LSAT For Dummies book cover

LSAT For Dummies

By: Lisa Zimmer Hatch and Scott A. Hatch Published: 02-24-2014

A detailed study guide that guarantees a high LSAT score

If you thought you left standardized tests back in high school, think again. LSAT For Dummies, 2rd Edition is an all-inclusive study guide arming you with tips and know-how for your next career move. This updated edition includes three full-length practice tests, a review of foundational concepts for every section, thorough explanations, and additional practice problems for all question types. Whether you're taking the LSAT for the first time or the third time, this book will provide the guidance and skill set you need to obtain a score that reflects your abilities. Instead of facing the process alone, turn to the trusted For Dummies brand for proven test-taking strategies and ample practice opportunities.

  • Ideal for those who want to break into this increasingly competitive field, in which a high score on the LSAT lends prospective lawyers an undeniable advantage
  • Examines every topic and common pitfalls covered in the test, which consists of five 35-minutes sections of multiple-choice questions and a 35-minute writing sample

For aspiring law school students, LSAT For Dummies is the most advantageous guide to increasing your score on a test that can make or break your legal aspirations.

Articles From LSAT For Dummies

page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
61 results
61 results
Tips for the Reading Comprehension Section of the LSAT

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Reading for the LSAT isn’t the same as reading for pleasure or even for college coursework. You have very little time to comprehend the material and make reasoned analyses, so make sure you keep these tips in mind to maximize your limited time. Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate — even if you’re bored. Work one reading passage at a time; answer all the questions, and then move on. Skim the questions first. Then read the passage aggressively. Focus on the big stuff and gloss over the details, going back to them if the questions ask you about them. Mark important points in the passage, but don’t mark too much. Think about the passage before you start the questions. Refer back to the passage as often as necessary. Try answering questions without reading the passage first. If the questions direct you to a specific word or line, read several lines above and below it so you understand the context. Don’t use any information not contained in the passage; forget what you know or believe about the subject. Read all answers and eliminate the wrong ones. If the question asks you for what the passage states, indicates, or asserts, the right answer is a statement or paraphrase of information directly stated in the passage, so don’t make an inference. If the question asks you for what the passage implies or suggests, the right answer requires a logical inference based on the passage. When you finish a passage, forget it and clear your brain for the next one.

View Article
Tips for the on Analytical Reasoning Section of the LSAT

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Analytical reasoning questions may seem impossible to answer until you learn how to apply a strategic approach. With practice, determining the game type, developing a game board, and evaluating the various conditions will become almost second nature. You may eventually find these questions to be almost easy! Stay calm and focused — remember, you can do these! Work one problem at a time; work the whole problem, and then move on to the next one. Read the facts carefully. Determine whether you’re working an ordering game or a grouping game. Create a game board with a list of game pieces, box chart, and record of the rules in shorthand. Expand the game board by making connections between the rules and creating possible orders or assignments. Almost always, the first question in the set simply involves an application of the rules. So if you’re having trouble expanding your game board, tackle the first question to help you focus. Read the questions carefully. Note whether your answer could be true, must be true, could be false, or must be false. Check all answers and rely on the process of elimination. For answers that must be true, eliminate answer choices that either must be false or could be false. For answers that must be false, eliminate answer choices that either must be true or could be true. For answers that are possible or true, eliminate answers that must be false. For answers that are possible or false, eliminate answers that must be true. If a question seems difficult at first, try another in the same section. Solving some questions in the set may help you answer others in the set. When you finish one problem, forget it, and clear your brain for the next one.

View Article
Helpful Vocabulary for the LSAT Logical Reasoning Questions

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

A key to successfully answering logical reasoning questions is to understand how the LSAT uses certain words. The LSAT logical reasoning section applies these terms in a near-mathematical sense. Finding the correct answers to certain questions depends on the way the test-makers use these terms. Quantity terminology Make sure you’re familiar with terms that indicate quantities: None: This one is easy. None means none, absolutely none, not even one. One: One means one. Enough said. Some: Some is at least one but less than all. If you encounter a question that uses both some and most, assume that they may mean the same thing. Many: The definition of many is even less clear than the one for some. It's safest to treat it the way you would some. Most: Most means more than half. All: All refers to every group member. Every: Every means every member of a group, just like all. The main thing to remember with quantity terms is this: They’re usually used relative to one another. So a question that mixes the terms some, most, and all may expect you to compare the three. All is clear; it encompasses everything. Most is often less than all but more than some. Additionally, a characteristic that’s true of some, many, or most members of a group could be true of every member of a group. For example, it’s true that all the faces on Mt. Rushmore are of men, but it’s equally safe to say that some of the faces are of men. Consider a relative qualifier such as some, many, or most to provide you with a foundation for evaluation but not an absolute. Reasoning verbs The verbs included in a question provide clues to the correct answer. Make sure you understand exactly what these reasoning actions require: Assume: To take for granted that something is true, without proof; the noun form is assumption. Conclude: To reason one’s way to a judgment or decision; the noun form is conclusion. Deduce: To draw a logical conclusion by reasoning from available facts; the noun form is deduction. Discrepancy: A difference, incompatibility, or lack of agreement between two or more statements. Explain: To describe an idea and its facts in such a way as to make it clear; to provide reasons or justifications for some phenomenon; the noun form is explanation. Imply: To suggest a conclusion without stating it directly; a conclusion that can be drawn from something not directly stated can be called an implication. Infer: To use evidence and reasoning to reach a conclusion that isn’t directly stated; the noun form is inference. Presume: To assume; to suppose that something is true based on available evidence, but not necessarily direct proof; the noun form is presumption. Lawyers and judges often talk about presumptions, which are basically the same thing as assumptions but sound fancier. Reconcile: To make two things consistent with each other; to restore harmony; the noun form is reconciliation. Support: To furnish evidence or reasons that make a conclusion seem more likely.

View Article
An Alternative Approach to the LSAT's Reading Questions

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Some LSAT test-takers find that an alternative approach to reading questions saves them time and helps them focus on the relevant details of each reading passage. You may want to try this approach to discover whether it works well for you. Instead of giving a reading passage a once-through skim before you tackle the questions, jump into the questions first. This strategy feels uncomfortable at first, so practice on several passages before you decide whether it works for you. To apply the approach successfully, follow these steps: Choose the question you think will be easiest to answer first. You won’t answer the questions in order, so you need a method for picking the best candidate. Start with questions that contain line or paragraph references. They steer you directly to the point in the passage that likely contains clues to the answer. Remember, though, that you almost always have to read more sentences than just the one or two indicated by the line reference. When you run out of questions with line references, check questions that contain key words that are easy to scan for, such as capitalized or italicized words or specific nouns. Then tackle the big picture questions. By the time you’ve considered several other questions, you likely have a general idea of the passage’s purpose or tone. Concentrate on the first and last paragraphs, and especially the last sentences of the passage, to look for clues to main ideas, the author’s attitude, and main point questions. Save questions that ask for the exception for last because they often require you to read through several of the middle paragraphs to eliminate answer choices. When you forgo reading the passage before you answer the questions, you have more time to spend on the questions, so use it wisely. Remember these tips: Questions with verbs such as states, indicates, and claims, as well as those that ask for answers “according to the passage,” seek an answer that is a direct statement or nice paraphrase of information straight out of the passage. If a question doesn’t provide you with easily scanned-for key words, check the answer choices for easily spotted ideas. Scan the passage for words in the answer choices and eliminate answers that don’t work. Read the questions and answer choices very carefully. Make sure every part of the answer is true. Rely on the process of elimination to whittle your way down to the correct answer. Cross out choices you know can’t be true so you can concentrate on narrowing the better-sounding answers. Don’t spend a lot of time on any one question. If a question appears easy to answer at first but you find it to be more time-consuming than you thought, eliminate wrong choices, move on to another question in the passage set, and mark the question. Return to it after you’ve answered other questions. You’ll approach it again with additional information about the passage.

View Article
10 Habits of Highly Successful LSAT-Takers

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Some people just naturally do well on standardized tests. They fly through the ACT and SAT (the ones you take to get into college), ace the GRE and GMAT (the ones you take to get into graduate school), and consider the LSAT easy. What makes them so successful at taking tests in general and the LSAT in particular? These ten habits of highly successful LSAT-takers, of course! Getting a good night’s sleep: Studies have shown that people who have a good night’s sleep are much better at solving problems than those who are sleep-deprived. To fortify their resources, good test-takers attempt to sleep about seven to eight hours per night for at least five nights leading up to the test. Eating breakfast: Successful test-takers don’t sabotage their chances by skipping breakfast. They eat something with protein and maybe some fat, so they don’t burn through their breakfast too quickly. Planning ahead: Successful LSAT-takers organize all test necessities (such as No. 2 pencils and an analog watch) the night before. That way they don’t show up without a driver’s license and properly sized photo and get kicked out of the test before they even start. Additionally, they try to visit the LSAT testing site at least a day before their test date to scope out the route and check out parking. Envisioning success: Successful LSAT-takers meet the test with confidence, certain that they’re equal to the task before them. They go in knowing that they’re going to get a great score, and sure enough, they do. Confidence is key. Guessing well: The difference between successful LSAT-takers and everyone else is that the successful folks guess well. They narrow their possibilities so that they’re really choosing the better of two answers, not some random choice of five. They eliminate the obvious duds and then work with what’s left. Making notes and drawings: Many people who do well on the LSAT turn in test booklets filled with notes, circlings, little sketches, and other marginalia. They don’t try to hold all the necessary information in their heads. Concentrating: People who do well on the LSAT are capable of concentrating on one thing for several straight hours without meaningful interruption. They don’t allow their minds to wander to the upcoming work deadline or post-exam celebration party. They don’t think about the scratching of other people’s pencils or the ticking clock. They focus on the LSAT and nothing else. Ignoring irrelevancies: People who do well on the LSAT are good at winnowing the kernels of information they need from the great haystack of irrelevant information. The LSAT-makers toss in lots of facts, opinions, and statements, mainly to make the test exactly the right length, but also to see whether test-takers can spot the facts, opinions, and statements they need to answer the questions. Staying relaxed: Effective LSAT-takers don’t let any of the petty stresses associated with the test matter too much to them. They don’t worry excessively about their answers to previous questions or about the upcoming analytical reasoning section. They sit calmly in their seats, focus on the questions, fill in little dots with their pencils, and maybe even consider the experience an enjoyable challenge. Managing time well: Successful LSAT-takers know approximately how much time they can allocate to solving each problem, and they don’t let any particular question impede their progress. If they determine that they’re spending too much time on one question, they bubble in their best guess, mark the question on the booklet, and move on. If they have extra time, they go back to work on the troublesome question after they’ve finished the rest of the section.

View Article
Applying Proper Grammar and Usage to Your LSAT Essay

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Your position on the LSAT essay is only as clear as your writing style. Admissions officers pay attention to your grammar and usage, so follow these tips for keeping your essay crisp and clean. Punctuation The most common punctuation errors involve commas and semicolons. Semicolons join independent clauses when the thoughts they convey are related enough to keep them in the same sentence. You use commas to separate items in a series, to replace omitted words, and to set off clauses and parenthetical expressions. Remember these rules: Insert a comma before a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so) that joins two independent clauses. Comma splices occur when you join two independent clauses with just a comma and no coordinating conjunction. You make a run-on sentence when you join together two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction and no comma. Include a comma between a beginning dependent clause and an independent clause. (But don’t put a comma between the clauses if the independent clause comes first.) Sentence structure Here are two problems with sentence structure that commonly occur in LSAT essays: Sentence fragments: A sentence must have a subject and a verb and convey a complete thought. Watch out for dependent clauses masquerading as complete sentences. Even though they contain subjects and verbs, they begin with a subordinating conjunction, such as although, when, or while, that makes them incomplete without other information. Modifier errors: Modifiers are words, phrases, and clauses that describe other words. The rule of thumb is to place descriptive elements as close to the words they modify as possible. More do’s and don’ts Here are a few more things to keep in mind when writing your LSAT essay: Use simple, active sentences. Keep your sentences simple and active. The more complex your sentences, the greater your chances of making mistakes in grammar. You may think that long sentences will impress your readers, but they won’t. Apply active voice. Another important characteristic of strong, persuasive sentences is the use of active voice. Active voice is clearer and more powerful than passive voice. Provide clear transitions. Use transitions to tell the reader where you’re going with your argument. You need only a few seconds to provide your readers with words that signal whether the next paragraph is a continuation of the previous idea, whether it refutes the last paragraph, or whether you’re moving in a new direction. Smooth transitions demonstrate effective organization. Use precise descriptions. Use descriptive words to keep your readers interested and informed. Specific, well-chosen words create images for your reader and make your points more impactful. Avoid slang expressions. Stick to formal English and avoid contractions and slang. Your readers are familiar with formal English, so they expect you to use it in your essays.

View Article
Maxing Your Success on LSAT Logic Game Maximum/Minimum Questions

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Occasionally, a logic game question lists five numerical answer choices. That list is your clue that you may be dealing with a question that asks for the maximum or minimum number of ways a particular logic game event could occur. Often this question type includes maximum or minimum in the question’s phrasing. However, almost every question with a list of numbers for answer choices that doesn’t ask for the minimum or number of events is asking for the maximum number, regardless of whether it actually contains the maximum specification. So possible phrasings for maximum number questions are these: If Clara joins the glee club, what is the maximum number of students who can join the chess club? If Reginald bats first, then exactly how many ballplayers are there, any one of which could bat second? The less common minimum question may look like this: What is the minimum number of ballplayers who could bat second in any given inning? If Manny belongs to the red group, what is the minimum number of campers, any one of whom could belong to the blue group? The subsequent answer choices reveal a list of number values like these: A. 0 B. 1 C. 2 D. 3 E. 4 The best approach to these questions is to start with the answer choices. If the question asks for the maximum number, as does the prior glee club question, first scan the game board you’ve created to manage a particular game’s information and conditions. You may have worked out some possible combinations that reveal two chess club students when Clara is a glee club member, so you know that neither Choice (A) nor Choice (B) is correct. The answer is at least Choice (C). Don’t assume that Choice (C) is the right answer, though. Consider the possibility of the greatest number first. Apply the rules to see whether four chess club members are possible when Clara sings. If four are possible, then Choice (E) is your answer. If not, you’ll have to see whether three chess club members can meet when Clara joins the glee club. If three works, pick Choice (D). If it doesn’t, stick with Choice (C). Follow the same steps for questions that ask for a minimum number, but start with the smallest possible number in the answer choices. So to figure out the minimum number of blue group campers for the prior question, you’d scan your game board for clues. If your board shows one blue group camper when Manny’s in red, eliminate Choice (A) and see whether all the rules are satisfied. If so, pick Choice (B); if not, consider Choice (C). Eliminating answers from greatest to lowest for maximum number questions and from lowest to greatest for minimum number questions saves you precious time on this question type, leaving more time for you to spend on other questions in the set.

View Article
Planning Your LSAT Practice Test-Taking Tactics

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

After you’ve learned the tools for tackling the three multiple-choice question types on the LSAT, you can solidify them by taking practice questions. If you’d like to work on one question type in particular — logic games, for example — work through an entire section of practice questions without worrying about the timing. Then take on another full section or two of logic game questions under timed conditions to get a feel for how speedy you need to be. When you feel that you have a handle on the three general question types, use one or two practice tests to simulate a full-length exam. Set aside about three hours and take the sections one right after another under timed conditions with one short break. As you practice, keep these tips in mind: Answer every question. The LSAT test-makers don’t penalize you for guessing, so you’d be crazy not to make sure every number on the answer sheet has a bubble filled in, even if you don’t bother to read the question that goes with it. Budget your time. You get 35 minutes for each multiple-choice section. Decide how to spend it. Allotting each question exactly 1.3 minutes may not be the most effective approach, but be careful not to get so caught up in the first analytical reasoning problem that you have only 5 minutes to work the last three. If you get stuck on a question, forget about it. Move on to another question. (But be sure to circle the question in case you have time to come back to it.) Stay on target. You may get bored, and your mind may want to wander somewhere more pleasant, but don’t let it. Use visual cues to help yourself stay focused — point to questions with your pencil or finger. Take an occasional break. When you finish a chunk of test — an analytical reasoning problem or a full page of logical reasoning questions — take a break. Close your eyes, twist your neck, loosen those tight muscles in your shoulders, breathe, and let your eyes focus on a distant object. Don’t take more than 30 seconds or a minute, but do take the break. It helps you more than fretting about how little time you have left. Move around within each section. No one says you have to answer the questions in order. Feel free to start with the reading passage or logic game set that most appeals to you. Working the easier questions first puts you in the right frame of mind for answering the remaining questions. Some test-takers read questions in two passes. On the first pass they answer all the questions that take them less than 30 seconds to answer. On the second pass they tackle the more challenging offerings. Applying this strategy assures you that you’ll at least have a chance at every question in a section before the proctor calls time.

View Article
Tips for the Writing Sample Section of the LSAT

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The only LSAT section for which the correct answer isn’t right there in front of you is the writing sample. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) doesn’t score your essay, but admissions committees will likely read it. To make a good impression, heed this advice. Pick a side — either side will do. There’s no right answer. Take a moment to outline your essay. Write the essay in four or five paragraphs. Explain your position and ward off any potential attacks. Finish the essay smoothly; don’t just drop your reader when you reach the end of the page. Write carefully and legibly. Don’t end the section early. If you have extra time, proofread! Try to fill at least one and a half pages. Though the writing sample isn’t scored, it could make or break your entrance into law school if you’re being compared with other, similar candidates.

View Article
How to Have a Successful LSAT Testing Experience

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Doing well on the LSAT requires preparation. To optimize your test-taking experience and get the best score possible, follow these tips for registering for and studying for the test, getting your mind and body prepared, and exercising specific strategies while taking the test. Before the test: Register ahead of time — at least two months before the test date — because some test centers fill up quickly. Check the Law School Admission Council website for official regular and late registration deadlines. Start studying early; don’t wait until the night before the test. Master the strategies for each test section and solidify them by inundating yourself with practice exams. For at least the three nights before the test, get a consistent seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Make sure you’re familiar with the test location. Take a practice drive to the site on the same day of the week and at about the same time as when you’ll be heading to the exam. Check out the traffic, potential construction zones, and available parking. The night before: Set your alarm (or two); give yourself enough time to get there. Plan and prepare your breakfast for the next morning. Combine complex carbs and protein to get and stay energized for the test. Assemble the following supplies in a clear, 1-gallon zip-lock bag and place it next to the door or in your car so you don’t forget it: Admission ticket with a recent (within the last six months) 2-inch-x-2-inch passport-type photo of you Driver’s license or other official photo ID (such as a passport) Water or other beverage in a container that holds a maximum of 20 ounces Several sharp No. 2 pencils, a hand pencil sharpener, and a big eraser A snack for the break An analog watch (no digital watches allowed) that doesn’t beep or make other noises and has a second hand The morning of the test: Get to the testing site early enough to park and find your room without panicking. Visit the restroom before testing starts. Place your sealed zip-lock bag with the acceptable contents under your seat. Welcome the confidence and adrenaline boost you feel as you anticipate the test; both will keep you alert and focused throughout the exam. During the test: Answer every question — there’s no penalty for guessing. Fill in the bubbles completely. Keep track of your time. If you get stuck, guess and move on. Maintain focus, even if you’re bored out of your mind. Take an occasional short break (no more than ten seconds, though). After the test: If you want to cancel your score (only if you have a really good reason), do it before you leave the test center or within six days of your test date. Wait for your score to arrive; use this time to research law schools or work on other application components such as crafting a personal statement or requesting reference letters. Repeat the LSAT if necessary.

View Article
page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7