How to Understand Abstract Answers (Ep. 401)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

Sometimes the writing on the LSAT feels deliberately opaque—especially when it uses abstract language. On this week’s episode, Ben and Nathan break down a challenging Reasoning question from PrepTest 65 by linking abstract terms in the answer choices to specifics from the passage. Later, the guys explain why they no longer teach “assumption negation” on Necessary Assumption questions. They steer a student away from worrying about contrapositives. And they fantasize about building a better law school online.

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0:41 - The LSAT Is Fun

The better you are at the LSAT, the more enjoyable it is. Ben and Nathan discuss why Logical Reasoning and Logic Games are their favorite sections of the test.

7:00 - Understanding Abstract Language

LSAT Demon student Eric asks how to approach questions that use awkward or vague language, like Logical Reasoning question 16 from PrepTest 65. Nathan and Ben parse each answer choice by tying abstract terms to concrete details in the passage. The guys instruct students not to settle for narrowing answer choices down to two or more contenders.

26:47 - Assumption Negation

Nathan and Ben explain why they no longer teach “assumption negation” on Necessary Assumption questions. They recommend a more intuitive approach: pick the answer choice that the author has to agree with.

32:03 - Forget Contrapositives

The guys tackle Logical Reasoning question 17 from PrepTest J. They champion a commonsense approach to the LSAT that doesn’t rely on contrapositives or indicator words. Students hinder their intuitive understanding of the test when they cling to overly technical “strategies” and dogma. 

49:55 - Don’t Aim to Finish Sections

Ben and Nathan discuss the benefits of slowing down and attempting fewer questions rather than rushing to finish timed sections. Higher accuracy allows you to work less for more pay.

56:58 - Tuition Waivers and Online JDs

Listener L asks the guys to weigh in on a tuition waiver program that requires recipients to submit an IRS exemption form. Nathan and Ben fantasize about how an excellent online law school could disrupt the industry.

1:09:21 - Removing Failing Grades

An anonymous listener laments the fact that LSAC’s GPA calculation will include F’s that appear on their transcript even though their university has discounted those same grades. Ben and Nathan encourage Anonymous to continue petitioning to have failing grades entirely removed from their transcript.

1:15:43 - Prolonging Undergrad

Nathan and Ben weigh the value of prolonging an undergraduate degree in order to improve your GPA.

1:22:35 - Forty-Point Improvement?

Listener Jackson has already improved their score by twenty points but would need another twenty to reach their goal of 175. Ben and Nathan have never seen a forty-point improvement, but that doesn’t make it impossible.