If you’re studying for the LSAT and would benefit from seeing a step-by-step demonstration of how questions from each section are answered, this guide has got you covered!
Understanding how to answer questions in all three sections of the LSAT can be daunting! Even if you’ve already started going through LSAT prep books, seeing worked examples of LSAT questions can be extremely helpful for learning effective tips and strategies to ace the LSAT!
In this guide, we will go over some real LSAT sample questions from past exams and show you how to tackle them!
Take our free LSAT Sample Question Pop Quiz to test your skills!
Let’s start with students’ least favorite section of the LSAT, analytical reasoning:
Here is the scenario:
Seven piano students—T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z—are to give a recital, and their instructor is deciding the order in which they will perform. Each student will play exactly one piece, a piano solo. In deciding the order of performance, the instructor must observe the following restrictions:
The first step for any analytical reasoning question is to draw a thorough diagram that considers all of the rules at play. This is an ordering setup, since you are asked to determine the order in which the piano students will play. Write all of your players out, and then set up the seven numbered placeholder slots they’ll be playing in.
Once you’ve made your placeholders, it’s time to draw out the rules to ensure you don’t forget them. Choose whichever symbols work best for you! The easiest way to represent “not rules,” like rules one and three, is to just write the characters’ initials with a strike through them under the spots they aren’t allowed in.
These “not rules” should look like this:
You should also link rules with the same players together, if possible. For instance, you can link the rule “W cannot play until X has played” with “Either Y or Z must play immediately after W plays” since they share the character W in common. By doing this, you create a chain of rules that will make solving the questions easier!
Putting blocks around characters is an easy way to indicate they must stay together. For rule five, since V can come either before or after U, an effective way to diagram this is to put these letters in a block and add an arrow indicating they can swap positions.
Your final diagram should look something like this:
Before you start looking at the questions, you should review all of your rules to see which inferences you can make. Based on the fact that many letters must follow after others, the easiest rules you can infer are more “not rules”:
Your “not rule” inferences should look like this:
Once you’ve made your inferences, you should quickly take stock of which positions are the most limited. For instance, only V, U, or Z can play seventh. You can either keep a mental note of this or put it on your diagram like so:
Now that you have your diagram, you can start answering the questions. Here’s a corresponding LSAT example question for the above scenario:
If V plays first, which one of the following must be true?
While it may seem time-consuming, you should always draw a new diagram for questions that introduce new conditions. Using your original diagram for each question will get confusing and cause you to make incorrect inferences.
Redraw the diagram and all the inferences you’ve made and add in the new condition that V must go first. You don’t have to redraw the rules now since you have them on the original diagram, and most of them are already incorporated into your diagram. Since V is first, you should only write U/Z in seventh place:
With V in place, you can make the following inferences:
At this point, you’ve already found what must be true if V is in first place; Z must be in seventh. Accordingly, answer C is correct.
LSAT test takers considered this question to be difficult. But, as you saw, it was easy to solve because we took the time to make inferences before looking at the questions.
Moving on to our next set of LSAT sample questions, here’s a logical reasoning question.
Before you read the upcoming passage, you should see what the question requires, so you know exactly what to look out for. This way, you won’t have to reread the passage and can save valuable time!
Here’s the LR passage and question:
Several critics have claimed that any contemporary poet who writes formal poetry—poetry that is rhymed and metered—is performing a politically conservative act. This is plainly false. Consider Molly Peacock and Marilyn Hacker, two contemporary poets whose poetry is almost exclusively formal and yet who are themselves politically progressive feminists.
The conclusion drawn above follows logically if which one of the following is assumed?
After reading the question and knowing you are trying to find an assumption that must be made, you should immediately look out for some form of gap in the argument.
Choose annotations that work best for you. In our worked example, we’ve bracketed the conclusion and have double-underlined the word “false” to emphasize the author’s opinion.
We’ve circled strong/weak language, “any” and “almost,” underlined important repeating words, and put a squiggly line under new information that is being used as evidence to prove the conclusion:
We’ve easily identified the new information in the argument that we can assume will lead to the gap. We can use a diagram to further investigate. We know contemporary poets (CP) that write formal poetry (F) are performing politically conservative acts (PCA) and can link these ideas together.
Next, we can compare our evidence to this conclusion. The author argues that two poets prove the critics’ theory wrong. We can follow our chain to better locate the gap.
Molly Peacock (MP) and Marilyn Hacker (MH) are contemporary poets (CP). Our first condition, CP, is satisfied. They also write formal poetry, so the F condition is also satisfied. However, then a new condition that they are politically progressive feminists (PPF) is added.
Here, we can see our gap because there is some form of assumption being made that indicates that these poets being politically progressive feminists means they are not performing politically conservative acts.
As such, we can make a realistic assumption that progressive feminists cannot perform politically conservative acts. This would bridge the gap in the author’s argument.
Answer C closely resembles our prediction and is thus the correct answer. In case you weren’t able to make this prediction or were unsure, you could also use the process of elimination to rule out each answer that doesn’t address the conclusion being drawn.
The final section of the LSAT is reading comprehension. Here’s how to answer these questions:
Reading comprehension passages are long, so you won’t have time to reread them. A common strategy students use is to first read all of the questions to know what to look out for before reading the passage.
Here’s our RC passage and question:
The painter Roy Lichtenstein helped to define pop art—the movement that incorporated commonplace objects and commercial-art techniques into paintings—by paraphrasing the style of comic books in his work.
His merger of a popular genre with the forms and intentions of fine art generated a complex result: while poking fun at the pretensions of the art world, Lichtenstein’s work also managed to convey a seriousness of theme that enabled it to transcend mere parody.
That Lichtenstein’s images were fine art was at first difficult to see, because, with their word balloons and highly stylized figures, they looked like nothing more than the comic book panels from which they were copied.
Standard art history holds that pop art emerged as an impersonal alternative to the histrionics of abstract expressionism, a movement in which painters conveyed their private attitudes and emotions using nonrepresentational techniques.
The truth is that by the time pop art first appeared in the early 1960s, abstract expressionism had already lost much of its force.
Pop art painters weren’t quarreling with the powerful early abstract expressionist work of the late 1940s but with a second generation of abstract expressionists whose work seemed airy, high-minded, and overly lyrical. Pop art paintings were full of simple black lines and large areas of primary color.
Lichtenstein’s work was part of a general rebellion against the fading emotional power of abstract expressionism, rather than an aloof attempt to ignore it.
But if rebellion against previous art by means of the careful imitation of a popular genre were all that characterized Lichtenstein’s work, it would possess only the reflective power that parodies have in relation to their subjects.
Beneath its cartoonish methods, his work displayed an impulse toward realism, an urge to say that what was missing from contemporary painting was the depiction of contemporary life.
The stilted romances and war stories portrayed in the comic books on which he based his canvases, the stylized automobiles, hot dogs, and table lamps that appeared in his pictures, were reflections of the culture Lichtenstein inhabited.
But, in contrast to some pop art, Lichtenstein’s work exuded not a jaded cynicism about consumer culture, but a kind of deliberate naiveté, intended as a response to the excess of sophistication he observed not only in the later abstract expressionists but in some other pop artists.
With the comics—typically the domain of youth and innocence—as his reference point, a nostalgia fills his paintings that gives them, for all their surface bravado, an inner sweetness.
His persistent use of comic-art conventions demonstrates a faith in reconciliation, not only between cartoons and fine art, but between parody and true feeling.
Which one of the following best captures the author’s attitude toward Lichtenstein’s work?
Since we know we’re looking for the author's attitude toward Lichtenstein’s work, we can now properly annotate the text.
In our example, we’ve underlined every instance where the author demonstrates his attitude towards Lichtenstein’s work. While he mentions multiple positive aspects of Lichtenstein’s work, he often negates them by arguing his work was not defined by these aspects. For instance, he says his work was more than just parody and rebellion.
On the other hand, there are aspects he does not negate. These are marked with checkmarks.
For reading comprehension questions, correct answers won’t typically pop out at you right away, so you’ll typically have to go through a process of elimination. For this question, we’ll use the process of elimination:
You should always read all of the answer choices before making a final decision for RC questions. Tempting yet incorrect questions commonly appear right before the correct ones in these types of questions!
For any more questions about LSAT sample questions, read on to find your answers.
Yes, it is known to be difficult and thus requires adequate preparation and practice.
The majority of students find the AR section of the LSAT to be the hardest. That’s why it’s essential you go over LSAT sample questions and answers, like the ones provided here, to get a grasp on how to effectively diagram and solve these questions!
All the questions on the LSAT will test your reasoning, analytical, and critical thinking skills. There will be no questions that test your legal knowledge.
AR questions are considered to be like puzzles or games, LR questions require you to deconstruct arguments on various topics, and the RC questions involve synthesizing and comprehending passages on various topics as well.
There will be at least one AR section on the LSAT and up to two if you get AR questions for the experimental section.
Unfortunately, there is no secret way to master the LSAT. It’ll take time, dedication, and lots of practice. But, seeing worked LSAT sample questions like the ones in this guide can give you a good starting point to begin learning effective solving strategies to adapt and make your own!