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There are three different approaches to identify premises and conclusions, each of which works decently well.
The first method
is to ask yourself, “What does the author really want me to believe?” I know he’s saying all this stuff to me. But, if I told him to shut up and get to the point, then, what would he say? What is it that he really cares about? What is it that he really wants to persuade me of? The answer to all those questions should be the same, i.e., it should be the conclusion. Now, of course, this method relies on your intuitions. You have to intuitively know what’s being supported, what’s giving support and generally understand what the passage is saying.
This game is difficult because of its bi-conditional rule. Of course, if you are a conditional logic master, then this game will be easy for you. It's the one about The Export Alliance, which consists of Nations X, Y, and Z, and which of the following five crops they export: oranges, rice, soybeans, tea, and wheat. It's from LSAT PrepTest 45, December 2004, Section 3, Questions 18-22, Logic Game 4.
Watch the video lesson below and learn how to solve this game easily.
For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.
LSAT Conditional Logic GROUP 2 is made up of the following terms:
- Only if
- Only when
- Only where
All the words in this group follow this translation rule:
The ideas introduced by (i.e., immediately following) these words are the necessary conditions.
Let’s try it:
This logic game is easier than it looks. It's the one about an animal shelter that places six dogs - greyhound, husky, keeshond, Labrador retriever, poodle, and schnauzer - with new owners on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It's from LSAT PrepTest 44, October 2004, Section 3, Questions 7-12, Logic Game 2. A lot of students consider this to be one of the toughest LSAT Logic Games of all time—let's break it down!
This game hides behind an important inference and it tries to confuse you with two conditional rules. Watch this video lesson and learn how to solve this game fast.
LSAT Conditional Logic Group 1 is made up of the following terms:
- The only
All the words in this group follow this translation rule:
The ideas introduced by (i.e., immediately following) these words are the sufficient conditions.
Let’s try it
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Thomas Edison said that genius is "1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Rene Descartes said "You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing." Lucretius, the Roman philosopher, said "Constant dripping hollows out a stone." The point is that hard work counts a lot. Especially when it comes to the LSAT. Yes, how well you do on the LSAT does depend on your raw intellect too, but do not discount how large a role your work ethics will play.
Here is a list of all of the LSAT questions for which there are two correct answer choices:
When it comes to LSAT correct answer choices: There can be only one!
I tend to always hear from typically new students, disgruntled at having gotten a question wrong, “Hey, I totally understand why C is right, but I’m sure B is also right. Here, look at my proof.”
Since, you’re just starting down this long road, I want unburden you from this misconception. It makes for lighter travel. Plus, I don’t want to yell at you later.
So, drop this misconception on the ground, dig a fire pit, burn it, and bury the ashes. There is never another answer choice that is even arguably right for any LSAT question. Don’t even think about it.
I’ll say it again. There is only ever one right answer choice and four massively, horrendously, embarrassingly, wrong answer choices.
This is not to say that it’s easy to identify the right answer choice. Quite the opposite, it’s very difficult. Often, I have a difficult time figuring out why an answer is right or wrong. But, I never think it’s because the LSAC messed up. Rather, it is invariably true that I just haven’t figured it out yet.
Why am I so certain of this? For a couple of reasons. First, I’ve done or taught every LSAT question in existence (over 7,000) and I have never run across a wrong answer choice that I thought was even arguably right. Second, I’ve discussed this issue at length with other LSAT instructors and high scoring students and we’ve always independently come to the same conclusion. Third, and this is the important one, LSAC’s policy in dealing with possible mistakes in their questions guarantees this result.
Of the four LSATs administered each year, the June, October, and December LSATs are disclosed to the test takers. You receive a PDF of the test and you have 90 days to challenge any question you want.
Just think about that for a second. Think about the importance of your LSAT score. The difference even a few points make. Think about the level of neuroses that pervades LSAT takers. When you get your score back and you see that you got some questions wrong and the LSAC is telling you that you have the option to challenge every one of those questions and that’s your only chance of getting a higher score, what do you think you’re going to do? Of course you’re going to scrutinize the shit out of every single question.
Except it’s not just you doing this. It’s everyone who took that LSAT. That’s the insane level of scrutiny that every LSAT question is subject to.
It doesn’t even end there. Say you sincerely believe that the LSAT has made a mistake. You write in your challenge. The LSAC will answer every challenge in writing showing you why the right answer is right and the wrong ones wrong and why your argument fails miserably.
But, say you get their response back and you’re still not satisfied. Then, you get to appeal this issue to a panel of independent outside experts. This means that the LSAC writers must ultimately write their questions with reasoning solid enough to persuade a entire fucking panel of independent outside experts that there is only one right answer choice and four wrong answer choices. If a wrong answer choice was even arguably right, they would be unable to meet this standard.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean the LSAC never makes mistakes. Even the LSAT writers are human after all and even though the system they designed is solid, any human system is subject to error. Every once in a while a written challenge does reveal an error. When that happens, the question is removed from scoring and removed from the published Prep Test. By the time you are taking that Prep Test, it’s already been through hellish scrutiny. You’re not going to find anything new that tens of thousands of people just like you only with way more riding on the line haven’t found before.
So remember. There is only one right answer choice.
Sometimes it can feel like we are prisoners to our own habits, and indeed, research suggests more than 40% of our daily actions are automatic processes we no longer screen. As author Charles Duhigg explains in his popular book The Power of Habit, "When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. [...] So unless you deliberately fight a habit--unless you find new routines--the pattern will unfold automatically." For the LSAT, eliminating bad habits and developing productive new ones can be tremendously helpful in improving your score, especially if you're shooting for the 90th percentile and above.
Three elements make up a habit--the cue, the routine, and the reward. Duhigg suggests that one way to replace a bad habit is to change the routine, as smokers often do by substituting gum or other snacks for cigarettes. Another way to tweak an existing habit is to tack on a new, good habit to the routine, such as doing a few squats while brushing your teeth or more pertinently, adding the blind review process to your normal practice test schedule.
What Duhigg calls "keystone habits" should be another point of focus. These are the habits that when changed, can also impact other habits in positive ways. Making one's bed in the morning is one such habit, producing a small "win" early on in the day and instilling confidence that "bigger achievements are within reach." For the LSAT, you can create a pre-test routine of several "keystone habits" to build up confidence with each step--a process that, as Duhigg writes, will help you feel victorious even before you reach the main event of the day.
Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, I built a pre-test routine similar to what Duhigg recommends, practicing it each time I took a sample exam: eat some oatmeal while reading Wired (stimulating but not rocket science), do a really easy logic game to get my brain going, and "free write" my anxieties (i.e. what could be the worst case scenarios, what would be my plan, and reminders that these things had never happened in the previous practice tests). If nothing else, it cut down on my anxiety by making the exam less of an event and more of a natural next step on my checklist.
You can read more about changing habits in the Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.