Free LSAT Course > Logical Reasoning

The three parts of most Logical Reasoning arguments: Premise(s) + Assumption(s) = Conclusion

Premises

These are statements that support a conclusion. They are like evidence.

Indicator words:

  • Since…
  • Because..
  • Due to..
  • Studies have shown…
  • As indicated…
  • Given that..
  • This can be seen from..

Assumptions

While the conclusion and the premises are stated in the argument, assumptions are not. On the LSAT, it’s a crucial skill to be able to identify any assumptions, or gaps, between the evidence and the conclusion.

Indicator words:

Assumptions have no indicator words because they are unstated.

Conclusions

You may be asked to identify the conclusion, strengthen it, weaken it, identify why the reasoning in the argument is flawed, or find an answer choice with parallel reasoning to the argument to reach the conclusion.

Indicator words:

  • Therefore,..
  • Thus,..
  • Hence,..
  • So,..
  • Accordingly,..
  • For this reason,..

No one ever said the LSAT was an easy test, so expect the test writers to not make it as simple as described above. You can expect patterns such as Premise + Premise = Sub Conclusion + Premise = Conclusion. We’ll be reviewing these later in the course.

Next LSAT: January 26

Parts of a Logical Reasoning Question

The Passage

The first segment of the question contains an argument or just a series of facts (a fact set). It’s notable that premises in the Passage (also known as the Stimulus) on the LSAT are always true. Don’t argue with them. So, in this example, that the price has increased sevenfold is true for the purposes of the question.

The postal service of Fairfield is badly mismanaged. Thirty years ago, first-class letter delivery cost only three cents. The price has increased sevenfold since then while the reliability and speed of the delivery have declined.

The Stem

The Stem (aka “the stimulus”) is sometimes in the form of a question and sometimes written as a statement. Be on the lookout for words like “EXCEPT”. What’s so important about the Stem is that it will give you a clue about the question category (giving you a huge insight into the question). We’ll spend most of the logical reasoning course reviewing these 20+ question categories.

Each of the following weakens the above conclusion EXCEPT:

The Answer Choices

There are always five possible choices. Your job is to figure out the one answer that satisfies the requirement in the “best” way. Sometimes, this is most efficiently achieved by finding something “wrong” with 4 out of the 5 answer choices. Other times, one answer will jump out as definitely “right”.

A. The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last thirty years.
B. Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
C. Private delivery services usually charge more than the postal service does for comparable delivery services.
D. The average delivery time for a first-class letter three decades ago was slightly longer than it is today.
E. The average level of consumer prices overall has increased fourfold over the last thirty years.

Four-Step Method to Solving Logical Reasoning Questions

Step 1:
Understand the Stem

The LSAT has a finite number of question stems. We have 20+ logical reasoning question categories in this course. If you have them memorized, then you can identify the type of question just by reading the question stem, so you should read the stem first for this advantage.

Step 2:
Read the Question

Read carefully and efficiently! The question always specifies exactly what you need to look for in the answer choices.

Step 3:
Predict the Answer

Before you read the answer choices, it can be helpful to come up with your own answer to the question. The idea here is not to predict the answer exactly as it appears in the correct answer choice, but rather to think about what it could look like. However, don’t worry if you can’t come up with a prediction. Just move on to the answer choices!

Quit?

If the question is far over your head and you have no clue, it’s time to consider quitting, flagging the question, and returning later.

Step 4:
Evaluate the Choices

One or two of the answer choices will be absolute junk, so you can make it easier on you by eliminating a few from the start. Work as systematically as you can. Time is a factor, so don’t get into the habit of spending minutes debating your choices. Statistically speaking, your first choice is a better choice than if you change it.

Double Check?

If you are prone to careless errors and have extra time, take a moment to double check your answer or notate that you aren’t sure. This way you can return later if you have extra time.

Time & Stress Management

There is no single perfect way to achieve LR success. Try multiple methods and identify what works for you and what doesn’t. A successful approach will get you the correct answer quickly and will simplify the process, not make things more complicated.

Lawyering is a high-stress profession; you have to think quickly on your feet. That the LSAT emphasizes speed and psychology isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

Ladder of Difficulty

LSAT questions tend to become more difficult as the section progresses. This means that low scoring students should focus on the earlier questions as they will tend to be easier. You have about 1 minute and 25 seconds per question.

Question Types

Our Logical Reasoning course is organized by the major Logical Reasoning question types. We’ve broken them down into five major question categories.

  • Formal Logic
  • Arguments
  • Assumptions
  • Matching Arguments
  • Modifying Arguments

Next LSAT: January 26