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Do I Need to Study Vocabulary for the LSAT?

Attention bookworms: great news! Vocabulary skills go a long way towards a high score on the LSAT. If you’re an avid reader of a variety of difficult texts, you are on the right track. And if you’re not quite the bookworm yet, don’t worry–there are plenty of techniques you can use to improve. But, you have to get started!

Vocabulary Skills are Essential

Let’s not underestimate the power of vocabulary on the LSAT. The logical reasoning and reading sections not only test your logic skills, but your word skills as well. You will encounter words from a variety of fields. Medical terms may include “vertigo,” and law-related words might include “precedent” or “jurisprudence.” To be fair, deeply field-specific words will generally be defined for you in reading comprehension passages. That’s why it’s important to not immediately freak out when faced with an extremely unfamiliar term, like “cyclamen mite.” There should be ample explanation in the passage for vocabulary like this.

However, difficult words may be found much more generally in the LSAT. For example, the difficulty of a logical reasoning question may be amped up with convoluted logic and high-level words. The test-writers might include tougher vocabulary, double negatives, or extraneous sentences to distract you. With time being such a precious commodity on the test, you wouldn’t want to get distracted and frustrated by a vocabulary word you’ve never encountered before and aren’t sure how to decode.
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Context Clues Don’t Solve Everything

One common technique many of us have been taught in school is to use “context clues” to figure out what a vocabulary word may mean. Although this can often help, on a difficult reading passage, there may be so many high-level words thrown together that you may not have enough clues to figure them all out!

Challenging LSAT Vocabulary

Here’s a sample of some challenging vocabulary you may find on the test. These are from Preptest 53:

commodity noun an item traded for commerce
affinity noun a natural attraction or feeling of kinship; inherent resemblance between persons or things; the force attracting atoms to each other and binding them together in a molecule; (immunology) the attraction between an antigen and an antibody; a close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character; (biology) state of relationship between organisms or groups of organisms resulting in resemblance in structure or structural parts; (anthropology) kinship by marriage or adoption; not a blood relationship
accumulate verb collect or gather; get or gather together
voracious adj. devouring or craving food in great quantities; excessively greedy and grasping
alloy noun a mixture containing two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten; the state of impairing the quality or reducing the value of something; verb make an alloy of; lower in value by increasing the base-metal content
commercial adj. connected with or engaged in or sponsored by or used in commerce or commercial enterprises; of the kind or quality used in commerce; average or inferior; of or relating to commercialism

Vocabulary definitions are from

Vocabulary Is Your Friend!

All in all, don’t hesitate to use flashcards, memory games, or repetition to help you improve your vocabulary. And definitely use Magoosh LSAT Prep to help you with LSAT-specific vocabulary words that you will absolutely need to answer questions!

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