Slow Down to Speed Up
The most important LSAT Logical Reasoning strategy, and the best overall advice to succeed on the LSAT, is to focus on accuracy, not speed. In other words, slow down to speed up.
Sure, breaking into the 160s and 170s requires both accuracy and speed. But if you start with speed, you’ll never develop accuracy. You’ll just be sloppy and stressed out. Focusing on accuracy forces you to understand the question, which leads to speed down the road. Once you know what you’re doing, you’ll gradually get faster.
This cannot be stressed enough: Do the work upfront. The overarching theme here is that if you spend the bulk of your time on the passage or setup, you will breeze through the questions and answer choices because you will already know exactly what to look for in a correct answer.
Learn how to apply this wisdom to every single LSAT section below.
Slowing Down on Reading Comprehension
On Reading Comprehension, doing the work upfront means taking time to fully understand the passage the first time around. You must read it carefully and aggressively, understanding what every sentence means and how it fits into the rest of the passage. Don’t let the sentences go in one ear and out the other. When you catch yourself getting distracted, bring your mind back to the passage by asking yourself: “What am I learning right now?”
LSAT Reading Comprehension experts spend far more time on the passage than on the questions. If you take the time to comprehend the passage when you first read it, you won’t have to keep going back and forth between the questions and the passage, hunting for the correct answer. You’ll already know what the correct answer is for each question because you’ll remember what the passage had to say on the topic.
Slowing Down on Logical Reasoning
Mastering Logical Reasoning requires you to understand how the passage works. If it’s an argument, you need to figure out whether the argument is valid and why. You need to know how the pieces of information within the passage relate to one another. You need to know what the author’s stance is and how the author uses each claim to argue their point.
Take the time you need to understand the passage. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the passage, read the question and make a strong prediction based on your understanding of the passage. Only then should you be reading the answer choices.
Slowing Down on Logic Games
On Logic Games, doing the work upfront means making worlds on almost every single game. Excelling at the questions takes more than just understanding the game’s setup and explicit rules. You must understand how the rules connect and how they affect each of the variables.
Don’t brute-force the questions. Take time to solve the system first. If you find yourself testing every answer choice, you haven’t spent long enough on the setup.
Ask Better Questions
The single most common question that LSAT teachers hear is “How do I get faster on the LSAT?” But focusing on speed will not improve your score.
You’ll get better answers if you learn to ask better questions. Maybe you’ve identified that Logical Reasoning is your weak point. That’s a start, but try to be even more specific: What exactly did you struggle with on a particular Logical Reasoning question? You might instead ask:
- Why does this specific fact not prove the conclusion?
- Why isn’t answer choice C sufficient for making the argument work?
- What does it mean to “illicitly shift the definition of a word?”
There is no shortcut to crushing the LSAT. Mastering the test requires genuine understanding. To achieve this, you must slow down and go deeper into each individual question. Understand why each wrong answer is wrong and why the correct answer is unambiguously correct. Focus on clarifying the mistake that’s in front of you, and resolve never to repeat that same mistake again.
There are no stupid questions, but some are more helpful than others. Anytime you ask Thinking LSAT or LSAT Demon how to speed up on the LSAT, you’ll hear the same answer: Slow down and focus on accuracy.