When You Need to Triage Your LSAT Studies
- Aug 23, 2018
In a hospital, triage is about assigning degrees of urgency to different patients when there are too many to treat right away. But what does triage look like in the context of the LSAT?
Many LSAT students get to a point when they realize that they just won’t have time to master every possible topic the LSAT could throw at them. Instead of giving each topic equal time, the best thing this student can do is to assign highest priority to those LSAT topics which are most common and most important to success.
So their studies of conditional statements would be like the new hospital patient having a heart attack (urgent) while the most uncommonly tested LSAT topics would be like the overly whiny patient with the sprained ankle (not as urgent).
If you find yourself low on time at the end of your LSAT studies, this is your outline to covering just those topics on the exam that are vital to your preparation in the time you have left.
In the LR section, the most obvious way to prioritize your studies is by question type. Study the above question types (above, left), which are most common, and leave the others unless you find yourself with extra time. There are also fundamentals of the LSAT that are critical to nearly all LR question types, and gaining a thorough grasp of these concepts should be ranked higher among your study priorities than any specific type of question. These include: diagramming conditional statements, identifying conclusions and premises, identifying causal reasoning and common fallacies, and understanding the difference between necessary and sufficient — in the context of both conditional statements and the assumptions.
And if you need help with any of the above urgent questions, here are some posts to help you get started:
Soft Must Be True
Once again, the game types that are most common should be prioritized most highly in your studies, but there are also some more specific concepts that are going to be important to solving nearly every game.
As with LR, you’ll need a strong mastery of conditional statements to form some of the rules. You also want to focus on rule representation (are you annotating the rules from the game in a way that’s efficient and clear?), setup (do you know how to identify the proper setup for the common game types?), and scenarios (do you create scenarios when there are a limited number of ways a game can work?). You also want to practice making some of the most common types of deductions: deductions made by combining two rules, deductions made by playing the numbers and deductions created by extremely restrictive rules.
Finally, when we speak of “weird” games on the LSAT, we’re usually referring to any games that don’t fit into any of the most common game types, so these are games which you should not let yourself sink too much time into when your time is short. Instead, focus on the fundamentals of logic games above, and those skills will carry over to even the most difficult to categorize games.
And if you need to work some of these urgent games, here are some good places to start:
Unlike the other sections, there is no list of “common” Reading Comp passages where you should focus your practice. The key to using your study time wisely for this section is to set your sights on the key information you are trying to glean from any particular Reading Comp passage. You should read each passage focused on: the structure, purpose, main point and conclusion. And one of the best ways to evaluate how well you are identifying the key features of a Reading Comp passage is to review your annotations. You should be “tagging” these features of the passage as you read, because this allows you to return to the important sections much more quickly during the exam, and you will also be able to tell upon review if you are forgetting to note any of these key elements.
Of course, in an ideal situation, a hospital would be able to immediately treat everybody who walks in the door, and you would be able to give every miniscule element of LSAT study its due. But if you find yourself strapped for time in the last weeks of your preparation-don’t panic-and use the time you have left to your best advantage.
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