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Matt Riley’s October 2011 LSAT Predictions (With Parakeets!)

It’s time for another look into the crystal ball of logic. There’s an LSAT going down in roughly 48 hours. I have a bad habit of making predictions about impending LSAT administrations, so I figured I would give it another shot.

I have been making predictions for a couple years, with surprising accuracy. It all got really out of hand with what has been coined the “honeybee debacle.” In the middle of one of my old LSAT blog posts (one of my favorites, by the way), I made a joke about honeybees coming up during a Reading Comp passage. And then, right near the end of the third passage, what did we see? Freaking honeybees. Weird.

So here we go:

1. The curve is going to be tough.

Ouch. Not what you wanted to hear, I know. The “curve” of the LSAT is not a curve in the traditional sense, but it refers to the score conversion chart (how many questions you have to answer correctly to receive each LSAT score). When the economy was on life support, the number of people taking the LSAT skyrocketed. Many people took the LSAT because they weren’t quite satisfied with the fact that their history degree fetched them a sole job offer from Tasty Freeze. While these people didn’t study much, those who did were benefitted with a generous curve.

But now that the economy is thriving (sarcasm, plus some despair with a pinch of anger), the number of people taking the LSAT is down. Way down. Check out these stats from the June LSAT. Thus, it’s likely that the curve will bounce back to 2004 to 2006 levels. Here’s what I think it will look like:

170: -11 Questions
165: -17 Questions
160: -25 Questions

2. The games will be predictable.

Don’t get me wrong; predictable doesn’t necessarily mean easy. But I just don’t see any big surprises coming. You should have noted by now that the people who write the LSAT go back to the same bag of tricks over and over again. Here’s the games that you are most likely to see:

• 1 to 1 Ordering

• In and Out Grouping

• Tiered Ordering

• Underbooked Grouping/Profiling

The order is a bit hard to anticipate, but don’t expect the basic ordering game to show up first. They have been burying those deeper in sections and including more complicated rules (A is before B or after C, but not both).

Ballsy prediction: There will be a game about dolls.

3. Logical Reasoning might as well be called Principle City.

There has been a growing trend toward principle questions in Logical Reasoning, and I don’t see that stopping at any point in the future. Of all the different question types, it’s easy to see for law students and lawyers. In these questions, you are applying general principles (laws) to specific situations (cases). Principle questions cause issues for students because they come in different shapes and sizes. Here are the three most common forms.

• The situation described above most closely conforms to which one of the following principles? (Strengthen)

• The principle stated above provides the most support for which one of the following? (Soft MBT)

• The principle illustrated by the situation above is most closely illustrated in which one of the following situations? (Parallel)

Other than that, watch for lots of Flaw questions and lots of Necessary questions. No big surprise, but those would be good sections to review on Friday.

Ballsy prediction: There will be a Strengthen question about parakeets and possible explanations for their imitative behavior.

4. Watch out for the comparative passage.

Comparative reading was introduced back in 2007. It has ranged in difficulty since its arrival. However, there hasn’t been a really tough one since late 2008. It’s time.

In traditional reading comp passages, difficulty comes through nuanced viewpoints and complex conclusions. In comparative reading, they don’t have time for that. Rather, to make a passage a real bitch, they just give you lots of details and hope that you don’t catch the details that are mentioned in both passages. So make sure to read through the second passage very slowly and keep your eyes peeled for little details that the passages have in common. Where will it show up? My guess is the second passage.

Ballsy prediction: The comparative reading will discuss an economic theory related to worker productivity.

And here’s my final prediction: if you worked your butt off over the last few months, it will pay off big time on Saturday. So sleep soundly.

If not, you better spend today on Wikipedia researching dolls, parakeets and economics.