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It seems silly to think that you’d lose focus while reading an LSAT Logical Reasoning stimulus. I mean, they’re only a handful of sentences long, right? And it’s all part of the same idea, unlike Reading Comp, where they jump between viewpoints and sometimes add a paragraph of background just to confuse you.
But it still happens.
First off, you’re in good company. Not everyone can maintain laser-like focus, especially when dealing with arguments on a variety of topics, most of which you’ve never thought of before.
So what can you do to maintain focus on LSAT Logical Reasoning?
1. Read With Purpose
There are a few parts to this.
First, read the question stem first. This gives you something specific to read for, instead of reading and wondering if there’s a conclusion or not, and what’s important to answering the question.
Second, don’t feel bad about breaking up your “read” into multiple parts. For example, I read the argument quickly once to find the conclusion, and, now that I know what the author’s trying to prove, go back and fully understand the argument. Now, I have purpose for each step of my read of the stimulus.
2. Take a Breather from LSAT Logical Reasoning
It feels like there’s never enough time on the LSAT. And I want you to stop to take a breath?
In between each question, close your eyes and take a deep breath. It shouldn’t take more than two seconds, but it’s going to give your brain a chance to reset from the last question and focus on the new task. It punctuates the questions instead of letting them run together. That two seconds is shorter than the time it’ll take you to re-read once you realize you’re still thinking about the last question. Additionally, there are physiological benefits to taking that breath, preventing stress from building up.
3. Let It Go
(Yes, that links to a sing-along version of the Disney song. We’ll wait, but please send us a video of you singing it.)
You’re going to get a question wrong on LSAT Logical Reasoning. Or spend too long on a question. Or just get beat up by one.
It’s common to see streaks of wrong answers on the LSAT, and it mostly comes from tanking one question and being unable to let it go.
When you struggle with a question, take a bit of a longer break. 5–10 seconds. Deep breaths. Positive affirmations. Rehash your strategies. Heck, think of cookies and the beach. Whatever you need to do to let that last question go and get your head back in the game.
A lot of people feel their lack of focus is a weakness to be overcome—and maybe it is. But if you haven’t fixed it by now, you’re probably not going to be able to do it time for the test. I’m still trying to fix it, and I’ve been working with the LSAT for over a decade.
Instead, it’s probably better to find ways to regain focus when you feel it drifting, and to proactively set yourself up to minimize the amount that your focus drifts.
Practice the tips above, and your small investment of time during LSAT Logical Reasoning questions will save you a ton of wasted time throughout the section. ?
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Matt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor and jdMission Senior Consultant based in New York City. After receiving a degree in Biochemistry from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!