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Predictions for the December 2011 LSAT

Here we go again. As the tryptophan-induced daze wears off, LSAT students are faced with a brutal reality. The December LSAT is just two days away.

At this point, studying is rather pointless. In fact, relying on those good old “cramming” techniques that got you through freshman biology would be counterproductive in the final days. So what can we offer you for guidance at this point?

Semi-outlandish predictions about what will appear on the December LSAT, that’s what.

1. Experimenting with the Experimental

For years, nay, for decades, the experimental (unscored) section of the test has been one of the first three sections. Understandably, there’s always a lot of buzz among students regarding the experimental section. Was it section 3? Did you have games for section 2?

In October, the world was turned upside down. The experimental section of the LSAT, for at least some students, was…. (cue dramatic music)… Section 4!

It appears the LSAC is attempting to be less predictable, so don’t make any assumptions about the experimental section.

2. Games Galore

The shift of power continues to shift. From 2004 through 2008, it seemed that Reading Comp had become the new beast of the LSAT. Students were running for the hills, and Games seemed to become an afterthought.

Then there was mauve dinosaurs, followed by summer school courses, followed by stained glass, followed by bicycle repairs. By this point, it’s pretty clear: Games are back. And this trend is likely to continue.

You can expect the normal 1:1 ordering game and probably an easier grouping game. But what to look for in the two tough games that are bound to appear?

First, watch out for a tough In and Out grouping game. Make sure to review how to simplify those relationships (Lesson 7 for you Blueprinters).

Second, watch out for a combo game that is underbooked or overbooked. There have been a couple tough games with these characteristics recently, and they tend to result in a nightmare game. Take an extra minute to really search for scenarios.

3. Not to Diagram

The prediction is that there will be little diagramming required in Logical Reasoning. It seems as though the days of deductive MBT questions are behind us. Look for more necessary assumptions, strengthen and weaken questions.

4. Room to Breathe

The big wildcard after the test is always the curve. The score conversion of the LSAT (raw score to scaled score) can be the difference between a 162 and a 166.

The LSAT score curve in October was pretty nice. Most people hypothesized that this was due to the difficult games section, but it’s actually a trend that has popped up pretty consistently over the last few years.

On the last two December exams (2009 and 2010), the score conversions were very lenient. Don’t get overconfident, but you can expect more of the same. Here’s the prediction for how many questions you will be able to miss:

170: -14
165: -21
160: -29

5. The Outlandish Part

If you just have to study something in the final days and hours before the exam, here’s a guess as to some subject matters that will appear: penguins, jet propulsion, leather manufacturing, and purebred dogs. Sounds like some fun reading.

Best of luck!