As the December LSAT draws near, a question keeps cropping up. It’s a question I see and hear a lot in the final weeks before each test administration, and it goes something like this:
I’ve stopped improving in Logical Reasoning, but I can’t figure out why. I keep missing about the same number of questions, but they don’t seem to be any particular type. What can I do?
The answer, of course, is to figure out why and then adapt your preparation to fill that gap in your skills.
Standing alone, that answer is useless. If the student knew how to “figure it out,” we wouldn’t be having this conversation. In part,
the blame for that inability to figure it out lies at the feet of the standardized test preparation industry.
Typical LSAT Performance Reports Don’t Provide Enough Information
When a student says that the questions she’s missing don’t seem to be any particular type, she generally means that they’re not skewing toward Strengthening and Weakening questions or Inference questions or any particular category. That’s useful information, but it’s a bare beginning. And, this limitation extends to all sections of the test.
Some test prep materials go one step further, offering drill sets that are broken into levels of difficulty. That’s helpful, but it still doesn’t tell the whole story, because questions are difficult for different reasons. When you’re consistently missing about the same number of seemingly unrelated questions, chances are good that those questions are related in a way you haven’t yet recognized–and, it’s probably a good bit more specific than “it’s difficult”.
Here are some of the most common question characteristics that create trouble zones for many students, but aren’t included on most performance assessments:
- Dense or Complex Content
- Technical Language
- Long Answer Choices
- Complex Answer Choices
- Long or Complex Question Stem
- Very Similar Answer Choices
There are other possibilities; the list above only hits the most common weaknesses I’ve seen among students.
If you’re suffering from one of these weaknesses, identifying it and working that particular skill can push you across the finish line, since it will likely account for several of the questions you continue to get wrong.
Identifying the Weakness
If you’re looking for the common thread among the questions you’ve missed, you’ve won half the battle. The biggest obstacle for students in this regard is that they’ve typically been given limited tools and limited expectations regarding the ability to find patterns among questions. If you’re making the assessment yourself, the best way to find that common thread is to look at the questions you missed one after another, looking in particular for characteristics on the list above.
FREE June 2007 LSAT Performance Report
If you haven’t taken the June 2007 LSAT (offered free by LSAC) yet, or you’ve taken it recently, we can help!
Just send us your answers and we’ll provide you with a free detailed performance assessment to help you identify the source of those stubborn last few points. Or, if you’re just getting started, to direct your preparation.
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