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How to Properly Review Logical Reasoning Questions

Many people study the LSAT for years without seeing any progress. As a result, they feel frustrated and come to the conclusion that they lack intelligence or are not meant for law school. No one should ever feel that way, and I understand how demoralizing it can be to not see the progress you worked so hard for.

But first, remember that this is just a test. Don't let a single test dictate your self-worth. Also, understand it's not that something is wrong with you. Something is merely wrong with how you have been studying.

Improvement on the LSAT is simpler than you may think. There are three main components to studying efficiently--consistency, strategy, and review. If you can implement these 3 things correctly, you will see significant gains in your score.

The problem for many people is they either do not review at all or review inefficiently. After tutoring hundreds of students, I can confidently say that review is consistently what separates those who improve significantly versus those who don't. Here are some tips to make the most of your review.

Tip #1: Review promptly

Some people attempt a question once, do some light review, and don't look at it again for a long time. Their reasoning is they want to attempt the question again after they have forgotten about it, so that they can see if they get it correct the second time around. They also do this to avoid memorizing the question.

But here's the thing--once you have seen a question, it's done. If you read a book and read it again years later, you are bound to remember at least some details (even if it is subconsciously). The same applies to the LSAT. For this reason, the fact that you got a question correct the second time around should never be used as a true indication of improvement.

So, since the question has already been attempted, we might as well make the most of it. We need to make sure we are learning everything we can from one question, so that we don't end up burning through a bunch of other questions without learning anything. That means, believe it or not, the goal is to memorize the question. We want to download our mistakes into our long-term memory so that we can recognize similarities with future questions.

This can only be done with prompt review. Don't wait days or weeks to review questions. Do them as soon as possible so that the thought process you initially used is still fresh in your head. That way you can figure out how you can correct it.

Tip #2: Categorize Your Mistakes

Make no mistake--understanding why each answer is correct or incorrect is extremely important. But it is not nearly enough. Naturally, if someone explains to you the reasoning behind each question, it will of course make sense in hindsight.

So, it is equally (if not more) important to understand how we could have arrived at that answer if we have never seen the question before.

Here's how to do it.

First, identify what you missed in the passage or answer choice that led you astray. Did you mis-diagram a statement? Did you miss a word or phrase in the answer choice? Did you misread the passage?

From there, try to categorize your mistake. In most cases, you got the question wrong because you misread or glossed over something in the passage. This is where most people make the mistake of shrugging it off as a careless error.

It's important to understand that we naturally gloss over certain details because we have been reading a certain way our entire lives, and we have learned to filter out certain pieces of information, which worked fine for our daily lives leading up to the LSAT. We have to train ourselves to redefine what our brains identify as important in the passage.

For example, suppose you missed the word 'usually' in the passage, and that led you to select the incorrect answer. That means we missed a word pertaining to how often something happens, or how strong the statement is. We then need to make sure we are consciously looking for details about quantity going forward.

Always try to reverse engineer the mistake you made to determine how you could have more efficiently tackled the question. Additionally, ask yourself how the LSAT tried to trick you within the answer choices. Believe me, there are only a few tricks they can pull when it comes to the answer choices.

Tip #3: Don't use gut feeling to evaluate answers. Be specific.

Just because you got a question correct does not mean you understood it. And just because you eliminated a wrong answer does not mean you eliminated it for the right reasons.

Consider the following example. You eliminated an answer for a Strengthen question in Logical Reasoning, thinking it was irrelevant to the argument. But it turns out it was actually incorrect because it did the opposite of what was being asked--it was weakening the argument.

That might not seem like a huge deal. After all, you still got the question correct, right? But here's the thing--what would happen if you later came across a Weaken question that has a similar type of answer choice? You would eliminate it again thinking it is irrelevant, when in reality it would be the correct answer. And then you would think the LSAT was being inconsistent with its reasoning.

For this reason, it's important that you review ALL answer choices, not just the one you were uncertain about. Use expert explanations to evaluate whether your reasoning was correct.

And here's another thing--be specific. Too often I hear people say they eliminated an answer because it just felt wrong. But we get questions wrong precisely because we felt like the correct answer was wrong. We can't ever use our feelings as a gauge with regards to whether an answer is right. You should always be able to point to a specific word or phrase in the answer that makes it incorrect.

How do you know if you are done reviewing?

You can say you are done reviewing when you are able to explain to someone else what was important in the passage, what specific wording makes each answer correct or incorrect, and the specific mistake(s) in the process you made going into the question. If you missed specific wording, you should be able to create a process to help you avoid missing that word or phrase in the future.

Stay motivated!

Did you find this post helpful? If you are looking for personalized tutoring that is structured and methodical, click here.

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