Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog

Final LSAT Tips

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I thought I would add one more tip to a previous posting full of tips for those about to go and take the LSAT: //www.atlaslsat.com/lsat/blog/index.php/2009/06/03/final-lsat-tips/

Bring some light warm-up LSAT material with you to the testing center. I suggest bringing some tough questions that you completely mastered.  Before you enter the testing center, just run through the questions one last time, toss the paper into the recycling bin and head to your room.  Don’t bother checking your work.  The reason to do this is that you don’t want to use the first section of the test as your warm-up.  You want your logical thinking already moving when you start section 1.  The brain is a muscle, so warm it up just like you would your legs.

And I stand behind my night-before-the-LSAT recommendation: Legally Blonde, 1 or 2.

Good luck!

Testmasters LSAC Lawsuit Update

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For all aspiring lawyers, note the power of your profession: after LSAC filed its lawsuit, TestMasters agreed to pay its outstanding bill and the two parties decided upon a new fee structure.

The LSAC is very careful with how its material is used, but I will say that folks who criticize it for being focused on profit are ignoring a lot of factors.  First of all, the organization is not-for-profit.  Secondly, the cost of taking the LSAT surely does not cover all the costs the LSAC bears in terms of creation, protection and administration of their tests (and many who apply for fee waivers receive them).  Finally, LSAC is pretty generous in terms of allowing free use of its materials by pre-law advisors and those who are using LSAT questions in a community-service manner.  My suggestion: hate the test, not the test-makers!  (and pay if you use their questions).

TestMasters Sued By LSAC

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If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about the TestMasters-LSAC lawsuit. Apparently, TestMasters has been sued by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the non-profit company that produces the LSAT, for breach of contract for unpaid use of LSAT questions.  According to the court papers, the owner of TestMasters failed to account and pay in a timely manner for his use of questions and now owes almost one million dollars in fees.  The owner has tried to work out a payment plan with LSAC, but the terms seems to be far from what LSAC is willing to accept.

Since LSAC administers exams to assess one’s ability to do well in law school, it should come as no surprise that they are careful about details!  All LSAT test prep companies must make an agreement with LSAC to use its questions. Interestingly, the questions used in PrepTests from many years ago cost less than  more current ones. That’s why some companies fill their books with old tests (and not to toot our own horn too much, but we use only very current exams). Anyway, here at Atlas we are extremely careful to account and pay for every use of official LSAT questions. Here’s one small example: our books and courses use real LSAT questions, but if you look at the chapters you can download from our site  //www.manhattanprep.com/lsat/lsat-books.cfm, you’ll notice that we swap out the real questions for ones we’ve written.

I want to assure our students that we’re very transparent and straightforward with LSAC. Now get back to work!

LSAT Score Guarantee

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People often ask whether we offer a score guarantee and are sometimes surprised to find that we don’t.

Why don’t we do this?

1. Score guarantees are not what they seem. If you read the fine print about score guarantees, you’ll see that you have to do a great deal to qualify.  You cannot miss a single class; you must do all the HW, etc.

2. Everyone’s goal is different. What if your score improved one point – is that satisfactory?  What if you’re shooting for a 15 point gain and your scores rise only 10 points?  We want to help anyone who has not yet reached his or her goal, and is willing to do the work.  Finally, a 6-point increase means very different things for the person initially scoring a 150 and someone starting at a 169!  We specialize in people looking for top scores, and often they come to us already sporting robust numbers.

3. Improving isn’t hard. If your score doesn’t improve a few points after doing a series of PrepTests, something is off!  Exposure to the LSAT is in itself a way of improving your score.  Why guarantee something that is easy to achieve?  We guarantee satisfaction.

4. It’s a waste of time. Managing a score guarantee program generally entails a lot of work on the part of the student and the company.  HW needs to be checked, diagnostic tests need to be administered, etc.  Our first class is a class – not a diagnostic test to be used for score comparisons later – we are more interested that you practice once you have something to practice!

5. You need to do the work. There is an unavoidable fact about LSAT prep: if you don’t do the work, you won’t improve your score.  While our teachers are phenomenal and our curriculum is top-notch, you need to do the heavy-lifting.  We guarantee that we do our job, but we can’t guarantee that you’ll do yours!

 

If you find that you were unable to keep up with the class – if life got in the way – you can take our course again for $399.

LSAT Help: Diagnose This Student’s LSAT Problems

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Lots of people struggle with the LSAT, but few take the time to figure out what the real problem is.  For each of the following scenarios, try to assess what the test-taker did wrong before reading further.

Scenario 1: Logic Games: An Unconditional “Must Be True” Question
The test-taker has notated all the constraints for the game correctly and made a few initial inferences. The second question is an unconditional “must be true.” He looks at choice (A), and doesn’t see why it should be true or false. He looks at (B) and feels the same way.  Looks through his diagram and notes again but  can’t make a determination. The element mentioned in answer choice (C) isn’t even on his diagram! He starts to panic, and thinks of going back to answer choice (A) and starting over, or double-checking if his diagram is correct…

What do you think? What did this test-taker do that was so wrong? Don’t read ahead until you have a guess. Read more

Reading Comprehension: Your Opportunity to Lap the Field

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If you’re an LSAT forum poster/reader, you know that the good majority (almost all, in fact) of content-related LSAT posts focus on Logic Games and Logical Reasoning. This makes perfect sense. It’s easy to submit a post about a setup for a tough logic game, and it’s very easy to discuss the underlying logic present in one short LR question. LG and LR questions come in nice, neat packages. They are forum-friendly. Additionally, future LSAT test-takers seem to see and appreciate the immediate impact of a well-designed setup or a clever way to think about a piece of LR logic. The payoff is quick, and often immediate.
Reading comprehension, on the other hand, is messy. In order to have a serious, in-depth discussion about an RC passage, everyone in the conversation needs to be coming directly from a focused read of the passage. It doesn’t work to try to remember back to the passage, or to read a quick summary. For this reason, not many like to talk about it or ask about it. It’s inconvenient. Furthermore, there never seems to be a quick, easy payoff when it comes to RC. There’s not one inference that can be made to change confusion to understanding, there’s no quick gimmick that can be posted concisely to help someone become a better reader. There’s simply no quick fix, no immediate gratification. So why spend time on it? Most people don’t.
These are the people you are competing against. The better you do relative to them, the higher your LSAT score. Make their RC weakness your strength and you’ll put yourself in a position to gain upwards of 4 raw points on the field. Before you decide to make RC your LSAT version of a powerful forehand, you need to be in the right mindset. Read more

Top 5 Tips for Entering Law School Students

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The first year of law school has been built up to near-legend.  Journals, grades, awards, and job prospects often are determined in your first year, leaving you not a whole lot of time to get settled.  Here are Manhattan LSAT’s  5 Things to Remember from those who have been through the halls of legal academia and lived to write about it:

1.     More is not better.  On your way to class your first week, you will almost certainly see your fellow students carrying around many books aside from your shared case law textbooks.  Law outlines from Emanuel’s, Gilbert’s, and other study aid companies will abound, and you will think to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if that outline is better than what I’m studying from?  Maybe I should pick that up at the book store.”  Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in a study supplement arms race, and your room will be filled with a stack of outlines in addition to your textbook and your notes.  Do not succumb to this temptation!  You’ll likely find that your notes are the best resource.  Outlines and tests from your professor’s past classes, which your school’s law library will generally have on file, are also very useful.  At most, pick up one commercial outline you like for each subject (they’re all the same anyway).  A big stack of outlines will only distract you and wind up gathering dust in the homestretch. Read more

Sufficient vs. Necessary Conditions on the LSAT

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Did you know that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person courses absolutely free? We’re not kidding. Select your test to sign up now.


“It’s confusing sufficient with necessary” is probably one of the phrases that LSAT students use most frequently. But what does that really mean? If you’re just starting out your LSAT prep, this conditional logic can be a bit confusing. So, here’s a basic lesson.

Let’s start with an example: Read more

LSAT Answers and Explanations

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As an LSAT teacher you end up explaining a lot of LSAT questions.  We’ve actually designed our forums to focus on providing an easily searched bank of explanations to any LSAT problem – //www.manhattanprep.com/lsat/forums .  (We figured we’d save a few trees by not printing an entire book of them, plus then all those studying on their own have a place to go.)   I will say, however, that I’m always a bit cautious when I find a student asking for the explanations for an entire test.  I always wonder – and sometimes ask – whether the student has reviewed the work on his own first.  The best students first review the test themselves.  A couple of tips on reviewing your work:

1. Mark which answers you can easily eliminate and which ones are tempting.

2. Note any problem that you find difficult, find yourself guessing on, or that you find takes too long.

3. When you review your work, review all the questions you answered incorrectly, and all those you noted above (see #2).

4. For the questions you review, ask yourself the following:
– Do I understand the question (this includes the stem and the stimulus, passage, scenario, etc.)?
– Why is the correct answer right?
– Why is each wrong answer wrong?
– How could I have approached this question differently?  Is there a more efficient manner?  Is there a more intuitive approach? Read more

Speeding Up On the LSAT

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A lot of folks struggle with timing on the LSAT.  Clearly, if the test were un-timed, we’d all find it a lot easier.  Since we have only 35 minutes per section, if you’re having trouble finishing on time, it’s important to address your pacing.

There are several reasons folks struggle with pacing:

1. Not enough full practice under time conditions. If you’re just starting out, your mind is probably not used to the pace at which it needs to work.  I know that I generally equate a good read with a slow read — but that simply doesn’t work for the LSAT.  You probably can speed up considerably by just telling yourself to speed up!  From now on, every problem you try should be done with a stopwatch.  Also make sure you’re throwing in full practice tests along the way.  Don’t wait until you’re done learning all your strategies to work on your speed.

2. Ineffective strategies. Some ways of tackling problems would work just fine if the LSAT were untimed but breakdown under time pressure.   For example, in logic games, writing out all the possible scenarios doesn’t work for the vast majority of games.  In reading comprehension, you simply do not have enough time to do a full re-read.   In logical reasoning, you can’t wait until you’ve read the question to start thinking critically about an argument you’ve already read — you need to be reading critically from the outset.

This problem turns up more frequently with folks who are not using a book to study with, though even those who are in a course can fall prey to this problem if they don’t do timed practice, which often forces them to realize that they must indeed use the strategies they’re learning about. Read more