The LSAT’s Official Purpose: “Legal Reasoning Skills”

A lot has been written about the LSAT – some of which is useful, and some of which is useless and/or even harmful. So it may be worth noting the official purpose of the LSAT, as stated by the LSAC.  The LSAC’s description of Logical Reasoning questions is particularly interesting and is included below:  

Logical Reasoning QuestionsThese questions assess the ability to analyze, critically evaluate, and complete arguments as they occur in ordinary language. Each Logical Reasoning question requires the test taker to read and comprehend a short passage, then answer a question about it. The questions are designed to assess a wide range of skills involved in thinking critically, with an emphasis on skills that are central to legal reasoning. These skills include drawing well-supported conclusions, reasoning by analogy, determining how additional evidence affects an argument, applying principles or rules, and identifying argument flaws.

As stated above, Logical Reasoning questions place “an emphasis on skills that are central to legal reasoning.”  The LSAT does not just test logic or general reasoning skills – it emphasizes “legal reasoning skills” (i.e., the reasoning skills used in law school and the practice of law).

Studying for the LSAT becomes more interesting and fun when one understands the legal reasoning skills underlying LSAT questions.  It also makes sense that the deeper one understands the exam – particularly the officially stated purposes of the exam – the better one is likely to perform.

ScoreItUp courses always make sure to show the connection between the “legal reasoning skills” underlying the LSAT and the practice of law, often by including fun stories of how LSAT concepts and principles play out in the fascinating and sometimes wacky “real world” of the law.  Spending a little time incorporating this type of instruction into LSAT Prep lessons increases the depth of a student’s understanding of the exam (and makes LSAT Prep courses a lot more fun to sit through!).

Regardless of how you choose to prepare for the LSAT, you can improve the method in which you study if you have a clear understanding of the purpose of the exam.  Good luck!

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