The BriefA Blog about the LSAT, Law School and Beyond
LSAT Logic Games is the easiest section of the LSAT to improve. The marginal returns on this section compared to the Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension are huge. But, most people are still hard pressed to see improvements. Why? Because they're studying for it the wrong way. The right way to improve on Logic Games is through repetition and memorization, in other words, by "foolproofing." Watch this video that will teach you our Fool Proof Method for improving on Logic Games and get those extra points!
The first factor establishes a range of scores that you could get on the test, say 155 – 168. The second factor – studying – determines how close to the upper bound of your range you approach. Since the first factor is largely out of your control, your LSAT potential is mostly determined by the second factor: studying. To make sure that your studying is pushing you closer to your LSAT potential you need to make sure that 1) you are studying the right way and 2) you have studied for long enough.
Are you studying the right way?
First, the theory you learn to tackle the LSAT may not be powerful enough. A couple of thousand years ago, all the smartest people thought everything in the universe went around the Earth. That was their theory. It's fine for explaining some stuff, like "Why does the sun rise in the East and set in the West?" Well, cause that's how it goes around the Earth, duh! But, it break apart when we try to explain other, harder to explain things, like retrograde motion, or why certain planets are brighter when they are opposite the sun. The geocentric theory kind of suck for those things.
So, a couple hundred years went by and more smart people came along and proposed a different theory: the heliocentric theory. We all take this for granted, but at the time, it was pretty cool. This new, more powerful theory could explain everything that the older, weaker earth centric theory could explain but also things that the older, weaker theory could not explain. That's what makes it better.
That's what I mean when I say that the theory you are using for the LSAT may be too weak. It may be a theory that explains the easy questions fine, but breaks down and is useless or even misleading for the harder questions. How do you know if you've been taught a weak theory or a strong theory? Well, take the hardest LSAT questions you can find and see if the theory you learned is able to explain why the right answers are right and why the wrong answers are wrong.
Second, assuming you learned the correct theory, you still have to be able to apply it. That's why we encourage our students to use the Fool Proof Method for Logic Games, the Blind Review Method for Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension while taking as many proctored, simulated LSAT practice tests as they can.
Training through the Blind Review Method and the Fool Proof Method is like going to the gym. You have to work hard. But, as long as you keep pushing and don't give up, you will win.
Have you studied for long enough?
Fewer, but still a good number of students tell us that they have been studying with the right theory and they have been applying it consistently, but they are still not hitting their target score. Have they peaked? Or do they need to study longer?
This question is a lot more subjective. Think about it this way – if you had the next 10 years to do nothing but study LSATs, your score would improve dramatically. You'd probably get a 180. (The first factor is not really out of your control.) But why would you want to do that? Please don't. Life is precious.
My point is how long you want to study is a personal decision. It depends on many things, including your goals, free time, finances, and determination.
If you have the summer to study for the LSAT, do it because that's the best time to study with the fewest distractions. Don’t take that for granted. Lots of students have to study during school or concurrently with a job. That just makes something already hard even harder.
If your LSAT tolerance has reached saturation, then call it. You've hit your LSAT potential. You gave it all and did the best you could. There are other things in life that matter way more than this test.
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, THE LSAT TESTS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF RELATIONSHIPS.
If the relationships in your life are anything like mine, then they are usually difficult, painful, and short. Of course, the LSAT is not concerned with inter-personal romantic relationships. It’s concerned with the very concept of a relationship in the most abstract way.
Let’s consider what relationships are by looking at some examples that we’re all familiar with. Consider the relationship “mother of.” That phrase describes a relationship between, say, you and your mom. Simple enough, right? Let’s try another. How about “earlier than?” Last Saturday night was “earlier than” last Sunday morning. One more? The “greater than” relationship. That’s a relationship between the numbers 10 and 7 or, to use another example, the number of “your mama” jokes possible and the number of “your mama” jokes that are appropriate for an LSAT site.
Let's be clear about one critical aspect of this LSAT course—and my commitment to you.
I will define terms clearly and precisely and I will use those defined terms consistently. I will also make an effort to be accurate and exact with how I use most words. If I take the effort to define a word, please understand that every time I use that word, I mean exactly what I defined and nothing else. Why am I so uptight about this?
Because it’s good for you.
Being clear, precise, and consistent with how you use your words is fundamental to having a clear, precise, and consistent mind. That’s the kind of mind that will break the LSAT.
Our students are always asking us:
“How hard is the LSAT?”
“It's hard. But LAW SCHOOL IS EVEN HARDER.”
If you didn’t already know this, now you do. If you already knew this, then you’re in better shape than most prospective law students out there. High five! If you didn’t get a high five but want a high five, just reread this paragraph until you get one.
I will often remind you that this test is hard, simply to remind you that you need to study to do well. If the idea of a hard test you might have to study for is very scary for you, you may want to rethink going to law school. One last time: The LSAT is hard. You still here? Let’s move on.
If you're having trouble with understanding what a contrapositive is on the LSAT, then watch this short video and read the rest of the post.
CONTRAPOSITIVES WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Contrapositives are a life-saver on the LSAT. Often, you’ll think you got an answer choice right. “Duh, they want me to infer that ‘All business school students are greedy.’ Hmm… but I don’t see it in the answers. WHAT IS GOING ON LSAT?!” Well, that’s because the right answer choice says “If you’re not greedy, you’re not a business school student.” See, same thing! I mean that too. Contrapositives are logically equivalent statements. You can think of them as being genetic twins. They’re the same.
So which one is the contrapositive? Actually, they each are contrapositive of the other.
Group 4 is made up of the following terms:
- Not both
All the words in this group follow this translation rule:
You pick either idea, then negate that idea, then make the idea you negated the necessary condition.
Let’s try it, in six simple steps:
Group 3 is made up of the following terms:
These are my favorites, because they’re notoriously confusing for students. I’m not sadistic or anything. That’s not why I like them. I like them because of how easily this apparent difficulty can be overcome by sticking to your translation mechanism.
Confused by how to negate statements on the LSAT, and not sure how to use them for contrapositives? Watch this video.
Negation is contradiction. They mean the same thing. Remember we’re not talking about opposites (hot v. cold). We’re talking about logical negation, about contradiction (hot v. not hot). The easiest way to get the contradiction of any sentence is to tag the clause “It’s not the case that...” in front of the sentence. But, asking you to use that method, I’m appealing heavily to your intuitions on understanding what a negation is. In case your intuition isn’t very helpful, I’m going to walk you through a couple of commonly problematic types of sentences and show you how to negate them.
When you're taking your timed, practice LSATs, you must practice skipping the hard LR/RC/Games questions. That seems to go against intuition: How am I supposed to get a high score on the LSAT if I don't even attempt some of the questions?
I'll answer with something cryptic, which the rest of this lesson will further explain: you're making a bad assumption. You're assuming that you will actually get everything you answer correct, which is, for 99.99% of the people, false.
The way you want to approach your LSAT is to embrace a principle borrowed from Economics: the low hanging coconut.