LSAT Logical Reasoning Question Types: A New Approach

Just about everyone loves to suggest completing LSAT Logical Reasoning questions by question stem type.

I also recommend this, of course. I even tell you to work through Logical Reasoning questions this way in my LSAT study schedules.

There are two major reasons LSAT prep folks often recommend this:

1. You have to understand what the question is asking in order to solve it. Drilling by question-stem type can help you solidify your understanding of what sort of information the question asks.

2. It's easy to categorize questions by their question stem. You can do this without taking the time to read the stimulus.

A New Approach to Logical Reasoning Questions
I have another Logical Reasoning categorization system in mind - one that categorizes each stimulus by its method of reasoning, rather than by its question stem.

It would take like 10 bajillion hours to actually categorize all the Logical Reasoning questions like this, so I'm not going to. Sorry, guys.

However, I will discuss how to think about Logical Reasoning questions by focusing on the method of reasoning and the gap between evidence and conclusion.

Rather than thinking about the question-stem, let's focus on the stimulus itself. This allows us to engage with each question on a deeper level and make connections across these (somewhat) artificially-imposed categories.

By thinking about Logical Reasoning questions based upon the method of reasoning in the stimulus, you get a better understanding of the argument.

A Few Methods of Reasoning
For example, we could categorize many LR questions by the flaws or gaps exhibited in their stimuli.

Here are just a few:

Necessary/Sufficient Condition Confusion
Correlation/Causation Issues
Confusing a "Could" for a "Must"
Taking "absence of evidence" as "evidence of absence (of evidence)"

These sorts of issues don't just come up in flaw questions. They come up in several "types" of questions.

Altering Logical Reasoning Questions
To illustrate the fact that gaps are central to many types of questions, think about this:

Some stimuli can easily be transformed from one question-stem type into several others.

In other words, we can view the same stimulus and correct answer choice from a variety of perspectives.

By leaving the correct answer choice as is, by negating it, or by modifying it slightly, we can change the question stem and still have a perfectly valid LSAT question.

All we have to do is change the perspective from which we view it.

For example, we can easily transform Necessary Assumption questions into the following types of questions:

Must Be True, Cannot Be True, Flaw, Strengthen, Weaken, Evaluate the Argument, and Resolve the Paradox / Discrepancy

Read on to see me transform one real LSAT Necessary Assumption question into all of those other types:

LSAT Necessary Assumption Question: The Rattlesnake Folktale


  1. Hi Steve, This isn't related to this post, but I'm in the middle of preparing for this year's Sept/Oct LSAT, and I'd really love to get your thoughts on how to get faster at LSAT logic games. Untimed, I can solve them all with 100% accuracy...but some of the games take me 45 minutes! Any help would be really, really appreciated.

  2. I am following the logical reasoning bible, I am damn confused when it comes to the assumption type of questions..
    what should my target LR score be, if I want to score a 175? (LR being the weakest subject)

  3. Steve,
    This is good stuff, I agree, this is a much easier way to find the matrix of the stimulus. In all your research have you come across or do you know what the most common forms (other than mentioned above) of reasoning structures?