The February 2014 LSAT Post-test Analysis

    LSAT Prep

    PowerScore LSAT PreparationThe February 2014 LSAT was given on Saturday for the majority of test takers. A handful of test centers ran into weather problems, and those test takers had their exams cancelled. If your test center was closed, LSAC will re-schedule your LSAT for one of the next few weekends, but you will not take the LSAT that was given on the 8th. So then, for the students who took this past Saturday's test, how did they feel about the LSAT?

    The general consensus of most students with whom I've spoken is that the test presented some unusual elements (as we'll discuss shortly), but for well-prepared test takers there was nothing overly problematic. In short, a tougher-than-average test, primarily due to Logic Games, that will hopefully yield a friendly curve when scores are calculated.

    So, about those games: what exactly happened that gave so many students trouble? A Circular Game. More specifically, a game with people seated clockwise around a circular table, which is an EXTREMELY uncommon type that no one was expecting. In fact, there hasn't been a game like this since 2003, more than a decade ago! That surprise unnerved a lot of people and, sadly, led to a frustrating day for some. Of course, well-prepared test takers realized that Circular games are really just Linear games without a definitive "beginning" or "ending"--as we outline in our books and courses--and tackled the unexpected challenge without much difficulty.

    The other three scored games (art installations, department store, and school plays/concerts) all seemed much more straightforward, so at the very least 3 of the 4 shouldn't have posed much of a problem. Was it as easy as December 2013? It doesn't sound like it. But informed test takers were still able to get through it more or less unscathed.

    In Reading Comprehension, the section with passages on the French Revolution/Women's Rights, as well as on Physics theory, was the real section. Over the years, RC has been slowly getting more challenging, and in this section the Physics passage was often cited as the most difficult of the four. Despite that, many of our students felt they did well on this section. There are always some issues with needing more time, but the topics of this section didn't present anything terribly unusual (Physics was dense, but not unfamiliar for most), and some people even reported being happy to see a comparative reading passage set dealing with sports.

    Logical Reasoning is always the most difficult section to assess, but compared to the strangeness of the Games and the denseness of RC, many test takers felt LR was the easiest part of this test. Interestingly, a number of reports indicate that there were very few Conditional Reasoning-based questions ("if...then" type statements), which is something we have been predicting over the past few years; a quote from my colleague Dave's December 2013 post-test analysis: "Modern Logical Reasoning seems to be forcing students to analyze what is being said, and making it harder for students to use a purely formulaic approach. You have to be able to assess the value of what is being said, and separate statements that are often quite similar in meaning." A shift away from strict, diagrammatic-type stimuli is perfectly in line with that rationale!

    So all-in-all a challenging, albeit not impossible, LSAT. If you are keeping your score (and not cancelling), there's no need to worry about it further and you should simply hold on until they release the scores in a few weeks. Here's to hoping you did well!

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