Analytical Reasoning Questions in LSAT
Analytical reasoning items are designed to measure your ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw logical conclusions about the structure. You are asked to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions that describe relationships among entities such as persons, places, things, or events. They simulate the kinds of detailed analyses of relationships that a law student must perform in solving legal problems. For example, a passage might describe four diplomats sitting around a table, following certain rules of protocol as to who can sit where. You must answer questions about the implications of the given information, for example, who is sitting between diplomats X and Y.
The passage used for each group of questions describes a common relationship such as the following:
- Assignment: Two parents, P and O, and their children, R and S, must go to the dentist on four consecutive days, designated 1, 2, 3, and 4;
- Ordering: X arrived before Y but after Z;
- Grouping: A manager is trying to form a project team from seven staff members—R, S, T, U, V, W, and X. Each staff member has a particular strength—writing, planning, or facilitating;
- Spatial: A certain country contains six cities and each city is connected to at least one other city by a system of roads, some of which are one-way.
Careful reading and analysis are necessary to determine the exact nature of the relationships involved. Some relationships are fixed (e.g., P and R always sit at the same table). Other relationships are variable (e.g., Q must be assigned to either table 1 or table 3). Some relationships that are not stated in the conditions are implied by and can be deduced from those that are stated (e.g., if one condition about books on a shelf specifies that Book L is to the left of Book Y, and another specifies that Book P is to the left of Book L, then it can be deduced that Book P is to the left of Book Y).
No formal training in logic is required to answer these questions correctly. Analytical reasoning questions are intended to be answered using knowledge, skills, and reasoning ability generally expected of college students and graduates.
Some people may prefer to answer first those questions about a passage that seem less difficult and then those that seem more difficult. In general, it is best not to start another passage before finishing one begun earlier, because much time can be lost in returning to a passage and reestablishing familiarity with its relationships. Do not assume that because the conditions for a set of questions look long or complicated, the questions based on those conditions will necessarily be especially difficult.
Reading the passage.
In reading the conditions, do not introduce unwarranted assumptions. For instance, in a set establishing relationships of height and weight among the members of a team, do not assume that a person who is taller than another person must weigh more than that person. All the information needed to answer each question is provided in the passage and the question itself.
The conditions are designed to be as clear as possible; do not interpret them as if they were intended to trick you.
For example, if a question asks how many people could be eligible to serve on a committee, consider only those people named in the passage unless directed otherwise. When in doubt, read the conditions in their most obvious sense. Remember, however, that the language in the conditions is intended to be read for precise meaning. It is essential to pay particular attention to words that describe or limit relationships, such as “only,” “exactly,” “never,” “always,” “must be,” “cannot be,” and the like.
The result of this careful reading will be a clear picture of the structure of the relationships involved, including the kinds of relationships permitted, the participants in the relationships, and the range of actions or attributes allowed by the relationships for these participants.
Questions are independent.
Each question should be considered separately from the other questions in its set; no information, except what is given in the original conditions, should be carried over from one question to another. In some cases, a question will simply ask for conclusions to be drawn from the conditions as originally given. Some questions may, however, add information to the original conditions or temporarily suspend one of the original conditions for the purpose of that question only. For example, if Question 1 adds the information “if P is sitting at table 2 …,” this information should NOT be carried over to any other question in the group.
Highlighting the text; using diagrams. Many people find it useful to underline key points in the passage and in each question. In addition, it may prove very helpful to draw a diagram to assist you in finding the solution to the problem.
In preparing for the test, you may wish to experiment with different types of diagrams. For a scheduling problem, a calendar-like diagram may be helpful. For a spatial relationship problem, a simple map can be a useful device.
Even though some people find diagrams to be very helpful, other people seldom use them. And among those who do regularly use diagrams in solving these problems, there is by no means universal agreement on which kind of diagram is best for which problem or in which cases a diagram is most useful. Do not be concerned if a particular problem in the test seems to be best approached without the use of a diagram.
Sample Analytical Reasoning Question
A cruise line is scheduling seven week-long voyages for the ship Azad. Each voyage will occur in exactly one of the first seven weeks of the season: weeks 1 through 7. Each voyage will be to exactly one of four destinations: Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, or Trinidad. Each destination will be scheduled for at least one of the weeks. The following conditions apply to Azad’s schedule:
Jamaica will not be its destination in week 4.
Trinidad will be its destination in week 7.
Azad will make exactly two voyages to Martinique,
and at least one voyage to Guadeloupe will occur in some week between those two voyages.
Guadeloupe will be its destination in the week preceding any voyage it makes to Jamaica.
No destination will be scheduled for consecutive weeks.
Which one of the following is an acceptable schedule of destinations for Azad, in order from week 1 through week 7?
(A) Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad
(B) Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Trinidad
(C) Jamaica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Trinidad
(D) Martinique, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad
Which one of the following CANNOT be true about Azad’s schedule of voyages?
(A) Azad makes a voyage to Trinidad in week 6.
(B) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 5.
(C) Azad makes a voyage to Jamaica in week 6.
(D) Azad makes a voyage to Jamaica in week 3.
If Azad makes a voyage to Trinidad in week 5, which one of the following could be true?
(A) Azad makes a voyage to Trinidad in week 1.
(B) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 2.
(C) Azad makes a voyage to Guadeloupe in week 3.
(D) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 4.
If Azad makes a voyage to Guadeloupe in week 1 and a voyage to Jamaica in week 5, which one of the following must be true?
(A) Azad makes a voyage to Jamaica in week 2.
(B) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 6.
(C) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 3.
(D) Azad makes a voyage to Guadeloupe in week 6.
If Azad makes a voyage to Guadeloupe in week 1 and to Trinidad in week 2, which one of the following must be true?
(A) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 3.
(B) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 4.
(C) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 5.
(D) Azad makes a voyage to Guadeloupe in week 3.
If Azad makes a voyage to Martinique in week 3, which one of the following could be an accurate list of Azad’s destinations in week 4 and week 5, respectively?
(A) Guadeloupe, Trinidad
(B) Jamaica, Guadeloupe
(C) Martinique, Trinidad
(D) Trinidad, Jamaica
Which one of the following must be true about Azad’s schedule of voyages?
(A) Azad makes a voyage to Guadeloupe either in week 1 or else in week 2.
(B) Azad makes a voyage to Martinique either in week 2 or else in week 3.
(C) Azad makes at most two voyages to Guadeloupe.
(D) Azad makes at most two voyages to Jamaica.
The LSAT is one of the most reputed law entrance exams. A number of colleges use the LSAT India scores for admission to their law schools in India. To ace the exam is no mean feat. The points given here, you must keep in mind while facing the Analytical Reasoning section of LSAT India. Best of luck for your exam!