Articles tagged "How to Study"

LSAT Scaffolding Part II: Logical Reasoning

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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

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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)

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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)

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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

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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)

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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)

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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:

Questions.
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Right Brain vs. Left Brain: How to Train for the LSAT

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Blog-6-17-2015We’ve all heard people referred to as left- or right-brained. Those left-brained thinkers are highly mathematical, logical, and literal. Think Spock, Stephen Hawking, and the Terminators. Their creative brethren, the right-brainers, are more impressionistic, holistic, and intuitive. Think Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Colbert, and Jackson Pollock.

What does this have to do with the LSAT? I’m glad you asked, rhetorical device.

Almost everyone relies more heavily on one of these two types of thinking. Working with students, we’ll often see someone who is over-diagramming, putting a huge focus on formal logic. This student feels most comfortable deriving solutions. She wants the answer to be provable, always.

On the other hand, we’ve also had students who lament, “I’m terrible at Games, but I’m okay with Reading Comp. I hate using conditional logic in LR.” This right-brained student is mainly getting a feel for what was said and picking an answer that gels well and seems relevant.

Which one are you? Take a few minutes to think about it. When faced with a decision, do you make a Pros/Cons list (left-brain), or do you rely on your gut (right-brain)?

Some people think that a right-brain person is in trouble on left-brain questions, and vice versa. But that’s not the case. In reality, everyone has abilities (although at different levels) in both types of thinking. What is important is learning how to develop your weak area and then applying both sides of your brain to the LSAT. Weird, right? You’ll have to think if you want to be a lawyer.

But what can you do to develop the “weaker” side of your brain?

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6 Ways to Study for the LSAT More Efficiently

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 lsat test prep help1. Quality, not quantity. The good news about this maxim is that not only is it true when it comes to effective LSAT studying, but it can also save you loads of time. Instead of sitting down and saying, “I’m going to do three sections no matter how long it takes me,” sit down and say, “I’m going to turn off my cell phone, shut the door, close my computer, and do these three sections without any distractions. Benefits are manifold—your studying is better, and you’re done sooner.

2. You are what you consume. I don’t mean to sound like your mom or your doctor, and I’m sure we’re all well-versed in basic nutritional principles, but it is true that if you are living on excessive amounts of caffeine, you’re probably not studying as well as you can be due to the anxiety and overall jitters that it is known to cause. So again, don’t mean to be your babysitter here, but if you’re having trouble focusing and are one of these constantly-sipping-java-or-soda folks, consider cutting back a bit—replace it with decaf tea or seltzer every now and then.

3. Change the time of day you study. When I was preparing for the LSAT, I found that my morning sessions were really productive and satisfying while my night sessions often dragged on and left me tired, discouraged and feeling like I didn’t get enough accomplished. I’m a morning person, always have been. If I could do it all again, I’d just cut out the night sessions, or trim them substantially, and add to my morning sessions. You know what your own circadian rhythm is. Don’t try to bend it to your will; you’re better off bending to accommodate it, not vice versa.

4. Sprints, then breaks. Focused study is the best study. Short stints of untainted focus on the material is superior to longer sessions during when you doze off or check your texts or read Twitter or grab another handful of chips. If you have trouble focusing for a longer period of time (which is what we call “being a human”), set an achievable goal like: I’m going to focus only on the LSAT for the next 15 minutes. Then I get a two-minute break. If that sounds short to you, great! That means you can do it! Try. If it’s easy, add some. But training yourself to focus for shorter bits, then adding to those bits, beats punishing yourself for your inability to sustain focus by making yourself sit half-focused for longer stretches. Forcing yourself to sit unfocused for long stretches teaches you to sit unfocused for long stretches. Forcing yourself to focus for stretches of any length teaches you to focus.

5. Teach someone—yourself or someone else—the hard problems. To be able to teach means to truly understand. Albert Einstein said that. Just kidding, I said that, but keep reading, anyway. When you have to teach something to someone else, it forces you to think about it in a way that just learning it doesn’t. You can’t hide. You have to get it. Good standard for mastery, right? Understanding as a requirement? I find mothers to be an excellent source for make-believe LSAT students.

6. Create realistic, defined goals. Some of the most discouraged, burnt out, and plateaued students I’ve worked with are the ones who set unrealistic expectations for themselves that are so unachievable that they wind up in this vague and ambiguous space permeated with chronic disappointment. “I’m going to study for as long as I possibly can every day,” may sound like a really impressive, ambitious approach, but what it really does is set you up for failure. You study four hours and are exhausted, and instead of congratulating yourself on studying for four hours, you spend the rest of the day thinking, “Could I have studied longer? Should I be studying now?” The same is true for two or eight or nine hours, because you have no standards by which to measure your actual achievement. This is bad for another reason: affirmation and the feeling of satisfaction are very important to your progress. We don’t excel by feeling like failures all the time. We excel by feeling like failures when we’re not doing our best, and feeling great when we do. We get hooked on that feeling and want more of it, and that’s a good thing. Give yourself goals that you can achieve so you can reach this feeling and allow it to motivate you to keep moving forward. Studying for the LSAT is a long and hard process. Don’t make it more miserable for yourself than it needs to be.

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

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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.