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If you're hoping to attend law school in the United States you'll need to achieve a high score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is given four times a year - in June, September or October, December, and February. Every law school in the country requires applicants to submit their exam score as part of the application process. In most cases, the two biggest factors in determining whether a person is accepted into a school are their college GPA and their LSAT score, and many observers believe that most law schools give more weight to the score than to the GPA. The exam consists of six sections of 35 minutes each, but only four sections count toward a person's score. Two of the four sections are on Logical Reasoning, which many people refer to as the "arguments" section. Each one of these contains between 24 and 26 multiple choice questions designed to measure the applicant's abilities to evaluate and critique arguments.

LSAT Test Study Guide with Practice Questions

The Reading Comprehension portion consists of four passages, each of which is followed by 5-8 multiple choice questions. The passages are generally about law, humanities, one of the physical sciences or one of the social sciences. The questions are designed to test a person's ability to understand an author's main point, make inferences and logical extension of an argument, find information in a text, and understand the structure and organization of the passage.

Analytical Reasoning (AKA "logic games") is the final section, and it consists of 22-24 questions about four scenarios or "games" designed to test one's abilities to grasp how the structure of relationships between a group of people, events, or objects.

There is also an experimental section on the LSAT, which can be Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, or Analytical Reasoning. It is used for the testing of possible questions for future editions of the exam, so it's not scored. (However, a test taker has no way of knowing which section is experimental.) There is also a Writing Sample which requires test takers to write a brief essay on a topic. It is also unscored, but a copy of the essay is sent to the applicant's designated law schools.

Scores range from 120 to 180, with 150 being average, and 163 being approximately the 90th percentile. There are many good study guides and other LSAT prep resources available, and the Law School Admissions Council, which designs the test, strongly recommends that test takers take the time to thoroughly prepare before attempting the exam.

Practice Questions

Logical Reasoning

Questions 1-3

In virtually all species of cockroach, the nervous and respiratory systems are heavily decentralized. Laboratory experiments have repeatedly demonstrated that cockroaches can be decapitated completely, yet continue to survive for up to several weeks before dying of lack of food or water. This demonstrates the relative superiority of cockroaches over virtually all other insect species, since hardly any other species has demonstrated such ability to survive after being introduced to extreme damage or environmental conditions.

1. The argument about cockroaches seeks to do which of the following?

  1. Establish a conclusion about a group using facts known about a set of representative members of that group
  2. Support the hypothesis that certain phenomena can occur by describing a suitable mechanism
  3. Conclude that members of disparate groups share a certain ability because of other characteristics they share
  4. Demonstrate that a general rule about a group or situation applies in a particular case

2. Which of the following statements, if true, most seriously weakens the cockroach argument?

  1. Cockroaches are found in the widest environmental ranges of any insect species.
  2. The estimated cockroach population has increased dramatically since modern cities appeared.
  3. More bird species prey on cockroaches than any other insect species.
  4. The lethal dose for common household chemicals is far lower for cockroaches than most other insect species.

3. Which one of the following is an assumption on which the cockroach argument depends?

  1. Decentralization of the nervous and respiratory systems is common among insects.
  2. Cockroach swarming behavior is a sign of complex emergent behavior.
  3. Superiority is demonstrated by the ability to survive extreme conditions and damage.
  4. Few insects exhibit the ecological adaptability of cockroaches.

Reading Comprehension

Questions 1 - 5

For American voters in 1892, especially those cognizant of history, the Presidential election turned out to be remarkable. Aside from the numerous issues that faced the electorate-including tariff reform and voting protections for black men in the South-the election ticket marked the first and only time to date in U.S. history where both major-party candidates had held the office of President.

The incumbent at the time, Benjamin Harrison, was a Republican who defeated then-President Grover Cleveland in 1888. Harrison, a noted public speaker who had served with distinction in the Civil War, was a strong believer in trade protectionism, seen as the road to keeping working wages high, and abandoning the gold standard. Also, in keeping with Republican thought, Harrison was also an advocate for extending voting protections, attempted through the massive Federal Elections Bill, and expanding pensions for Civil War veterans. However, despite the general respect accorded Harrison, he wasn't popular with everyone; much of the grass-roots GOP machinery didn't like Harrison, who was not considered generous with patronage and appointments to federal office, and toward the end of his term, several high-profile strikes rippled through America, particularly in Pennsylvania and Idaho.

Running against Harrison as a Democrat was Grover Cleveland, who was elected President in 1884. Cleveland, an experienced politician who worked his way up through the system from county sheriff to New York governor, was well-known for his forthrightness, dislike of wasteful legislation-in his term as president, his veto numbers were more than double thesum of his predecessors' combined vetoes-and opposition to high tariffs. Cleveland supported free trade and was a fierce opponent of the free silver doctrine, which advocated abandoning the gold standard for the basis of U.S. currency and adopting silver at a 16-1 ratio to gold. Republican campaign machinery would use Cleveland's antagonism toward free silver and high tariffs against him repeatedly.

During the campaign itself, many editorial cartoons, an extremely popular venue for expressing the day's hot-button issues, focused on trade issues, a logical expectation given politics of the time, but a large subset also focused on what might be considered wedge issues. A common theme was military service; both Cleveland and Adlai Stevenson, his vice-presidential candidate, had hired substitutes to take their place in the Union draft during the Civil War. This practice was legal, but viewed by many with disfavor. On the other hand, Harrison was a respected Union general, and his vice-presidential candidate, Whitelaw Reid, was an acclaimed war correspondent. Many cartoons of the time focused on the disparity between the two tickets, especially in light of Cleveland's repeated vetoes of pension bills.

However, despite the focus on trade and tariffs-which spread into other issues; a noted cartoon on hysteria over "Negro supremacy" if the Federal Elections Bill was passed showed a caricature of John Bull in the background, expressing fear of foreign dominance of American markets if tariffs were lowered-the election of 1892 proved to be a victory for Cleveland. The 1890 elections placed both houses of Congress in the hands of Democrats, and Cleveland solidified Democrat power by winning a decisive 277 electoral votes.

1. According to the passage, each of the following statements about the 1892 U.S. presidential election are accurate EXCEPT:

  1. The Democratic candidate was strongly opposed to protectionist tactics on trade issues.
  2. The Republican candidate did not often practice patronage, or the practice of awarding political positions based on previous favors or support.
  3. Both candidates argued strongly for currency reforms based on precious metals.
  4. Neither candidate served in the military during the Civil War.

2. Based on the phrasing and incidence of cited issues in the passage, what issue of the 1892 Presidential election would the author likely think was of greatest importance to the electorate?

  1. Expansion of military pensions
  2. Civil rights legislation for former slaves
  3. Trade issues, specifically tariffs and free markets
  4. Military background of candidates

3. Which of the following terms could be substituted for "cognizant" (line 1) in the first paragraph without changing the author's meaning?

  1. Influenced
  2. Understanding
  3. Ignorant
  4. Related

4. Which of the following sets of issues did the "Negro supremacy" cartoon cited in the last paragraph connect, based on the author's description?

  1. Foreign market dominance, free trade and voting protections
  2. Voting protections, free trade and union agitation
  3. Foreign market dominance, free trade and military service
  4. Military service, voting protections and free trade

5. According to the passage, which issue made Cleveland the most vulnerable to criticism with regards to his avoidance of military service?

  1. His opposition to the free silver doctrine
  2. His frequent use of the presidential veto
  3. His opposition to pension bills
  4. His rejection of high tariffs for trade protection

Analytical Reasoning

Questions 1-4

Jake is trying to arrange the radio station's CD library on the new shelves according to the station manager's instructions. However, the instructions were incomplete, and the manager is not available for clarification. The arrangement has to be done before the start of business the next day. Jake has to shelve five sets of CDs-rock, jazz, blues, Americana and metal, and has to deal with the following rules and conditions:

1. Based on the rules and conditions set forth, what genre has to be the first one shelved?

  1. Americana
  2. Jazz
  3. Rock
  4. Blues

2. What genre has to be the last one shelved?

  1. Jazz
  2. Rock
  3. Metal
  4. Blues

3. In what order must the genres be shelved based on the rules and conditions?

  1. Jazz, Americana, rock, blues, metal
  2. Jazz, rock, blues, metal, Americana
  3. Jazz, metal, rock, blues, Americana
  4. Jazz, Americana, blues, rock, metal

4. Of the genres that must be shelved, which genre has the greatest degree of potential freedom in where it can be shelved?

  1. Jazz
  2. Americana
  3. Blues
  4. Metal

Answers & Explanations

Logical Reasoning

1. The best answer is A. The argument as structured follows a traditional format of providing support statements and then drawing a conclusion based on those statements; as a result, Statement B can be discarded, as it describes an inversely structured argument which begins with a thesis and follows up with support. Since there is no discussion of disparate groups or species in the argument (cockroaches are members of the insect group), Statement C can similarly be discarded. Statement D is also invalid, because it argues for a particular rule or situation and compares it to a general situation, which is the inverse of the actual argument. Only Statement A accurately describes the structure and intent of the cockroach argument; thus, A is correct.

2. The best answer is D. Since the point of the cockroach argument is to demonstrate their superiority through hardiness, the statement that best weakens that argument would downplay or disprove that quality. Statement A, since it argues for the adaptability of cockroaches, would support the cockroach argument, so it is invalid in this context. Similarly, Statement B would imply biological success, which supports the original argument. As a result, Statement B is also invalid in this context. Statement C is invalid because it refers to the larger role of cockroaches in the ecosystem, specifically the predator/prey relationship, and has no bearing on the relationship to other insects and the relative hardiness therein. Only Statement D, which would indicate a greater weakness in human habitation than other insect species, would contradict the cockroach argument's main conclusion if true, making D correct.

3. The best answer is C. While the decentralization of certain systems is listed as a factor in cockroaches' hardiness, it is not stated or implied that property is specific to roaches or not. As a result, Statement A has no bearing on the argument, and is thus invalid. Emergent behavior and its role in roaches superiority is also not mentioned, so for similar reasons, Statement B is invalid. The argument does not cite ecological adaptability as a reason for the central assertion, so Statement D is also not relevant to the argument, and is thus invalid. Only Statement C, which defines the implied quality of superiority in a way to allow the supporting statements to bear the argument's logical burden, plays into the argument's primary assumptions; thus, C is the correct answer.

Reading Comprehension

1. The correct answer is D. Because the question is requesting the inaccurate statement be identified, the correct statements must be eliminated. Lines 20-21 directly state that Grover Cleveland, the Democrat candidate, supported free trade, which confirms the assertion in Statement A, so it can be eliminated. Similarly, Benjamin Harrison, the Republican candidate, is specifically noted as being stingy with patronage and federal appointments in lines 13-14, thus confirming Statement B and eliminating it from further consideration. Line 9 asserts Harrison's support for abandoning the gold standard, and line 21 cites Cleveland's opposition to that policy, then known as the free silver doctrine, which confirms the assertion of Statement C, making it invalid to address the question. Only Statement D, with the text asserting in line 31 that Harrison had served as a respected Union general, is demonstrably inaccurate; thus, D is correct.

2. The best answer is C. While each issue mentioned was debated during the 1892 election, the number of references in the passage suggests a hierarchy of importance. The expansion of military pensions is only mentioned twice, and one of those times is used in support of a larger theme within the penultimate paragraph, which downplays its significance and eliminates Statement A. Civil rights legislation, specifically voting protections, gets three mentions, but these mentions are incidental to the main theme, which also eliminates Statement B. While the discussion of military background of the candidates takes up an entire paragraph, that section specifically defines it as a wedge issue, making it of little overall importance and thus eliminating Statement D. Only Statement C, which is referred to repeatedly throughout the passage-at least five separate times-seems to match the author's overall emphasis; thus, C is correct.

3. The best answer is B. Since the author states in the opening paragraph that the 1892 election was of historical importance, reading the first line in context with the rest of the paragraph indicates that the term "cognizant" implies knowledge of history, and the correct answer must reflect that. While "influenced" certainly implies having knowledge of something, the inference is too weak to serve as a relevant definition or synonym, so Statement A must be disregarded. Thanks to the contextual reading, Statement C can be rejected out of hand, and Statement D can be rejected for similar reasons for rejecting Statement A. Only Statement B expresses the central idea of comprehension behind the term; thus, B is the correct answer.

4. The best answer is A. As mentioned in the last paragraph, the cartoon tied together fears of the Federal Elections Bill, legislation designed to provide unfettered voting rights to the recently freed black male population, with fears that the newly empowered voters would drop protectionist tariffs, a cornerstone of free trade, and allow John Bull (a symbol of England) to dominate international markets. Thus, the correct answer must address all of these aspects. Statement B can be eliminated, because the cartoon does not touch on the union issues then facing American industry. Similarly, Statement C can be eliminated because military service was not an issue in the cartoon, and Statement D can be rejected because it mentions military service and does not mention foreign market dominance. Only Statement A addresses all three major issues, making A correct.

5. The best answer is C. Although an argument can be made that the avoidance of military service was primarily a character flaw, the fact that Cleveland had already served a term as President argues against this being used against him, implying that it played directly into another issue. Of the issues listed, Statements A and D can be rejected out of hand, as both refer to Cleveland's stance on trade issues, which had no relation to his military background, or lack thereof. Statement B is arguably tangentially related, but the passage makes clear his dislike of wasteful legislation was well-known and considered a positive aspect. However, Cleveland repeatedly used his veto power to prevent pension bills from passing, which would have expanded benefits for veterans; this issue fits naturally into his military service, and as such, best addresses the question, making C correct.

Analytical Reasoning

1. The best answer is B. The initial conditions state explicitly that neither rock nor blues can be shelved first on the top shelf, which simultaneously eliminates both Statements C and D. Of the remaining genres, one of the initial conditions specifically says that no one genre can fill a shelf all by itself; since the top shelf holds 100 CDs, which is how many Americana CDs the library has, that disqualifies Americana from further consideration, which removes Statement A. Among the listed options (although even if metal were listed, it could not be shelved first, as the initial conditions say it must follow rock in the shelving), only jazz is allowable under the initial conditions to be shelved first, making B the correct answer.

2. The best answer is C. Since the initial conditions specifically state that blues cannot be the last genre shelved, Statement D is immediately eliminated out of hand. Similarly, the initial conditions state that metal must come after rock, which means that rock cannot be the last genre shelved; as a result, Statement B is eliminated. While there is no explicit reason that jazz cannot be last, the deduction as demonstrated in the previous question shows that jazz has to be the first genre shelved, which obviously eliminates it from consideration as the last one shelved, thus removing Statement A from consideration. Thus, only metal can be shelved last, which makes C the correct answer.

3. The best answer is D. Again, examining the initial conditions will help eliminate options right away; the second condition listed states that neither rock nor blues can be on the top shelf, and since there are only 50 jazz CDs, Statement B can be eliminated because it would put rock CDs on the top shelf with the jazz CDs, which contradicts the aforementioned condition. Similarly, because one of the initial conditions states that metal must come after rock in the shelving, Statement C can be rejected as it reverses this order. Finally, since it is stated in the conditions that metal must immediately follow rock in the shelving, Statement A can eliminated, as it places blues between the two. Only Statement D meets all the conditions and completes the task as required, which makes D the correct answer.

4. The best answer is A. Of all the genres, jazz is the least hemmed in by both the initial conditions and the size of the library. As an example, the initial conditions state that blues cannot be placed on the top shelf; similarly, another condition says that one genre cannot take up a whole shelf by itself, which also eliminates Americana from the top shelf, as it would completely fill it. Furthermore, since metal can only be shelved after rock, it too is barred from the top shelf. Not only is jazz the only genre that can be shelved on the top shelf, it is also the only genre that can go on any shelf, as it is the only genre that cannot fill up any of the new shelves on its own. Thus, only jazz has the freedom to be shelved anywhere, which makes A the correct answer.