Articles published in 2011

After the Storm: What to Make of October LSAT Results


Yesterday around 4:30pm EST, LSAC began the process of releasing scores to students who took the October LSAT. The curve was -13 for a 170, which means this was an unusually difficult exam – we typically see the 170 curve at -10!

Calm After the LSAT Storm

Score release day is a nervy affair for students (first and foremost), parents, and test prep companies alike. We are all intimately familiar with the amount of hard work that has gone in to preparing for the LSAT, making the moment that you open that email from LSAC an impossibly sudden crescendo to the hundreds of hours of hard work put in by law school hopefuls.

As sweet as it was to hear the numerous success stories of our students in the early moments after the score release, our immediate attention is always turned to the people out there who still have a bit more work to do. There will be many students who should think about retaking the exam in December (or February, depending on when you are trying to start Law School), and many more who should not – much more on this decision will be forthcoming in my “Retake Manifesto” blog post later this week.

For the unsure student, (or anyone else curious about what was going on with this exam), we’re offering our free live online review of the October LSAT.  Mike Kim and Noah Teitelbaum will be presenting the answers to several of this exam’s more difficult questions, as well as providing insight in to whether or not you should be considering a retake.

If you already have your sights set on December for one last shot at this thing ahead of the Fall 2012 application deadlines, here is some helpful info:

  • The deadline to register for the December 2011 LSAT is Friday, November 4th (receipt deadline)
  • Ann Levine’s blog post regarding the retake decision is a useful read
  • It’s not too late to self-study! Perhaps a bit of organization was all you were lacking from previous prep efforts.
  • If you’re looking for more than self-study, we offer in-person and live online Private Tutoring – a fine option for the compressed timeline between now and the December test.
  • Our live online Logic Games Intensive course begins on Sunday, October 30th and finishes up before the December exam. Try it free.

FINALLY! October LSAT Scores Released


After weeks of anticipation, the October LSAT scores have finally been released by LSAC!  The curve was -13 for a 170, -28 for a 160, and -45 for a 150 (out of 101 questions).  This is a generous curve, as we typically see 170 scores around a -10.  How did you do?

He just heard the news of the October LSAT score release

Hopefully you’re where you need to be and thus can start focusing on applications. For the rest of us mere mortals, there is still some work to do.

I would suggest attending our free online review of the October LSAT on Wednesday of this week. Two our our geeky-est instructors will be going over the more difficult questions on the exam, and providing some insight in to the “should I retake?”  dilemma that many of you are likely facing now.

If the December LSAT is in your future, be sure to get yourself registered before Monday’s (October 31st) deadline.

Be sure to tweet your LSAT score @ManhattanLSAT for a chance to win a cool prize!

October 2011 LSAT Score Release Date


In the increasingly fast paced, digitized, need-it-yesterday world we live in, there are few beacons of  “the old school” that stand out as welcome reminders of a more relaxed by gone era. The LSAT, with its pencil and paper format, is one of these ‘throwbacks’. 

Waiting Room

In my humblest of opinions, throwbacks are not necessarily a bad thing! I can think of several examples of this: the hand written thank you note, the sky hook, rec specs, Warren Buffet, the Pythagorean Theorem – I think you get the point. When it comes to the LSAT, aren’t you somewhat appreciative of the fact that the test is in the same format as most of the tests you’ve taken since elementary school? Other grad school hopefuls must take entrance exams which require them to submit their answers in to a computer that actually determines the next question on the exam based on their last response. I’ve heard horror stories of students accidentally kicking the power chord of their machine out in the middle of the exam – the horror! Read more

Book Review: The Law School Decision Game by Ann Levine, Esq.


Ann K. Levine, aka The Law School Expert, has just released her newest book, The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers.  I’ve had the opportunity to give it a once over, and I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who is thinking about law school, about to start law school, is currently in law school, or has recently graduated from (you guessed it) law school. In short, this is a fantastic read – well worth the $16 price tag!
Chock full of advice to help the aspiring attorney through the difficult maze of career decisions in front of them, this title is a straight-talk, easy-to-read guide that would make a welcome addition to any aspiring lawyers library. Aptly described in the title as “A playbook for perspective lawyers”, Ann draws upon years of experience working with prospective law students to identify and address the most transient questions that prospective law students have.

The Law School Decision Game is not about gaining admission to the JD program of your dreams. Instead, Ann provides expert perspective on the increasingly relevant decisions that need to be made before one even begins down the path to law school, such as:

  • Is law school a wise decision?
  • Considerations one should make in deciding what type of law to study/practice
  • How much money do lawyers make?
  • The business of law
  • How to pick a law school

And much more.

Ann Levine has penned an incredibly helpful resource for any individual grappling with the decision as to whether or not law school (and thus a career in law) is in their future. “The Law School Decision Game” is a welcome injection of fresh, well informed perspective to the law school conversation.

Ann’s book is available on or her own website,

October LSAT: Singing the Blues, or Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah?!


It's over!! It's all over!!

As we lay the October 2011 LSAT to rest, it is important that we remember the legacy it will leave behind. We mustn’t forget the blood, sweat, and tears that went into preparing for this exam. Hopefully, you’re coming off of Saturday’s exam feeling content with your performance. If that’s how it went for you – congratulations! I hope you celebrated properly, and cannot wait to hear about your results.

As for the rest of you, who didn’t quite skip out of the exam center whistling “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah“, all is not lost! If you’re certain things did not go well for you on Saturday, you ought a cancel your score (if you haven’t done so already, today is the last day!). And luckily, December is not too late – you can still get in to law school in the Fall 2012 using your scores from the December 2011 LSAT!

What’s important is for you to recognize what’sholding you back from achieving your LSAT goals, and then to do something about it. Here are three common reasons why you might not be seeing the results you wanted:

1)  You underestimated the beast that is the LSAT.  You knew the LSAT was hard, but you had no idea just how much time and energy was necessary to adequately prepare for the exam. –We see this often—students who expect that a few hours of homework and studying each week will be sufficient for maximizing their potential on this test. Unfortunately, for most people it takes much more than that. Set your sites on the December exam with your expectations adjusted.

2) I just can’t seem to get over the hump on the ___________ section.  This is natural. Often students who have been studying for a while start to have a few sections of the exam really “click” for them, while one or two sections remain  problem areas. You should embrace this opportunity to hone in on your weak areas and really address what’s holding you back (note: if you’re struggling with Logic Games, consider trying our Logic Games Intensive Course).

3) You prepped hard, but not smart. At Manhattan LSAT, we’re big proponents of self-study. Maybe you’ve been studying on your own, but have never really had a structured approach. This is one of the major advantages of our Self Study program: it gives you structure.  It tells you what to focus on, when to focus on it, and how to channel your efforts on a particular question type or exam section. If you’ve chosen to do it yourself, be sure to add some sort of structure.  Our Self Study program comes with a syllabus and course recordings, ensuring that you have a very structured plan of attack.

For those of you who are going to continue the LSAT battle from now until the December exam, perhaps we can help.  We’re offering a free, live online review of the October exam and have an lsat class beginning October 17th that will prepare you for the December test.

One Week Warning: What to Focus on the Week Before October LSAT


Things to Stay Clear of on Test Day

As we close in on the October LSAT, I thought I would share our usual tips to keep you on track as game day draws near. What’s that you say – you’re not sure if you are ready, willing, or able to take the October LSAT?  Before you go pushing the panic button, make sure you are making all of the proper considerations about which test administration you should take.

If you’re full steam ahead for the October exam, here is some advice for the final hours that our Managing Director, Noah Teitelbaum, wrote for our good friend Ann Levine on’s blog:

1. Focus on the main event. Right about now we see on our LSAT forums  lots of questions about unimportant topics and students freaking out about the hardest LSAT questions in written history. Rare question and game types are rare! If you find them tough, that’s not a big deal. What is important is that you are able to get the easy and common ones correct without wasting too much time, leaving you enough time for the rare question or game. And, games are generally more consistent today than in days of yore, so don’t freak out if you think CD game or the Zephyr airlines game is hard – they were! Focus on capitalizing on your strengths, not trying to do an emergency patch-up of a minor weakness. Read more

Analyze Your LSAT PrepTest Results – The New Manhattan LSAT Tracker


The inner workings of the new Manhattan LSAT Tracker

Cue trumpets…drum roll…da,dah! Ladies and Gentleman, esteemed members of the international community, we are pleased to announce that we’ve just finished updating our LSAT Tracker. LSAT pandemonium in the streets; children shouting for joy; dogs and cats finally getting along. Woo-hoo! Wait, what’s that? You don’t know what the LSAT Tracker is? It’s our fancy spreadsheet you should use to analyze your LSAT results. After you take a practice test, slide in your answers, hit a button or two and voila, you’ll find out what’s what with your strengths and weaknesses. As one person told me, “the Tracker tells me in detail how I suck!” (I assure you she improved). One great thing about using the Tracker is that it doesn’t reveal the correct answer if you get something wrong. That way you can go back and look at the question again without knowing what answer you should have chosen – that’s a lot more useful than simply going back and saying “oh, yeah, it is (D)!”

What’s new about this new Tracker? For one it includes a lot more tests. This Tracker covers PrepTests 46-72 (including the June 2007 LSAT, which you can find on our LSAT proctor page). It also has more detailed analysis of each section. As we all know, more graphs = more fun.

When you click on the input tab you’ll notice that the exams are not in chronological order – they’re in the order we assign them in our class. But, it’s fine to use it in any order you like. Also, we threw PT51 & 52 in their own section. Those two LSATs are stupid and deserve to be isolated to protect the other LSATs from them. Or, we use those two LSATs in our class a lot, so our students can’t really use them as authentic practice LSATs since we’ve taught the heck out of a lot of those questions (we’re sorry PT51 & 52, it’s nothing personal, we had to do it to some LSATs).

So jump in: the new tracker is located in your free Student Center – register now! Just note one thing: we’re releasing this in beta version. We want to hear from you how to make it better. So, please, please post your feedback on the LSAT Tracker forum thread. We will listen – even if it’s about how it sucks, in detail.

Taking the LSAT: October vs. December vs. February


With less than a month to go before the October LSAT, I have noticed an increase in the number of students who call and ask for advice on which LSAT administration they should be setting their sights on. Many of these students are concerned about their readiness for the upcoming October exam, and are fearful about what postponing until the December exam will do to their admission prospects (timeline wise) for the Fall of 2012.

Legend has it LSAC decided on its four implementation months by tossing a marble on a rotating Mayan calendar

While there is something to be said for taking the June or October LSAT and applying earlier in the rolling admissions cycle that law schools use, I want to be very clear about my advice on this: it is far more important to maximize your potential on the LSAT than it is to apply early!

Ann Levine, President of and author of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like An Expert has reiterated this point time and time again on her blog.

I can certainly understand the tendency of a prospective law school student to want to get the LSAT over and done with – and their applications in as early as possible – however rushing to take the test before you are truly prepared is an error in judgement that will ultimately hurt your application, since the LSAT is factored so heavily in to your admission decision.  If you have been preparing for the October LSAT and are not yet where you think you can be score wise, then you should embrace (not fear!) the prospect of postponing your exam until December.  Remember, LSAC has relaxed its policy on postponing registration for the exam, making it more convenient for students to choose a course of action that will benefit them the most in the bigger picture.

When it comes to the February LSAT, it is a different story entirely.  Taking the February LSAT will not allow you to apply for law school admittance for the Fall of that same year.  While there is nothing wrong with taking the February LSAT if you’re ahead of the game (scores are good for five years), all February LSAT takers should be aware that the February test is not released, meaning you will never have the opportunity to review which questions you got right or wrong, which can be a real bummer when you’ve put so much in to preparing for the exam.

If you’re one of the many students who has been preparing for the October LSAT but are not quite feeling like you are where you can be score wise, you should strongly consider setting your sights on the December exam.  We still have a few online courses (and courses in select cities) yet to kick off that have schedules catering to December LSAT takers.


Free LSAT Prep – Zen and the Art of LSAT with Brian Birdwell


Is the LSAT driving you mad? It has been known to have that effect on people. However, before you seek some form of professional help, check out our FREE public LSAT Class led by Brian Birdwell: Zen and the Art of LSAT.

Brian Birdwell, one of our 99th percentile rock star instructors, is worth the price of admission (okay, so it’s free, but seriously check him out!). He is the LSAT equivalent of the Dos Equis Guy. How many people do you know who have rode on a scooter for 70 miles in the pouring rain in Malaysia, sandwiched between a Thai kickboxing champion and an English hip-hop artist, or sold a million dollars worth of watermelon in 6 weeks? He just may be the most interesting man in LSAT prep.

As if hanging with Brian weren’t enough, what you’ll get out of his class is worth clearing your schedule for. Here’s how it works: you sign up and submit questions that you would like to see Brian cover during the session.  Brian will sort through the submitted questions and teach as many as time will allow.

Bring your friends, bring your neighbors, even bring your shrink if you want; Brian Birdwell is dishing out LSAT peace of mind for the rock bottom price of $0.00.

The Strain of ‘Decision Fatigue’

Decisions, decisions!

Decisions, decisions!

A member of the Manhattan LSAT Forum community – who, like a good lawyer-to-be, is keeping himself anonymous – sent me an interesting article in the NY Times magazine that has some interesting implications for LSAT study. Take a look at the article and what he had to say about it – I think this is spot on:

The article is about “decision fatigue”: how merely making a large number of decisions (whether deciding LSAT questions or deciding your breakfast cereal) leads you to a point where you are more liable to make bad decisions or take shortcuts to avoid having to invest yourself in more decisions.  There were  a few things I think are relevant to LSAT study:

#1. This could underlie the fatigue students often feel towards the end of an individual test (it’s not just having to read a lot or analyze a lot of logic—it’s literally the act of making so many decisions) Read more