Will a logic class help on the LSAT?

• Reviewed by: Matt Riley
• A question we get frequently is “what college courses will help me on the LSAT?” The most obvious choice is an introductory or advanced course in logic, often offered through university philosophy departments (but if not almost always offered somewhere else, like in mathematics or computer science). If you’re serious about learning logic, you should take the most challenging course offered; at my alma mater, there was Phil 103 and Phil 303; 103 was a bit of a joke while 303 was hard but doable. I really enjoyed this course and was glad I took it. However, it’s far from required. Let’s go to the map:

Pros

• Logic courses will help you adapt to strict formal reasoning, a key skill on the LSAT. Many students have a hard time adjusting from “common sense” to LSAT formal logic. A logic course can give you an extra semester to learn this new form of thinking.
• You’ll learn some concepts you’ll need on the LSAT. Symbolic logic and basic conditionality can be hard to understand for newbies, and a course will help you understand them.
• Logic courses can be a very challenging but enjoyable class. Yes, whether you like the class matters, and students who enjoy logic puzzles will probably love diving into the depths of their homework and, later, LSAT formal logic.

Cons

• Most courses will teach you a lot more than you need to know for the LSAT. If you’re only taking the course to improve your LSAT score, you’d probably be better off devoting all of that time to specific LSAT study and take Intro to Quidditch instead.
• Conversely, logic courses usually also leave few concepts out that turn out to be important on the LSAT. Conditionality is probably the number one logic skill on the LSAT; while you’ll learn formal conditionality in a logic course, it will look a bit different on the LSAT. Formal logic courses also often skimp on the kind of story-based examples you’ll see in logical reasoning.
• Logic courses can be hard. Make sure you understand that this will likely be a challenging course involving lots of study. If you’re the type more willing to skip lectures, advanced logic courses might be a strike against the all-important GPA. (However, if you’re not willing to commit to hard classes now, law school might not be the right path).

Bottom Line
If you have some extra credits to fill and you definitely want to take the LSAT, formal logic is a great course to take. However, everything you need to know about formal logic for the purposes of excelling on the LSAT can be learned by specifically studying LSAT material. If you are planning on self-study, logic might be a good course to take. However, if you’re planning on taking a reputable LSAT course or working with a good tutor, you’ll learn all you need to know on the test.

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Image credit J Skilling