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How to Master LSAT Logical Reasoning

by eHow Contributor, Demand Media

    Of the questions on the LSAT, about half test logical reasoning. These items present you with a short argument, proposal, or conversation, and a question about the validity of the assumptions, strength of evidence or the overall soundness of the argument. Logical reasoning questions demand that you focus all the key parts of an argument -- the conclusion, facts cited as evidence and unstated assumptions. Improve your LSAT score by mastering logical reasoning using strategies to help you concentrate, and answer questions quickly and correctly.

    Step 1

    Before diving into the text of the argument, read the question first. This will help focus your reading. For example, if the question asks, "Which of the following most weakens the arguments conclusion?" then you want to read the short passage carefully and precisely identify what the author's main point is.

    Step 2

    Don't read anything extra into the arguments; you can only assume what is stated and nothing more. Many LSAT Logical Reasoning arguments are intentionally flawed because the narrator makes faulty assumptions, but you yourself must avoid that trap. For example, if an argument states that Bob owns a house in Princeton, you can't necessarily assume that he lives there, too.

    Step 3

    Get into the habit of marking the text in your exam booklet as you read. Underline the conclusion and put asterisks near the facts cited as evidence. For more difficult or longer questions, jot down the unwritten assumptions upon which the author relies. If you've studied formal logic, you may find logical diagrams helpful.

    Step 4

    Avoid the trap of looking for flaws in the factual evidence presented. On the LSAT, all faulty logic stems from either the misuse of evidence, or mistaken assumptions. For example, if an argument states that 70 percent of men in the U.S. are gay based on a survey done in Provincetown, the survey results are not in error, but rather the use of the survey results.

    Step 5

    Take note of words when you see them in the logical reasoning text: some, most, always, sometimes, never, can, must, not, only and may provide clues. Many wrong answer choices can be ruled out simply by noting when these words are misused or misinterpreted.

    Step 6

    Give yourself timed practice quizzes. Plan to answer about 25 questions in 35 minutes. When you begin studying, it's great to leave aside the timer and focus on learning the concepts. Don't forget that the LSAT is timed, so eventually you need to work on speed.

    Step 7

    Buy study guides and prep books that have full length LSAT practice tests. If you struggle studying on your own, consider working with a tutor or taking a prep class.

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    About the Author

    This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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