Articles published in September 2013

“Unless” Statements in 2 Minutes

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Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - Notating Unless Statements in Two Minutes by Mary Richter

We incorporate the latest discoveries in learning science into our LSAT course to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your prep. Want to see? Try the first session of any of our upcoming courses for free.


Lately, I’ve been getting asked a lot about notating “unless.” I figured that with the LSAT is so close, it might be helpful to write up a quick-and-dirty how-to designed specifically for those of you who need to lock it in last minute.

The quickest way to learn how to diagram “unless” as a conditional is to translate it “if not.”

I can’t ride the ride unless I’m over 4 feet tall =

I can’t ride the ride [if not] over 4 feet tall =

Not over 4 ft –> Can’t ride ride

But wait! Didn’t “if not” appear in the middle of the sentence? Why does it leap to the beginning in our diagramming? Like with any “if” that appears in the middle of a sentence we are diagramming, we just pluck it up and place it at the beginning of our conditional. This is because the left side of the arrow is always the “if” side (the conditional side), regardless of how the original sentence is organized. So:

I will eat that banana if you pay me 10 dollars =

Pay me 10 dollars –> Eat that banana

Translating “unless” to “if not” fits right into this model. Try a few more, and I’ll put answers at the end of this post:

1. Don’t move unless I tell you to!

2. Ask unless I say otherwise.

3. Lean on me unless I’m not there.

Now, here’s a slight twist for plural conditionals, such as the one that appears on PrepTest 69, Section 4, Question 6. That question asks you to translate an unless statement but gives you two “unless” triggers. Like this:

She is going to return the blow dryer unless it starts working again or she can’t find her receipt.

If we apply the “if not” strategy, this sentence becomes:

She is going to return the blow dryer [if not] it starts working again or she can’t find her receipt.

So it seems we would diagram that:

If doesn’t start working OR can find receipt –> Will return

But what’s the problem with that? Think about it–does that actually reflect what we’ve been told? This sentence …

If doesn’t start working OR can find receipt –> Will return

… tells us that if either thing happens, that’s enough to guarantee she returns it. But that’s not true! If it doesn’t start working again, that’s not sufficient to know that she will return it, because she still needs to find her receipt. For this to make sense we have to change the OR to an AND:

If doesn’t start working AND can find receipt –> Will return

And the contrapositive would be:

Won’t return –> Does start working OR can’t find receipt

This means we have to add a second rule to our strategy for translating “unless” statements into conditional (if –> then) statements:

1. “Unless” becomes “if not.”

2. In the “unless” (“if not”) clause, “and” becomes “or” and “or” becomes “and.”

Answers to drill above

1. I don’t tell you to –> Don’t move [Contrapositive: Move –> I tell you to]
2. I don’t say otherwise –> Ask [Contrapositive: Don’t ask –> I said otherwise]
3. There –> Lean on me (Can be tricky, but “if not not there” just means “there.”)
[Contrapositive: Don’t lean on me –> Not there]


Don’t forget that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free. We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


Manhattan Prep LSAT Instructor Mary Richter

Mary Richter is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. Mary has degrees from Yale Law School and Duke. She has over 10 years of experience teaching the LSAT after scoring in the 99th percentile on the test. She is always thrilled to see students reach beyond their target scores. At Yale, she co-directed the school’s Domestic Violence Clinic for two years. After graduating she became an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in New York City, where she was also the firm’s pro bono coordinator. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and more. Check out Mary’s upcoming LSAT classes here.

Free LSAT Events This Week: Sept 23 – September 29

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free greHere are the free LSAT events we’re holding this week. All times local unless otherwise specified.

9/22/13 – Austin, TX-  Free Proctored LSAT Practice Exam– 9:30AM-1:30PM

9/25/13 – Online- Zen and the Art of LSAT with Brian Birdwell–  8:00PM- 10:00PM

9/28/13 – Washington, DC-  Free Proctored LSAT Practice Exam- 9:30AM-1:30PM

9/29/13 – New York, NY- Free Trial Class– 2:00PM- 5:00PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page

The LSAT is Two Weeks Away and I’m Not Scoring Where I Should Be: To Take or Not to Take?

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Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - The LSAT Is Two Weeks Away and I'm Not Scoring Where I Should Be - To Take or Not to Take by Mary Richter

We incorporate the latest discoveries in learning science into our LSAT course to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your prep. Want to see? Try the first session of any of our upcoming courses for free.


 

Say it’s officially late September and you’re still ten points under what you want to be scoring. What do you do? Do you take October? Or do you push it off a few months? Read more

Free LSAT Events This Week: Sept 16 – September 22

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free greHere are the free LSAT events we’re holding this week. All times local unless otherwise specified.

9/18/13 – Boston, MA- Free Proctored LSAT Practice Exam– 6:00PM- 10:00PM (EDT)

9/21/13 – Boulder, CO-  Free Proctored LSAT Practice Exam– 9:30AM-1:30PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page

Study the LSAT Everyday

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No, that’s not an order, but it is a great idea. Here’s the problem; there’s a limit to how many tests you can work through without completely tuning out and not getting anything out of it. lsat note takingThe good news is you can study the LSAT everyday while minimizing your exposure to the actual test.

Quick disclaimer: this is NOT a recommendation to ditch practice tests or strategies. This is a way to supplement your test studying so you are always in LSAT mode.

That said, consider what the LSAT is actually testing. It is a test that evaluates your ability to think logically. You are presented with chances to think logically all the time (though if you’re like me, you may not always live up to the potential). If you identify and use those opportunities, they become excellent chances to study.

Start with reading comprehension. Whether you’re in school or at work, you have to read, probably pretty often. We read for content – to find out what the article is saying. Start reading for perspective as well. As you go through your books and articles, ask yourself these questions: Read more

Free LSAT Events This Week: Sept 9- September 5

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free greHere are the free LSAT events we’re holding this week. All times local unless otherwise specified.

9/10/13 – Boston, MA- Free Trial Class- 6:30PM-9:30PM

9/15/13Online – Zen and the Art of LSAT with Brian Birdwell– 8:00PM- 10:00PM (EDT)

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page

Four Week Countdown: Time for the SUPER PILE!

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iStock_000009700656XSmallAhh! Four weeks from Saturday! The October LSAT is less than an official month away. For those of you who will be nervously assembling your pencils and tearfully parting ways with your cell phones/girlfriends/boyfriends/over-eager roommates, there’s something else you should be struggling to part ways with. It’s called The Super Pile. 
 
The Super Pile was bestowed its name by a tutoring student of mine who resisted it for months. We’ll call her Rhoda.
Rhoda would come in with her practice book dog-eared all over the place. These folded down corners pointed at questions she’d struggled with and wanted to review. Ninety percent of these questions I’d end up suggesting she do again later. “Add them to the pile,” I’d say, and she’d say sure, sure, right.

 

A few weeks into this I asked how the pile was developing. She confessed she hadn’t made it. It took too much time to make! I insisted and she agreed that if she did nothing else that week, she’d assemble the collection of questions that had been challenging for her. The next meeting she came in with three copies of a stack of photocopies from Kinko’s stapled. “Not one Super Pile, but three!” she announced. The name Super Pile was born. And of course, then she had to do them.

 

The Super Pile has been with me since my own LSAT studying days. I believe very strongly in it. The rules are simple:

 

1. As you encounter difficult questions, add them to the pile. You can make new copies or print them from the website. Or if you are too lazy for either of those, fine, just dog-ear your book. But always be accumulating new questions.

 

2. Wait a few days and re-do them. Was that one still challenging? Put it at the bottom of the stack to re-do when it resurfaces later. Do this again and again until it’s a piece of cake for you. Then it can be removed.

 

3. Continue adding to the stack. The Super Pile will always be growing. It will also always be shedding questions as you master them. It’s an evolving, friendly little creature.

 

4. Keep the Super Pile with you until test day. It’s a great tool for the final few weeks/month before the exam. It’s also a great source of 2-3 warm-up questions to do on test day before you head out.

Got A Law School Application Question? Ask Ann Levine On Our Forums!

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ann levineWe’re excited to announce a helpful new resource for those on the road to law school. Ann Levine, president and chief consultant at Law School Expert, has joined our forums and will be answering your law school applications and admissions questions!

In addition to founding Law School Expert, Ann is the author of the bestselling law school guide The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert. She is the former director of admissions at two ABA-approved law schools and the nation’s leading law school admission consultant. Ann has personally guided over 2,000 law school applicants through the law school admission process.

Have a question for Ann? Head over to our forums and ask her now!

Free LSAT Events This Week: September 2- September 8

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free greHere are the free LSAT events we’re holding this week. All times local unless otherwise specified.

9/8/13 – Online- Free Trial Class- 1:00PM- 4:00PM (EDT)

9/8/13 – New York, NY – Free Trial Class– 5:30 PM- 8:30PM

9/8/13 – Boulder, CO – Free Trial Class- 2:00 PM- 5:00PM

Looking for more free events? Check out our Free Events Listings Page