The two Logical Reasoning sections of the October 2015 LSAT were consistent with the general difficulty level we have come to expect. Of the two sections, the first one was slightly more difficult than the second. This was mostly due to Questions 18 and 24 (both Assumption), as well as Question 25 (Strengthen). In the second LR section (Section IV), the only questions we would consider significantly above-average in difficulty were Questions 13 and 15 (both Flaw), as well as Question 19 (Must).
The trend of de-emphasizing deductive logic (especially Conditional Reasoning and Formal Logic) continues, with only a handful of questions testing those skills. Keep in mind, however, that Conditional Reasoning is still relevant to the Logic Games section, where rules containing conditionality are quite common. To balance that out, both sections included an unusually high number of arguments containing probabilistic reasoning and causality. In fact, as many as 25% of all questions contained such elements, making the understanding and manipulation of causal reasoning absolutely key. Perhaps most revealing was the emphasis on hard science (biology, geology, medicine, etc.). Suffice it to say that if you didn’t know what a “randomized controlled experiment” is, LR would have been a struggle. Facility with scientific language was tested in 30% of all LR questions, continuing the trend of the last few years.
The October 2015 test also continued the recent trend of including an inordinately high number of Flaw and Parallel Flaw questions (nine), along with the Principle underlay in Strengthen and Justify questions. Neither development should be seen as unusual, as logical fallacies and the application of principles (i.e. broad rules) to factual situations are commonly featured in the 1L curriculum, and as such are consistent with the objectives of the test as a whole. The importance of understanding logical fallacies cannot be overstated, as we’ve been saying for years.
One somewhat surprising development was the emphasis on Help Family questions (Assumption, Justify, Resolve, Strengthen), which – all in all – comprised almost 50% of all the questions on the test! Particularly common were Assumption and Resolve questions, which was good news for those who had mastered the Assumption Negation Technique. To balance them out, Method, Method-AP and Parallel questions were exceptionally rare, while Point of Agreement, Evaluate, and Cannot Be True questions were virtually absent from the test.
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