Articles tagged "How to Study"

LSAT Scaffolding Part II: Logical Reasoning


blog-scaffold-iiDid you know 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.

Starting your LSAT prep can be a scary experience. You pick up a book and see all the complexity of the test at once. A long list of LR question types; many variations of logic games; Reading Comprehension, chapter after chapter! It’s a lot to take in, and most places that break the test down into categories like to impress with their long and exhaustive list.


This series of three blog posts—one for each section—will break down the LSAT at a much higher level. It’s important to start with a strong scaffold for the section.
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Here’s Where to Start Your LSAT Prep


blog-startlsatWhen you first begin preparing to take the LSAT, it certainly feels like there is a lot—too much—to take in. There are dozens of practice tests; dozens, if not hundreds, of websites; and dozens of strategy guides! Where do you begin?!?! Read more

#MovieFailMondays: The Force Awakens (or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)


blog-episodeviiEach week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖

Spoilers, there will be. Forewarned, you have been.

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#MovieFailMondays: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)


Blog-EpisodeIII (1)Each week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖

Finally. Finally we hit the final film of the prequel duology. After this, I will never watch them again. (Didn’t catch last week’s post on Episode II? Check it out here.) 

For this article, I could go into all of the plot holes left at the end of this film that create issues in the Original Trilogy. Why couldn’t Vader sense Luke on the same planet where he sensed his mother? What’s up with C-3PO’s memory? Can Jedi survive falls or not? What’s up with these Force ghosts? Etc…

But plenty of sites have discussed those.

Instead, let’s buy into the world for a minute. Palpatine had a plan, and it ended up working out. What logical fallacies did he induce in the Jedi to get away with it?

Well, there’s one main one. Read more

Here’s why winter is the best season for LSAT Prep


Blog-LSATwinter (1)Winter might seem like the worst season to start your LSAT prep. It’s dark. It’s gloomy. It’s full of distractions. But it’s not the worst season to start your LSAT prep; it’s the best season. Read more

You Derive Me Crazy: Rock and Logic Games (LSAT Logic Games Series)


Blog-Derive-RockNo matter how good you get at Logic Games, finding those difficult inferences will always be a challenge! In our “You Derive Me Crazy” blog series, we’ll take a look at some of the higher-level inferences that repeat on the LSAT, ensuring that you have all the tools necessary to tackle anything the LSAT throws at you on test day. 🎓💼

What do iconoclasm and music appreciation have in common? You’ll be exposed to both of them through my blog posts!

Last week, we featured some music by Britney. This week, I’m going to go old school and discuss what I like to call Meat Loaf frames.

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You Derive Me Crazy: Inference Gut Check (LSAT Logic Games Series)


Blog-Derive-Inference Gut CheckNo matter how good you get at Logic Games, finding those difficult inferences will always be a challenge! In our “You Derive Me Crazy” blog series, we’ll take a look at some of the higher-level inferences that repeat on the LSAT, ensuring that you have all the tools necessary to tackle anything the LSAT throws at you on test day. 🎓💼

Let’s talk about something that we haven’t really brought up before in this crazy, Britney Spears-inspired blog series:

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How to Be Your Own Worst Enemy in LSAT Reading Comp: 3 Things To Avoid


mba tour1. Thinking that if you underline it, you’ll remember it. Annotating passages works very well for many people, and I usually encourage it, or at least that people try it. But I like to suggest alternative annotation methods to underlining for two reasons: (1) underlines (particularly in pencil) are harder than circles and squares and scribbles to spot later on, when you need to return to the passage to re-read a portion of it, and (2) underliners have the liberty of being less choosy about what they underline. If you are a circler, you have to choose which words to circle. If you are an underliner, you could–and many people do–underline a whole paragraph if you wanted. Since the purposes of annotating are (1) to help you understand the passage better as you read it, and (2) to make yourself a “map” to use later when you have to return to it, don’t fall for the trap of believing that if you underline, you’re safe. You probably aren’t optimizing your annotation practice.

2. Believing that if you don’t look at the time, it’s not passing. How many times have you thought, “If I just had thirteen minutes on this passage, I could get them all right!” Sometimes, we can become so determined to “get them all right” that we turn off our sense of time passing. It’s a form of stubbornness: I’m not moving on until I get this one, because I know I can! This attitude is an asset to a certain extent; it keeps you motivated to push forward on the hard ones, and it indicates a healthy confidence. But there’s a time to cut bait, and you won’t know it if you’re determined not to look at the clock. If it’s been two minutes and you’re not making progress (or maybe not even that long, depending on how the section is going for you), bid the doozie adieu and take a guess, wild or educated (or infuriated). There are more, faster points to be had.

3. Mistakenly focus on what you don’t know on hard passages. You’ve reached the third paragraph of “the hard” passage, and all you can think about is how little of it you’ve understood so far. You’re so focused on what you haven’t understood, you’re not at all thinking about what you have understood. In my experience, this is where many students become their own worst enemies in reading comp; they don’t realize that they actually understand more than they think, and that if they focus on what they do get, they’ll not only be more likely to answer some questions correctly, they’ll be less anxious, which will make their overall mental state stronger for the rest of the passage, the section, and the test overall. Sure, hard passages stink, and knowing all that you don’t know is terrifying. But there is some that you can get: what is the general subject matter, and what does the author think about it–is she pro, con, or neutral? Who disagrees? What are a few key terms, and are they defined? Ask yourself these questions, arm yourself with the basic answers, and move forward.

LSAT Study Tip: Teach It to Someone Else


There are several benefits to creating a study group: accountability, companionship, people to bounce things off of when you’re not sure you understand them. But there is another benefit that isn’t as obvious, and education writer Annie Murphy Paul writes about it in this week’s edition of her newsletter The Brilliant Report. Teaching others material actually helps you learn it better:

“Students enlisted to tutor others work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. In a phenomenon that scientists have dubbed “the protégé effect,” student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake … A pair of articles published in 2007 in the journals Science and Intelligence concluded that first-born children are more intelligent than their later-born brothers and sisters and suggested that their higher IQs result from the time they spend showing their younger siblings the ropes.”

Read the rest of the article if it interests you–she discusses some fascinating projects underway at several universities to harness this phenomenon. But when it comes to your LSAT preparation, this research presents a great opportunity to take your learning to the next level. Some ideas: group

1. Find a partner or group to study with, and teach other the material. Don’t just wait for confusion to arise naturally (I mean, you can, but why when you don’t have to?); design sessions around having to teach each other hard questions.

2. Teach your little brother, or the kids you babysit. Can’t find a study partner? Really challenge yourself by taking on the task of convincing a child in your life that you’re going to play a fun game called “lessons in logic.” This may be too hard.

3. Teach a parent. If (2) doesn’t work out, teach a loved one who is old enough to drive. When I was auditioning to teach for Manhattan LSAT, I practiced on my mom and was impressed with how quickly she learned the material–and how preparing to teach her forced me to learn the question inside and out. (She also was impressed with herself. At the end of our lesson she said, “Maybe I should go to law school!”).

Now when your teacher put you into groups and asks you to teach each another, you won’t be surprised. More importantly, you’ll know why.

For It to Take You Seriously, You Need to Take It Seriously

Blue Pill

There's no magic LSAT pill, just hard work and dedication

Here’s a beautiful fantasy: you walk into your first LSAT class, and you’re given a set of books full of LSAT secrets. Over the next six to twelve weeks, you memorize these little treasures, which are like decadent bite-size morsels, and you leave your last class knowing exactly what you need to regurgitate in order to score a 180. It was merely a matter of getting down all the tricks! You scribbled them in your notebook, took a snapshot with your brain, and that’s all there was to it.

If only.

When you take a Manhattan LSAT course, at some point your instructor will likely deliver the bad news that this fantasy is just that. There isn’t a magic pill to make you do well on this test–but there are certainly things you can do in order to perform better, and when you get to a certain level, it’s no longer about memorization.

If I memorized all the rules of good writing–be specific! have vivid characters! create conflict!–does that mean that if I just sit down and apply all of those rules, I’m going to write a great story? A story that’s in the top 1% of all stories?

No. If I actually apply everything I’ve learned, and if it’s good information, then I’ll probably write a pretty decent story–a better one than I’d written before. But in order to move from decent to outstanding, I’ve got to have something else: flexibility. I’ve got to be able to know where the rules stop and my own sense of the story’s logic takes over, because there is no perfect formula that applies to every tale ever written or to be written.

The same is true of the LSAT. If you work hard to learn rules and apply them, your score will likely go up. It may go up a lot. You may score a 165 or a 168. But people who score 175 are not just applying rules; they know how to think on their feet to interpret unfamiliar questions, and to come up with variations on the principles they understand well.

The beauty of the LSAT is that it’s a logic test, and logic can be learned. But logic is also not something you can fool your way through for four 35-minute sections. To score in the 99th percentile, you should absolutely study methods, general rules, and tips. These will get you far. But  to reach those extra few points, you are going to have to work at making yourself better at logical thinking. And there’s no shortcut for that.