From all accounts it appears that those who took the February 2015 LSAT on Saturday were treated to an easier test than the one administered in December. Based on what I've heard from PowerScore students and online accounts of the test, here's how the test shaped up and a few lessons that June 2015 preppers can draw from it.
Continuing the trend from both the September and December 2014 administrations, there were no circular, profile charting, mapping or pattern games. Two of the games involved projects: one involving projects assigned to interns, and the other dealing with projects due in September, October and November. The other two games had to do with sculptures being shown in an art gallery and vintage cars on display in a car show. Most people described these games as very reasonable, with a smattering of harder questions among them. Interestingly, people who reported difficulty with the games seemed to place the blame on themselves for misinterpreting rules and/or spending too much time on a particular game. There are two important lessons here: 1) don't let your guard down when you get the sense that a game is on the easier side; and 2) develop and stick to a timing strategy of quitting while the quitting's good.
Reports indicate that the Reading Comprehension section was a mixed bag. Two of the passages were uniformly said to be fairly easy, one being about an African-American, female comic-strip author, while the other was a comparative reading passage about banking systems for assisting low-income individuals in developing nations. The remaining two passages were said to be quite difficult, though it is unclear whether the passages were difficult start to finish or whether the difficulty was confined to a few questions in each passage. These passages were about legal theories of property ownership and dark matter in an expanding universe, respectively.
Complicating the difficulty of these passages was the placement of Reading Comprehension in either the fourth or fifth sections for the majority of test takers, at a point in the testing day by which people are often running on empty. On the other hand, some of those who encountered Reading Comprehension in the first section and who did not feel confident about their performance on those harder passages were faced with the mental challenge of recovering from a rough start. Whether a person ran into these difficult passages early in the test day or at its end, the take-away is that both mental toughness and stamina are critical components of solid LSAT preparation.
After several administrations in a row featuring difficult logical reasoning sections, people have consistently reported that the two scored sections from Saturday's test were very reasonable. Predictably, however, there were a few difficult questions located in the middle portions of each section. Those who implemented a sound timing strategy and moved past those questions quickly -- even by guessing, if necessary -- benefited by rounding out the section with easier questions that could be answered in a reasonable amount of time.
The bottom line is that the February 2015 LSAT was generally easier than December 2014's test. Unlike the December test, in which Logical Reasoning was the most difficult section type, Saturday's test placed the difficulty in the Reading Comprehension section. Like December's test, however, section order continued to play an important role in determining test difficulty, with most people running into the difficult Reading Comprehension section as the fourth or fifth section of the test, when fatigue had already begun to set in. Those studying for the June 2015 LSAT should take note: mental toughness and stamina appear to be increasingly vital areas of test preparation, and you ignore those areas at your peril.
Although scores for the February 2015 LSAT are scheduled to be released on March 3rd, our prediction is that you may see the scores released as early as February 27th.
Image: "180" by Marcin Whicary.