Articles published in 2010

Time to relax! (and wait for your LSAT score)


Congratulations to all the December LSAT test-takers. Hopefully last weekend was a dream come true. Now begins the frightful wait for LSAT scores – here’s a list of previous LSAT release dates, so you know when to start wondering.

Until then, finish up your applications, make sure all your letters of recommendation are in, and get ready to hit submit when your score comes in.

Our fingers are crossed for you!

LSAT Burnout


It happens to all of us.

Folks, it’s that time of year. The weather is turning crisp, the trees are stripping down for the winter, 3rd grade teachers are changing their window decorations from cut-out turkeys to snowflakes, and LSAT students are burning out.

This is understandable. With such a high-stakes test, prepping for the LSAT generally goes past being a part-time gig and starts becoming an obsession. Yes, practice does improve your score, but there’s a limit. Watch out for the signs of burn-out:

– Your score is starting to droop – and not because of anxiety, but because of weary eyes and a wandering mind.

– You are taking tests but are not reviewing them. Mostly because . . .

– You are angry, deeply angry.

Alright, stop. Here are some suggestions:

1. Take a day or two off. Your brain may actually do better if you give it some time to settle and organize what you’ve learned.

2. Work out. Your brain is a muscle – it needs oxygen.

3. Stop drinking, sniffing donuts or whatever you do for recreation that happily or not impairs your brain functioning. Your brain . . . well, this one is obvious.

4. Change how you are preparing. Try studying with someone else. Try playing the LSAT Arcade. Try doing just 1 or 2 full sections each day for a couple of days instead of full practice tests. Re-do some old sections.

5. Get some sleep. If you’re exhausted, this can be more helpful as doing more work.

6. Create a schedule, and add in breaks. Watch a movie to unwind and let your brain relax.

7. Recognize that you cannot learn much more – these final days are for you to solidify what you’ve learned and get into a routine.

You’re almost there, so don’t sweat it if you’re seeing a dip in scores – instead, change up what you’re doing.  And don’t worry if you’re unable to get excited about the LSAT. Test day will bring adrenalin, which will help energize you a bit.

How to Decide Between Two Answers on the LSAT


If only it were this easy...

I just finished reading an interesting book, How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer. One of the more interesting studies that he cites involved choosing between five posters. Three were humorous cat posters (i.e. the internet!), and One poster was a cute photograph of a cat cute cats, one was a Monet, and the fifth was a van Gogh. The folks in group A was simply asked to choose a poster to take home. Plain and simple. Group B was asked to do the same thing AND were asked to explain their decision. What do you think happened?

Group A tended to choose the Monet or van Gogh posters, while Group B went for the kitties. That’s interesting! And then, a few weeks later, Group B folks were generally far less satisfied with their choices than the Group A people. The hypothesis is that forcing people to explain their thinking led them to choose the poster for which they could more easily provide a reason. Apparently, it’s a lot easier to explain why we would want a cat in our dorm room than a Monet.

So what does this mean for the LSAT? One interpretation is that you should simply go with your gut. Sure, that makes sense. Don’t over think the decision – and definitely don’t think you can out-smart the LSAT. Instead, do what the LSAT is asking of you: make the inferences, grasp the argument, etc.

However, I think the more useful takeaway for the experiment above is that we should practice explaining why LSAT answers are right or wrong. Read more

A Practice Logic Game – Pat the Party Planner


We were saddened to realize that one of our Logic Challenges was looking suspiciously similar to a real LSAT game. While we try to make our games LSAT-like, we don’t like to have them feel like copies of real ones. So, we’ve replaced #25 with the following. Enjoy!

Pat the Planner is planning her perfect party. The party will go from 8 pm to midnight. During this time, 8 different musical bands—K, L, M, N, O, P, R, and Q—each of which has at least one member in one of the other bands, will perform, each for thirty minutes.

The following conditions apply

At least one person in band M is in both bands K and O.
At least one person in band R is in both bands N and L.
O performs before K but after M.
P performs before L but after N.
No musician can perform in consecutive time slots.

1. Which of the following could be the order of bands that perform, from first to last?

(A) M, N, O, P, Q, L, K, R
(B) M, N, O, P, L, R, K, Q
(C) N, M, P, K, R, O, L, Q
(D) Q, N, M, L, P, O, K, R
(E) K, N, P, R, O, M, L, Q

Read more

Do I Have Enough Time to Get Ready for the LSAT?


Time keeps on slipping...

Welcome to the panic room! Let’s start with a deep breath.

Those asking this question fall into a few categories, which we can broadly group as follows:

A. Test-day anxiety Annie

B. Novice Nick

C. Half-prepared Henrietta

We’ll start with Annie. She freaked out during the last LSAT. She was scoring decently on her practice tests, but lost her cool on the first logic game on test day (or perhaps the first LR section, or second RC passage, etc.). She definitely does have enough time to get ready, and here’s what she needs to do: 1 or 2 full-length LSATs per week. Time those tests like the pros (here’s a proctor), do them in various settings, and use an experimental section! Annie needs to review that LSAT deeply. (Here are some tips on how to effectively review.)

Let’s move on to Nick. Nick just began. He recently realized that his dream of opening a great Korean barbecue food truck has already been done, and furthermore, he’s allergic to kimchi – so he’s off to law school.  Nick needs to start by taking a practice test. Then he should look at the GPA and LSAT calculator to see what his chances are. If he’s over 15 points below the minimum he’d need for the two “easiest” schools that interest him, he probably needs to shoot for the Feb LSAT and applying for 2012 to give himself more time to prepare. Sorry, Nick! But, depending on what score band he’s at, if he needs only 5-10 more points, that’s within reason IF he fully devotes himself to the process! This would mean he does not work (and, let’s face it, it sounds like he’s free). His schedule would look something like this: Read more

When will they release the F#@$%! October 2010 LSAT Scores?


In New York there are several companies that you can pay to provide you someone who will wait in line for you. But even in this ridiculous city, there’s nobody you can pay to do the waiting for you if you’re hitting refresh on your LSAC account, itching for your October LSAT score to be released. If you’d like to take an educated guess at when that’ll happen, here’s a list of past LSAT score release dates. On average they arrive about 4.5 days before the officially-sanctioned release date. It seems like the LSAT and airlines have hit on the same idea: set your arrival time late so that you show up early.

While you’re waiting, sign up for our October 2010 LSAT Review Workshop where we’ll review that LSAT and serve tea and cookies (if tea and cookies could be served live online).

Hang in there! That score’s coming any minute…

Jury Duty and the LSAT Part 2


Let’s continue our personal injury saga that we began last week. After yet another break of a few days, we came back to hear opening statements – more or less what you see in the movies – followed by a few days of witnesses. The first witness was not officially called the King of Slips, Trips and Falls, but in essence he was. This man had more credentials about slips and trips than you, and I’m sure of this, can imagine exist. He has written the code for various policies on construction, he has taught classes, he’s been on TV (specifically his receipt of a national award was televised on 52 stations – that was really too much information!), and he’s board certified by everyone, and he’s run said boards. The jury was thoroughly over-impressed to the point of annoyance.

Similarly, we heard from a very certified doctor who told us in no uncertain terms that the plaintiff broke his nose and that it really, really hurt. What amazed me is how much these guys get paid. $7,500 to appear in court for less than an hour! These specialists show up in court cases all the time and make a huge bundle of money. That’s when I started calculating. If the plaintiff has these two expert witnesses – about $15,000 – the lawyers must be hoping to win a huge payment. Thankfully, the plaintiff doesn’t pay a dime to the lawyer unless they win the case. If they do, the lawyers take a huge chunk of the settlement. Wow – they were hoping to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. And this was for a broken nose and a twisted pinky.

It turns out, we learned from meeting the plaintiff, that he went back to work two days later, then flew across the world to get married. Now, he is able to do everything he was able to do previously – basketball, painting rooms, etc. So, what were we actually going to be paying for? Read more

Jury Duty and the LSAT


Yeah, jury duty!

It happens to the best of us, and even to me:  I was called for jury duty last week and I had already used my get-out-of-jury-duty-for-free passes. So, off I went to the New York County Courthouse to wait out my two days of not being called to a case (I’ve done this before). But it turns out I was actually selected! While almost everyone there complained, it was actually a fascinating experience, and, among other things, it reinforced for me why the LSAT is so predictive of one’s performance in law school: it actually tests many of the skills that lawyers use (though, it became clear, not all of them).

It all began with Voir Dire – and if you’re a true LSAT geek, you are thinking of that one RC passage about Voir Dire and exposure to the media. Voir Dire is a fancy way of saying jury selection. The lawyers asked us questions and flicked us off the jury depending on our answers, biases, etc. We were quickly informed that this would be a personal injury case. That immediately made me think of those commercials – like Saul in Breaking Bad. Or this commercial. We were asked whether we worked for the subway — ah, someone got hit by a subway?! – and whether we knew some guy. And have we been in a personal injury case before? Oh, your mother was? What part of her body was injured? Oh, her nose…

It started to become apparent – some guy broke his nose on the subway. Ouch. Read more

Should I Cancel My LSAT Score?


It’s the Monday after an LSAT, so this is the question that’s filling the LSAT-universe. It’s not a pleasant discussion, but let’s get into it. Assuming that you just had a bad test day experience, here are a few considerations you should, well, consider:

1. Was this LSAT considerably different than your usual practice test experience? For example, did you only complete 3 games or RC passages when you usually complete 4? Or did you become violently ill?

2. Were you scoring comfortably within an acceptable score range on your last 2 – 3 practice tests?

3. What is the policy of the schools that interest you in terms of considering all scores, only your best, etc.

First things first:  if YOU KNOW you bombed the LSAT, then you should cancel (unless all your goal schools are firmly committed to only considering your best score).

Now that we have that out of the way, you should start with #3. Let’s say that you have 8 schools in mind. If 6 of them will look at all your scores, then that should steer you towards canceling and re-taking. Read more

A New Law School Admissions Resource (that’s free for the next 2 days)


While I spend 90% of my day in front of a computer, I have not yet dived into the world of e-books. But, probably you have! Even if you’re like me and you love the feel of the pages, and the gentle wear of a book’s spine, you should check out Anna Ivey’s e-book – The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions. Not only is there some juicy advice in there, but Anna just told me that this book is a free download for the next two days! It’s first come, first served – there is a limit to the kindness of publishers!  Use the code LAUNCH and hop to it!