Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Okay, we've been working our asses off here trying to get LSAT prep materials up here for you in time for the June LSAT. Time is ticking down! So... two super exciting announcements! (or do they just sound super exciting to me because I haven't been getting enough sleep?)
LSAT Premium is ready to go!
LSAT Premium has all the great curriculum from LSAT Complete, and adds 10 very recent LSAT PrepTests (56 to 65). And of course, 7Sage's signature explanation videos for every single question, that's 1000 more questions explained in our HD videos.
LSAT Free - The free trial version of LSAT Complete is available
Okay, so this is old news for some of you 7Sagers. But in case you haven't heard, we opened up the first four days of our LSAT Complete course for everyone to try for free, no strings attached. You can register and start using LSAT Free in less than 60 seconds.
(Photo credit: jurvetson - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/)
We have unbundled LSAT PrepTests 63 (June 2011), 64 (October 2011), and 65 (December 2011) along with their HD video explanations from our LSAT Premium course.
We received demand from the June students who didn't want to purchase our entire course, but did want to learn from those three most recent preptests. Smart. The Last Minute PrepTest Pack gives you those three preptests for instant download and printing. More importantly, you get access to HD video explanations for each of the 100 questions in those tests. The video explanations walk you through every question in its entirety including the stimulus, the passage, the question stem, the right answers (and why they are right), and the wrong answers (and why they are wrong and why people might mistakenly think they are right). Each video is short and to the point. They are in HD and can be played back at faster (1.3x, 1.7x) speeds. If you are taking the test in June, you really should take PrepTests 63, 64 and 65 if you haven't yet. You still have time. If you have taken them already, this is the perfect set of video explanations to check your thinking against.
I used to love Mad Libs when I was little. Kids would get a couple books of Mad Libs on their birthday, and then have to protect them from their friends who didn't have any of their own and wanted to use up their valuable Mad Lib books. Friends like me ;). Well now I can make my own using the interwebs, so I don't need friends anymore!
This is a special Mad Lib, it makes LSAT questions. Try it out here: LSAT Mad Lib Maker
Look below for the one I did myself. I'm sure you can make a better one. Not.
LSAT Mad Lib – Hell is not perfect, no fails on perfect land (by Alan)
People who say that Hell is perfect are clearly wrong. On perfect land, fails by water is not a problem. Consequently, farmers whose land is perfect do not build playpens to prevent fails. Yet I hear that the farms in Hell are dotted with playpens.
The author's conclusion in the passage depends on the assumption that
- (A) the only cause of fails is water
- (B) there are playpens on farmland in Hell which were build to prevent fails
- (C) playpens of the kind found on farmland in Hell have been shown to prevent fails
- (D) on perfect land there is no fails
- (E) the only playpens in Hell are on farmland
Our students are telling us that they are starting to see logic games videos on YouTube that look like our videos. One student, Emilie Eisold, emailed us saying "Look what [you] did. [You are] inspiring all these others LSAT instructors to be like 7Sage!"
When we first put these videos on YouTube for free over a year ago, we had no idea what would happen. All we knew was that we wanted to make our quality instructional videos accessible to everyone. But, in truth, we didn't know whether people would like our videos, if they'd even watch them, if they would help anyone learn. When you're doing something new, there's a huge chance that you're just plain crazy. We rolled the dice anyway. Continue reading
First, a word of caution:
The honest truth is that for the vast majority of students, low scores are not properly attributed to LSAT anxiety, because the vast majority of students have large gaps in their fundamentals that have nothing to do with nervousness. Your mindset counts for a lot, but you can’t relax your way out of knowing how to take a contrapositive.
If you’re looking to improve your score generally, the curriculum is this way. If you’re looking to ensure that you can apply what you’ve learned correctly on test day and hit the same range of score that you’ve been hitting in practice, then keep reading.
1. Interpret your bodily reactions differently
Let’s say that you get the butterflies every time you look at the cover of a fresh LSAT practice test. Rather than interpret those butterflies as nervousness, train yourself to interpret those butterflies as excitement, a sign that you’re about to do something awesome. This has two benefits – it avoids the nervous thoughts, and it puts your mind into a positive mindset.
2. Put your fears on paper
Also known as “Flooding Therapy”, this is a great way to alleviate stress. The key to this technique lies in the fact that your brain interprets your thoughts differently once they’ve been expressed concretely, versus just floating around in your brain. You know those times when you just have to get something off your chest? Yeah, it’s basically that. This technique has been used with varying degrees of success with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder patients, so it’s probably more than powerful enough for even the most test-anxiety-crippled LSAT taker.
To do this, simply sit down for about 10 minutes or so before you take a practice test and make a list of all the things that you’re worried about. It can be as large scale as thinking you’re going to flat out bomb the test, as detailed as thinking that you missed 15% of your flaw questions on the last test, which is higher than your usual 12%, and you’re scared that it might get worse, or as seemingly irrelevant as you thinking that you don’t look very presentable on this particular morning. Whatever it is, get it out. One study showed that a 10-minute “emotion-dumping” session led to a 15% increase in performance over a control group that just went through their normal pre-test routine.
The goal of meditation is to train your mind to block out distractions. We’re not just talking big distractions, either – while the ability to focus while sitting next to the guy who blows his nose every 4 seconds is a nice side bonus, it’s not the main thrust of the exercise. The goal is to be able to focus through the more subtle things that creep into your mind – in particular, the thoughts of doubt and worry that sabotage you while you’re busy trying to take the test.
You should be entirely awake and alert during the process of meditation – this is not an excuse to take a nap before you start a test. Close your eyes and focus on something. Focusing on your breathing is great since it’s readily available. Don’t let any other thought enter your head. If you find your mind wandering, give yourself a mental slap on the wrist, push those ideas out of your head, and return to focusing on your breathing. Do this for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, twice a day if you can manage it.
This will be exceedingly difficult for the first few weeks, and you will probably be pretty bad at it to start. Eventually, though, you’ll begin to notice that your mind wanders less and less. This is the mental training that, down the line, will enable you to push aside those feelings of doubt and worry and focus your entire attention on beating the LSAT.
4. Positive Self-Reinforcement
One of the simplest and most effective ways to get all those feelings of doubt and worry out of your head is perhaps the most obvious one – just remember how awesome you are! By the time test day arrives, you should know exactly what you can reasonably expect to score, so why allow the doubt to creep back in? Test day is neither the time nor the place. Remembering that you’ve been hitting your target score consistently for the past month and a half goes a long way toward squashing your nervousness. Remember your highest score, remember that time you wrote a perfect logic game section, remember that time that you got every flaw question on the test right – remember SOMETHING that will remind you that you can conquer the test in front of you.
5. Practice under mild stress
Practicing under stress doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you should have the weight of the world on your shoulders every time you take a test. Actually, all that really matters here is that there is something – anything - at stake. If you adhere to a practice test schedule, odds are that you already put some amount of pressure on yourself to do better the next time. Unfortunately, there’s no real pressure to perform and no immediate consequences to doing poorly in practice (except perhaps a slight ego hit). And you’d better believe that on test day, when so much is at stake and the consequences of doing poorly are very real, you’ll be feeling the pressure to perform.
So, create your own consequences. For example, maybe you can put a quarter in a jar every time you miss a logic game question, or maybe you can do five pushups for every logical reasoning question you miss. No matter how trivial the stakes seem, the fact that your performance now has real consequences attached to it on a day-to-day basis will train your brain to function under stress.
Again, I must reiterate – none of this replaces real understanding of logic, and you still have to make sure that your actual LSAT capabilities are on point to do well on this test. That being said, if you get nervous when thinking about test day and you want to avoid a big letdown, try one (or all) of these things, and stick with it. By the time test day rolls around, you’ll have trained your mind to dispense with the worry and the nervousness, leaving you free to rock the LSAT to your fullest capabilities. The rest, as they say, is up to you.
Jonathan Wang is a professional LSAT tutor and featured instructor for 7Sage.
Here are our best LSAT Blog posts, all in one place.
- Blind Review - How to Review LSAT Questions
- Components of an LSAT Logical Reasoning Question
- 19 Common LSAT Argument Flaws
General LSAT Info and Tools
- Why You Must Skip (some) LSAT Questions
- Free LSAT Practice Materials
- Free LSAT Prep Tools
- LSAT Books
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!
When are LSAT scores actually released?
Almost always before the scheduled release date. Below, I'm listing the scheduled release dates v. actual release dates (for the past couple of years) to give you a sense of when you can expect to get your LSAT score back from the June 2013 LSAT. But, before that, here are some interesting
Average release date: -3.7 days (before scheduled date)
Average release date for June only: -3.2 days (before scheduled date)
Since the LSAC scheduled the score release for July 5, you can expect your June score either on July 2 or July 3.
Scheduled Score Release Dates v. Actual Score Release Dates
|Test date||Scheduled||Actual||Difference||Days after test|
|Jun 10, 2013||Jul 5, 2013||Jul 1, 2013||-4||21|
|Feb 9, 2013||Mar 6, 2013||Mar 6, 2013||0||25|
|Dec 1, 2012||Jan 4, 2013||Jan 2, 2013||-2||32|
|Oct 6, 2012||Oct 31, 2012||Nov 1, 2012||1||26|
|Jun 11, 2012||Jul 6, 2012||Jul 2, 2012||-4||21|
|Feb 11, 2012||Mar 7, 2012||Mar 6, 2012||-1||24|
|Dec 3, 2011||Jan 6, 2012||Jan 4, 2012||-2||32|
|Oct 1, 2011||Oct 26, 2011||Oct 24, 2011||-2||23|
|Jun 6, 2011||Jun 29, 2011||Jun 27, 2011||-2||21|
|Feb 12, 2011||Mar 7, 2011||Mar 4, 2011||-3||20|
|Dec 11, 2010||Jan 10, 2011||Jan 6, 2011||-4||26|
|Oct 9, 2010||Nov 1, 2010||Oct 30, 2010||-2||21|
|Jun 7, 2010||Jun 28, 2010||Jun 25, 2010||-3||18|
Here is a list of all of the LSAT questions for which there are two correct answer choices:
When it comes to LSAT correct answer choices: There can be only one!
I tend to always hear from typically new students, disgruntled at having gotten a question wrong, “Hey, I totally understand why C is right, but I’m sure B is also right. Here, look at my proof.”
Since, you’re just starting down this long road, I want unburden you from this misconception. It makes for lighter travel. Plus, I don’t want to yell at you later.
So, drop this misconception on the ground, dig a fire pit, burn it, and bury the ashes. There is never another answer choice that is even arguably right for any LSAT question. Don’t even think about it.
I’ll say it again. There is only ever one right answer choice and four massively, horrendously, embarrassingly, wrong answer choices.
This is not to say that it’s easy to identify the right answer choice. Quite the opposite, it’s very difficult. Often, I have a difficult time figuring out why an answer is right or wrong. But, I never think it’s because the LSAC messed up. Rather, it is invariably true that I just haven’t figured it out yet.
Why am I so certain of this? For a couple of reasons. First, I’ve done or taught every LSAT question in existence (over 7,000) and I have never run across a wrong answer choice that I thought was even arguably right. Second, I’ve discussed this issue at length with other LSAT instructors and high scoring students and we’ve always independently come to the same conclusion. Third, and this is the important one, LSAC’s policy in dealing with possible mistakes in their questions guarantees this result.
Of the four LSATs administered each year, the June, October, and December LSATs are disclosed to the test takers. You receive a PDF of the test and you have 90 days to challenge any question you want.
Just think about that for a second. Think about the importance of your LSAT score. The difference even a few points make. Think about the level of neuroses that pervades LSAT takers. When you get your score back and you see that you got some questions wrong and the LSAC is telling you that you have the option to challenge every one of those questions and that’s your only chance of getting a higher score, what do you think you’re going to do? Of course you’re going to scrutinize the shit out of every single question.
Except it’s not just you doing this. It’s everyone who took that LSAT. That’s the insane level of scrutiny that every LSAT question is subject to.
It doesn’t even end there. Say you sincerely believe that the LSAT has made a mistake. You write in your challenge. The LSAC will answer every challenge in writing showing you why the right answer is right and the wrong ones wrong and why your argument fails miserably.
But, say you get their response back and you’re still not satisfied. Then, you get to appeal this issue to a panel of independent outside experts. This means that the LSAC writers must ultimately write their questions with reasoning solid enough to persuade a entire fucking panel of independent outside experts that there is only one right answer choice and four wrong answer choices. If a wrong answer choice was even arguably right, they would be unable to meet this standard.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean the LSAC never makes mistakes. Even the LSAT writers are human after all and even though the system they designed is solid, any human system is subject to error. Every once in a while a written challenge does reveal an error. When that happens, the question is removed from scoring and removed from the published Prep Test. By the time you are taking that Prep Test, it’s already been through hellish scrutiny. You’re not going to find anything new that tens of thousands of people just like you only with way more riding on the line haven’t found before.
So remember. There is only one right answer choice.
Thomas Edison said that genius is "1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Rene Descartes said "You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing." Lucretius, the Roman philosopher, said "Constant dripping hollows out a stone." The point is that hard work counts a lot. Especially when it comes to the LSAT. Yes, how well you do on the LSAT does depend on your raw intellect too, but do not discount how large a role your work ethics will play.