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Sizing Up the December 2011 LSAT

December LSAT scores came out last week, which was quite the momentous occasion. Most people, naturally, focused on their specific scores. But what about the test? Was it par for the course, or did it stand out from the pack? I’ve taken the test, and am ready to pass my judgment. But first a word of warning: if you’re planning on taking the December 2011 LSAT soon as a practice test, you probably shouldn’t read on. Knowing what’s coming on a practice test can spoil the surprise, whether in regards to the curve, individual sections, or just general impressions. Otherwise…

The December LSAT was pretty conventional. Somewhat difficult, but conventional. There wasn’t anything on the test that really stood out as being noteworthy or new. The LSAT curve was generous, allowing -14 for a 170, which seemed fair. The test was harder than usual, but in predictable ways.

Reading Comp was largely forgettable. There were a couple difficult questions, and the comparative reading passages were much less interesting than they had any right to be, considering that they were actually about blackmail. Logical Reasoning was also not very special. There was a really hard question about domesticating animals, and a pretty interesting one about a homeowner who may or may not have stolen diamonds from his guests (the intrigue!), but nothing to really write home about. Overall the LR sections were harder than normal, but not enough to really throw off the curve all too much.

In my opinion, the biggest reason for the curve was probably Analytical Reasoning. The logic games started out easy. Like, stupidly easy. The first game was maybe one of the easiest ones in years. But then stuff got hard. The second game was fairly difficult, and reminiscent of the kitten/puppy game of October 2000. Seeing how pivotal Kudrow turned out to be was the key here. And then stuff got even worse. The third game was an in-and-out grouping game with TWO added tweaks, and the final game was an ordering game that made stuff really confusing by having five players and six slots, while still having each player go only once. You sort of had to be there. The point is, games were hard. The key here was knocking out the easy one super quickly and keeping a cool head on the second, which bought you the time you needed for the third and fourth.

But that was really it. Another test come and gone. If you took the test and did well, congratulations, it was a relatively hard test. But nothing new. And the wheel of the LSAT keeps on turning…