Articles published in February 2011

Some Friday Levity


We all knew “that guy” (or girl) who couldn’t get enough of their own voice and opinion in the classroom. When the Professor asked a question, they would invariably raise their hand with a fervor and energy that can only be matched by a pack of twelve-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert.  They had the answer to every question, studied twice as much as you for every test, and were – at least in their own minds – destined for greater things than you.

Cee Lo Green

Well my law school hopeful friends, I have some good news and some bad news; first the bad: you will undoubtedly encounter these folks in large numbers as you journey through law school.  So prevalent are these Poindexter’s that  law school students have even come up with a term for them: gunners.

The good news?! You and your other, non over-zealous classmates have several years of jokes to make at their expense! See exhibit A: an incredibly talented group of George Washington University students have put together an excellent tribute to these classroom legends set to the tune of Cee Lo Green’s Grammy nominated mega hit “F*** You’.


Is it time to start studying for the June LSAT?


There's a lighthouse at the end of the tunnel.

Yes, it is time.

Look deep into your heart, young LSAT-geek, and commit!

Start by taking a diagnostic test and seeing how long the road ahead is. If you don’t know squat about the LSAT, read our intro guide, and perhaps attend a free workshop.

If you’re not some super standardized test geek, you’ll need some prep materials. At a minimum, buy some guides and some practice tests. (As you can imagine, we like ours – especially our new Logical Reasoning Guide – a.k.a. the Beast – but apparently there are some other good ones out there).

Along with this more formal LSAT prep, start improving your brain. Put aside your young adult fiction. Yes, set aside Twilight and Hunger Games (and if you haven’t read Hunger Games, you really should, but after the LSAT). Instead, pick up the Economist, Smithsonian, Foreign Affairs (not as sexy as it sounds, sorry), Scientific American, and a few other academic journals. It will fill your head with interesting facts and train you to keep focused as you work through tough texts. Here’s a bit more on good LSAT reading choices.

On your way back from the library, stop off at the gym and start doing that frequently. Study after study shows that exercise helps your brain grow new connections. Here’s a recent NY Times article about walking and your hippocampus.

Now, you’re healthy, you’re carrying some snobby reading material, it’s time for the more formal stuff. Start up a weekly schedule of studying – and I mean actually set a schedule. How many hours on which days. Start easy on the practice tests – I would recommend one every 2-3 weeks for now, increasing to 1+ per week in the last 6 weeks. Remember to study strategies, then implement them with practice sets, then integrate them into practice tests. And review those tests deeply!

But, once again, in answer to your question. Yes. Begin!

Something is Rotten in the State of Pennsylvania


“For never was there a story of more woe, than that of Villanova and the LSAT scores they show”

Villanova Law School has recently made headlines after their dean, John Y. Gotanda, wrote a letter to students and alumni admitting that members of the school staff had knowingly passed along bogus data about the GPAs and LSAT scores of the students they admitted “for years prior to 2010”.

In the letter, Gotanda promised that the university would deal with these deceitful acts “swiftly and thoroughly”.  Apparently Gotanda went so far as to retain the legal counsel of Ropes & Gray to determine the “nature and scope” of the data fudging.

Lest we forget, the US News and World Report weighs LSAT and GPA scores quite heavily in their evaluations of the top schools in the country. Love them or hate them, these rankings are widely considered to be the authority in determining who is who among institutions of higher education.

So a law school has been inflating the GPA and LSAT statistics of their admitted classes in order to achieve a higher ranking from US News and World Report – hardly earth shattering news there! You can bet that Villanova is not the only law school out there that has “cooked the books” when it comes to the LSAT and GPA statistics of their students, and in my opinion, Gotanda deserves some credit for coming clean about these past transgressions (although this confession must have been made easier by the fact that Gotanda was not the dean of the school at the time of these forgeries).

What’s more important to glean from this article is the fact that – despite flashes of opinion that suggest otherwise – the LSAT remains as important today as it has ever been when it comes to differentiating oneself from the rest of the law school applicant pool. If a prestigious institution is willing to risk its good name through dishonest LSAT and GPA reporting, imagine how favorably they will look upon an applicant with the type of LSAT score they are pretending their students have.

Here are some interesting tidbits on this story from across the web:




The New Manhattan LSAT Logical Reasoning Guide is Out!


It's Big, and it's Not Yellow

Boom! It’s big. That will be your first reaction. It’s 552 pages of pure LSAT chocolaty goodness. But this isn’t some stale Cadbury Egg (I had to keep the duck theme going somehow). We’re really psyched about what’s inside this book. We’ve kept our focus on what top scorers actually do, but we’ve added in a ton of practice sets (with explanations) to help students put our strategies to work immediately. We know that it’s not hard to find LSATs to practice with, but with our new LR book, your initial slam-it-in-your-head-but-think-deeply-cause-you-can’t-memorize-your-way-to-170 practice is right there. We’ve also expanded our discussion of the assumption family of questions. If you don’t know about our approach, what we do is find the commonalities between question types (and this will be a relief to those who find the overly-dichomotized systems found in other LSAT books to be overwhelming). We know that memorizing a ton of question types leaves you struggling on test day, so we keep it simple and powerful.

You’re going to love it. Take a look at how much we love it:

If you bought our last Logical Reasoning Guide after December 15, 2010, we’ll happily replace the book with a new one so that you can join in the Manhattan LSAT logical reasoning jamboree. If you bought it at a bookstore, send us the receipt, if you bought it through us, just e-mail us the shipping address to use.

Woo-hoo! We like big ducks.

Food for Thought


MmmmMmm, bacon!

Since many of you will be taking the LSAT this coming weekend, I thought it was appropriate for me to channel my inner Jamie Oliver and make some dietary recommendations to all the February LSAT’ers (if you haven’t seen Jamie’s TED talk,  check out the first few minutes) out there. Truth is, we probably all should heed more nutritional advice from the likes of Jamie O – so why not let the LSAT be the incentive for change in your dietary habits? After all, chances are the exam has controlled every other aspect of your life for the past several months!

While I am by no means a medical expert or professional nutritionist, I do consider myself a highly skilled ‘Googler’, and I took some time to wrangle some helpful pre-exam tips from across the web to keep your mental steam throughout the entire LSAT exam:

Breakfast is essential. Nearly every expert that offered an opinion on what to eat before an exam started with the first meal of the day: breakfast. Some suggestions for a healthy pre exam breakfast are non-sugared cereal with fruit (try raisins, blueberries and/or or bananas), or if you prefer a hot breakfast, go with an egg sandwich with whole wheat bread or whole wheat English muffin. Read more