2-12-Sleep-LSATThis is going to be a short post. It will also possibly have the biggest impact on your study of anything you do all day (or all month!).

When people ramp up to study for the LSAT, they typically find the time to study by cutting down on other activities—no more Thursday night happy hour with the gang or Sunday brunch with the family until the test is over.

There are two activities, though, that you should never cut—and, unfortunately, I talk to students every day who do cut these two activities. I hear this so much that I abandoned what I was going to cover today and wrote this instead. We’re not going to cover any problems or discuss specific test strategies in this article. We’re going to discuss something infinitely more important!

#1: You must get a full night’s sleep

Period. Never cut your sleep in order to study for this test. NEVER.

Your brain does not work as well when trying to function on less sleep than it needs. You know this already. Think back to those times that you pulled an all-nighter to study for a final or get a client presentation out the door. You may have felt as though you were flying high in the moment, adrenaline coursing through your veins. Afterwards, though, your brain felt fuzzy and slow. Worse, you don’t really have great memories of exactly what you did—maybe you did okay on the test that morning, but afterwards, it was as though you’d never studied the material at all.

There are two broad (and very negative) symptoms of this mental fatigue that you need to avoid when studying for the LSAT (and doing other mentally-taxing things in life). First, when you are mentally fatigued, you can’t function as well as normal in the moment. You’re going to make more careless mistakes and you’re just going to think more slowly and painfully than usual.

Second, your brain continues to form new memories as you sleep. When you are trying to remember a bunch of new rules or solution strategies, you need good sleep to help cement that information in your long-term memory. In particular, when you’re studying a bunch of new things at once, you need your memory to make strong and distinct memories. Otherwise, your memory won’t be able to retrieve what you need, or it’ll mix up multiple memories—and that obviously isn’t what you want to happen on test day.

Many people aren’t getting adequate sleep even when they’re not taking on a challenge like the LSAT, and their lives are messier as a result. Make sleep a priority. Your brain will thank you.

#2: Exercise

Stick to your normal exercise routine, whatever that is. For some people, that means walking to do all of your errands and carrying things home, or cleaning the house. Some people play sports. Others hit the gym multiple times a week.

The point is to keep doing what you normally do; don’t try to increase your study time by taking away from your second-best recharge time (after sleep). Exercise helps you to get rid of stress and generally gain a boost of energy. There’s even a two-for-one bonus: regular exercise helps you sleep better at night.

Reward yourself

A bonus piece of advice. I started this post talking about giving up some regular social activities to make time for studying. You are going to have to make some sacrifices, of course, but don’t become a hermit. You do need breaks and you do need to keep up with your social connections. When I’m studying intensely, my rule is that Friday is a no-study zone. That day, I take a break and do something that I want to do.

(Friday also becomes my “substitute” day if I’m burned out earlier in the week and want to skip a day of study. That’s fine—but then I lose my day off on Friday. Sometimes, this motivates me to push through when I’m feeling that I want to blow off my studies for a day. Other times, I do decide to study on Friday instead; if I’m willing to do that, then I know my brain really does need the break right now.)

Good luck and happy studying!

NYC-Audition-2

Manhattan Prep offers instructors flexible hours and great pay ($100/hour for all teaching and $116/hour for all tutoring). As a Manhattan Prep instructor, you will have autonomy in the classroom, but you will also be joining an incredibly talented and diverse network of people. We support our instructors by providing students, space, training, and an array of curricular resources.

Our regular instructor audition process, which consists of a series of videos and mini lessons, usually takes weeks, even months, to complete. Through this process we winnow an applicant pool of hundreds down to a few people each year.

We are offering a one-day event on March 1st for teachers interested in working with us. Candidates who attend will receive a decision that day. The event will take place at our company headquarters at 138 West 25th St., 7th Floor, in Manhattan, New York City.  It is open to candidates who live in the tri-state area, have taught before, and are experts in the GMAT, LSAT, or GRE.

The day will include several rounds of lessons, as well as other activities. Each round will be pass / fail. The day will begin at 10 am. It may last as late as 5:30 pm for those who make it through the final round. Candidates will need to prepare lessons for some rounds; we will send more detailed instructions to candidates when they sign up for the event.

To register, please email Rina at auditions@manhattanprep.com by Thursday, February 26. Please include in your email a resume including your teaching experience and a score report.

2-6-4ThingsIt’s the last day to prep for the February LSAT, but every piece of advice out there says you should be putting the books down and relaxing. And they’re right–you absolutely should not be doing any work today, as there’s almost no chance it will help you on the exam tomorrow. You’re very unlikely to have a breakthrough that translates to a huge score increase; you’re much more likely to tire yourself out before the big game.

But I know you. You’re type-A. You’re going to do something today.

So here are a few things you can do without tiring yourself out:

GO OVER YOUR GAME-DAY SECTION STRATEGIES

Are you hitting all four games, or are you going to focus on three and then pick up as many points as you can on the last one? Are you leaving the Match the Reasoning/Flaw questions until the end? Are you leaving the science passage for last, or are you tackling it first while you’re fresh?

Maximizing your score on the LSAT isn’t just about learning the logic; you also have to know how you’re going to approach the test to score at the top of your score range. You don’t need to get everything right to hit your target score (even 180s can come from a few errors). So go over the strategies you’ve already practiced that resulted in the highest scores.

GO OVER YOUR QUESTION STRATEGIES

For the love of everything that is dear to you, don’t do a practice section. Don’t do questions. Put the book down–you’re as likely to freak yourself out over every mistake as you are to actually learn anything new.

However, spend some time thinking about your approach to the questions. For a necessary assumption question, what are some trends in the answer choices? For an Ordering game, what are the common wrinkles (3D, mismatch, etc…), and how would you tackle each one? Remind yourself of the process so that it’s fresh when you go in to take the test.

PREP FOR THE TEST DAY

Go through the LSAC list of what you need to bring and what you’re allowed to bring. Figure out how you’re getting to the testing center and how you’re getting home. You can make plans for after the test (since your friends and family probably want to see you again), but give yourself a few hours after the exam so you don’t feel panicked if the test goes long.

Additionally, find 5-10 LR questions and a game or passage to bring with you to the test center to warm up. Make sure they’re easy questions you’ve done before and you completely understand–this is just to get your brain shifted into LSAT gear. Be sure to show up a little early so you can walk through them quickly, and then toss them in the trash. It’s highly cathartic.

RELAX

At this point, there are two things that will determine how well you do tomorrow: the specific questions on the test, and how relaxed you are. You already know all the logic you’re going to know, and the questions are out of your hands.

So focus on the one thing you can control – your mental state. Go for a jog, if that’s your thing. Enjoy massages? Schedule one. Watch a movie or some television. Get yourself mentally relaxed so that you don’t go into the exam more nervous than necessary.

Because you will be nervous. There’s no way around that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But you’ve got this. Seriously, you’re ready. So use those nerves to focus yourself on the test, and good luck!

Boston-AuditionManhattan Prep offers instructors flexible hours and great pay ($100/hour for all teaching and $116/hour for all tutoring). As a Manhattan Prep instructor, you will have autonomy in the classroom, but you will also be joining an incredibly talented and diverse network of people. We support our instructors by providing students, space, training, and an array of curricular resources.

Our regular instructor audition process, which consists of a series of videos and mini lessons, usually takes weeks, even months, to complete. Through this process we winnow an applicant pool of hundreds down to a few people each year.

We are offering a one-day event on March 9th for teachers interested in working with us. Candidates who attend will receive a decision that day. The event will take place at our Boston center at 140 Clarendon St., Main Fl (Back Bay), Boston, MA 02116.  It is open to candidates who live in the Boston area, have taught before, and are experts in the GMAT, LSAT, or GRE.

The day will include several rounds of lessons, as well as other activities. Each round will be pass / fail. The day will begin at 10:30 am. It may last as late as 5:30 pm for those who make it through the final round. Candidates will need to prepare lessons for some rounds; we will send more detailed instructions to candidates when they sign up for the event.

To register, please email Rina at auditions@manhattanprep.com by Thursday, March 5. Please include in your email a resume including your teaching experience and a score report.

 

DecisionManhattan Prep is holding a two one-day auditions for new LSAT, GRE, and GMAT instructors in Dallas and Fort Worth! Come join us February 7th  in Dallas or February 8th in Fort Worth at 10:00 AM and transform your passion for teaching into a lucrative and fulfilling part-time or full-time career.

Manhattan Prep offers instructors flexible hours and great pay ($100/hour for all teaching and $116/hour on all tutoring). In addition to teaching classes, instructors can work on other projects such as curriculum development.

Our regular instructor audition process, which includes a series of video, online, and in-person mock lessons, usually takes weeks, even months, to complete. However, we are offering one-day events on February 7th and on 8th for teachers interested in working with us. All candidates who attend will receive a decision that day.

The events will take place in Dallas and Fort Worth at the locations listed below. It is open to candidates who live in the area, who have teaching experience, and who are LSAT, GMAT, and/or GRE experts.

The audition will include several rounds of lessons, as well as other activities. Each round will be pass/ fail. The day will begin at 10 AM and may last as late as 5:30 PM for those who make it to the final round. Candidates will need to prepare lessons for some rounds; we will send a more detailed instruction packet to those who sign up for the event.

Dallas, TX (Saturday, February 7, 2015)

Meridian Business Center
3010 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1200
Dallas, TX 75234
 

Fort Worth, TX (Sunday, February 8, 2015)

Courtyard Fort Worth at University
3150 Riverfront Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76107

To register, please email Rina at auditions@manhattanprep.com. Make sure to include in your full name, an attachment of your resume detailing your teaching experience, and an official GRE, GMAT, or LSAT score report. We look forward to meeting you in February!

Admit-Blog-P2

Join Manhattan LSAT and Admit Advantage for the second installment of Breaking Down Law School Admissions, a free online workshop to help you put together a successful application.

No application is perfect, but you can take steps to mitigate negatives and emphasize positives. During the first half of this webinar, Admit Advantage’s Director of  Law Admissions will review how to deal with real-life negatives on your law school application.

Are you also getting ready to sit for the February 2015 LSAT? Veteran Manhattan LSAT instructor and curriculum developer, Matt Sherman, will focus on what kind of prep to do in the last weeks leading up to the test.  One of the key points here is to be prepared to adapt to little twists that you didn’t expect. Matt will teach you a hard  LSAT game where that’s important.  Detailed Q&A to follow.

 

Breaking Down Law School Part II: Addressing the Negatives in Your Application  & Strategy for the February LSAT

Monday, January 12 (7:30 – 9:30 PM EST),  Meets ONLINE 

Sign Up Here

ChallengeIn case you haven’t been following, over on jdMission‘s blog, I’ve been critiquing real law school personal statements week by week—naming what’s working, what’s not, and offering up a takeaway for each one in the Real Law School Personal Statement series.
Here’s a round-up of four recent takeaways!

1. No headings. No gimmicks.
 
Give your essay a heading if you want, sure. Give it a weird layout. Write it as a poem, an acrostic poem or haiku or turn it into a musical if you want.
And then revise into not these things.
It is good for you to do whatever you need to do so that you’re able to freely and genuinely write from the heart, but then, best take out whatever quirky structural element enabled you to write openly. You may be convinced it’s cute/clever, but that’s sort of like being convinced your baby is the cutest baby of all time.
(Those of you who still don’t trust me, please set up a [free] consultation and let me try to convince you!)
Sample essay here

2. Put your head in your story. 
 
In your creative writing classes in college, you were probably told to “show, not tell.” If you were writing a short story, you’d be advised to reveal the characters’ feelings by what they did and how they acted, rather than by announcing it: “Lydia was heartbroken.”
This holds true to a certain point in personal statements. You want to give enough detail that your story is sincere and poignant and resonates with the reader. But you actually don’t want to leave it open to interpretation in the same way that many contemporary short stories are, because you actually have an agenda here, which is to persuade someone of your suitability to a particular law school.
Sample essay here.

3. If you say you love American History (or any subject), you have to explain what you love about it. 
 
Remember in most romantic comedies ever made when two people are on a date, and one says, “I love that book!” never having read it, and comedic tension ensues as he tries to converse about a book he hasn’t read? If you say you are passionate about a subject or thing, and you don’t actually say why, or what about it you love so much, it comes across a little like this. It’s an easy mistake to make — but for the same reason, it’s an easy one to fix, too, if you catch yourself doing it.
 
Sample essay here.

4. When you discover abstract truths (“who you are” or “your life’s purpose”), elaborate…concretely.

 
This is along the same lines as the previous reminder, because both boil down to: Don’t leave the reader hanging. Here’s a brief excerpt from the critique of a personal statement that had this problem: “At the climax of her essay, the candidate writes, ‘I needed to help them see from my perspective and also see from theirs. In Korea it was no longer just about how to speak, but also how to make the other person understand.’ Great! But what? I don’t know what her perspective was, or what needed to be understood.” 
 
Again — an easy fix if you know what to look for. 
 
Sample essay here
 
For literally dozens more critiques, visit jdMission’s blog. Happy writing!

Legal EducationApplication season is well under way, and early decisions are starting to roll in. Before you know it, the New Year will be here and it’ll be time to finally choose a law school.

I know, I know. It seems like just yesterday you were first cracking open that LSAT study guide, so young and naïve. Scared of what the future held; scared of what your score would be. And scared that you’d be rejected from every law school to which you applied.

However, a recent NYT article points out exactly how misguided you might be—could law school really be a buyers’ market?

SUMMARY

Professor Rodriguez of Northwestern University School of Law says, “It’s insane,” and I agree. We do, however, disagree on what aspects of law school tuition are insane.

According to the article, the number of people taking the LSAT is down over 50% from 2009, and the incoming class of first-year law students is the lowest it’s been since the ’70s. Law schools have reacted in a number of ways, including cutting employees, faculty, and even entire campuses (see Thomas M. Cooley Law School). And many now rely on their parent school to keep them afloat (a stark contrast to the previous decade where these schools were viewed as geese laying golden eggs).

As Professor Rodriguez points out, law schools are now battling over top students. In order to keep their GPA/LSAT numbers up, schools are pulling from an increasingly small pool of candidates with high scores. To do so, they’re negotiating until almost the first day of classes, increasing scholarship amounts to match or beat competing schools. “It’s insane,” he claims, to need to fight with these other schools for students.

I would rebut that it’s insane tuition at his school has increased $9,000/year during this same time period.

THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS

So is law school a buyers’ market, or is that a bit of editorial license taken by the writer?

Law school is a service, and the goal of that service is to get you a job as a lawyer. Because of the financial crisis, legal jobs are a lot scarcer (though they do still pay staggeringly large salaries). And despite fewer positions being available, the amount of work hasn’t decreased that much. This translates to even longer hours than pre-crisis (in other words, the jobs are even less pleasant).

I’m glad to see the article use the “nine months after graduation” metric to measure employment, as other numbers tend to be gamed by law schools who hire their grads to inflate their stats. It’s still important to recognize, however, that 57% doesn’t represent people working at Big Law, or even the public sector. A large percentage also ends up at smaller firms, earning nowhere near the $180K/year salaries most young lawyers dream of. The amount of work, though, is about the same.

So, in short, the “service” being provided by law schools is coming down in value. At the same time, their supply of new students is drastically dropping. And most numbers being reported suggest that the largest drop in applicants is coming from the top of the LSAT pool (see the decline in LSAT averages of even top schools). All in all, it is a good time to be.

HOW TO USE

Emily Trieber is exactly right—treat the relationship as a business contract.

When you first apply, the relationship is extremely asymmetric—you desperately want to be admitted, and they have all the power. However, after you’re admitted, the dynamic shifts. You’re their customer, and they’ve already told you they want your business. It’s hard to shift your view after spending so long hoping for any letter of admission, but it’s important to change your perspective so you graduate with as little debt as possible. And with a few other schools also interested in you as a customer, it’s time to negotiate.

It’s always best to get in touch with the school via phone (or in person, if you can make a visit). Be honest with them about your offers from other schools, but use those offers to leverage better terms from preferred schools. And always be willing to ask—no one has ever had their offer rescinded for politely requesting a lower tuition bill.

That’s really the key—treat the relationship as business one, which entails courtesy. The schools know that tuition is expensive and scholarship offers are on the rise. They also know that applicants are an increasingly rare commodity. Use this to your advantage and don’t accept sticker price as what you have to pay if you want to go to a particular law school. They’ve already told you they want you as a student; now, tell them that, in order to make that happen, they’re going to have to make you a better offer.

Decision

For the first time ever, Manhattan Prep is holding a one-day audition for new GMAT, GRE, and LSAT instructors! Come join us December 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM and transform your passion for teaching into a lucrative and fulfilling part-time or full-time career.

Manhattan Prep offers instructors flexible hours and great pay ($100/hour for all teaching and tutoring). In addition to teaching classes, instructors can work on other projects such as curriculum development.

Our regular instructor audition process, which includes a series of phone, video, and in-person mock lessons, usually takes weeks, even months, to complete. However, we are offering a one-day event on December 14th for teachers interested in working with us. Candidates who attend will receive a decision that day.

The event will take place at our company headquarters at 138 West 25th St., 7th Floor, in Manhattan, New York City at 9:00 AM EST.  It is open to candidates who live in the tri-state area, who have teaching experience, and who are GMAT, LSAT, or GRE experts.

The day will include several rounds of lessons, as well as other activities. Each round will be pass/ fail. The day will begin at 9 AM and may last as late as 4:30 PM for those who make it to the final round. Candidates will need to prepare lessons for some rounds; we will send a more detailed instruction packet to those who sign up for the event.

To register, please email Rina at auditions@manhattanprep.com. Make sure to include in your full name, an attachment of your resume detailing your teaching experience, and an official GRE, GMAT, or LSAT score report. We look forward to meeting you on December 14th!

11-12-ReadOutLoud-GREIn the spirit of the holiday season, we will be collecting non-perishable food to be donated to New York’s City Harvest now through Dec. 20th! Our goal is to collect a minimum of 200 food items including but not limited to: canned goods, peanut butter, mac-n-cheese, cereal, soups, pastas, etc.

We will also be collecting children’s toys to be donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation with a  goal of collecting a minimum of 50 new toys to be distributed to needy children in NYC. Finally, we are also collecting clothing to be donated to the  New York Cares Coat Drive. Our hope is to collect a minimum of 50 new or gently used coats, sweaters, and blankets.

All Donations may be made at 138 West 25th St, 7th Fl. New York, NY 10001. Donation bins and flyers have been placed on the 7th floor.

Please join our efforts to make this season brighter for our community and those in need.