You’ve experienced panic during an LSAT. Your brain freezes, you can’t think, and you get questions wrong.
You’re actually experiencing the fight or flight response. This is a mini-meditation exercise to teach you how to kick your body out of that, and get back to answering questions. But first, a bit about the fight or flight response.
The Fight or Flight Response
So, as humans, we’re all equipped with a sophisticated system to deal with sudden threats. Suppose a bear appeared in front of you when you went out to lunch. Here is what you would do, without thinking:
1. Freeze. It’s actually the freeze-fight or flight response. Predators are attracted to motion, freezing hides you. This also prepared you for your next action. Your brain assesses whether to attack the threat, or flee.
2. You hold your breath. This helps you freeze, and gives you a burst of strength when you exhale. You’ll recognize this added force if you’ve ever done heavy weightlifting.
3. You shut down non-essential body functions. Digestion is all well and good, but it won’t help you fight a bear. That gets shut down, along with several other non-crucial body functions, such as higher order logical thought.
Oops. Unfortunately, a tough LSAT question triggers this same stress response, and exactly the same effects occur. If you ‘panic’ during the LSAT you’re experiencing an evolutionary reaction utterly unsuited to your current situation. You can’t punch logic games, or run away.
Fortunately, there is a way out. Breathing is quite something. It’s the one autonomous bodily system (happens without thinking) that we can also control. And it’s a crucial part of the fight or flight response.
The Mini-Meditation Exercise
Taking deep, conscious breaths acts as a manual override switch to the fight or flight response. ‘It’s ok brain, not a bear. At ease.’ You literally can’t be stressed if you take a series of deep breaths. So here’s the protocol:
1. Close your eyes
2. Take 5-10 deep breaths, slowly, in and out, until you feel relaxed.
3. Breathe through your stomach. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system and heightens the effect.
4. Focus on the breath entering and leaving your nostrils. A common meditation technique, among other things, this removes the stressful incident from our thoughts.
This whole process takes 10-15 seconds. The increased mental awareness of returning to a normal, logical mind state more than makes up for the few seconds spent.
If you liked this article, you’ll probably also like our tips for combating LSAT anxiety.
LSAT Contest Winners
Congratulations to everyone who took down the LSAT last Saturday. For everyone who has their sights on the February and June LSATs, without further ado, it is time to reveal who won LSAT Premium.
The winner is… Deep Brar! Congratulations. We asked Deep if he had anything he would like to say:
“Wow! Thank you so much for this! I’ve been trying to study for the LSAT on my own and have been struggling a bit, but now that I have access to all of these amazing resources in the LSAT Premium course I feel like I should have no problem at all :)” - Deep Brar
So many of you accumulated tons of entries by spreading the word that we had four times more entries than the last time we ran this! That clearly couldn’t go unacknowledged, so we decided to award a copy of LSAT Complete to whoever managed to score the most entries.
Now, the award for Most Prolific Propagation goes to Corey Varma. Congratulations Corey! Corey also had a few words to share:
“From free Logic Game explanations to awesome pro-tips and everything in between, you guys are the best!” - Corey Varma
If you didn’t win, fear not. You can still get an LSAT course for less than a third the cost of the other guys.
Good luck tomorrow!
Good luck everyone!
Tomorrow, the biggest challenge will be psychological. Stay calm and collected and you’ll get the LSAT score that you’ve been getting on your timed LSAT PrepTests.
If you have any last minute questions, concerns, or just want to chat, we will be on this post until 1am. Hit us up!
Logic Games Cheatsheet!
Ever get that deja vu feeling when you do a Logic Game? Like you’ve done a game like that one before? That’s because most Logic Games are very similar to each other. You can get better by mastering the games one type at a time.
Download our Logic Games Cheatsheet to see how we categorize the Logic Games from LSAT PTs 35-50.
Are you getting ready to take the February or June LSAT next year? Enter to win a free LSAT Premium course! This contest is open everyone, including students already enrolled in a 7Sage course.*
This contest ends at 11pm ET, December 2nd, which is after the December LSAT. If you are taking the December LSAT, and haven’t done so yet, enroll in a course, or get supplementary materials, so you’ll be ready to crush that LSAT.
Pro-tip: There are plenty of extra entries to be had! You get 13 more entries for following the simple steps, one more entry for every person that clicks on one of your links, and FIVE(!) extra entries for every person who enters the contest with your custom link. Follow the steps, spread the word, and you will rack up tons of extra entries to get a better chance at winning :D
* If you are already enrolled in a course, then the prizes as are follows:
- If you are already enrolled in LSAT Complete and win the contest, then you win a free upgrade to LSAT Premium.
- If are already enrolled in LSAT Premium and win the contest, then you win explanations to LSAT PrepTests 66 and 67, and one hour of private tutoring.
- If you are already enrolled in LSAT Ultimate and win the contest, then you win the mystery prize.
The registration deadline for the December 2012 LSAT is October 29th. That’s this Monday. Don’t forget to register.
If you’re on the fence about a retake, don’t wait to get your scores. Register now. If you don’t need to retake, you can get a partial refund. This is important, it’s worth losing a small fee to be sure you’re registered. The refund deadline is November 9th, 2012.
There is a late registration deadline on November 9th, but it’s more expensive and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a seat.
The December 2012 test date is Saturday, December 1st.
Have you ever missed a registration deadline? Let us know in the comments!
p.s. I actually missed an LSAT registration deadline myself once :(
19 common, repeated argument flaws that students overlook on Logical Reasoning
Note: This list is not meant to be exhaustive. It is simply meant to be a guide to the more common argument flaws the LSAT tends to exploit.
1. Attacking the source of the argument
To attack an argument you may attack:
1) the premises (which never happens on the LSAT); or
2) the support the premises give to the conclusion
What you DO NOT get to do is to attack the author, his past acts or arguments, his motivation, where the argument comes from, or anything other than (1) or (2).
2. Uses terms unclearly/equivocation
The author uses a term (with more than one meaning) inconsistently. For example, “public interest” in one sense means what is in the best interest of the public (e.g., clean air, roads, schools). In another sense, it means what the public is interested in (e.g, celebrity gossip). The shift in word meaning will often be subtle and hard to notice.
3. Analogies that really aren’t analogous enough
All arguments by analogy fall apart at some point. At some point the two things being analogized lose their relevant similarities and the analogy cannot continue. We can say attacking the LSAT questions is like attacking enemy starships. But, in many ways, it’s not.
4. Appealing to authority in an area outside their expertise
Appealing to an authority where the subject matter is outside the expertise of the authority. For example, a dentist’s opinions on automotive maintenance is not authoritative.
5. Causation confusions
Whenever the LSAT concludes or assumes that A causes B, 99.9% of the time it’s wrong. They’ll tell you A is correlated with B or that A coincided with B and therefore A caused B. Maybe. That’s just one possible explanation for the correlation. Here are the other 3 possible explanations:
1) B caused A
2) C caused both A and B
3) A and B are merely coincidentally correlated and really something else, X, caused B. We see this a lot with accident rate and speed sign questions. New speed limit sign was put up! Accident rates drop! Therefore, it must be that the new speed limit sign dropped the accident rate. Maybe. But maybe there was an increase in cop cars patrolling the area and that’s what actually caused the drop in accident rates. The speed limit sign was just coincidentally there.
6. Circular reasoning
Assuming what you’re trying to prove. The premise is a mere restatement of the conclusion.
“Everything I say is true. This is true because I said it, and everything I say is true.”
7. Confusing necessary and sufficient conditions
The oldest trick in the book.
8. False dichotomy
A false dichotomy only pretends to divide the universe into two binary halves. It is not a real contradiction. Consider this real contradiction: cats and non-cats. That’s cleanly cuts the universe into two halves. Garfield? Cat. Einstein, MacBook Pro, Love? Non-cat. Here’s a false dichotomy: Cats and dogs. See how that leaves out Einstein, MacBook Pro, and Love? They are neither cats nor dogs.
9. Confusing probability for certainty
Could be is not must be. Even if something is 99.99% likely to happen, it does not mean that it will happen.
10. Confusing is for ought
Don’t confuse the descriptive for the prescriptive. Descriptive simply describes the state of the world. The tree is small. The lake is murky. Prescriptive reveals values. The tree ought to be big. The lake should be clear. The prescriptive reveals what we care about. You will typically encounter a descriptive premise leading to a prescriptive conclusion. For example, the house is on fire therefore we should put the fire out. That’s not a good argument. There are a number of reasons why we wouldn’t want to put the fire out. We always need a bridge premise to take us from the descriptive world of the premises to the prescriptive world of the conclusion. The bridge in the example argument above would be: Houses that are on fire ought to have their fires put out.
11. Percentages v. quantity
Percentages don’t necessarily reveal quantity and vice versa.
For example, Group A wants a 10% raise and Group B wants a 50% raise. Who will earn more money afterward? Who is asking for more money? We have no way to know based on this information.
12. Surveys and samplings to reach a general conclusion
Remember that surveys and samplings must be random (that is, non-biased). Asking a group of 20 year olds about who they are voting for will only tell you who 20 year olds are voting for (assuming they’re a statistically random set of 20 year olds regarding race, gender, etc.), not who the entire country will vote for.
13. Hasty generalization
Hasty generalization is very similar to sampling error. The difference is that the conclusion is very broad. You cannot make a generalization based on small sample size or based on one or two incidents.
14. Experiments to reach a general conclusion
Experiments to reach a general conclusion must include a control group. It must also establish the baseline of what is measured before the experiment begins.
15. Your argument fails therefore the opposite of your conclusion must be true
Be careful of arguments that try to do this. Just because you’ve wrecked someone’s argument, doesn’t mean that you get to conclude the opposite of his conclusion. If I make a crappy argument for going to the movies tonight as opposed to going to a bar or doing any number of things, you can’t just show me why my argument sucks and conclude: therefore we should go to a bar. First of all, there could be other arguments made to support going to the movies. Additionally, you still have the burden of making an argument that proves that we should go to the bar.
16. Relative v. absolute
A is faster than B, therefore A is fast? Not necessarily so. A is faster than B in relative terms. It doesn’t imply that A is fast in the absolute sense. For example, we know that that the conclusion in this statement is not true: “Hippopotamuses are smaller than an elephants. Therefore, hippopotamuses are small.” Or take this statement: “Turtles are faster than ants. Therefore, turtles are fast.”
17. Confusing one possible solution for the only solution
There are many ways to solve a problem. Just because one solution solves a problem doesn’t mean that particular solution is the only solution that can solve the problem. Nor, for that matter, does it mean it is the best solution. If I nuke Cleveland, I’ll probably solve Cleveland’s homeless problem. This does not make it a good solution.
This flaw can also be used in the negative. This happens when one solution to a problem turns out not solve the problem, and then the conclusion might say that the problem cannot be solved or that the problem shouldn’t be solved. The flaw remains: just because one solution to a problem is inadequate doesn’t mean that the problem itself cannot be solved.
18. Red herring
This happens when the argument doesn’t address the relevant issue. Rather, it addresses some other issue that is tangential or has nothing to do with the relevant issue but, for some reason, commands your attention.
19. Tradition fallacy and novelty fallacy
The fact that something is old doesn’t mean that it is right or better. In the same vein, just because things have been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean that it is right or better. See slavery.
Likewise, just because something is new doesn’t entail that it is best course of action. Nor does it entail that the old thing or idea is no longer relevant or true. Change for the sake of change is not an argument; there must be something that shows the change is better.
Did you like this list of common LSAT argument flaws? You’ll find more information like this in our online LSAT course, along with walkthroughs of hundreds of flawed LSAT arguments.
Not sure what all those letters and arrows are that people draw for the LSAT? Watch this video on Sufficient and Necessary Conditions.
Drawing LSAT Sufficient And Necessary Conditions
You’ve probably heard a lot about sufficient and necessary conditions on the LSAT. They’re tough to get a handle on at first, but not that difficult once you get the hang of it.
A sufficient condition is “enough” to tell you that something else is true. Suppose I tell you that a CEO of a fortune 500 company is powerful.
Then if I tell you that Tim Cook is CEO of Apple, a fortune 500 company, you know something. Tim Cook is powerful.
A necessary condition is something that has to be true, when something else is true. “Powerful” is the necessary condition of the statement I just told you. If you find out that Marissa Mayer is CEO of Yahoo, then you know she is necessarily powerful. It can’t be any other way.
A conditional statement has a sufficient and a necessary condition. A conditional statement is true 100% of the time.
So if I tell you that all Fortune 500 CEOs are powerful, don’t look for an exception. Just assume that it’s true. This isn’t a good idea in real life, but it’s what you have to do for the LSAT.
Drawing LSAT Conditional Statements With Arrows
It’s complicated to try to keep track of several conditional statements. And LSAT logical reasoning questions often give you several conditional statements. So you should use a system of shorthand notation to represent them.
The system everyone has settled on has letters and arrows. Take the statement I gave above. Here’s a good way to draw it:
C –> P
I prefer to stick to one letter, or two at most. Some people will try to add more letters, like this:
CEOF500 –> Pow
That quickly gets confusing. The letters should serve as a reminder of the statement, but they don’t have to mirror every part of it.
Joining Conditional Statements To Form Deductions
If you have multiple conditional statements, you can often join them. Anytime the necessary condition of one statement matches the sufficient condition of another, you can put them together.
“Every CEO of a fortune 500 company is powerful.”
“Everyone powerful is a little arrogant”
C –> P
P –> A
C –> P –> A
“Every CEO of a fortune 500 company is a little arrogant”
You could also draw this as C –> P –> LA, if you prefer to include the “little” in the statement about “arrogant”.
Did you like this lesson on LSAT conditional statement diagramming? If so, you’ll enjoy our online LSAT course, which has complete lessons on LSAT logic, applied to real LSAT questions.
LSAT score conversions can seem intimidating at first. You have no idea what a raw score or scaled score means. Fortunately, it’s not that tough. Soon you’ll know exactly how to find out your score.
Each LSAT has about 100 or 101 questions. You get one point for getting a question right, and there is no penalty for guessing.
Your “raw score” is just the total number of questions you get right.
Converting Raw Scores To LSAT Scaled Scores
Your scaled score is a mark out of 180, and it’s the one that counts. Law schools use this to compare you against students who wrote different LSATs.
Each LSAT has it’s own formula for converting raw scores to scaled scores. You can find it at the back of the test.
Take your raw score, and look at the chart. There will be two columns: highest and lowest. These show the highest and lowest raw scores that let you get a certain scaled score.
If this sounds complicated, don’t worry: Just find your number in one of the columns, then read the scaled score that’s in the same row. That’s your score.
Example: Finding a Scaled Score For The June 2007 LSAT
I’ll give you an example using the June 2007 LSAT. Let’s pretend you got the following scores:
- Logic Games: 14/23
- Logical Reasoning I: 18/25
- Logical Reasoning II: 20/25
- Reading Comprehension: 19/27
Add them up: 14 + 18 + 20 + 19 = 71
Then look at page 38, which has the scoring scale. You can see 71 in the “lowest” column. It’s the lowest score you could get to get a 156 (not bad for a first score!). A raw score of 72 would also have gotten a 156. That’s the “highest” raw score that qualified.
Believe it or not, you now know everything there is to know about calculating your LSAT score.
You’re probably wondering what your score means, and what an LSAT percentile is. Stay tuned, that’s a topic for an upcoming post!
For more detailed explanation of LSAT score conversion, check out this post.
Click here to use our LSAT score calculator to figure out your raw and scaled score.
We want to help you study for the December LSAT. So, we’re giving away a a pair of free LSAT courses. The contest is open until Midnight, October 19th.
Grand Prize: LSAT Premium course – $349 value
Runner-Up Prize: LSAT Complete Course – $179 value
These courses will teach you everything you need to get a good score in December.
You get one entry just for signing up. But you can increase your chance to win by sharing….you like sharing, right? For every friend you get to enter, you get ten additional entries.
You can share via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or URL once you sign up.