Arts‎ > ‎


Logical Reasoning

Technique Summary

The table contents are based on lecture notes taken at Hackers academia. As far as I can remember, I believe these are based on Atlas Logical Reasoning method.

Question Type Technique Notice
Structure [5-6]
Method, Role, Conclusion
Analyze the Structure
  1. Identify the conclusion
  2. Dissect and label each phrase component as [P]remise/[E]vidence, [I]ntermediate conclusion, [O]pposing point
  3. Form logic chain
  4. Rephrase the answer
Point at Issue [2]
  1. Do not infer
  2. Underline overlapping words
  3. Extract differences
Assumption [7-9] Fillin a Gap
  1. Re-ordering
  2. Look for difference in terms

Eliminate Alternatives

Do not eliminate choices on basis of new factor introduction
Denial test: negate assumption and diagnose its effect on conclusion
Flaw [7-9] Common Flaws
  1. Necessity <-> Sufficiency mix-up
  2. Shift in scope
  3. Incorrect causation (reverse, 3rd factor as common cause, coincidence)
  4. Relative - Absolute mix-up
no PoE
Equivocation, ad hominem, circular reasoning, false dichotomy sometimes appear
Strengthen, Weaken [7-8]
  1. Add a Supporting/Counter premise
  2. Assumption -> make Explicit(Defend/Attack)
Mark conclusion, rephrase choices(deduce to +/-)
Inference [7] Process of Elimination
  1. Bad logic (reverse conditional/causal)
  2. Out of scope #Broad generalization
  3. Degree (watch for extreme modifiers)
  4. Detail creep (similar words inherently different)
Incomplete coverage of premises ok
Beware of CAN<->WILL<->SHOULD shift
no PoE for formal logic - diagram
Application [7-9]
Parallel, Principle
  • Method matching: Underline structural components, modifiers
  • Flaw matching: State flaw, find corresponding match
  • Illustrate principle: Simplify to set of rules, test each choices by its sufficiency condition
  • Principles to support: Assumption in disguise
Paradox [2-3]
  1. Distinguish expected & unexpected result
  2. Support the unexpected result
  3. Confirm that the expected result can coexist
  • Scrutinize contradictions in details
  • Comparative/Superlative adjectives beware: more, most, -er, -est
  • Qualitative assertions: can, could, will(future guarantee invalid), ought to, should(suggests the best course of action), must


  • The parts of a logical reasoning question: stimulus (reading passage), question stem, answer choices
    • speed for timed element
    • patience for detailed reading requirement
  • Question types
    • argument: statement is claimed to follow from or be derived from the others
    • fact sets: a collection of statements without a conclusion

Primary objectives

  1. Determine whether the stimulus contains an argument or if it is only a set of factual statements
    • premise: a fact, proposition, or statement from which a conclusion is made; indicators because, since, for, in that, due to, etc.
    • conclusion: a statement or judgment that follows from one or more reasons; summary statement drawn from and rest on the premises; indicators: thus, therefore, hence, accordingly, follows that, etc.
  2. If the stimulus is an argument-> identify the conclusion; If the stimulus is a fact set, examine each fact
    • counter-premise: a premise that actually contains an idea that is counter to the argument; indicator: but, however, yet, in contrast, despite, admittedly, etc.
    • complex arguments: initial conclusion based on a premise serves as foundation for another conclusion
    • truth versus validity: focus on relative truthfulness to whether the conclusion is true relative to the premises
  3. If stimulus==argument, determine whether the argument is strong or weak
    • inference: must be true
    • assumptions: unstated premise, what must be true in order for the argument to be true
  4. Read closely and know precisely what the author said. do not generalize.
    • scope: range to which the premises and conclusions encompass certain ideas
  5. Identify the question stem
    1. Prove Stimulus ➔ Answer choices
      • Must be true, Main point, Point at issue, Method of reasoning, Flaw in the reasoning, Parallel reasoning
      • accept the stimulus information
      • any information that does not appear either directly in the stimulus or as a combination of items will be incorrect
    2. Help Answer choices ➔ Stimulus
      • Assumption, Justify the conclusion, Strengthen/support, Resolve the paradox
      • stimulus information is suspect
      • answer choices accepted as given even if they include new information
    3. Hurt Answer choices X➔ Stimulus
      • Weaken
      • stimulus information suspect
      • often, reasoning errors present, find an answer choice that further weakens the argument
    4. Disprove Stimulus X➔ Answer choices
      • Cannot be true
      • accept the stimulus information
      • the correct answer choice directly disagrees with the stimulus or its consequence
  6. Always read each of the five answer choices
  7. Separate answer choices into contenders and losers
  8. If all answer choices appear to be losers, return to the stimulus and re-evaluate the argument

Must be true

  • should not bring in information from the from outside the stimulus to answer the questions
  • Fact Test™ : The correct answer to a Must Be True question can always be proven by referring to the facts stated in the stimulus
  • focus within the scope of the stimulus especially if that scope is broad
  • Correct answer types
    • Paraphrased answers: restate a portion of the stimulus in different terms, mirrors the stimulus
    • Combination answers: result from combining two or more statements in the stimulus
  • Incorrect answer types
    • Could Be True answers: can possibly occur, but incorrect because they do not have to be true
    • Exaggerated answers: take information from the stimulus and then stretch that information to make a broader statement that is not supported by the stimulus
    • New Information: include information not explicitly mentioned in the stimulus; first examine the scope of the stimulus, make sure the new information does not fall under the umbrella of a term or concept in the stimulus
    • The Shell Game: when an idea or concept is raised in the stimulus, and then a very similar idea appears in the answer choice, but the idea is changed just enough to be incorrect while remaining attractive
    • The Reverse answer: contains familiar elements from the stimulus; rearranges those elements to create a new, unsupported statement

Main Points

  1. Stimulus contains an argument
  2. Identify the conclusion of the argument
  3. Rephrase the main conclusion of the argument to find the correct answer
  • Incorrect answer types
    • Answers that are true but do not encapsulate the author's point
    • Answers that repeat premises of the argument
Conclusion Identification Method
Take the statement under consideration for the conclusion and place them in an arrangement that forces one to be the conclusion and the other(s) to be the premise(s). Use premise and conclusion indicators to achieve this end. Once the pieces are arranged, determine if the arrangement makes logical sense. If so, you have made the correct identification. If not, reverse the arrangement and examine the relationship again. Continue until you find an arrangement that is logical.

Conditional Reasoning

Logical relationships composed of sufficient and necessary conditions. Any conditional statement consists of at least one sufficient condition and at least one necessary condition.

  • Sufficient condition: an event or circumstance whose occurrence indicates that a necessary condition must also occur
    • indicators: if, when, whenever, every, all, any, people who, in order to
  • Necessary condition: an event or circumstance whose occurrence is required in order for a sufficient condition to occur
    • indicators: then, only, only if, must, required, unless, except, until, without
  • Inferences
    1. Repeat: restates the elements in the original order A ➔ B (valid)
    2. Mistaken Reversal: switches the elements B ➔ A (invalid)
    3. Mistaken Negation: negates both conditions  !A ➔ !B (invalid)
    4. Contrapositive: both reverses and negates  !B ➔ !A (valid)
  • Unless equation
in the case of unless, except, until, without
  1. whatever term modified becomes the necessary condition
  2. the remaining term is negated and becomes the sufficient condition
  • Conditional linkage
if an identical condition is sufficient in one statement and necessary in another, the two can be linked to create a chain
  • Either/or statement means at least one of the two
  • AND and OR get switched when taken into contrapositive
  • The Double Arrow ⇔ refers to if and only if XNOR
    • two possible scenarios: both or neither
  • The Double Not-arrow: if A, then not B NAND
    • possible scenarios: NOT (A && B) includes either and neither, but not both


  1. The stimulus contains an argument
  2. Focus on the conclusion
  3. Stimulus information is suspect; often reasoning errors present
  4. Weaken questions often yield strong prephrases
  5. Accept answer choices as given even if they include new information
the correct answer undermines the conclusion by showing that the conclusion fails to account for some element or possibility; often shows the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises even if the premises are true
  • Possible scenarios in weaken question stimuli
    1. Incomplete information
    2. Improper comparison
    3. Qualified conclusion
  • Frequently appeared incorrect answer choices
    1. Opposite answers
    2. Shell Game answers
    3. Out of Scope answers
To weaken a conditional conclusion, attack the necessary condition by showing that the necessary condition does not need to occur in order for the sufficient condition to occur.

Cause and Effect

Causality occurs when one event(cause) is said to make another(effect) occur.

  • Difference between Causality and Conditionality
    1. Chronology of the two events differ
    2. Connection between the events is different
    3. Language used to introduce the statements is different
  • Situations that can lead to Errors of Causality
    1. One event occurs before another trap of assuming that the first event caused the second event
    2. Two or more events occur at the same time two events could be the results of a third event or could simply be correlated without one causing the other
  • When stimulus concludes that one occurrence caused another, author assumes that the stated cause is the only possible cause of the effect and consequently the stated cause will always produce the effect.
    • How to attack a Causal Conclusion find or prove one of the following occurs for Weaken questions
    • An alternate cause for the stated effect
    • Even when the cause occurs, the effect does not occur
    • Although the effect occurs, the cause did not occur
    • Stated relationship is reversed
    • Statistical problem exists with the data used to make the causal statement


Identify the answer choice that best supports the argument

  • To effectively strengthen arguments
    1. Identify the conclusion
    2. Personalize the argument
    3. Look for weaknesses or holes in the argument
  • Wrong answer traps appear
    1. Opposites
    2. Shell Game: when an idea or concept is raised in the stimulus and then a very similar idea appears in the answer choice
    3. Out of Scope: unrelated to the argument or tangential to the argument
  • How to Strengthen an argument
    • Eliminate any alternate causes for the stated effect
    • cause -> effect
    • !cause -> !effect
    • Eliminate the possibility for mistaken reversal
    • Show that the data used to make the causal statement is accurate, or eliminate possible problems with the data

Justify the Conclusion

Select an answer choice that logically proves the conclusion of the argument

Premises + Answer choice = Conclusion
  • Question stems typically contain some of the following features:
    1. the word "if" or another sufficient condition indicator
    2. the phrase "allows the conclusion to be properly drawn" or "enables the conclusion to be properly drawn"
    3. the stem does not lessen the degree of justification
  • Most Justify stimuli either use Conditional Reasoning or contain numbers and percentages.
  • Solving Justify questions mechanically
    1. Any new element that did not appear in any of the premises in the conclusion will appear in the correct answer
    2. Elements common to the conclusion and premise normally do not appear in the correct answer
    3. Elements that appear in the premises but not the conclusion usually appear in the correct answer


Assumption is simply an unstated premise of the argument; an integral component of the argument that the author takes for granted and leaves unsaid

Valid Conclusion -> True Assumption
  • Correct answer must contain a statement that the author relies upon and is fully committed to in the argument
  • Question stems
    1. uses the word "assumption" or "presupposition", etc.
    2. does not use the word "if" or another sufficient condition indicator
  • Supporter Assumption link together new or rogue elements in the stimulus or fill logical gaps in the argument
  • Defender Assumption contain statements that eliminate ideas or assertion that would undermine the conclusion
  • Assumption Negation Technique to decide between contenders or to confirm
    1. Logically negate(logical opposite) the answer choices under consideration
    2. The negated answer choice that attacks the argument will be the correct answer
    • To negate a conditional statement, show that the necessary condition is not in fact necessary
  • Correct answer categories
    • eliminates an alternate cause for the stated effect
    • shows that cause -> effect
    • shows that !cause -> !effect
    • eliminates the possibility that the stated relationship is reversed
    • data used to make the causal statement are accurate, or eliminate possible problems with the data

Resolve the Paradox

Finding a possible cause for a situation where two ideas or occurrences contradict each other

  • Features: no conclusion, language of contradiction
  • Correct answer will actively resolve the paradox - it allows both sides to be factually correct and add a piece of information that shows how the two can coexist
  • Incorrect answer types
    • Explains only one side of the paradox
    • Similarities and differences similarity cannot explain a difference, vice versa
  • must first address the facts of the situation

Formal Logic

Reasoning by analysis and abstraction of form rather than the content; a standard way of translating relationships into symbols and then making inferences from those symbolized relationships

  • Additive inferences: result from combining multiple statements through a common term and then deducing a relationship that does not include the common term A->B->C deduces to A->C
  • Inherent inferences: those known to be true simply from a single statement, relationship between the two variables; those inherently true because of the nature of the initial relationship some A's are B's since most A's are B's
  • The Logic ladder: All->Most->Some; None->Most are not->Some are not
  • Diagram creation
    1. Always combine common terms
    2. There his no traditional direction in logic
  • Principles of making Formal Logic inferences
    1. Start by looking at the ends of the chain
    2. Vast majority of additive inferences require either an all or none statement somewhere in the chain
    3. When making inferences, do not start with a variable involved in double-not arrow relationship and then try to "go across" the double-not arrow.
    4. The Some Train lead away from the some relationship; going the other way yields no additive inference
    5. The Most Train
    6. Arrows and double-not arrows any combination of an arrow and a double-not arrow in succession will yield an inference
    7. Use inherent inferences
    8. Watch for the relevant negativity
    9. Some and Most combinations two consecutive some's or most's will not yield any inferences
    10. Analyzing compound statements
    11. Once an inference bridge is built, it does not need to be built again

Method of Reasoning

Select the answer choice that best describes the method used by the author to make the argument; identify the logical organization of the argument

  • The argument can contain either valid or invalid reasoning
  • Fact Test: If an answer choice describes an event that did not occur in the stimulus, then that answer is incorrect.
  • Types of incorrect answers: new element, half right half wrong answers, exaggerated~, the opposite~, the reverse~

Flaw in the Reasoning

Identify errors of reasoning made in the stimulus

  • Uncertain Use of a Term or Concept: using a term in different ways
    • depending on the ambiguous use of a key term
    • it confuses two different meanings of the word
    • relies on interpreting a key term two different ways
    • equivocates with respect to a central concept
    • allows a key term to shit in meaning from one use to the next
    • fails to define the term
  • Source Argument(ad hominem): attacks the source(relating to a person, motives or actions) instead of the argument
makes an attack on the character of opponents
it is directed against the proponent of a claim rather than against the claim itself
directs his criticism against the person making the argument rather than directing it against the argument itself
it draws conclusions about the merit of a position and about the content of that position from evidence about the position's source
assuming that a claim is false on the grounds that the person defending it is of questionable character
  • Circular Reasoning: assumes as true what is supposed to be proved; premise and conclusion are identical in meaning
it assumes what it seeks to establish
argues circularly by assuming the conclusion is true in stating the premises
presupposes the truth of what it sets out to prove
the argument assumes what it is attempting to demonstrate
it takes for granted the very claim that it sets out to establish
it offers, in place of support for its conclusion, a mere restatement of that conclusion
taking the nonexistence of something as evidence that a necessary precondition for that thing also did not exist (mistaken negation)
mistakes being sufficient to justify punishment for being required to justify it (mistaken reversal)
it treats something that is necessary for brining about a state of affairs as something that is sufficient to bring about a state of affairs (confuses a necessary condition for a sufficient condition)
from the assertion that something is necessary to a moral order, the argument concludes that that thing is sufficient for an element of the moral order to be realized
confuses a sufficient condition with a required condition (confuses a sufficient condition for a necessary condition)
  • Mistaken Cause and Effect: assuming a causal relationship on the basis of the sequence of events, or when only a correlation exists; failure to consider an alternate cause for the effect, or that the events may be reversed
1. Assuming a causal relationship on the basis of the sequence of events
mistakes the observation that one thing happens after another for proof that the second thing is the result of the first
mistakes a temporal relationship with a causal relationship
2. Assuming a causal relationship when only a correlation exists
confusing the coincidence of two events with a causal relation between the two
assumes a causal relationship where only a correlation has been indicated
3. Failure to consider an alternate cause for the effect, or an alternate cause for both the cause and the effect.
fails to exclude an alternative explanation for the observed effect
overlooks the possibility that the same thing may causally contribute both to education and to good health
4. Failure to consider that the events may be reversed
the author mistakes an effect for a cause
  • Straw Man: ignoring the actual statements made by the opposing speaker and instead distorts and refashions the argument, making it weaker in the process introducing extreme cases or generalizing
refutes a distorted version of an opposing position
misdescribing the student representative's position, thereby making it easier to challenge
portrays opponents' views as more extreme than they really are
distorts the proposal advocated by opponents
  • Lack of Relevant Evidence for the Conclusion: fail to provide any information to support conclusion or provide irrelevant information
the author cites irrelevant data
draws a conclusion that is broader in scope than is warranted by the evidence advanced
it uses irrelevant facts to justify a claim about the quality of the disputed product
it fails to give any reason for the judgment it reaches
it introduces information unrelated to its conclusion as evidence in support of that conclusion
  • Internal Contradiction: conflicting statements
bases a conclusion on claims that are inconsistent with each other
the author makes incompatible assumption
introduce information that actually contradicts the conclusion
offers in support of its conclusion pieces of evidence that are mutually contradictory
some of the evidence presented in support of the conclusion is inconsistent with other evidence provided
assumes something that it later denies, resulting in a contradiction
  • Appeal to Authority using opinion of an authority to persuade the reader
the judgment of experts is applied to a matter in which their expertise is irrelevant
the argument inappropriately appeals to the authority of the mayor
it relies on the judgment of experts in a matter to which their expertise is irrelevant
accepts a claim on mere authority, without requiring sufficient justification
  • Appeal to Popular Opinion/Numbers position is true because the majority believe it to be true
it treats popular opinion as if it constituted conclusive evidence for a claim
attempts to discredit legislation by appealing to public sentiment
a claim is inferred to be false merely because a majority of people believe it to be false
the argument, instead of providing adequate reason in support of its conclusion, makes an appeal to popular opinion
  • Appeal to Emotion
attempts to persuade by making an emotional appeal
uses emotive language in labeling the proposals
the argument appeals to emotion rather than reason
  • Survey Errors: biased sample, improperly constructed survey questions, inaccurate responses given
uses evidence drawn from a sample that may well be unrepresentative (possibilities for inaccurate responses)
generalizes from an unrepresentative sample (biased sample)
states a generalization based on a selection that is not representative of the group about which the generalization is supposed to hold true
  • Exceptional Case/Overgeneralization: general conclusion from a few instances(induction)
supports a universal claim on the basis of a single example
the argument generalizes from too small a sample of cases
too general a conclusion is made about investing on the basis of a single experiment
bases a general claim on a few exceptional instances
  • Errors of Composition and Division: judgments(induction/deduction) made about groups
assuming that because something is true of each of the parts of a whole it is true of the whole itself (induction: attributes a characteristic of part of the group to the group as a whole)
improperly infers that each and every scientist has a certain characteristic from the premise that most scientists have that characteristic
takes the view of one lawyer to represent the views of all lawyers
presumes, without providing justification, that what is true of a whole must also be true of its constituent parts (deduction: attributes a characteristic of the whole to a part of the group)
  • False Analogy: use of an analogy that is too dissimilar to the original situation to be applicable
treats as similar two cases that are different in a critical respect
treats two kinds of things that differ in important respects as if they do not differ
  • False Dilemma: assumes that only two courses of action are available when there may be others (false dichotomy)
fails to consider that some students may be neither fascinated by nor completely indifferent to the subject being taught
treats failure to prove a claim as constituting denial of that claim (lack of evidence for => false)
taking a lack of evidence for a claim as evidence undermining that claim
treating the failure to establish that a certain claim is false as equivalent to a demonstration that the claim is true (lack of evidence against => true)
it confuses undermining an argument in support of a given conclusion with showing that the conclusion itself is false (some evidence against => false)
the argument takes evidence showing merely that its conclusion could be true to constitute evidence showing that the conclusion is in fact true (some evidence for => true)
  • Time Shirt Errors: assuming that conditions will remain constant over time
treats a claim about what is currently the case as if it were a claim about what has been the case for an extended period
uncritically draws an inference from what has been true in the past to what will be true in the future
  • Numbers and Percentage Errors: confuses quantity information with percentage represented
the argument confuses the percentage of the budget spent on a program with the overall amount spent on that program

Parallel Reasoning

Identify the answer choice that contains reasoning most similar in structure to the reasoning in the stimulus time consuming

  • Topic and order of premise&conclusion presentation need not be paralleled
  1. Method of Reasoning: parallel the type of reasoning e.g. causal or conditional reasoning
  2. Conclusion:
  3. Premises
  4. Validity of the Argument: valid or invalid
  5. If all else fails, create a short statement that summarizes he action in the argument; take the abstraction and compare

Numbers and Percentages

Not to assume correlations between numbers and percentages

  • Numerical terms: amount, quantity, sum, total, count, tally
  • Percentage terms: percent, proportion, fraction, ratio, incidence, likelihood, probability, segment, share

Evaluate the Argument

Consider a question that would best help determine the logical validity of the argument

  • Variance test: supplying two polar opposite responses to the questions posed in the answer choice and then analyzing how the varying responses affect the conclusion. If different responses produce different effects on the conclusion, the answer choice is correct.

Cannot Be True

Polar opposite of Must be true, reverse of Weaken

  • contradicts numbers and percentage figures in which certain outcomes must occur
  • Sufficient condition occurs, but necessary condition does not occur

Point at Issue

Identify a statement that two speakers would disagree

  1. Ethical versus Factual situations
  2. Dual agreement or dual disagreement
  3. The view of one speaker is unknown
  • Agree/Disagree Test: The correct answer must produce responses where one speaker agrees and the other speaker disagrees.


A broad rule is taken from a principle, and applied to specific situations

Reading Comprehension

  • Search for passages with interesting or appealing subject matter
  • Choose the passage with the greatest number of questions
  • Read at normal reading speed
  • Primary goals while reading:
    • find the main point of the passage - usually the final sentence of the 1st ¶ or the first sentence of the 2nd ¶
    • identify underlying logical structure help quickly find information when answering the questions
    • note where the author makes a major point or changes the course of argument
    • getting involved in the argument to better focus more clearly on the material

Question types

  • Must Be True types
    • Main point/Primary purpose: describe why the author wrote the passage
    • Passage organization: characteristic of the overall structure of the passage
    • Author's perspective and tone: author's views or attitude toward a subject
    • Function: reasons behind the author's use of particular words, phrases, or ideas
    • Specific reference: begin reading about 5 lines above the reference
  • Strengthen/Weaken
  • Parallel Reasoning: finding the scenario most analogous to an action in the passage

Passage features

  • Strong purpose or main point
  • Difficult words, phrases, or concepts focus on the underline meaning in order to understand the big picture
  • Enumerations/Lists identify several reasons given to explain the decision made
  • Authoritative references function and application of the citation to specific authorities
  • Dates and numbers help mark the chronology of the passage
  • Mixed references relevant information for answering the question is usually found elsewhere in the passage where that same topic or phrase was discussed
  • Competing perspectives pay attention to details and who is supporting each view
  • Definitions make a notation; understanding of that definition
  • Initial information many questions are about information presented in the first five lines of passage

Kaplan method

taken from a thread at forums

Thanks guys. I certianly have an RC strategy. It is the "Kaplan method" (whatever the hell that means) with some tweaks.


I have NOT updated the below with changes to the new reading comp section that will be introduced in June. After I have worked with the new problem type I will add to this post. One thing to remember is that the change is not that big of a deal:

  1. Only 1 RC passage is being changed... the other 3 will remain the same.
  2. You are still executing the same skills (need to read and take notes)
  3. The new action simply involves comparing the two passages... which is something you learn to do in the LR section anyway. Yes, there will be a couple of tricks to maximize your score, but it as not as though 3 parts of the new RC section involve old-style passages and 1 part involves designing a working rocket engine.

Hi. This is the fourth or fifth time I have seen someone completely clueless on reading comp on one of these pre-law boards and I have posted the below a couple of times to help.

I spent some time writing out the below for other threads and thought I would add it here as well. I posted this back in July. Reading Comp should not be difficult is you have the right strategy for it. Most students (as in 90% of them) use the "read for detail" technique for reading comp. This is, of course, utterly retarded. Do lawyers memorize everything they need to know for a case they are working on? Hell no! They take notes which they use to reference the critical pieces of information.

NOTE FOR DOUBTERS: This is the BEST approach for reading comp. It works. Well. Please read everything I wrote before you pound out some half-assed retarded response along the lines of "I never took notes and got a 160! Your approach is dumb!11!eLEVenty!!ONE!!!" I did pretty damn well on this test and only missed 1 question in reading comp (which I am pissed about). Treating reading comp like the games WORKS (and I got 100% on the games... why does that matter? It doesn't, I just like telling you). You just need to practice it.

So, what follows is my approach to reading comp. It allowed me to finish the section on the June test with a good 4 minutes to spare. I rarely missed more than 1 question on the practice tests and only missed one on the real thing (so it was not a fluke).

The reading comp CAN be approached much like the games: you need a format to use for each game and a structure to refer back to as you answer the questions. The whole trick is NOT to have to reread the whole passage each time you tackle a question. You want easy references that allow you to find critical pieces of information quickly. The trick is that the approach I use will save me between 10-20 seconds per question. If you multiply that over 26 questions, suddenly I am saving myself ALOT of time. And frankly, time is the whole trick to the passages.

You will find that each passage will cover 4-6 main points. This may occur in 5 paragraphs or 2, but as long as you identify AND HAVE A REFERENCE TAB/MARKs for certian key pieces of information it will not matter how dense the passage is.

You will use 2 main techniques to create references for yourself: (1) actually writing out the main idea of each paragraph and of the passage itself in the margin. This should consist of just shorthand notation. You will be surprised how many questions are quickly and easily answered by these notes ("what is the author saying in paragraph 2?"). It will also help you immediately zero in on specific paragraphs for detail questions. If you noted that paragraph 3 gives 2 examples disproving "certian critics" then if you get a question asking about types of examples used by the author you immediately know where to go.

In dense passages (with 2 or 3 paragraphs) look for natural topic shifts within the paragraphs. I guarantee they are there. Once you find them CREATE YOUR OWN NEW PARAGRAPH by just writing the point of the next section of the paragraph in the margin and putting a bracket in the text. Suddenly that rough 2 paragraph passage is now a much more manageable 4 paragraphs. And, since the dense ones turn out to often have easier content, it is now cake.

(2) Underlining and boxing. I put BOXES around all terms which have definitions and all names. That way, when a term or a certian person's view/background comes up in a question I do not have to hunt the paragraph for the definition. My eye goes to the boxes. I UNDERLINE all phrases that I think might be relevant later on. This includes paragraph and passage thesis statements as well as the author's viewpoint, among others. What I underline is based on my experience taking practice tests and figuring out what I will most likely be asked later.

One danger with both of the above is doing too much marking. If you do too much, the markings become worthless, so you will need to practice balancing having the right amount of reference notes/marks.

By doing the above I not only have handy references for myself, but I also find that I flat out RETAIN the knowledge in the passage much more easily. You become an active reader and suddenly you are able to answer questions without even looking at the passage (sometimes... and be careful with that). Most people have the attention span of 3rd graders. Yes, this includes you. By forcing yourself to be an active participant in the passage, you end up actually reading and comprehending the text instead of just letting your eyes wander over the words.

Practice making notes/marks for each of the following you will be fine:

  1. Main point of the passage (usually covered in the first paragraph). I actually write out a 3-5 word/symbol summary next to the text. For example, "16th legal reform=bad for women" or something along those lines. Practice identifying the thesis statement.
  2. Main point of each paragraph. Same as 1. If you split a paragraph up into smaller paragraphs, you should summarize the points of both of these little paragraphs ("formalists' view" and "pro-RTT view" to take an example from one of the old tests)
  3. Boxing all names and terms. There is almost ALWAYS an explanation of the person/term right after it. Now you can just find your boxed name and read the explanation that follows for certian questions.
  4. Underlining key points/evidence. This just takes practice. Over time you will figure out what is key and what is not. In the beginning, if it seems important underline it. As you take practice tests you will refine your approach and underline less.
  5. If, at any time, the passage tells you what the author thinks (sometimes it will do it in a sneaky manner) WRITE IT IN THE MARGIN. Most passages will have a question asking about the author's opinion. You just gained yourself a free point.
  6. Look for keywords and cues. When the passage says "some critics argue..." you KNOW the passage will post evidence against them 2 sentences later. Watch for it. UNDERLINE the "some". There are tons of these key words and I do not have the space to delve into them in detail.

Finally, in addition to the above, you have to be a fast and competent reader who can read for content. The above will help, but nothing is better than just doing tons of reading passages over and over (use the above techniques when you practice... you will need the above skills anyway as an attorney so you might as well learn them now). You need to learn to read quickly and to understand the stuff quickly. If you were in the brown reading group in 2nd grade, thought reading books and writing papers was for "dorks" in high school, graduated from some shit-hole college (anything with the word "state" in the title, for example) or any combination of the previous, you will have a difficult time with the LSAT. All I can say is work on it.

Mastering the above is the formula for top performance on reading comp. It amazes me that some test prep programs don't teach this approach to reading comp. Reading comp should be just as easy as logic games after mastering the technique. I saw both of those sections as "gimme" sections.

Logical Reasoning, on the other hand is a completely different story.... that is about 10-12 different approaches you just have to learn through practice... I will also say that mastering logical reasoing, since it is MORE THAN HALF of the test is REALLY the key to a top score. If you can average only 2 wrong on each logical reasoning section, you are totally set.

I hope the above helps. Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions. Good luck.

One last point: if you are going to prepare for the LSAT, DO IT. That means, you need to spend AT LEAST 1 hour per day studying and should invest about 15-20 hours per week. This is assuming you are working a full time job. If you are a college student, then the summer of your junior year whould be devoted to LSAT 40 hours per week. This is THE most important criteria for admission. Do not **** this up. No amount of "I was the rush-leader for my sorority" extra-curriculars will overcome a bad score.

Test-taking Strategy

  • Time management
    • LR: limit time constraint to a minute per question, skip about 5 on the way and return at -10 min., reach end of the section by 25 min. mark
    • RC: 7799, spend 3 minutes on passages, 30 sec. per question
    • LG: 7 minutes per game
  • Build up Accuracy -> Speed -> Endurance
  • Shortfalls: active reading, inference, reading speed, concentration deterioration
  • Resolution: Study argumentation theory, informal logic, daily dense reading.

LSAT Vocabulary List

December 2000 RC section

  • commensurate relative, compatible
  • salutary healthy
  • delineate to frame, sketch
  • espouse to accept, conform
  • hindrance obstacle
  • permafrost layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year
  • irrationality not logical
  • proscription forbidden
  • morass muddy ground, (fig.) complicated, confused situation
  • protract to prolong, extend
  • concede to admit truth or validity
  • proviso condition attached to an argument
  • demote to give a lower rank or lower position
  • presumption taking to be true, adopting a particular attitude toward an argument
  • entail to settle inheritance of ownership

SuperPrepA RC section

  • ascribe to attribute or think of as belonging, as a quality or characteristic
  • avant-garde people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics advance guard
  • grandiose more complicated or elaborate than necessary
  • ostensible apparent, evident, or conspicuous
  • perfunctory performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial
  • pragmatic pertaining to a practical point of view
  • promulgate to make known by open declaration; publish
  • secular not pertaining to or connected with religion

SuperPrepB RC section

  • advent a coming into place, view, or being; arrival
  • cannibalism the eating of human flesh by another human being
  • dazzle to impress deeply; astonish with delight
  • endevour to engulf or swallow up
  • maneuver to manipulate or manage with skill or adroitness; a movement, often one performed with difficulty
  • mysid any member of the malacostracan order mysidacea
  • implicit implied, rather than expressly stated; unquestioning or unreserved; absolute
  • paucity smallness of quantity; scarcity; scantiness
  • preternatural out of the ordinary course of nature
  • refute to prove to be false or erroneous
  • retribution requital(return or retaliation) according to merits or deserts
  • surreal having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic
  • surreptious obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized
  • transient lasting only a short time; existing briefly; temporary

SuperPrepC RC section

  • torpor state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy
  • physiology regarding normal functions of living organisms
  • juvenile relating to young people
  • delinquency minor crime, especially that committed by young people
  • rehabilitate restore to normal life by therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness
  • incarceration imprisonment
  • inflict to cause to be suffered by someone
  • acidity bitterness of a person's remark
  • chauvinism exaggerated patriotism
  • undergird to secure from the underside
  • blunt to make less sharp
  • inimical tending to obstruct or harm
  • scavenge to collect from discarded waste

October 2002 LR section

  • regimen regulated course; manner of living intended to preserve or restore health or to attain some result
  • inadvertently unintentional
  • herbivorous
  • supersede to replace in power, authority; to succeed to the position
  • viable workable
  • susceptibility tendency to be emotionally affected
  • propensity a natural inclination or tendency
  • stopgap something that fills the place of something else that is lacking; temporary substitute
  • intrinsically belonging to a thing by its very nature
  • irrigation the artificial application of water to land to assist in the production of crops
  • irradiate to shed rays of light upon; illuminate; to brighten
  • dwelling residence
  • exacerbate to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of
  • oppressive burdensome, unjustly harsh, or tyrannical
  • despotism absolute power or control; tyranny
  • oligarchy a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few
  • ingestion to take into the body
  • limb a part of an animal body distinct from the head and trunk, such as a leg, arm, or wing
  • gill the respiratory organ of aquatic animals
  • vignette a small, graceful literary sketch
  • discern to perceive by the sight or intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend

October 2002 RC section

  • History - Burning Practice by Native Americans
    • sporadically appearing or happening at irregular intervals in time
    • meadow a tract of grassland used for pasture(for feeding livestock)
    • herbaceous pertaining to a herb; not woody
    • charcoal carbonaceous material obtained by heating wood
    • populous heavily populated
    • succession the coming of one after another in order or sequence
  • Law - Intellectual versus Institutional Autority
    • coercion use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance
    • convention an agreement, compact
    • withstand to stand or hold out against; resist
    • imprimatur an official license to print or publish a book; sanction or approval
    • consensus general agreement or concord
    • rectify to set right; remedy
    • arbiter a person who has the sole/absolute power of judging or determining
    • invariably static or constant
  • Humanity - Historical Sociology
    • contingency dependence on chance or on the fulfillment of a condition
    • accidental happening by chance
    • manifold of many kinds
    • remit to transmit; to refrain from inflicting or enforcing
    • conception a notion; idea
  • Ethics - Narrative Literature for Medical Students
    • multifarious having many different parts; numerous and varied
    • relinquish to renounce or surrender; to give up
    • dogmatical asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner
    • remedy legal redress; the legal means of enforcing a right or redressing a wrong
    • pitfall any trap or danger for the unwary
    • ascribe to attribute or think of as belonging
    • explicit fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated
    • implicit implied, rather than expressly stated

October 1996 RC section

  • Music - Miles Davis in Jazz Music
    • spawn to give birth to
    • deplore to express grief; to censure
    • bebop a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and improvisation based on harmonic structure rather than melody
    • acoustic pertaining to the sense or organs of hearing, to sound
    • impromptu made or done without previous preparation
    • ensemble all the parts of a thing taken together, so that each part is considered only in relation to the whole
    • seedbed land prepared for seeding
    • consternation feeling of anxiety or fear
    • polemic a controversial argument
    • sporadic appearing or happening at irregular intervals in time; occasional
    • versatility capable of many uses; adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields
    • grudging to give or permit with reluctance
    • commendation recommendation; praise
  • Law - Medieval canon lawyers
    • fervor great warmth and earnestness of feeling
    • erring going astray; in error; wrong
    • hobble to impede; hamper the progress of
    • scrupulously punctiliously or minutely careful, precise, or exact
    • delinquent failing in or neglectful of a duty or obligation; guilty
    • personnel a body of persons employed in an organization
    • prescription a long or immemorial use of some right with respect to a thing so as to give a right to continue such use
    • solidarity union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests
    • induce to lead or move by persuasion or influence
    • wayward turning away from what is right or proper; willful; disobedient
    • rebut to refute by evidence or argument
  • Science - Status signaling hypothesis
    • plumage the entire feathery covering of a bird
    • obviate to remove or make it unnecessary
    • titmouse tits, chickadees, and titmice comprise Paridae, a large family of small passerine birds
    • ingenious characterized by cleverness
  • History - Mayan archaeological record
    • refugee a person who flees for refuge or safety
    • impoverish to reduce to poverty
    • edificeany large, complex system or organization
    • daringly adventurous courage; boldness

December 1996 LR section

  • resort to have recourse for use, help, or accomplishing something
  • scant barely sufficient in amount or quantity
  • mudslinging to accuse opponent by making insulting, unfair, and damaging remarks about
  • exacerbate to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of; aggravate
  • avert to turn away or aside
  • erosion worn away by the action of water, wind, etc.
  • remunerated to pay, recompense, or reward for work, trouble, etc
  • plaintiff the party who initiates a lawsuit before a court, seeking a legal remedy
  • deceptive apt to deceive
  • surefootedness not likely to stumble, slip, or fall
  • narcotic any of a class of substances that blunt the senses
  • aerate to expose to the action or effect of air
  • luminosity the quality of being intellectually brilliant
  • municipal pertaining to a town or city
  • haloes a spherical cloud of gas clusters and stars that form part of a spiral galaxy
  • pigment a dry insoluble substance, usually pulverized, which when suspended in a liquid vehicle becomes a paint, ink
  • discretionary subject or left to one's own discretion
  • acquit to relieve from a charge of fault or crime
  • imperative absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable
  • repeal to revoke or withdraw formally or officially
  • expertise authenticity or value of a work of art
  • ameliorate to alleviate; to make it better or easier

December 1996 RC section

  • Musicology - Pianoforte school in London
    • formidable causing fear, apprehension, or dread; difficulty
    • repertory a type of theatrical presentation in which a company presents several works regularly
    • elude to avoid or escape by speed, cleverness, trickery, etc.; evade
    • facsimile an exact copy, as of a book, painting, or manuscript
    • propound to put forward, suggest
    • circumscribe to draw a line around; encircle; define
    • coherency logical interconnection; overall sense or understandability; consistency
  • Law - Definition of Nature of Law
    • jurisprudence a theory and philosophy of law
    • interdisciplinary combining or involving two or more academic disciplines or fields of study
    • arcane secret or mysterious
    • ostensibly outwardly appearing as such; professed; apparent, evident, or conspicuous
    • perpetuate to preserve from extinction or oblivion; to make it everlasting
    • devise to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas
    • divergent differing; deviating
    • discount to allow for exaggeration in
  • Science - Origin of oil reserves
    • biogenic necessary for the life process
    • sediment the matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid
    • promulgate to make known by open declaration; publish
    • intermittent stopping or ceasing for a time
    • mantle the portion of the earth, about 1800 mi. (2900 km) thick, between the crust and the core
    • countervailing counteract
    • granite a coarse-grained igneous rock composed chiefly of orthoclase and albite feldspars and of quartz
  • Sociology - Southeastern Asian immigrants in United States
    • demoralize to deprive of spirit, courage, discipline, etc
    • underpin to strengthen; to furnish a foundation for; corroborate
    • bureaucratic the structure and set of regulations in place to control activity
    • facilitate to make easier or less difficult

PrepTest 19 RC

  • patina a green or brown film on the surface of bronze after long oxidation
  • culpability deserving blame
  • fastidious concerned about accuracy and detail
  • desecration treat with violent disrespect
  • disinterment dig up
  • appellate dealing with applications for decisions to be reversed
  • relinquish voluntary cease to claim
  • despoliation steal or violently remove valuable possessions from; plunder
  • interment burial of a corpse in a grave
  • disparateessentially different in kind
  • eschew deliberately avoid using; abstain from
  • Draconian (of laws) excessively harsh and severe
  • vagrancy of a person without a settled home or regular work
  • vindicate clear of blame or suspicion

Preparation Materials

  • AP English: Language & CompositionLiterature

Personal Statement

"Dignity, always dignity." This my favorite movie quote would best capture how my autobiography begins and its overall theme. This is not to be arrogant or boastful, rather to emphasize my own respect towards myself. It also reminds me to keep singing even in the midst of overloading life challenges. While each person holds unique value in their lives, indeed we all live in the same world, governed by the shared principles and standards. Yet, it is the need to protect dignity, which drives me to push ahead to prove myself to the social expectations.

[Turning Point] This belief has not been around me for long yet. I was never a good student academically, nor I believed in own idealization comes to reality. Early in college years, I was astonished of engineering majors for their ability to manage such heavy loads of sophisticated classes, occasionally dreamed of myself becoming one amongst them. But things never go easy on the first attempt. With a semester remaining before the Junior year, taking few engineering classes on side resulted me both an academic probation standing and failure to meet the curriculum requirement for Accountancy major. The whole world insisted about time to withdraw my fancy dreams and accept the reality. One day, my advisor called me over, “Why are you wasting time when you at least have what many others are desperate for? It is now clear that you will never make it to Engineering. Make your decision carefully, not to lose what you have,” she asserted. I asked myself, “Should I back down and accept the way things are, or take a challenge to prove myself worthy? The answer was "All In" for the challenge, in order to prove myself competent and to be recognized in social standards.

[Subsequent outcomes] Following two splendid, subsequent semesters, status as an engineering student came with full prestige and confidence. Much more opportunities became available as for me to make a choice. My grown confidence had bolstered my leadership which lead to successful seasons for intramural soccer team, and such composure regain allowed me to broaden spectrum by undertaking two study abroad sessions in Europe. After succession of academic rush, once my dream, of developing a cellular device at a global market company, also had become part of my career, with no more burden for further progression.

[Solidification and Expansion] However, I was still in doubt of which all those serial successes came as consequences of luck, rather than direct outcome of my skills and efforts. I felt that I had came all along a little too quick, that there must be some inadequate parts I need to rebuild for stability in my competency. So, I started with solidification of basic knowledge, including going back to SAT vocabularies, learning Latin for better understanding of roots, and other subject areas in my weakest link. Surprisingly, such course of action led to me becoming a part-time instructor, which ended up overturned another of my weak point, speech communication. On top of all that, with realization of time constraint put forth by various activities and professional duties, I have became a master of of my own time management and dedicated strongly to daily routines for self-improvement. Soon, without me noticing, the process of filling up the holes turned into expansion phase. My area of expertise had began and still continuously expanding to financial analysis, web design, music performance, and soon, jurisprudence will be the next.

[Rationale] But, stop and question, what do all these boasts about progression and expansion lead to? The rationale behind these again brings back to the word, dignity. I am constantly reminded by myself of a sense of duty to continue to progress in order to aspire, not simply because of my narcism. Coming along this far, now there are many others, inspired by my delayed devotion to life and those who take great interest in observing my progress. Moreover, sense of duty as a role model grows with time, to whom amongst is my little nephew who constantly shouts "To infinity and beyond!" I have far more to achieve in upcoming years and countless pages I would like to add to in my biography, and the law school will be an important step and challenge I feel destined to pass through. For sake of dignity and enlightenment.

Document access


For semesters of Spring 2002 and Fall 2004, I was placed on academic probation. Not only was this due to lack of dedication of both time and efforts, but also came from lack of consideration on the amount of class work I can handle. First of the probations was a well-deserving one indeed since I had not been dedicated to my academic credentials. Plus, while classes had gotten considerably harder as compared to the previous semester, both in terms of difficulty and work load amount, I have failed to act upon appropriate action to adjust to the higher level of dedication. Similarly with the second probation, though moderate in terms of class load weight, concurrent preparation for a graduate school, which resulted from my late decision to pursue a master's degree, brought another hectic semester for me then. From these incidents, I have learned to plan ahead time and resource allocation wisely, which in turn enabled me to excel in routinely planning and time management.

Yale 250-word writing sample rationale Has there been an adage that everyday is a practice? Well, the world of life is always comprised of contradictions. and this is no exception. For the extent that no time machine has developed just yet, each day cannot be repeated nor forseen ahead of time, people should rather live each day if it were part of the real performance. Then what to do in order to meet necessary conditions for fabulous performance and practical preparation? Unfortunately, they will just have to be carried out simultaneously. There had been a time when I asked myself a similar question of how to effectively seize both, the solution I came up with was to provide myself a mechanism to record each day and have it readily available to any possible uses.

This site would be my another turning point which empowers me with refined directives and consistent maintenance. While I view myself in the early stage of career development and self-re-investment, I will continue on building up whatever I can because I believe knowledge and experience are priceless. This happens to be still in on-going process in the present.

The fact that we are now living in the era of high technology, namely internet-based, I decided that a website as a collective management system would be an ideal choice for easy access as well as being a reliable repository. In comparison of human brain to machine capability, while human brain can be superior in subjective decision making, one cannot deny that internet database, with vast amount of memory space, together they will better serve as a place for record retention and also provide faster lookup through well-organized memory structure. So, along with other plausible purposes, personal agenda keeping has contributed to the creation of a multi-functional web space Not only it serves as a mechanism for exposition of records retained from the past, it is also the present and the future.

Diversity statement

Thesis: pursue what is most preferred as a profession, and obligation to overcome obstacles in order to provide oneself the opportunities for fullest experience

  1. rational logic from engineering background
  2. performance involving artistic factor
  3. language arts as combined pursuit of both expertise
  • cross-competency arts and sciences
  • show uniqueness beyond cultural/professional diversity
  • wide range of credentials in engineering, music, education, finance, design


RankLaw SchoolDeadlineStatusLSAT mid.GPA mid.LSAT/GPASupplementary requirements
1Yale2/15Active169-1773.81-3.972.3250-word essay
3Stanford2/1#15 Statement of undergraduate dean168-1723.76-3.942.01Addendum
5New York4/1169-1733.56-3.853.6
10Northwestern2/15166-1723.40-3.803.6Interview, background contribution, curriculum interest
13Cornell2/1166-1683.24-3.844.06Diversity, reason for applying, person of influence, Dean's Certification form

Prep Test Scorekeeper

Date PrepTest LR (50) AR (23) RC (27) Raw score Scaled score Remark
2008 Sample (Jun. '07) 24 18 15 57 149 1st attempt
11/21 #52 (Oct. '07) 32 22 10 64 154 under strict time constraint
11/22 #53 (Dec. '07) 41 23 13 77 161 LR: -2, -7
11/29 #56 (Dec. '08) 31 22 13 66 155
12/3 #55 (Oct. '08) 26 21 10 57 148 full 5-section experimental setup
12/4 #57 (Jun. '09) 39 21 * 73 159
12/6 TARGET 47 23 24 94 174

LR Analysis by Qtype

PrepTest 54 51 32 33 34 Sp 35 W-4 52 53 36 37 38 41 42 W-2 56 43 44 45 55 57 ∑X
Inference(7) 2 4 3 2 1 2 3 17 5 1 2 4 4 3 5 24 3 2 3 3 1 53
Weaken/Strengthen(7) 2 3 3 2 2 5 3 20 4 3 1 1 2 4 2 17 4 4 3 4 4 56
Assumption(7) 3 2 3 2 2 2 2 16 2 0 3 2 2 4 4 17 4 1 2 4 2 46
Flaw(9) 3 7 4 3 1 4 4 26 1 1 1 1 0 3 3 10 2 1 2 1 3 45
Method(4) 2 1 0 2 2 1 4 12 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 10 1 0 3 3 0 43
Main point(2) - - - - - - 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 1 2 1 1 0
Pt.@issue(2) - - - - - - 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 3 1 1 1 0 0
Principle(6) 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 10 3 1 2 3 0 2 3 14 3 1 1 4 1 60
Parallel(3) 1 1 0 1 2 1 1 7 2 1 2 1 2 3 3 14 0 0 1 3 1
Paradox(3) 1 0 2 1 0 1 1 6 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 9 1 2 2 1 0 21
LR TOTAL(50) 16 19 16 15 12 17 21 115 18 9 15 14 14 22 28 120 20 14 19 24 12 324