The Big Pause is a huge part of Manhattan Prep’s LSAT strategy. Without taking stock of the game and rules, there’s a good chance you could miss something that would help you in the game.
During the Big Pause, you should consider:
3. Important Rules
First thing to note is that it’s easy to forget to check for strays. This can really cause problems in certain games – if you neglect a stray in a Relative Ordering or In/Out Grouping game, for instance, everything you’re doing will be thrown off. If you see yourself continually forgetting to check for strays, use the dot method.
What’s the dot method? Well, when you’re writing out the rules, put a dot next to a letter each time it shows up in a rule. If a rule has no dots, it’s a stray – simple as that. And if a rule has several dots, then it showed up a few times and is probably involved in an inference.
The second and third considerations are harder. For frames, we’re looking for a 2-3 way divide with consequences. For inferences, we’re essentially looking for rules that overlap. And we have a ton of posts on different inferences.
But what do you do when there aren’t frames? And there aren’t inferences?
It’s time to take a Little Pause.
For some games, there just won’t be a lot you can do during this step. These games tend to be dangerous – despite the lack of inferences, and the inability to frame, it’s common for students to sit there, assured that they missed something.
That’s not always the case.
We’ve previously talked about using the questions to guide this decision, but we want to take this time to talk about timing. Making the call to move to the questions when you don’t see any inferences is one of the hardest things to do, but it’s also one of the best for your timing.
After all, if you missed an inference, you can always go back. But if you sit there, staring, failing to make an inference that doesn’t exist, you can’t raise your hand and ask the proctor for that time back.
So if you’re just not seeing anything, give yourself 5-10 seconds. And if you still have nothing, it’s time to end your Little Pause and tackle the questions.
Matt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a science degree from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!