Articles published in October 2013

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween everyone! We hope you’re not too wrapped up in the LSAT prep work to dress up and celebrate. We posted these awesome legalLSAT Halloween-themed costume ideas last year and we thought they were so great that we needed to do a repost this year–we’ve even added a few new ones. The best part is that most are very easy to create, and, well, since today is Halloween you don’t have too much time to waste!

  1. Colonial Lawyer:  Take the traditional route and pop on a black robe and white collar and wig.
  2. My Cousin Vinny: Plenty of options for this one. You could go with the all black ensemble (black pants, leather jacket, and silver belt and chain) or you could spice it up with a brown/orange suit, complete with a matching bowtie, white button-down, and heavy New York accent.
  3. A Lawsuit: Wear a suit and attach legal documents all over it (Amendments of the Constitution, the UCC, Restatement of Torts) .
  4. The Second Amendment: Wear a sleeveless shirt.
  5. The Socratic Method: Get a white sheet from the linen closet and style a Greek toga. Sling a colored sash around your shoulder with the word “method” written across it.
  6. “A Salt” with a Deadly Weapon– Dress in all white with a grey hat. Poke a few holes in the top of the hat to mimic a salt shaker. Carry around a toy gun/sword/knife or water gun of some sort. You can even get a pal to be a bloody pepper shaker.
  7. Judge: A white, curly wig, pair of glasses, white turtleneck, and a black robe should do the trick. Add some pizzazz by adopting a New York accent and calling yourself Judy.
  8. Elle Woods: Bring out anything and everything pink. Pink dress, skirt, shirt, heels, and hat. If you’re not a natural blonde, grab a wig, as this is a pretty essential part of the costume. Don’t forget to pick up a Chihuahua and dress him in a matching pink outfit.
  9. The Lazy Lawyer: For those who want something more subtle or are just too lazy to put a complete costume together, throw on the shirt pictured above from
  10. Yourself: If you don’t fancy the whole costume idea, just go as the studious LSAT student that you are. Accessorize with you’re pencils, stopwatch, and Manhattan LSAT Strategy guides.

Already have your costume picked out and ready to go? We’d love to hear what you’re going as! Leave a comment below or shoot us a tweet @manhattanLSAT.

October 2013 LSAT Scores are In!


As usual, LSAC  released the October LSAT scores a couple of days before schedule and test-takers are currently receiving the news via Email. TheScreen Shot 2013-10-28 at 6.20.31 PM official curve out of 101 questions was -12 for a 170, -19 for a 165, -28 for a 160, and -46 for a 150. If all of your hard work paid off, congratulations! It’s now time to seriously direct your focus to those law school applications.

If things didn’t go as you were hoping they would, don’t freak out–we’re here for you. Start by taking a few deep breaths and have a look through our Retake Manifesto to decide whether it is worth your efforts to reregister for the exam. If you decide that a retake is your best option, be aware of some of the upcoming dates and deadlines pertaining to the December  2013 LSAT.

For anyone who knows they still have a little more LSAT work to do, you’re invited to sit in on a free Manhattan LSAT online trial class tomorrow night, October 29th at 8:00PM (EDT). You’ll be able to experience one of our 99th percentile teachers in action, learn techniques for solving numbered ordering logic game problems, and receive full-course discounts. If you can’t make it tomorrow, we have another free online LSAT event coming up on November 13th.

Kudos to everyone for making it this far and if you’re still waiting for your score, may the LSAT odds be ever in your favor.

Turn Up the Volume & Get Ready to Study with Manhattan Prep


Music can do a lot for us, but the word is still out on whether it can enhance our ability to stay focused and sharpen our memories during long study sessions. On the one hand, we have a report from the University of Toronto suggesting that fast and loud background music can hinder our performance on reading comprehension. On the other, there’s the recentMusic to help you study GMAT research from the digital music service, Spotify, and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Emma Gray, which proclaims that pop hits from artists like Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus can actually enhance our cognitive abilities.

“Music has a positive effect on the mind, and listening to the right type of music can actually improve studying and learning,” says Dr. Gray. She even suggests that students who listen to music while studying can perform better than those who do not.

We also cannot leave out the so-called “Mozart Effect,” which alleges that listening to classical music provides short-term enhancement of mental tasks, like memorization. We’ve heard students swear by this tactic, while others say that silence is golden.
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Yet Another Way to Think about LSAT Inference Questions


Adjust your thinking  LSATThe other day I was working with a student on an Inference question (PrepTest 57, Section 3, Question 13) and as I was describing the strategy for this question type, she said, “Oh, so it’s like Reading Comp!”

Well, isn’t that true.

In this particular question, the LSAT tells us a few things: that still-life painting is best for artists whose goal is self-expression, that this is because the artist can “choose, modify, and arrange” the objects, and that therefore the artist has “more control over the composition” than she would in painting a landscape or portrait. From this we’re asked to infer what’s most likely to be true. In other words, we’re basically being asked what’s most reasonably inferred from the stimulus. That does sound a lot like Reading Comp.

Moving through the answer choices, I then noticed that the wrong answers were, indeed, wrong for Reading Comp-like reasons:

(A) “Most” isn’t supported = TOO EXTREME
(B) “Only” = TOO EXTREME
(C) “Nonrepresentational painting” = OUT OF SCOPE
(D) Correct Answer.
(E) “Rarely” and “background elements” = UNSUPPORTED

These are, of course, also often reasons why answer choices are incorrect to Inference questions. Certainly the comparison between Reading Comp questions and Inference questions in Logical Reasoning isn’t anything extraordinary (or even all that surprising to some of you), but it does seem worth noting for those of you for whom the Inference question strategy still hasn’t entirely clicked. Try treating them like an Identification or Inference question on Reading Comp. They’re essentially the same thing.

Ranking the Law School Rankers


It seems everyone is ranking law schools these days. This year was the first that three institutions put their hats in the ring: Above the Law, Tipping the Scales, and to an extent although it prefers not to use the term “rankings” but Score Reports, Law School Transparency. Below is a look at the differences between them.

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*HERE is more info on US News’ Quality Assessment

*Law School Transparency allows you to compare schools on a variety of metrics and makes clear that this list of employment scores shouldn’t actually be viewed as rankings: “Treating the Score Reports like rankings may produce bad decisions. For example, sorting schools by Employment Score on a state Score Report will not provide a quick answer as to the school with the best outcomes in that particular state.”

A few things interested me about these comparisons. First, why does Tipping the Scales rank Stanford over Yale?
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How Does Your LSAT Score Affect Your Law School?


Studying for the LSAT can be a trying time for most students. The questions test your ability to reason and synthesize, making them substantially different than most college exams we’re all used to. To top it off, test takers are told that you have to do well to get into the school of your choice. That is way too simplistic to be useful, so here’s the scoop on how the LSAT actually affects your choices.

First, know this is not the SATs. You are not being tested on whether you have the background knowledge necessary to take the basic courses of the school. Nor are you being tested on what level of classes you can take. The LSAT is designed to be a predictor of how well you are likely to do in your first year of law school. If you’re scoring particularly low, it indicates that you’re likely not analyzing arguments the way you need to as a lawyer.

That said, the immediate concern for most test takers is not how they’ll do in the first year of law school, but just making it to that first year of law school. Your LSAT score is the single most important factor in acceptance (no pressure). An average LSAT score is 150, meaning that a 150 is generally in the 50th percentile. At ManhattanLSAT, average is not the goal. It’s time to put a number on “good.”

A good LSAT score is one that is likely to be accepted by the majority of law schools. Note; that’s not the same thing as you getting accepted to the majority of the law schools. Those schools will look at your GPA, essay, and a variety of other factors, but a good LSAT score means your application is at least in the running. The number value on a good score? Right around 160. If you’re scoring in the 160’s, you’re doing well. Read more

Free LSAT Events This Week: October 14 – October 20


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

10/14/13 – Online- Free Trial Class– 8:00PM-11:00PM (EDT)

10/14/13 – New York- Free Trial Class–  6:30PM- 9:30PM

10/16/13 – Online- Games Intensive Online Fall- 8:00AM-11:00PM (EDT)

10/20/13 – Online- Free Trial Class–  7:00PM- 10:00PM (EDT)

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

The Annoying Friend in the Car: A Rule for Diagramming Logic Games


LSAT Logic GamesRecently I was in the car with some friends. I was sitting in the backseat and wasn’t driving. The person who was driving didn’t know where she was going. The person sitting in the passenger seat was supposed to be navigating for her, and he was doing an absolutely horrible job. I could tell he was driving her nuts. This is the kind of stuff he was saying:

Okay, you need to make the third right up here. I mean you could turn right before it, like now, but you don’t have to—oh, wait, you did. Okay, so now that we turned here, hmm. Well, we could keep going straight or we could take the next left, but we’ll need to end up taking a right eventually—why did you take a right?! No, I said we need to eventually! Since we’re now going back the other direction, we could take a right or a left, but somehow we have to turn around…

See how annoying that is? As it was happening, I thought of logic games (because I’ve been doing this way too long). It seemed like a great illustration of a very important logic games principle. When it comes to diagramming, do not write what could be true and what must be true all in the same place. That is, don’t mix up what has to be true with what might be true.

In the same way that it is confusing to receive driving directions that mix what could happen in with what has to happen—“we could turn here but have to turn before four streets up but we could also turn on the next street”—it’s confusing when you look at a diagram where slots 2 and 3 are filled with the letters M and R, but M has to go in slot 2 and R could go in slot 3.

For this reason, it’s best only to write in what must be true, and save what could be true for side diagrams, or “clouds” as we call them at Manhattan LSAT (bubbles with possibilities listed in them)—basically, any diagramming tactic that denotes “this is different from what must be true…this is only what could be true.”

If you’re used to writing it all in one place, it may take some time to break the habit. But start now. It’s worth the struggle.

Free LSAT Events This Week: October 7 – October 13


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

10/9/13 – Washington, DC- Free Trial Class– 9:30AM-1:30PM

10/9/13 – Online- Free Trial Class– 8:00AM-11:00PM (EDT)

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

10/13/13 – La Jolla, CA-  Free Trial Class- 6:30PM-9:30PM

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

Week Before the LSAT Final Dos and Don’ts


LSAT Think PositivelyHey October LSAT takers! Here are a few tips for the rest of the week.

DO get a good night’s sleep this week! Start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier if you don’t already so that your body is not shocked by the time on Saturday morning. Better yet, wake up the next couple of mornings and do an LSAT problem or two.

DON’T work too hard on Friday. If the idea of taking the day off to watch the new Arrested Development on Netflix panics you, read over your notes or do a game or two, maybe a few hard logical reasoning questions you’ve done before. But it’s not the day to take a full-length test.

DO continue to do timed, mixed practice through Thursday.

DON’T make the mistake of believing that every practice test score from now until Saturday is exactly what you’re going to score. While they are certainly in the range of what you should expect, just because your practice test drops from a 169 to a 167 tomorrow doesn’t mean you’re suddenly 2 points LSAT-dumber. Learn from your mistakes, review carefully, and move forward.

DO get a passport-size photo of yourself this week if you haven’t already. (This is in addition to your identification. See the email you recently received from LSAC for details.)

DON’T dwell on what you wish you’d done differently over the last few months. To do so is a waste of critical energy at this point, and your mind should be focused on…

DO think positively. Someone is going to teach this test who’s boss, and it’s not Tony Danza. It’s you. YOU. If you don’t believe you’re going to do your best, you’re less likely to. If you do, you’re more likely to. And if you can see that those two statements are not contrapositives, give yourself a high-five right now, please.

DON’T forget your analogue (big hand, small hand) watch. (If you want, set it to 12 o’clock at the beginning of each section so you can easily track your 35 minutes without arithmetic.)

DO take a snack.

DON’T mistake the LSAT for a mythical tool that measures your self-worth. It’s just a test. Plus, you have more friends than it, and they’re cooler.

Now go put those red and blue and yellow balls in order like you’ve never put them in order before!