### Free Test Prep Posts

#### How to Approach “Parallel Flaw” Questions on the LSAT

“Flaw” questions on the LSAT can appear in a variety of forms, but all essentially ask you to focus on the same thing: the logical fallacy of the argument. The most common logical flaws are apparent to even the novice law student, but if you find yourself getting some of the harder “Parallel Flaw” questions incorrect on your LSAT practice tests, it may be that your approach needs to be stepped-up to get primed for LSAT Test Day.  The typical “Parallel Flaw” LSAT question asks: “Which one of the following contains a flaw that most closely parallels the flaw contained in the passage?” Try this LSAT critical reasoning flaw question before we review your method for this question-type.

Step 1 – Take apart the argument in the passage, using your scratch pad. If you don’t fully focus on the argument in the passage first, you can’t even begin to know what is “parallel.” If you’re getting this relatively easy question-type wrong, you’re probably jumping too quickly to the answer choices or failing to utilize your scratch pad. Your notes don’t have to be extensive, but even writing a couple choice words will “firm up” in your brain what the argument’s flaw is, and allow you to better remember it as you weed through the answer choices.

#### Knowing What “Could” Be True: 5 Tips for Tough LSAT Inference Questions

The word “could” is a conditional, like “may” or “might” and this type of vague qualifying language can drive even the most ardent LSAT student crazy. To do better on your LSAT test prep, and ultimately succeed on LSAT Test Day, you’ll need to get a handle on these tough Logical Reasoning LSAT questions. To recognize them on Test Day, look for those qualifiers. Examples: “Which of the following could be true based on the given argument?” “Which of the following conclusions could be drawn if the statements above are true?”

Studying for the LSAT right now? Try this LSAT logical reasoning practice question and test your skills today!

1. Reassess the question. The nature of the question implies that there are only a finite number of statements that could be true “BASED” on the argument or statements. Inference questions are NEVER a matter of opinion. The word “could” implies a possibility, so the correct answer is really the strongest supported option.

2. Don’t be fooled by “half-right” answers. There may be more than one choice that seems to relate to the argument or statements, or even seems to be somewhat supported by the passage, but only one choice will be the most supported or most logical. Don’t “fall in love” with a “half-right” answer choice early on. Read more »

#### A Method for “Except” Questions in RC

If you’ve been studying online with Grockit’s LSAT question bank, you’ve probably noticed that some of the LSAT Reading Comprehension practice games contain LSAT questions with words like “Except,” “Not,” or “Least” in them. These questions can be slightly more intimidating since they are more verbose and require you to look for the opposite of what you normally would Use this 4-step strategy for better scores on this LSAT reading question-type! Once you get over the format, it’s smooth sailing!

Want to get more practice first before focusing on strategy? Study on Grockit for FREE! Try the free 3 day trial and check out Grockit’s vast database of FREE LSAT practice questions!

1.  Put the question in your own words. Simplify these long-winded questions using simpler terminology. This will help you understand what the question is really asking.

2.  Give yourself a task. Once you understand the question, write down your task. For example, if a question asks, “Which of the following does NOT match the tone of the passage?” your task might be to “eliminate choices that fit the tone.” This will give you a clear idea of how to approach the answer choices.

3.  Write down a Prediction whenever possible. Although these LSAT questions can be a bit more open-ended, go back to the LSAT passage and make a prediction (by writing it down on your scratch paper) whenever possible. Even for a question like, “All of the following is true about Watson and Crick except:” you can still refer back to the passage and locate the paragraph that provides details about Watson and Crick.

4.  Always use POE.  You’ll need to examine these answer choices more slowly and critically than other LSAT Reading questions to avoid simple mistakes. A strong LSAT reader never rushes, but moves confidently and efficiently using process of elimination.

Let’s apply this method to an example LSAT question: Read more »

#### 5 Steps to Find the Purpose in Any LSAT Passage

It’s important to keep in mind for all LSAT Reading Comprehension questions that just because an LSAT answer choice is reasonable, true, or mentioned in the LSAT reading passage, does not mean it is automatically correct. Always ask yourself: which answer choice in this LSAT question best addresses the specificity of the question being asked?

Not very familiar yet with the LSAT question types? Learn more and see free examples of LSAT practice questions on Grockit’s database. To be able to answer “Gist: Purpose” questions, always follow these steps:

1. Read the passage carefully on the first read. Take short notes on each paragraph as you read. “Search” for the main idea on the first read and try to write it down. If you already have the Purpose written down BEFORE reading the question, you won’t have to re-read and you’ll save a significant amount of time. It’s too difficult to decipher the author’s main driving idea if you skim. You’re reading for the implications. What’s behind the words?

2. Express the Purpose as a Verb. The format of these questions will often be the following: “The author’s main purpose in the passage is to:” The answer choices will all begin with a verb such as “describe…,” “show….,” “question…,” “demonstrate….,” etc. If you can learn to express the purpose as a verb in your own notes your prediction will more closely match the correct answer. What action would the author like to take? Why did he write this paragraph? Is it more emphatic, or more scholarly/passionless in tone? Trust your own instincts and ALWAYS WRITE A PREDICTION DOWN.

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3. Eliminate answer choices that are Out of Scope or Extreme. Look to eliminate answer choices that are outside the scope of the question (these should be fairly obvious), or ones that contain extreme language such as always and never.

4. Eliminate “half-right” choices. There may be an answer choice that has a great verb that really reflects the author’s tone and purpose, but the details after the verb don’t match the passage. Or, the details may be accurate, but the verb falls flat. Both halves of the answer must match!

5. Choose the broadest of the remaining choices. For a “Purpose” question, error on the side of too-broad rather than too-specific. The correct “purpose” will encompass the ENTIRE gist.

#### Getting the Gist of Passages: Organization Questions on the LSAT

Gist: Organization LSAT questions on the LSAT reading comprehension Verbal section will ask you to understand how the passage is laid out, structurally, as opposed to the ideas contained within the passage’s details. For example, a question may be worded: Which one of the following best describes the organization of the passage? This is clearly a “gist” or a “main idea” question since it asks about the big picture. For this type of question, you don’t need to look back to the actual information in the passage, just focus on identifying the topic of each paragraph, and any relevant punctuation and transitions phrases.

Make sure you know how to answer each type of LSAT reading comprehension question before Test Day! Get plenty of practice at Grockit, and set up private lessons with expert instructors to answer all of your questions!

Start by reading the first sentence of each paragraph. The topic of a paragraph is usually contained in the first sentence (look for the general noun). The topic sentences act as short summaries of each paragraph and introduce you to the next direction the author is taking the topic. Even just skimming for these structural phrases give us big clues into how the argument is laid out.

The first sentence of the first paragraph usually introduces the topic. The second paragraph could explain a viewpoint on that topic, then reveal flaws in the first theory. The third paragraph could potentially describe a secondary viewpoint, and then the final paragraph of our hypothetical passage might ultimately give evidence in support of it. We can tell all of that even without focusing on the details! The TOPIC SENTENCES are all you’ll need!

Additionally, you might want to review common transition words and chains to increase your confidence in sensing these organization clues. Common chains include:

first… second… third…
generally… furthermore… finally
in the first place… also… lastly
in the first place… pursuing this further… finally

More transition words to show continuation of an idea:

Consequently
furthermore
and
moreover
because
besides that
in the same way

To show contrast:

however
on the other hand
but
yet
nevertheless
on the contrary

Need more focused one-on-one help with the LSAT? Ask one of Grockit’s LSAT expert tutors what you need to do to prepare before your LSAT Test Day!

#### 3 Tips to Find the “Function of a Detail” in Reading Questions on the LSAT

On tougher LSAT Reading Comp Function questions, you will be asked why the author includes a specific detail in the passage. To get this question-type correct, you will need to put yourself in the author’s shoes and look carefully at the clues in the passage. Use these three tips to get better scores on the LSAT Reading Comprehension section! But first, test your LSAT Reading Comp knowledge with this LSAT humanities passage practice question.

1. It isn’t a matter of opinion. If you feel that two answer choices may be correct, always go back to the passage to find the one that is the MOST supported. Look for at least 1 piece of information that concretely backs up your selection. There can only be ONE reason the author uses a particular detail.

2. Each paragraph supports the overarching idea.  Start with the main idea. The author usually uses the first paragraph to introduce his topic and start a discussion of the Main Idea. The final paragraph wraps up the discussion of the body paragraphs and reinforces the Main Idea. The paragraphs (and the details) in between develop the main idea in specific ways.

#### How to Answer Tone/Attitude Questions on the LSAT

You’ve probably seen an LSAT question that looked like this: “The author’s tone in the passage is best described as….”

LSAT Reading Comprehension questions that ask about tone and the author’s attitude may not be as common as detail or inference questions, but they often come up on the LSAT. To solve them, you must follow one major rule: look at the adjectives. How does the author describe the topics in each paragraph? Adjectives are colorful descriptive words that reveal opinion. Pay close attention to them as you read the LSAT passage the first time. If you do the work up front, it will pay off when you get to the questions!

Need one-on-one help with the LSAT? Ask one of Grockit’s LSAT expert tutors what you need to do to prepare for test day.

Unlike LSAT Detail questions, there are no line numbers to help you find the answer for tone/style questions. Only by paying attention to the author’s voice and style as you read will you be able to get these questions right.

Now let’s talk strategy. What to do if you encounter a tone/attitude question:

1. Go back to your notes. Ask yourself, what does the author like and what does he dislike? It’s important to note that while the author will have opinions, they may not be obvious. The passages are often scholarly and balanced in tone, so you must look carefully back to the adjectives and adverbs!

#### How to Identify and Eliminate Distortions on the LSAT

As you practice for the LSAT using Grockit and other online test prep resources, you’ll notice that wrong answer choices on the LSAT Reading Comprehension follows predictable patterns. For example, we know correct choices on the LSAT will be within the scope of the passage, fit the tone of the passage, and accurately reflect the information found in the passage. Incorrect choices, therefore, can usually be categorized as either (1) out of scope, (2) extreme, or (3) a distortion. Learning how to recognize and eliminate distortions will save you valuable time on your LSAT Test Day and will lead you to better scores on your next LSAT practice test!

Distortions on the LSAT are typically obviously a “twist” of the information presented in the passage, or they are “half-right,” meaning they contain one clause or phrase that is accurate, but also include a phrase or clause that is false.

You can get a better sense of these types of answer choices by checking out the LSAT practice questions on Grockit’s database.

Here’s how to deal with the answer choices on the LSAT. First, read the passage thoroughly and the question itself. Write down a prediction if possible, so you have an idea of what the correct answer choice should be. Once you’re ready to address the answer choices read through all of them quickly, and first eliminate choices that are “out of scope” – these should be the most blatantly “wrong.” Then eliminate choices with extreme language that does not reflect the author’s tone. These are also relatively easy to spot. You should be down to 2-3 choices as this point — so how can you spot the distortions? Use these steps: Read more »

#### LSAT AR: Designing your Diagram

After reading the prompt, the very first thing you are tasked with on an analytical reasoning question is to design your diagram. This step is critical to success on the analytical reasoning portion of the LSAT as all of your answers will be based off of your diagram. While there are many ways to diagram every game, there are some ways that will be quicker and easier than others. The best way to learn how to diagram these questions is, you guessed it, do a lot of them! The more games you do, the more familiar you will be with the type of diagrams out there. That being said, there are a few generic game types that show up repeatedly on the LSAT. I will describe them below and how best to diagram them.

The 1 x 1 Sequence

Typical Prompt: A student performs six activities: G, H, I, J, K, L. The activities are performed between the hours of 1:00 and 6:00.

Analysis: This type of game is asking you to put match one activity with one time slot.  That means that all you have to worry about is putting the activities in order. This is often times the easiest type of game to do, so if you see one that looks like this, tackle it first!

Diagram: All you need for this diagram is a 1 x 6 table (6 columns, 1 row). When you do your work you will be placing the activities in the row in the order in which they appear. Your diagram should look something like this:

 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00

Try this LSAT analytical reasoning question for more practice!  Read more »

#### LSAT AR: Anchors and Floaters

Anchors and floaters are fancy ways to designate some of your movable pieces in a game, be they “Activities” or “classes”. These concepts are slightly more advanced than what you need to know to just survive the analytical reasoning section, so make sure you have a good handle on the basics before thinking about these designations. I have seen a lot of students tackle anchors and floaters too early on and then get bogged down in them. Don’t be one of those students! Think of these as bonus points, if you know the tricks that come with them great, if not you can still get 100% on the section.