In my last two posts (Question-by-Question Difficulty and Individual Question Difficulty), I have discussed individual Logical Reasoning question difficulty. In this post, I’ll discuss overall LSAT Logical Reasoning section difficulty, and how that figures into the creation of an LSAT.
Using the statistics cited in my previous posts, we can create a composite of the overall average difficulty of each section from the four tests under discussion:
Thus, although the typical section does vary in overall difficulty, the average hovers around level 3 (medium difficulty). Furthermore, when a section is unusually easy or hard, the other section offsets the difficulty and acts as a counterbalance (see the February 1999 section numbers above for an excellent example of how section difficulty is balanced).
Overall, this is not surprising. The makers of the LSAT scale each LSAT to an overall level of difficulty, not an individual section level of difficulty. So, on individual LSATs, some sections are harder than others, but when compiled, they match the same overall level of difficulty from test to test (at least that’s the goal). When there are variances in overall difficulty (as is inevitable), the scoring scale is used to adjust the picture so the final scored results are the same from test to test.
The takeaway from this for test takers is that if you encounter a particularly hard section on the LSAT, you should probably also encounter a relatively easier one elsewhere on the exam. Thus, do not get discouraged if you run into a troublesome patch on the LSAT; there will hopefully be something easier around the corner!