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LSAT to study for the GMAT, part 2: Critical Reasoning

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LSAT to study for the GMAT, part 2: Critical Reasoning Post Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:40 am
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    Using the LSAT to Study for the GMAT Part 2: Critical Reasoning

    If you missed part one of this article it is at: http://www.beatthegmat.com/using-the-lsat-to-study-for-the-gmat-part-1-t66548.html

    Those who have taken both tests will tell you that mastering the Critical Reasoning on the LSAT is great preparation for the GMAT. What they do not mention is the months of studying this typically requires. If you have unlimited amounts of time, and/or you just really want to be good at all sorts of critical reasoning problems, the way some people are good at Sodoku, then study away! But assuming that your goal is to do well on the GMAT there are some rules you should follow if you choose to use LSAT Critical Reasoning questions.

    Rules for using LSAT Critical Reasoning to study for the GMAT:

    1) Understand the differences between the two tests and the limitations of using one to study for the other. The Critical Reasoning on the LSAT is far more varied than on the GMAT, is generally harder than on the GMAT, and relies more on formal logic. For this reason, studying certain kinds of LSAT problems can actually confuse you and cause you to focus on things that simply do not appear on the GMAT. (For example, you should probably avoid questions that rely too heavily on formal logic). There are no GMAT questions that absolutely require formal logic. In later posts I will examples of questions that might be confusing to study…

    2) Focus on the types of questions that commonly appear on the GMAT - specifically focus on Strengthen, Weaken, Assumption, Inference, Resolve the Paradox Questions, and Questions that ask you what role a stated portion of the stimulus plays. Other types of questions on the LSAT can help you to work on your reasoning abilities in general and if you have lots of time are interesting to try, but are not necessarily applicable to the GMAT. (An example of a question directly applicable to the GMAT is given below).

    3) The best question numbers to study are generally from 1 to 16 in any given LSAT test. The LSAT is arranged in order of increasing difficulty so that questions 1 - 10 are designed so that at least 75% of test-takers will get them right. Questions 11- 16 are more difficult but still closer to what one would expect on the GMAT. Questions 17 to 25 (or 26) are very challenging and should be treated accordingly.

    4) Try to find “take-aways”, or points that you can apply to questions that you will see on test day. This is not only important when you are studying LSAT questions but anytime you are studying. Ask yourself, “What does this question ask me to do that is similar to something that I have seen before?” If you miss the question, find out what you did wrong not so that you could get this question right in the future but so that you can get this type of question right next time. And if you got the question right, figure out what you did right so that you can try to repeat that success.

    5) Where to find LSAT questions: LSAT questions are most easily (and legally) available in the “10 Actual, Official LSAT” series from LSAC - the Law School Admissions Council. Each of these books contains 10 LSAT tests which adds up to about 500 critical reasoning questions (of which half or more will be appropriate for GMAT students). Each book also contains 40 reading comprehension passages (reading comprehension will be discussed in the third part of this article). The question below comes from the “10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests” book. This book contains tests from the late 1990s. It does not matter which edition of the “10 Official LSAT” books you buy as you are not looking for the latest LSAT questions, but just some good critical reasoning. If you buy one of the older books you can probably get it cheap. I saw new copies of the older editions for about $5 U.S.

    EXAMPLE:

    The following is an LSAT question that is similar to those you would see on the GMAT, same type of question, etc.
    This question comes from the September 1998 LSAT Test. This is from section 2 question #10. I have taken it from the “10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests” book, page 260.


    10. Commercial Passenger Airplanes can be equipped with a collision-avoidance radar system that provides pilots with information about the proximity of other airplanes. Because the system warns pilots to take evasive action when it indicates a possible collision, passengers are safer on airplanes with the system than on comparable airplanes not so equipped, even though the system frequently warns pilots to evade phantom airplanes.

    Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

    A) Passengers feel no safer on airplanes equipped with the radar system than on comparable airplanes not so equipped.

    B) Warnings given by collision-avoidance system about phantom radar signals are not caused by distorted radar signals.

    C) The frequency of invalid warnings will not cause pilots routinely to disregard the system’s warnings.

    D) Commercial passenger airplanes are not the only planes that can be equipped with a collision-avoidance system.

    E) The greatest safety risk for passengers traveling on commercial passenger airplanes is that of midair collision.

    As you can see this is a question that would not seem out of place on the GMAT. It is an assumption question as is clear from the question which states that the “argument depends” on the assumption. Please give your answers to this question, OA and explanation to follow.

    _________________
    David Newland, JD, MA, MAE
    GMAT Instructor, Tutor, and Author
    Veritas Prep

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    diebeatsthegmat GMAT Titan Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:14 am
    David@VeritasPrep wrote:
    Using the LSAT to Study for the GMAT Part 2: Critical Reasoning

    If you missed part one of this article it is at: http://www.beatthegmat.com/using-the-lsat-to-study-for-the-gmat-part-1-t66548.html

    Those who have taken both tests will tell you that mastering the Critical Reasoning on the LSAT is great preparation for the GMAT. What they do not mention is the months of studying this typically requires. If you have unlimited amounts of time, and/or you just really want to be good at all sorts of critical reasoning problems, the way some people are good at Sodoku, then study away! But assuming that your goal is to do well on the GMAT there are some rules you should follow if you choose to use LSAT Critical Reasoning questions.

    Rules for using LSAT Critical Reasoning to study for the GMAT:

    1) Understand the differences between the two tests and the limitations of using one to study for the other. The Critical Reasoning on the LSAT is far more varied than on the GMAT, is generally harder than on the GMAT, and relies more on formal logic. For this reason, studying certain kinds of LSAT problems can actually confuse you and cause you to focus on things that simply do not appear on the GMAT. (For example, you should probably avoid questions that rely too heavily on formal logic). There are no GMAT questions that absolutely require formal logic. In later posts I will examples of questions that might be confusing to study…

    2) Focus on the types of questions that commonly appear on the GMAT - specifically focus on Strengthen, Weaken, Assumption, Inference, Resolve the Paradox Questions, and Questions that ask you what role a stated portion of the stimulus plays. Other types of questions on the LSAT can help you to work on your reasoning abilities in general and if you have lots of time are interesting to try, but are not necessarily applicable to the GMAT. (An example of a question directly applicable to the GMAT is given below).

    3) The best question numbers to study are generally from 1 to 16 in any given LSAT test. The LSAT is arranged in order of increasing difficulty so that questions 1 - 10 are designed so that at least 75% of test-takers will get them right. Questions 11- 16 are more difficult but still closer to what one would expect on the GMAT. Questions 17 to 25 (or 26) are very challenging and should be treated accordingly.

    4) Try to find “take-aways”, or points that you can apply to questions that you will see on test day. This is not only important when you are studying LSAT questions but anytime you are studying. Ask yourself, “What does this question ask me to do that is similar to something that I have seen before?” If you miss the question, find out what you did wrong not so that you could get this question right in the future but so that you can get this type of question right next time. And if you got the question right, figure out what you did right so that you can try to repeat that success.

    5) Where to find LSAT questions: LSAT questions are most easily (and legally) available in the “10 Actual, Official LSAT” series from LSAC - the Law School Admissions Council. Each of these books contains 10 LSAT tests which adds up to about 500 critical reasoning questions (of which half or more will be appropriate for GMAT students). Each book also contains 40 reading comprehension passages (reading comprehension will be discussed in the third part of this article). The question below comes from the “10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests” book. This book contains tests from the late 1990s. It does not matter which edition of the “10 Official LSAT” books you buy as you are not looking for the latest LSAT questions, but just some good critical reasoning. If you buy one of the older books you can probably get it cheap. I saw new copies of the older editions for about $5 U.S.

    EXAMPLE:

    The following is an LSAT question that is similar to those you would see on the GMAT, same type of question, etc.
    This question comes from the September 1998 LSAT Test. This is from section 2 question #10. I have taken it from the “10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests” book, page 260.


    10. Commercial Passenger Airplanes can be equipped with a collision-avoidance radar system that provides pilots with information about the proximity of other airplanes. Because the system warns pilots to take evasive action when it indicates a possible collision, passengers are safer on airplanes with the system than on comparable airplanes not so equipped, even though the system frequently warns pilots to evade phantom airplanes.

    Which one of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

    A) Passengers feel no safer on airplanes equipped with the radar system than on comparable airplanes not so equipped.

    B) Warnings given by collision-avoidance system about phantom radar signals are not caused by distorted radar signals.

    C) The frequency of invalid warnings will not cause pilots routinely to disregard the system’s warnings.

    D) Commercial passenger airplanes are not the only planes that can be equipped with a collision-avoidance system.

    E) The greatest safety risk for passengers traveling on commercial passenger airplanes is that of midair collision.

    As you can see this is a question that would not seem out of place on the GMAT. It is an assumption question as is clear from the question which states that the “argument depends” on the assumption. Please give your answers to this question, OA and explanation to follow.
    thank you for all those advises above... you are always so so much helpful. thanks.
    i used LSAT before for practising CR and reading for about 10 days then felt its CR questions are different from real CR i took in test ( took it before), thus i quit.... and found another source to study... my problem with CR is about speed...when i take the test at home, my speed and score are all so good, but its not very good when i took real test, especially for math section, its making me so disappointing, i am trying to deal with speed but dunno how...i am just practicing maths and CR questions everyday but still cant find the answer why my speed with fake test is much better than the speed i took for real test....Sad anyways, thank you a lot...

    for the CR you post, my answer is B
    if negative B, it will weaken the argument

    manitshah Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:26 pm
    ARGUMENT
    "Passengers are safer on airplanes with the system than on comparable airplanes not so equipped."

    OPTIONS
    A. How safe passengers perceive themselves to be has nothing to do with how safe they actually are. Rubbish.

    B. How warnings about phantom airplanes occur is irrelevant to the passengers' safety. Immaterial.

    C. If, for some reason, pilots regularly ("routinely") ignore ("disregard") the system's warnings, then the argument fails - because passengers will no longer be safer on airplanes with the system than on airplanes without it.
    The assumption, and the option [C], is that this does not happen.

    D. Whether or not commercial planes are the only ones to have this system is irrelevant. Every plane in the world can have it, for all you care. That is not what this argument is assuming.

    E. Whether or not midair collisions are the greatest safety risk is immaterial. The point is that WITH this system, passengers are relatively safer. Regardless of how little the improvement to their safety is, the point is that there still is definitely an improvement in safety.


    Manit
    GMAT trainer, Singapore
    manitshah@gmail.com

    Thanked by: nicktim

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:43 pm
    OA is C.

    Manit has given a very comprehensive explanation here - I especially like any posting that uses the word "rubbish."

    If pilots ignore the warnings then the systems have no way of making passengers safer. It is a lot like "seat belts" or "safety belts" in cars that are not used. If they are ignored or not used then they cannot make anyone safer.

    Now this is an assumption question so answer choice C, if true, would indicate that pilots do not ignore the warnings so this would prevent the weakening described.

    This is an example of a question that translates pretty well to the GMAT.

    _________________
    David Newland, JD, MA, MAE
    GMAT Instructor, Tutor, and Author
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    gtr02 Rising GMAT Star
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    Post Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:07 pm
    I found this post very informative. I might actually buy the book on Amazon, was seeing it used for only 5 bucks!

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:02 pm
    Yeah - the older editions are pretty cheap because people taking the LSAT want the newest stuff (of course we do the same with the GMAT - newer is better). For our purposes it does not matter which edition of the 10 Official LSAT books you purchase so get an older edition, used and save some money!

    _________________
    David Newland, JD, MA, MAE
    GMAT Instructor, Tutor, and Author
    Veritas Prep

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    pkit Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:26 am
    Thank you David.

    Where can I find the same analysis for Reading comprehension?
    thank you!

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:35 am
    I am just finishing that now...it will be up in the next couple of days.

    But I will give some main points -

    1) Much of the difficulty in the LSAT is in the time pressure. They only get 35 minutes for 28 questions! When you do the 28 questions give yourself 56 minutes!

    2) Aside from the time pressure mentioned above the LSAT reading comp is similar enough to the GMAT for most passages to be useful to study.

    3) The LSAT passages are longer, they have more questions for each passage, the passages may contain even more vocabulary than GMAT passages, and the questions are even a little trickier. But this is not a bad thing. It would not be so useful to study LSAT reading comp if it was easier than the GMAT! And it is not too much more difficult.

    I will include a sample passage with the posting...so check back in a couple of days!

    _________________
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    Thanked by: pkit, tinki, roshnipat1610
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    tinki Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:56 am
    David, thx a lot for all you infos ....


    yet , let me tell you that i have done CR Bible as well as LSAT LR BIBLE , yet my greatest Weakness still remains Critical Reasoning. Do you have any idea how i can imporve in this section? My RC is quite good, but somehow nothing improves my CR. i am still making a lot of mistakes no matter how much i study or practice.... i find it really hard to improve in this section. somehow i am always stuck within 2 option , and the one i pick is Alway WRONG. Do you have any idea HOW to improve significantly over hear? you may say Practice, or pay attention or somthing like those ... i know all those techniqies yet ... still no improvement. Any significally NEW idea ??/ Will be highly thankfulll ....


    Any NEW IDEAS HOW TO IMPTOVE CR? I am really really Desperate ....

    roshnipat1610 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:01 pm
    Thank you very much, David for these very insightful posts!!

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:32 pm
    Tinki -

    Wow! That is a lot of pressure....you have gone through some of the more respected sources...

    You say that the problem is when you get down to two answer choices? Is the correct answer usually one of the two? That point will influence what advice I give.

    I will try my best to give you something that you have not heard before....

    _________________
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    BellTheGMAT Rising GMAT Star
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    Post Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:47 am
    David@VeritasPrep wrote:
    Tinki -

    Wow! That is a lot of pressure....you have gone through some of the more respected sources...

    You say that the problem is when you get down to two answer choices? Is the correct answer usually one of the two? That point will influence what advice I give.

    I will try my best to give you something that you have not heard before....
    Hi David,
    Seems I have the same problem as Tinki... I tend to boil down to 2 options, but ultimately I go for wrong answer Sad Though during revision, I do understand the logic. Its not that I am unaware of that "reason/ pattern" but just because I could not apply it properly.

    Now I am contemplating to go thru LSAT CRs after reading your post.

    Btw, I just gave Manhattan CAT2, and scored 36 in verbal (improved from 28 which was about 1month back). As per analysis, I tend to do ques wrong when the level goes into 700 - 800 range. My pain areas are "Assumptions" and "Conclusions". My accuracy for CR is around 50 -60% during the test, however during practice, its around 80+

    Do suggest me some tips/ hints to improve...

    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:37 am
    BelltheGMAT and Tinki as well...

    Let's work on this---we can start with the assumption question.

    I have just posted an assumption question at http://www.beatthegmat.com/lsat-question-example-3-the-calculus-t70787.html.

    Will you try this one? Please tell me what your answer is and especially if you get it down to 2...

    I will post a thorough explanation after discussion.

    We can do a couple of assumptions and a couple of inference/ conclusions.

    _________________
    David Newland, JD, MA, MAE
    GMAT Instructor, Tutor, and Author
    Veritas Prep

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    GMAT/MBA Expert

    Post Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:38 am
    BelltheGMAT and others -

    Okay so I just happen to have been working on a inference/conclusion question from another student. Check out the analysis at this link: http://www.beatthegmat.com/how-to-approach-an-inference-conclusion-question-t70789.html

    Hope it helps!!

    _________________
    David Newland, JD, MA, MAE
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    Thanked by: BellTheGMAT, meeramurthy
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    RyanDark Rising GMAT Star
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    Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:16 pm
    David,
    I know this thread is kind of old. But I have few doubts. My friend gave me a book called as 'SuperPrep LSAT' . Do the questions in this book match in terms of difficulty to those in LSAT book you mentioned earlier?

    Also I completed OG Verbal and OG 12 CR. I first did OG 12 with 70% accuracy and then did the OG Verbal. My accuracy improved to around 90% in OG VR. I am able to figure out a pattern of right and wrong answers. I felt like I have got a good hang of GMAT's line of reasoning. Do you think practicing questions from non-GMAC resources might hurt our reasoning style more than benefit?

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