hands resting on a laptop keyboard.

Navigating the New LSAT: A Q&A with LSAT Prep Instructor Erin Decker '16

Published June 12, 2024

Photo of Lindsay Glaney.

Blogger Lindsay Gladney is the Vice Dean for Admissions at UB School of Law.

If you’re a prospective law school applicant gearing up for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), you might notice some significant changes to the exam format. Starting with the August 2024 administration, the LSAT will undergo structural changes to eliminate the Analytical Reasoning section and include two scored Logical Reasoning Sections, one scored Reading Comprehension section, plus one unscored section of either Logical Reasoning or Reading Comprehension. These modifications ensure all test-takers can demonstrate their logical reasoning skills to the best of their abilities.

woman smiling.

Erin Decker

Plus, a revamped approach to the LSAT Writing section, now referred to as LSAT Argumentative Writing, will debut in late July. Instead of exclusively emphasizing logical reasoning tasks, it will evaluate a candidate’s ability to construct and defend an argument, drawing from a variety of evidentiary sources.

To shed light on these changes, we sat down with Erin Decker ’16, a seasoned LSAT Prep Instructor who achieved a perfect 180 on the LSAT. Erin shared her insight into this new LSAT landscape and strategies for navigating the revised test.

Photo of lindsay.

Blogger Lindsay Gladney is the Vice Dean for Admissions at UB School of Law.


Office of Admissions
University at Buffalo School of Law
408 O'Brian Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260

Request an appointment:

Learn more about the law school admissions process and School of Law community through an individual meeting with one of our staff members.

[Learn More]

Submit this form to receive an application fee waiver.

1. In your opinion, will the impending changes to the LSAT make it more or less challenging?

Less challenging, but likely more time-consuming. Preparing for the updated LSAT will be less challenging in some ways because students only have to master the two section types that remain – Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. The skills demanded of students in these two sections are more similar and more complementary than the skills tested in the now-eliminated Logic Games (Analytical Reasoning) section. 

However, most students saw the most rapid score gains in the Logic Games section. Once accustomed to the most common game types and typical rule patterns, both unique to this section of the LSAT, one could see tremendous score improvement quickly. There are still patterns to recognize and utilize to save time in the Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension sections, but mastery of those sections is much less “mechanical” and requires excellent reading comprehension skills, which are more challenging to improve significantly in a short amount of time. So, I would say while prep may be a bit less challenging (no need to learn brand-new content and master formal logic), it may very well be more time-consuming as an endeavor.

2. Do you have any thoughts or apprehensions regarding the new LSAT’s capacity to accurately assess logical and reasoning abilities?

No apprehensions. The Analytical Reasoning section tested abstract logic-based skills and knowledge, emphasizing formal logic rule construction and pattern recognition. Test-takers with an affinity for math or programming often performed very well on this section with relatively little prep. However, Logical Reasoning ability – the ability to analyze a text-based scenario quickly and accurately, find holes in arguments, and evaluate the impact of new information – is more important to a student’s success in law school and their future career than rote pattern recognition and mechanical manipulation of formal logic statements. 

In fact, in moving to 2 scored sections of Logical Reasoning, we are actually returning to a long-time practice of placing more weight on that section than any other. Up until 2020, the LSAT included two scored sections of Logical Reasoning (50%) and only one scored section each of Logic Games (23%) and Reading Comp (27%). The test was shortened to three scored sections (approx. 33% weight each) in 2020 to facilitate at-home proctoring during the pandemic and began to include experimental sections once again in 2021. 

Going forward from August 2024, the LSAT will include two scored sections of Logical Reasoning (65%) and one scored section of Reading Comprehension (35%), along with an experimental section. To score well in these sections, you need to absorb new information quickly and read critically and strategically. We don’t always learn this as undergraduates—studying for long-term retention of a concept or a test on the subject at a future date is different. That’s academic reading rather than strategic. Strategic reading involves time management as well as comprehension skills. I teach students to move beyond passive reading to become anticipatory readers who use structure and context to pick out the most important points in a passage that are likely to be relevant to the questions asked.  Honing this skill will serve students well during law school and the bar exam too!

3. For students who have already started preparing for the LSAT, what resources or guidance will you offer in the LSAT Prep Workshops to help them adapt to the changes effectively?

More workshop time will be devoted to additional Logical Reasoning questions, strategic reading skill development and tackling the new LSAT Writing confidently.

4. How will the new approach to LSAT Writing (now LSAT Argumentative Writing) impact prospective law students’ preparation for the test?

The LSAT Writing is still unscored (scoring may be coming for the 2025-2026 testing year or later) and is administered via at-home proctoring on your schedule. You have a year to complete your LSAT Writing, but you won’t receive your LSAT score until you have done so. I advise my students to wait until after they have taken the LSAT multiple choice portion to prepare for the LSAT Writing, and that won’t change.  LSAT test-takers have so many other demands on their time and energy that it doesn’t make sense to split their focus in yet another direction when they could instead focus on one task at a time here. The 2-3 weeks after the LSAT is the best time to prepare for the LSAT Writing, and won’t delay receipt of your score.

5. What strategies or resources will you offer students who need to strengthen their writing skills based on the new format?

Although only one set of LSAT Writing sample material has been released, the format actually allows for ample opportunity to exercise argumentative writing skills. Students should first complete the task as outlined, but then set aside time to argue for or against the provided perspectives in turn.  After each round, edit for clarity and organization, and evaluate your thesis development—is the position taken clearly reasoned and supported by relevant examples?  Use what you learn about strong argumentative writing during this process and apply it to the issue presented on your LSAT Writing sample when you’re ready.

With the elimination of the Analytical Reasoning section and the introduction of LSAT Argumentative Writing, test-takers will face a modified landscape. While the new format may be less challenging in some respects, mastering the remaining Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension sections will require excellent reading comprehension skills.

Looking for more insights and tips from Erin Decker, a seasoned LSAT prep instructor and UB Law Alumna? Explore her LSAT Prep Workshops and Practice Test events.

Request an appointment:

Learn more about the law school admissions process and School of Law community through an individual meeting with one of our staff members.

[Learn More]