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Diagramming Conditional Statements on the LSAT

  • by Colin Elzie
  • Jul 08, 2011
  • Advice on Logic Games, Advice on Logical Reasoning, LSAT

The LSAT is a rough test, and one of the roughest things that the LSAT tests is your conditional statement aptitude. Sufficiency and necessity are all over the test, and the LSAT often requires you to diagram such things. It’s daunting at first, but diagramming is definitely something that can be mastered on the LSAT. Below are specifics of the test that people struggle with, and some corresponding tips.

Sufficiency/Necessity – during the test these LSAT terms seem confusing at first, but if you internalize what they mean, they’ll become much clearer. Something that is sufficient is just that – it’s all that you need. Knowing that something is an apple is sufficient to know that it’s a fruit. You don’t need to know anything else. Likewise, something that is necessary is just that – you absolutely have to have it. So it’s necessary that an apple is a fruit. It’s also necessary that the LSAT will test you on this.

Unless/Until/Without/Except – Remember these four words, because they’ll make your life a whole lot easier. They’re all over the test. Whenever you see one on the LSAT, you can simply replace the word with “if not,” and you’ve got a much easier conditional statement on your hands.

The Contrapositive – This is one of the most common parts of conditional statements that the LSAT tests. Remember, you can always do the contrapositive of a conditional statement by switching and negating terms. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, this always works. Once you memorize this, you don’t even really need to think about it.

So as you’re studying for the test, remember that one of the LSAT’s favorite things is conditional statements. Take the time to master them, and you’ll be a lot closer to that score you’ve been after.

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