Articles tagged "LSAT Study Tips"

LSAT Logical Reasoning: Links vs. Objections


blog-linksLogical Reasoning is a multi-faceted LSAT section with many, many different things going on.

Logical Reasoning is also a highly repetitive section with very few things going on.

Dickens I’m not.

What do I mean by this apparent contradiction? 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.

Read more

#MovieFailMondays: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)


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

I grew up in the suburbs of Jersey. My mom – one of the PTA regulars – always helped run our school’s Fun Fair – an afternoon of silly games that awarded tickets you could redeem for prizes. It was a fundraiser for the school, and my friends and I all anxiously awaited it. Me more than them, as my mom’s position afforded me the chance to see all the cool toys we could win ahead of time.

When I was eight or nine, I got really sick a few days before the Fun Fair. It was one of those early disappointments in life that will always stick with you – nothing too big, but big enough to a young Matt that I was in a bad mood. Read more

LSAT Lessons from an Ancient Windsurfer


Blog-Windsurfer-BannerIf you go on one of those windsurfing web sites where the seasoned pros give advice to newbies, you see a lot of conversations like this:

Newbie: “I want to learn how to windsurf. I found someone selling a Ten Cate Sprinter windsurfer for $100. Is this a good board for a beginner?”

Pro: “No! That thing is over 30 years old. It will be too hard to learn anything with a board like that.”

So, there I was a few weeks ago, a total beginner who had never windsurfed before, paddling out into the Chesapeake Bay on an old Ten Cate Sprinter windsurfer. Why? Read more

Last-minute tips for LSAT prep from the owner of a perfect 180


Matt_Shinners_SmallMatt Shinners scored a perfect 180 on his LSAT…on his first attempt. He then received his JD from Harvard Law School. Now? He’s an LSAT instructor and curriculum developer for none other than yours truly, Manhattan Prep. This isn’t just a shameless plug for Shinners’ LSAT prep services (trust us, he doesn’t need our help); Business Insider recently reached out to Shinners for any last-minute advice or tips he might have for soon-to-be LSAT test-takers. In true fashion, Shinners delivered. See what he had to say here.

This advice is perfect if you just so happen to be taking the test this Saturday, October 3. Who knows? It might even help you boost your score by 2.7 points (the test’s standard deviation).

Want more great LSAT prep help? Check out our free resources here.

Been there, done that, and can’t get enough? View our full range of options.

Happy prepping!


6 Ways to Study for the LSAT More Efficiently


 lsat test prep help

Ready to study the right way? We incorporate the latest discoveries in learning science into our LSAT course to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your prep. Want to see? Try the first session of any of our upcoming courses for free.

1. 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 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 option as 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. 📝

Don’t forget 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.

Manhattan Prep LSAT Instructor Mary Richter

Mary Richter is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. Mary has degrees from Yale Law School and Duke. She has over 10 years of experience teaching the LSAT after scoring in the 99th percentile on the test. She is always thrilled to see students reach beyond their target scores. At Yale, she co-directed the school’s Domestic Violence Clinic for two years. After graduating she became an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in New York City, where she was also the firm’s pro bono coordinator. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and more. Check out Mary’s upcoming classes here.

4 LSAT Study Myths, Busted


lsat-study-myths-busted1. MYTH: You should just keep taking practice tests until you’ve taken them all.

Please don’t do this. As we repeat again and again over here at Manhattan LSAT, preparation for this test is all about quality over quantity. If you just plow through tests without taking time to learn the proper strategies, to apply them, and then to evaluate your work with close and careful review using all of the study tools at your disposal (free explanations of questions by our 99th percentile teachers on the forum, in-class review sessions, and instructor office hours, among others), you will not be maximizing your study time, and your score will likely not improve as much as it could.

2. MYTH: You can’t improve at reading comp.

You can. It’s just slower than, say, improving at logic games, because you essentially have to learn how to read for the LSAT. Reading comp on the LSAT requires several skills that can feel and seem diametrically opposed: You have to be efficient but also thorough; you have to understand what you’re reading but not get bogged down by the details you don’t understand; you have to be sufficiently well-versed in the subject matter to be able to answer 5-7 questions on it but don’t need to try to become an expert on what you don’t need to become an expert on.

The solution here is going to be to take advantage of learning opportunities but also, to allow yourself enough time to improve on reading comp if you really need to. A month is generally speaking not enough.

3. MYTH: If you get a 180 on the LSAT, the school will just let you in regardless of what the rest of your application looks like.

You may have heard the legend of the guy who got a 180 and just drew a smiley face on the essay portion of his exam, then got into Harvard. If you haven’t, there’s a legend about a guy who got a 180 and just drew a smiley face on the essay portion of his exam, then got into Harvard.

I highly doubt this is true. But either way, I am going to say something frank and perhaps harsh, but listen up: If you actually want to use this as a guideline in approaching your own LSAT and application and major life decisions, please, by all means, do. Because the world doesn’t need any more dumb lawyers, and this will help weed them out.

Schools read your applications. They may or may not read your LSAT essay—but just in case, write one. And write it well (or, as best you can after sitting for four hours).

4. MYTH: You can rig your chances of scoring higher by which test you choose to take—February, June, October or December.

Nope. They’re all the same folks, at least for your purposes. Can’t plot this one, so don’t waste any more time thinking about it. Go do a logic game.

Studying for the LSAT? Manhattan Prep offers a free LSAT practice exam, and free Manhattan LSAT preview classes running all the time near you, or online. Be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!

10 Most Underrated LSAT Tactics


lsat-tactics1. Spend an entire hour working on one problem.

Sometimes, a really difficult problem can teach you 10 times more than doing 10 easy (or medium ones). That’s why I sometimes recommend the super pile to my students. Need more practice? You can take a shot at our latest LSAT Logic Games Challenge, designed to help you flex those LSAT muscles.

2. Sleep.

It breaks my LSAT-tutor heart when a student walks in with bags under her eyes and a droopy face and tells me she’s been getting five hours of sleep a night because she doesn’t get to bed until midnight and wakes up at 5am to study. STOP! YOU NEED TO SLEEP! Your brain needs sleep for learning. It’s science. From a little place called Harvard.

3. Do the same game over and over again.

Think about it this way, you’re making a template in your brain of a game. And when you see a similar one next time, your brain is going to drag out that old memory, dust it off, and give you a nice push as you struggle under anxiety and panic and a sneezing neighbor.

4. Teach your mom an LSAT problem.

Been there, done it, got the t-shirt, and the t-shirt said: This was a really good exercise in making sure I actually understood a question. Key: Make sure you tell your mom (or dad, or aunt, or roommate) to really push you to explain why the wrong answer he/she likes isn’t right.

5. Turn off your cell phone.

You won’t. I know you won’t, because I know you, and you’re like me and everyone else on this forsaken 2014 tech-obsessed planet. But listen, do this much—put it on silent and flip it over. And then don’t look at it until you’ve done a whole section. Seriously, this will make your studying better.

6. Let the dog pout, let the cat kill you later.

I swear I’ve looked at cats that want to kill me. If I had one, or a dog, and I really needed to focus, I also swear I would lock them out of the room. You feel horrible, I know, because you love your pet. But since they love you back, they will understand (forget). The LSAT is a temporary priority over man’s best friend’s need for unending attention.

7. Making yourself read a whole boring article in a magazine or newspaper.

Choose whatever you find boring, something that doesn’t actually grab your attention and keep it for long. Try The Economist, or Scientific American. And then make yourself read the whole thing without taking a break. You’re going to start appreciating reading comp passages more after this, I guarantee it (maybe not)!

8. Only let yourself read each word one time.

I’m sure you aren’t someone whoever re-reads a sentence because you found yourself drifting the first time, right? No, that’s not you. That’s none of us. But regardless, I’ve assigned this as an exercise both in logical reasoning and reading comp for students who get into the bad habit of re-reading because their minds wander, and it’s great re-training.

9. Reward yourself for studying well.

This isn’t just a depressing list. There should be pay-offs for good study habits. Buy a cupcake (there are so many cupcake places near Manhattan LSAT!) or a beer or a movie on iTunes…whatever your treat of choice, but do make yourself study well to earn it. You’ll like it even more.

10. Stop scoring your tests.

This last tactic isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve become someone who’s so focused on that number, you can’t actually find the energy to do thorough review and believe in your ability to more forward because all you keep thinking about is “I WENT DOWN TWO POINTS?!” do yourself a favor and just: stop. Stop scoring. Learn it, get better, keep your chin up. And when you’re ready, score again.

Studying for the LSAT? Manhattan Prep offers a free LSAT practice exam, and free Manhattan LSAT preview classes running all the time near you, or online. Be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter!

3 Musts to Read/Watch Before Saturday’s Test


LSAT-february-datesLSAT countdown week! When it comes to final tips, we’ve got you covered. Here are a couple of posts to check out before you freak out.

1. LSAT Cheat Sheet. Wish you could take a cheat sheet into the exam? Of course you do. But since you can’t, do the next best thing: make one anyway, then review it before. More here.
2. Final Dos and Don’ts. It’s not too late to make smart decisions on how to spend your last 48 hours. Here are some ideas.
3. Think about the end goal. Once upon a time, this guy took the LSAT. Fast forward to last week. His 2-minute video aired during Super Bowl halftime in Georgia and is being called the “most insane Super Bowl commercial ever made.” Dream big, guys. You could be next.

Advanced Negation Techniques: Part II of III, A Do and a Don’t for Extreme Statements


lsat-blog-postI LOVE Beyoncé. I want to sing like her and be like her, and last month I was supposed to fly to Dallas just to go to her concert with my sister. But instead, my flight was canceled and I was stranded in Queens watching You Tube clips while my sister and brother-in-law tried repeatedly to Facetime me from the rafters of the enormous theater. My self-pity video marathon included “All the Single Ladies,” and later, when I was thinking about this series and how best to describe negation technique, I thought of the song. While putting a ring on it is what Beyoncé wants for all you single ladies, what I want for you is this: When you’re facing an extreme statement (“all” “none” “best” “worst”)—not unlike my adoration for Queen B, herself—what I want you to do is put a hole in it. 

For a quick refresher, we’re discussing how to “negate” an answer choice to a necessary assumption question on the logical reasoning section of the LSAT. You do this in order to test it. If negating the answer choice makes the argument fall apart, it is necessary. (If negating the answer choice doesn’t destroy the argument, or if you can’t tell what it does, look for a better answer.) Last week I wrote my first post of three on negation techniques. Today, we keep going.

What do I mean by “put a hole in it?”

If the answer choice reads, “All birds fly,” you negate it by poking a hole in it: not all birds fly. Or some birds don’t fly. Same thing. Either way, notice what we’re doing. If the statement were a big hot air balloon, we’d be pin-pricking it. We aren’t, in other words, trying to melt it down then mold it into something else completely: “No birds fly.” That’s not negation. That brings me to the DON’T of this post, what my friend calls roofing it.

Roofing a joke is when people are discussing a subject and someone takes it too far. A classic example is when someone calls you Hitler when you express your view that a local park needs a thorough mowing. Or when everyone is discussing how annoying skunks are, and someone suggests we just blow up all the skunks.

When it comes to extreme answer choices to necessary assumption questions, don’t negate the sweeping statement with an opposing sweeping statement—don’t roof it.

Suppose (A) reads, “Dr. Seuss is the best children’s author ever.” You could negate this by saying, “There was another children’s author who was as good as Dr. Seuss.” You wouldn’t say, “Dr. Seuss was the worst children’s author ever to walk on earth.” That would be roofing it.

Say (B) reads, “Dr. Seuss wrote faster than any other writer in history.” Negate it: He didn’t. Or, someone wrote faster than him. Yes, and yes. Roofing it: He wrote as slow as your granny backing out of her driveway. Too far.

In sum, when it comes to extreme statements in answer choices, poke it, don’t roof it.

Next week we’ll be discussing my rule for negating mild statements, courtesy of Destiny’s Child.

Read Advanced Negation Techniques: Part I of III.