While law schools are steadily becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, they remain overwhelmingly upper-middle class. Only 5 percent of students at elite law schools come from families that fall in the bottom half of the socioeconomic spectrum—a number that has hardly changed since the 1960s. The Logic Games section contributes to this lack of socioeconomic diversity. If you can’t afford to adequately prepare, it’s a lot harder to earn the LSAT score you need to get into a Top 14 school. The vast majority—180—of the 200 accredited U.S. law schools can’t find jobs for 80 percent of their graduates. That means that a low score on Logic Games might stop you from becoming a lawyer.
The Logic Games section is different from all other sections on the most popular standardized tests—the MCAT, GRE, GMAT, and SAT—because it’s unlike anything students learn in high school or college. The section relies heavily on formal logic, a concept rarely taught outside of high-level college mathematics or philosophy courses.
“Students have this terrifying realization that every rule they read on the Logic Games section can be turned into an equation with variables,” said David Drew, an LSAT tutor and founder of the test-prep company, Zen LSAT. “People are scared by that concept because they’ve never learned it before.”
Most students who apply to law school were social-science or humanities majors in college. Many aren’t comfortable with numbers. But even math and science majors struggle with Logic Games.
“I was a biology major. In college, I took three calculus classes, two physics classes, and six chemistry classes,” said Laurel Kandianis, a first-year law student at Temple Law School. “And still, when I got to the Logic Games section on the test, I completely blanked. I guessed on 11 of the questions and canceled my score.”
LSAT test developers include the Logic Games section to test a student’s analytical reasoning skills—the ability to understand and organize a group of conditions and rules, and make deductions based on that information. In the most recent examination of LSAT content by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), evaluators concluded that these kinds of skills are crucial to determining how successful a student will be in law school.
“The reasoning skills assessed in the [Logic Games] section parallel those involved in the kind of legal reasoning that is used in law school. Law school curriculum is designed to inculcate those skills that are essential to the profession of law. Therefore, we have good reason to believe these critical reasoning skills are important to the practice of law,” said Lily Knezevich, the senior director of test development at LSAC, in an email.
Logic Games are teachable because of their novelty. Law-school applicants typically have a lot of experience with the kinds of questions included on the other two sections of the LSAT. Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning rely on skills that humanities majors have been using throughout college: analyzing text and breaking down arguments. By the time they get through undergrad, most law-school applicants have in theory already developed these skills—they’re either good at those things, or they’re not. As a result, even after months of studying, scores on these sections rarely go up more than a couple of points. But the Logic Games section requires a completely new set of skills. And if an applicant can learn those skills, she can master the section.