Well, pre-law folks, it’s time for that now nearly monthly tradition. If you studied for the January or November tests, you know the drill: the number of days remaining before an LSAT test date starts to get alarmingly low, and we summon our in-house LSAT prognosticator to make some last-minute predictions for the fast-approaching test. And with the February 2020 LSAT mere days away, that’s what we’re doing today.
So we called upon our in-house LSAT mystic, who just donned his dusty wizard robes and still-problematic feathered turban, retrieved his ersatz crystal ball, laid out his LSAT-themed tarot cards, and consulted the astrological charts to make his best guess about what’s going to be on this February 22nd exam. Full disclosure though — he’s been a little preoccupied these past few days. He spent the better part of the weekend dabbling in alchemy to see if he can whip up a love potion for Valentine’s Day (it gets a bit lonely in his LSAT lair), and then spent Presidents’ Day using his powers of divination to predict the 2020 election.
But fret not — this prognosticator has been paying attention to all the recent LSATs. He has every page of recently published LSATs posted to the walls of LSAT lair, yarn strung from question to question as if he’s a conspiracy-obsessed fictional character about to crack a case wide open (or slowly going insane … it’s a six-in-one-hand-half-dozen-in-the-other-type situation). But he has a pretty good grasp of the LSAT, even if his ability to conjure up a Valentine or predict the outcome of the Nevada primary is wanting. He’s also somewhat modest; he wants to be absolutely clear that he has no special insider knowledge, and he suggests you use these predictions as a loose guide to supplement your studies in these last few days before the February exam. You shouldn’t be exclusively studying the things mentioned in these predictions, is his point.
All right, with all that said, here are the predictions …
In Logical Reasoning, our prognosticator thinks this will be the distribution of LR question types …
So it’s a little boring … our prognosticator is going chalk on this one. As you can see, our prognosticator is predicting that each question type will appear about as many times on this test as they’ve appeared on every test, on average, since June 2017. It’s like, c’mon man, you put on the wizard tunic and everything — get a little crazy with these predictions.
But the prognosticator notes that a number of those Strengthen questions will probably be Strengthen Principle questions. These are the questions that say “following principles” in the prompt, and require you to find a broad rule that will connect an argument’s premises to its conclusion. He wants to point you to this post that explains how to do these questions quickly and effectively. We must concede this is pretty sound advice, boring or not.
He also wants me to remind you that between the seven Flaw questions, the two Parallel Flaw questions, the eight Strengthen questions, the four Weaken questions, the lone Crux question*, the two Sufficient questions, and the five Necessary questions, he’s predicting that there will be be twenty-nine questions that involve the common fallacies in some way. So make sure you feel comfortable identifying which common fallacies is committed in these arguments, especially the super common fallacies. He’s predicting that causation and equivocation fallacies will be the most common. Which is another pretty chalk prediction (those are almost always the most common fallacies), but still sound pretty sound advice from our in-house clairvoyant.
*These Crux questions, by the way, simply ask you to select the answer choice that would be most “helpful” or “useful” in evaluating the argument in the stimulus. Approach these like a Strenghten or Weaken question, but instead of looking for something that would definitely fix or worsen the flaw in the argument, look for the answer choice that asks whether the problem is even present. If the argument is committing a causation fallacy, for instance, the right answer might say, “Are there any alternate causes?”
He notes that, of the thirty-six published games since June 2017, making “scenarios” was pretty helpful in the thirty-five of those games. Making scenarios is a central skill to doing logic games quickly and accuracy, and you should have been working on this skill consistently throughout your LSAT studies. But if you need some last minute review, try doing recent games — especially the more difficult ones (typically the third or fourth game) — more than once. Try making scenarios using different rules or constraints in the game. Finding the rules and constraints that work best for scenarios on those games will give you a pretty good sense of which rules or constraints will work best for scenarios this Saturday. The LSAT tends to use the same types of rules across multiple tests, so a few of the rules that worked well on recent exams will probably show up on February’s exam.
Our prognosticator also wants you to know how common “underbooked” games have been on recent tests. “Underbooked,” by the way, is Blueprint’s term for games in which the game’s variables have to fill more than one position in the game’s set-up. On most recent exams, these have been “underbooked” grouping games. As in, six people must be assigned to three three-person teams. Which would require some of our six people to join more than one group. To review how to handle these games, our prognosticator points you to this post.
If you feel comfortable with making scenarios and the strategies for tackling “underbooked” games, our prognosticator thinks you’ll do just well on the games section, no matter what kinds of games appear. Nonetheless, he’s projecting a basic, 1-to-1 ordering game, an underbooked grouping game, a “combo” game with both ordering and grouping, and a tiered ordering game. He’s thinking the last game is going to be most difficult, so try to reserve at least ten of the thirty-five minutes for that one.
Last — and, let’s be honest, almost certainly least in your estimation — is Reading Comp. Our prognosticator feels quite confident that one passage will be about the law, one will be about the sciences, and one will be about the arts/humanities. Every recent Reading Comp section has included at least one passage of each. We dedicated a whole blog series to that fact. For the fourth passage, our prognosticator is feeling a little social sciences — maybe something about political theory or linguistics or psychology (his powers of prediction get a little fuzzy when it comes to academic fields). On most recent exams, the comparative passage has been about arts or the law — our prognosticator is thinking this comparative passage will be about the law.
But the prognosticator also wants to remind us that the topics of these passages ultimately matter much less than the structure of these passages. Keep notes on where new arguments are introduced in these passages, and how these arguments are supported. Pay special attention to the author’s view — our prognosticator predicts that the author will be advocating for a position in all four of these passages — because many of the questions will relate to the author’s opinions. And remember to use a method of underlining, highlighting, and note-taking that works well on the still-somewhat-new-feeling digital LSAT.
The final point we must make in these posts, as always, is that these predictions can only take you so far on the LSAT. We’re confident the test will resemble the test our prognosticator is envisioning — but that’s partially because all LSATs look more or less the same. If you’ve mastered the concepts that appear on every test — diagramming conditional statements, breaking down arguments, and identifying why arguments are flawed on LR; making helpful set-ups, representing the rules accurately, and making deductions and “scenarios” on LG; making helpful notes, underlining the author’s opinion, and highlighting the important details on RC — the February LSAT will feel incredibly comfortable for you. If you’ve mastered some of the more specific skill sets we think will be prevalent on this exam, all the better.
So use these waning days to review these concepts, take a couple of recent exams — those are going to probably most closely resemble this February test — and don’t overdo it. Good luck on Saturday, everyone.