The LSAT Logical Reasoning Section
The LSAT's Logical Reasoning section is a 35-minute assessment with 24-26 multiple-choice questions. All LSAT administrations include at least two Logical Reasoning sections, and if the unscored experimental section is also Logical Reasoning, there will be a total of three. Test-takers will therefore have to answer between roughly 48 and 78 Logical Reasoning questions, and these questions will represent approximately half of the scored portion of the exam. LSAT score reports do not show LSAT scores on a section-by-section basis, but students who take a disclosed LSAT will be able to learn their raw Logical Reasoning scores by viewing their test questions and answers (students who sit for a nondisclosed LSAT will not be allowed to see test questions and answers).
All LSAT Logical Reasoning questions are based on short passages of argumentative text, typically about one brief paragraph in length (50-70 words). Text subjects are general and do not require knowledge of the law or any other academic discipline. Each passage of text is associated with a single multiple-choice question, and all questions have five answer options.
All LSAT Logical Reasoning text passages are followed by a one-sentence question, and these questions always concern the argument presented in the passage. LSAC has divided Logical Reasoning questions into the following categories: Arguments, What Can Be Concluded from the Information Provided, Necessary and Sufficient Conditions, Understanding the Impact of Additional Information, Assumptions, Principles, Flaws in Arguments, and Explanations.
The Arguments category includes questions on how the argument goes, identifying the main conclusion of an argument, and matching patterns of reasoning in an argument. In the What Can Be Concluded from the Information Provided area, the question types are identifying a position that is conclusively established by information provided, identifying a position supported by information provided, and identifying points on which disputants hold conflicting views. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions questions are based on inferring information from texts, while Understanding the Impact of Additional Information questions evaluate the ability to assess the effect new statements (represented in answer options) have on the strength of an argument. Assumptions questions may either ask about necessary assumptions or sufficient assumptions, and Principles questions ask test-takers to either apply or identify a given concept. In the Flaws in Arguments category, students must either identify or match argument weaknesses. Explanations questions require test-takers to choose answers that most plausibly explain a situation described in the argument text.
Familiarity with the component parts of an argument is a prerequisite to success on the LSAT's Logical Reasoning section. Students must be able to identify premises (statements that are offered as true without the apparent need for supporting evidence) and conclusions (statements that the person making an argument aims to prove with his or her premises). Because time management is so important to success on the LSAT, test-takers must also become able to read passages quickly and retain vital information. These skills should be practiced regularly during the preparation period.
Although published validity studies show that LSAC tracks test-taker performance by section, official statistics on average scores and scoring percentiles for the Logical Reasoning section are not publicly available.
LSAC has studied the validity of the LSAT's multiple-choice sections, specifically correlations between sectional scores and grades in test-takers' first year of law school. These types of studies feature results in a form called a "correlation coefficient," which is a number between 0.0 and 1.0 (with the latter representing perfect correlation and the former a complete lack of correlation). According to LSAC research, the correlation coefficient between the LSAT's Logical Reasoning section and first-year law school grades (the "validity coefficient") is 0.511. This is considered a fairly strong validity correlation, and it is the highest of the LSAT's three multiple-choice sections. Furthermore, test-taker scores on the Logical Reasoning sections are highly correlated to scores on the other sections, with correlation coefficients of 0.736 for Analytical Reasoning and 0.566 for Reading Comprehension (this means that students who do well on Logical Reasoning usually also do well on Analytical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension).