As with each section of the LSAT you have 35 minutes to complete all of the questions. With 22-26 questions per logical reasoning section you have approximately 1.5 minutes per question. We reccomend budgeting for just over 1 minute per question which will leave you time to spare at the end to go back and do any questions you have skipped.

A note on skipping questions. If you are not scoring close to perfect on your logical reasoning sections you should be skipping questions.

How do you choose which questions to skip?

This course will break down the logical reasoning portion of the LSAT into a number of different question types. As you complete practice tests keep track of which questions you get wrong or have the most trouble with or take the most time to answer. These should be the ones you skip. If you can learn to recognize a question type on sight that gives you trouble that is great. You can then skip it right away and come back later if you have time. Also if you encounter a question that is taking you longer than 1.5 minutes and you are not about the get your answer, then skip it and come back later if time permits. Remember that the LSAT has easy and hard questions and you get the same points for getting easy questions right as you do for the hard ones. So do not waste time getting one hard question right if you could get 2 or 3 easy ones right in the same time.

Analyze the Argument:

As you read any logical reasoning question you should be analyzing the argument. If you are the type of person who is thinking of something else as you read you need to force yourself to think about the question. So instead of reading: “The politician’s claim is that more gun’s in our homes will reduce the risk of home invasion.”, while day-dreaming about what you want for lunch. You should be reading the argument and analyzing it, thinking about what is wrong with the argument, how could you make it stronger, are there any assumptions being made, what is the main point or conclusion? etc. More about this later in the course.

Outside Knowledge:

One thing to be wary of with any LSAT question is importing outside knowledge that you may have. If the question is about semi-conductors and you happen to be an engineer that has worked with semi-conductors do not bring your outside knowledge to play on the LSAT. You can only accept as fact that which is written in the test. For example if the question is talking about the voting results in a recent presidential election and you happen to know what the numbers were do not use this to answer the question. The LSAT does not require you to have this sort of specific outside knowledge, you must answer with what is given on the page. This is something to watch out for not only in the logical reasoning section but also the reading comprehension section of the LSAT.rgument then you can read the argument with only that in mind. You do not need

What comes first the question or the argument?

Which part should you read first? The argument paragraph (which appears first) or the question stem?

Most LSAT instructors and books recommend reading the paragraph first. The reasoning behind this is that if you read the question first you may waste time reading it twice, and you may also confuse yourself and not fully understand what is going on in the argument as you are still thinking about the question.

While this may work best for most we encourage you to try reading the question first. Do a few logical reasoning sections reading the argument first and then a few reading the question first and see which one you do better on. No one method will work best for everyone.

Why read the question first? Some of our students find reading the question first prepares them to analyze the argument. For example if you read the question and it asks you to identify the conclusion of the a to worry about assumptions being made, or weaknesses in the arguement or all the other things that could be asked on the LSAT. You already know the question so you know what to look for. Try this method and see which works best for you.

Next let’s look at the various Question Types found in the LSAT Logical Reasoning section.

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