Component 1: LSAT Preparation Classes

The John Richardson Philosophy of LSAT PREParation:

There are many people who know what to do, but can’t do what they know.

My goal is to teach you a smaller number of SIMPLE skills WELL (ensuring you know what to do) that will equip you to answer a large number of questions quickly (help you do what you know)!

LSAT Preparation Classes – The Heart of The Program

The LSAT preparation classes are the heart of the program. Each class is designed to focus on one topic. There are four full day classes. Class 1 and Class 2 may be taken in either order and are prerequisites for Classes 3 and 4.

All classes run from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. After each class from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. you will have a Guest Speaker. Some of these “Guest Speakers” will be law professors who are part of the Law School Preview Program.

The primary focus of the classes are as follows:

Class 1 – LSAT Logic Games Dot Calm: – (A) The Logic Games Toolbox and (B) LSAT Reading Comprehension 1

Logic Games Toolbox

This class will teach you to identify the basic kinds of logic games, questions and construction of answer choices.

First, the bad news:

When people begin their LSAT Preparation, Logic Games (it’s really called “Analytical Reasoning”) scares people the most.

Now, the good news:

This section is highly susceptible to short term improvement. For many people Logic Games starts as the hardest section of the test and the ends as the easiest. Some of the reasons for this are:

– most of the games that appear on the LSAT are based on a surprisingly few number of patterns;
– one approach to diagramming will handle almost all of the those patterns;
– the questions focus on only three inferences – determining what: must be true, could be true, or must be false;
– a surprisingly small number of rules of reasoning will allow you to make those inferences;
– adjusting the order in which you tackle the individual questions will both improve your accuracy and save you time.

There is no one approach to answering logic games questions. In fact there are number of approaches. For any given question, some approaches will work better than others. You must develop the flexility to learn when one approach is better than another.

Reading Comprehension 1 – The Traditional Question Format

LSAT reading comprehension passages The goal is is to teach you how reading comprehension passages are structured and how the questions relate to that structure. The answer choices to each question require a separate reasoning exercise. You will learn very specific skills to guide your practice.

The Nature Of Reading Comprehension Passages And Questions

The “main idea” isn’t everything, it’s the only thing! In the words of LSAT:

“Typically, a passage has a single main point. Sometimes the main point of a passage is to present a controversial position and either attack or defend it. Sometimes it is to discuss and critique someone else’s view. Sometimes it is to explain a puzzling phenomenon. Sometimes it is to give an accurate historical account of some important development. All passages will present a number of considerations that are relevant to the main point of the passage; the roles these considerations play are largely determined by the main point.
So how should you approach a Reading Comprehension passage? The single most important thing is to get clear about the main thrust of the passage: what is the passage mainly trying to get across to the reader?

Try to remain focused on the main business of the passage, because the entire passage is focused around that.”

– The Official LSAT SuperPrep – page 40

All questions in LSAT Reading Comprehension focus on the main idea directly or on how the various parts of the passage contribute to the development of the main idea.

Class 2 – LSAT Logical Reasoning: (A) Conditional Statements and (B) How The Argument Goes

(A) Conditional Statements

Thomas White, a past President of Law Services and author of “LSAT Success” referred to conditional statements as the “basic reasoning task on the LSAT”. This is absolutely correct. In fact “conditional reasoning” plays a role in understanding the questions and answer choices for all LSAT question types.  You will be amazed by the number of questions that are based on conditional reasoning.

(B) How The LSAT Argument Goes

“How The Argument Goes

Once you have identified the premises and the conclusion, the next is to get clear about exactly how the argument is meant to go; that is, how the grounds offered for the conclusion are actually supposed to bear on the conclusion. Understanding how the argument goes is a crucial step in answering many questions that appear on the LSAT. This includes questions that ask you to identify a reasoning technique used within an argument, questions that require you to match the patterning of reasoning used in two separate arguments and a variety of other question types.
Determining how the argument goes involves discerning how the premises are supposed to support the overall conclusion.

– page 16 “The Official LSAT SuperPrep.”

You will notice that this is very non-technical language. That is deliberate. LSAT cannot use language that would require a specific academic background to understand.

How The Argument Goes – A Three Dimensional Analysis

Dimension 1: The Argument or Passage;
Dimension 2: The Questions;
Dimension 3 : The Answer Choices

Every question involves analyzing the interplay among these three components.

Class 3 – Logic Games and Logical Reasoning: (A) Advanced Logic Games, (B) Parallel Reasoning and Flawed Arguments and (C) Comparative Reading

(A) Advanced Logic Games

We will extend the skills developed in Class 1 (Logic Games Toolbox) to more comprehensive and less familiar patterns of games.

(B) Parallel Reasoning and Flawed Arguments

Parallel Reasoning and Flawed Argument  questions are among the most difficult question question types in Logical Reasoning. They are long (a scary prospect when you are running out of time) and comprehensive.
Many people approach these questions by looking for a formula. Although a formula (using the rules of conditional statements and the like) can be helpful, it is never a substitute for understanding the internal logic of the question.

Furthermore, both the right and wrong answers to these questions tend to have specific characteristics that are repeated from test to test.

(C) LSAT Comparative Reading

This will be 1/4 of the reading comprehension section. The focus is on how two different passages relate to each other. Comparative reading is a vital skill for law students. As a law student you will be required to understand how one law case (passage) relates to a second law case (second passage).

Class 4 – Logic Games and Logical Reasoning: (A) Grouping Logic Games and (B) Logical Reasoning Difficult Answer Choices

(A) Grouping Logic Games

Grouping games are often the least visual and most difficult games on the test. They are also among the most common kinds of games. They are heavily rooted in “conditional statements” (think back to Class 2) and “numbers based issues” (covered in Class 1). They are almost certain to be on on the test. For this reason they require one dedicated class.

(B) Logical Reasoning – The Answer Choice Is The Question

When the “light goes on” in Logical Reasoning, people often say:

“Now that I understand what the correct answer choice is saying, and how it relates to the argument, I understand why it is correct.”

Many people simply do NOT understand what the answer choice is actually saying.

Most students think that the hardest part of a Logical Reasoning question is understanding the passage or argument. Although this can be true, it is often the answer choices themselves that are the most difficult.

LSAT is very clever in the way that it formulates answer choices. Answer choices are almost always an independent test of reading and reasoning.

Once you understand, “How the argument goes” you must understand “how the answer choices relate to argument”.

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