Testing, Testing…

Which is how the Educational Testing Service makes its money — though no profit. And the big test hereabouts is the LSAT, of course. Some of you won’t want to go within ten feet of the LSAT again, and I understand completely; but others of you may never have seen the beast and, so, may be interested in discovering what all the fuss is about. You can do that by examining an online version — a test of the test, so to speak — that contains the kinds of questions the answers to which can make or break a career bud.

Two PDF files are available: LSAT Preparation: Sample Questions With Explanations, and Complete Sample LSAT.

Just for fun, here’s a question from the logical reasoning portion of the sample test. I’ve put the “explanation” (i.e. answer) on the other side of the “read more” button, in case you want to figure it out for yourself.

Directions: Each group of questions in this section is based on a set of conditions. In answering some of the questions, it may be useful to draw a rough diagram. Choose the response that most accurately and completely answers the question and blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.

Passage for Question 1

An island has exactly seven villages—S,T,U,V,X,Y, and Z—and three roads—Routes 1, 2, and 3. The following is a complete listing of the road connections on the island:
    Route 1 has its ends at S and U, and passes through T only.
    Route 2 has its ends at T and U, and passes through V only.
    Route 3 has its ends at X and Z, and passes through Y only.
Directly connected villages are those villages between which there is a road connection that passes through no other village on the way from one to the other.

Question 1

Which one of the following villages is directly connected to the most other villages?
(A) T
(B) U
(C) V
(D) X
(E) Y

Explanation for Question 1

As with most problems involving spatial relationships, this question can be answered with the aid of a simple map. Route 1 can be sketched out as follows, based on the information that it “has its ends at S and U, and passes through T only”:


Route 2 is defined by the information that it “has its ends at T and U, and passes through V only”:


Route 3 can be drawn from the condition that it “has its ends at X and Z, and passes through Y only”:


Combining the sketches of the three roads, a completed map of the island might look like this:


Looking at the map, we can see that village T is di- rectly connected to three other villages, the most of any village, and that (A) is therefore the correct response. U, V, and Y are each directly connected to two other villages, and S, X, and Z are each directly connected to only one other village. This is a “middle difficulty” problem. It was answered correctly by 61 percent of the persons who took the LSAT on which it appeared. Twenty-one percent chose response (B) while 12 percent chose response (C).

My problem was getting distracted by the curious fact that there is no W village.


  1. Do you get extra points for figuring it out in your head? ;-)

  2. Do you know LSAT is NOT created by educational testing service?

  3. Leo is right. I was careless in linking the two institutions. It’s the Law School Admission Council that administers the LSAT. What I haven’t been able to find is a clear statement on the web of who is responsible for devising the test, creating the questions, etc.

    Thanks, Leo.