Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog

#MovieFailMondays: Return of the King


Every week we bring you a new movie that teaches us about a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who says Netflix can’t help you study? 


Wait a minute, Matt – don’t tell me there’s a logical fallacy in Return of the King!

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#MovieFailMondays: Planet of the Apes


Every week we bring you a new movie that teaches us about a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who says Netflix can’t help you study? 

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Originally scripted by Rod “I don’t have a nickname because you should know who I am” Serling, Planet of the Apes is the tale of when a group of astronauts stop being polite and start getting killed by walking, talking apes.

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#MovieFailMondays: Casablanca


Every week we bring you a new movie that teaches us about a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who says Netflix can’t help you study? 

#MovieFailMondays Casablanca

Bought for the then-record sum of $20,000 after a professional script analyst called it “sophisticated hokum,” Everybody Comes to Rick’s was adapted by Warner Bros. studios to great success. Unlike many other classics, Casablanca received rave reviews, and word-of-mouth led to a solid initial run.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time, Casablanca tells the tale of a motley assortment of people stranded in Morocco thanks to the Nazi invasion of most of Europe. Tensions exist between the Nazis and French Resistance fighters who live in the town, but Rick (Humphrey Bogart), a jaded American, runs a lounge and wants no trouble.

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You Derive me Crazy…


iStock_000015360103_FullLogic Games. Just the mention of it gives many people nightmares. However, as difficult as they can be, they also tend to be the most learn-able.

No matter how good you get at Logic Games, though, finding those difficult inferences will always be a challenge! In this blog series, we’ll take a look at some of the higher-level inferences that repeat on the LSAT, ensuring that you have all the tools necessary to tackle anything the LSAT throws at you on test day!

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#MovieFailMondays: Star Trek Into Darkness


Every week we bring you a new movie that contains a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who says Netflix can’t help you study? 


People didn’t know what to expect when J.J. Abrams was picked to helm the reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009. Would it be the gritty reboot of Batman? The campy reboot of Footloose? The angsty reboot of The Incredible Hulk? The Norton-y reboot of The Incredible Hulk?

Instead, we got an action-filled, heartfelt, somewhat confusing reboot of a beloved franchise. The movie made nearly $400 million dollars, and a sequel was all but assured. Four years later, we were treated to the second film in the series: Star Trek Into Darkness.

As is traditional in the sci-fi world (thanks, Empire), the sequel sees the crew of the Enterprise split up because of demotion (Kirk), reassignment (Spock), and arguments over weapons of mass destruction (Colin PowellScotty).

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PrepTests: Best Friend, or Worst Enemy?


7-6-2015-PracticeTestsYou’ve done this, haven’t you? You’ve sat down at a piano or picked up a guitar and tried to play it. After a couple of notes, you think, “Hey, I sound great!” Then you try to play your favorite song and realize that you sound terrible.

Most of us lose interest pretty quickly at this point. Some people decide to take lessons. But imagine a beginner who just keeps trying to play Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, or a concerto by Bach, over and over, day after day, hoping that some day she will get it right. She might eventually nail it, but any music teacher will tell you that this isn’t the best way to learn an instrument.

Without realizing it, this could be exactly how you’re trying to prepare for the LSAT. It’s common for people to make full PrepTests the main focus of their prep plan. If this describes you, and aren’t seeing much improvement, don’t be surprised.

Preparing for the LSAT is similar to learning a musical instrument. Playing a concerto or a killer guitar riff requires an array of fundamental skills that allow you to combine individual notes and chords into a beautiful and complex piece of music. To do well on the LSAT, you will also use an array of fundamental skills, like identifying the conclusion of an argument or finding the important inferences in a logic game, to get a beautiful score. You will first need to learn these individual skills, then perfect them through practice, before you can combine them effectively to answer the different types of questions you’ll see on the test.

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Manhattan Prep Presents… #MovieFailMondays



Logical fallacies are present in our everyday lives. Sometimes, they’re tricking us into switching to Geico. Other times, they’re being used to argue against climate change or for doubling down on red. And they’re definitely used by the writers of the LSAT to create questions.

But they’re not only used for evil! They also appear in our favorite forms of entertainment. Writers of mysteries and suspense use logical fallacies all the time to misdirect the reader/viewer from the ending. Romantic comedies use them to ramp up the tension. Action and sci-fi movies often overuse them, leaving huge holes in their plots.

In our #MovieFailMondays blog series, we’ll take a look at movies that feature a logical fallacy and how we can use this knowledge to score better on the LSAT. You can also use it to smugly say, “Saw it coming!” at the end of the next M. Night Shyamalan movie. If anyone besides you goes to see it.

The Usual Suspects

Bryan Singer released The Usual Suspects in 1995. One of the movies that ushered in the modern era of the #SPOILERALERT, the movie had people discussing the twist ending incessantly. The movie, a story of five criminals (Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, that other Baldwin – no, not that one, the other one – and that guy who was in that thing…uhm…Jackson Pollock?) who carry out a heist after meeting in a lineup, is framed by Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint telling the story to Agent Dave Kujan.

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Manhattan Prep’s Social Venture Scholars Program Deadline: July 6th


free-gmat-classDo you work for a non-profit? How about promote positive social change? Manhattan Prep is honored to offer special full tuition scholarships for up to 16 individuals per year (4 per quarter) who will be selected as part of Manhattan Prep’s Social Venture Scholars program. The SVS program provides selected scholars with free admission into one of Manhattan Prep’s Live Online Complete Courses (a $1299 value).

These competitive scholarships are offered to individuals who (1) currently work full-time in an organization that promotes positive social change, (2) plan to use their degree to work in a public, not-for-profit, or other venture with a social-change oriented mission, and (3) demonstrate clear financial need. The Social Venture Scholars will all enroll in a special online preparation course taught by two of Manhattan Prep’s expert instructors within one year of winning the scholarship.

The deadline is fast approaching: July 6th, 2015! 

Learn more about the SVS program and apply to be one of our Social Venture Scholars here.



Right Brain vs. Left Brain: How to Train for the LSAT


Blog-6-17-2015We’ve all heard people referred to as left- or right-brained. Those left-brained thinkers are highly mathematical, logical, and literal. Think Spock, Stephen Hawking, and the Terminators. Their creative brethren, the right-brainers, are more impressionistic, holistic, and intuitive. Think Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Colbert, and Jackson Pollock.

What does this have to do with the LSAT? I’m glad you asked, rhetorical device.

Almost everyone relies more heavily on one of these two types of thinking. Working with students, we’ll often see someone who is over-diagramming, putting a huge focus on formal logic. This student feels most comfortable deriving solutions. She wants the answer to be provable, always.

On the other hand, we’ve also had students who lament, “I’m terrible at Games, but I’m okay with Reading Comp. I hate using conditional logic in LR.” This right-brained student is mainly getting a feel for what was said and picking an answer that gels well and seems relevant.

Which one are you? Take a few minutes to think about it. When faced with a decision, do you make a Pros/Cons list (left-brain), or do you rely on your gut (right-brain)?

Some people think that a right-brain person is in trouble on left-brain questions, and vice versa. But that’s not the case. In reality, everyone has abilities (although at different levels) in both types of thinking. What is important is learning how to develop your weak area and then applying both sides of your brain to the LSAT. Weird, right? You’ll have to think if you want to be a lawyer.

But what can you do to develop the “weaker” side of your brain?

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Manhattan Prep Instructor Wows With Record-Setting Jeopardy Win


3-24-Jeopardy-LSATYesterday, the whole wide internet was shocked by the Jeopardy dominance of “This dude Michael”, but here at Manhattan Prep we weren’t surprised at all. We already knew that dude was smart and we knew that dude had the mathematical wherewithal to bet $7,000 without batting an eyelash.

Here at MPrep we know that dude as Michael Bilow (one of those people who command such respect that he must always be talked about using his last name lest anyone in earshot mistakenly attribute an anecdote or joke to some less deserving Michael). On Jeopardy, he lived up to his legend taking home the fourth highest single-day winnings in Jeopardy history: $57,198.

Michael Bilow joined the Manhattan Prep family in 2011 using his perfect GRE score and spectacular teaching chops to secure a role as an LA-based GRE instructor. A few years later we realized we needed more Bilow in our business so we asked him to join the Marketing Department. He took a position as our Business Data Analyst, while continuing to teach GRE classes and pursue his PhD. After seeing him flawlessly juggle those responsibilities, we never had any doubt that he would take the Jeopardy world by fire.

By now the whole country knows of Bilow’s intellectual prowess, but we know so much more. Michael is a dedicated practitioner of improv, a delightful presence in Google Hangout meetings, and a stylish dresser. We can’t wait for his next trip to the New York City headquarters so he can buy us a drink with his winnings after he takes a quick a nap in a tutoring pod.

Congrats, Michael Bilow! Keep it up!