One question we are often asked concerns how the difficulty of LSAT Logical Reasoning questions changes as the section progresses. In our courses and books we delve into this point in some detail, and here I’d like to give a brief overview of how difficulty changes throughout the section.
Before addressing the questions, a note about the statistics we use. Occasionally we are asked how we derive our information, and how accurate that information is. First, years of experience working with LSAT problems and LSAT students has given us great insight into which questions are difficult and why they are difficult. Second, we have detailed statistical information on thousands of LSAT questions from using them as practice tests in our courses. Third, we use information available from LSAC to confirm that our information is correct. For example, LSAC has released explanations to four separate LSATs (February 1996, February 1997, February 1999, and February 2000) and in these explanations they have included an evaluation of question difficulty on a 1 (easy) to 5 (very difficult) scale. We’ll use this last set of information for this discussion.
When compiled and averaged out, the question-by-question difficulty in Logical Reasoning section is roughly as follows:
Note that the graph represents an average of question difficulty, and individual sections will
vary. Regardless, certain truths are immediately evident:
- On average, the first ten questions are easier than the last ten questions.
- As the section moves into the teens, the difficulty begins to rise, and several questions in the ten through twenty range will be very difficult.
- Most, but not necessarily all, of the questions in the twenties will be medium to very difficult.
These facts support the advice given in our courses and books that you must maximize your opportunities in the first ten questions in order to set yourself up to bring home a good score!
Next week I will examine individual LSAT Logical Reasoning question difficulty statistics.