Archive for the ‘Lesson Excerpt’ Category


This mind map shows the contents of the Arguments section of our top-rated LSAT course's Core Curriculum. Does your LSAT prep course cover this?

For a printable PDF version of the mind map, click here: Arguments Mindmap

Arguments_Mindmap
Featured image: John Ward

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[This is a lesson excerpt from our online course, for which we invite you to enroll.]

LSAT Conditional Logic GROUP 2 is made up of the following terms:

  • Only
  • Only if
  • Only when
  • Only where
  • Always
  • Requires
  • Must

All the words in this group follow this translation rule:

The ideas introduced by (i.e., immediately following) these words are the necessary conditions.

Let’s try it:
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Featured image: Dinesh Bareja

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[This is a lesson excerpt from our online course, for which we invite you to enroll.]

LSAT Conditional Logic Group 1 is made up of the following terms:

  • If
  • When
  • Where
  • All
  • The only
  • Every
  • Any

All the words in this group follow this translation rule:

The ideas introduced by (i.e., immediately following) these words are the sufficient conditions.

Let’s try it
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Featured image: Tim Parker

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This mind map shows the contents of the Grammar section of our top-rated LSAT course's Core Curriculum. Does your LSAT prep course cover this?

For a color version of the mind maps, click here.

For a black-and-white version (which may be more suitable for some printers), please click here.

Featured image: Chris Lott

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[This is a lesson excerpt from our online course, for which we invite you to enroll.]

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.

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Featured image: Elliott Brown

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Look at that McRib. So juicy and so tempting. So easy to eat it just melts in your mouth and coagulates on your gut. Look at those fries. Perfectly flavored with all natural chemicals. Crispy and salty. Isn't is so much easier to just eat that than to eat an ugly salad? You know it is. You also know it's terrible for you.

So brace yourselves. We're tossing up some salad and you're not going to like it. But it will save your life.

Also, I'm talking about the LSAT. I don't really care if you eat McDonald's.

Ready? Here we go.

1. Underestimating when to start studying for the LSAT (Three months is not enough time to prepare!)

When should you start studying for the LSAT? The first mistake students make is underestimating the difficulty of the LSAT. So, let me be very clear. The LSAT is a beast. I don't know you. I've never met you. Maybe you're a beast too. But, I'm telling you right now that you need more than 3 months to adequately train.

Now, I know the "industry standard" is 3 months. I have no idea how it got there but it's stupid and detrimental. I have some theories: implicit collusion between you and the test prep companies that charge you $1,000+ for an LSAT Course. They, of course, want to maximize profits and therefore will run the shortest class acceptable. You hate the LSAT so you'll readily accept a prescription of 3 months (or fewer! yay!) as "appropriate" for the amount of time to train. It's collusion and you're the victim.

But that's not important, is it? The important thing is that you plan to spend way more than 3 months training. A year is reasonable. Look at it rationally. Which is weighed more heavily in law school admissions, GPA or LSAT? LSAT. Duh! Yet, you spend 4 years on your GPA but, what, only 3 months on the LSAT? How the hell does that make any sense? Do you even know how important the LSAT is? It makes or breaks your application. End of story. If I'm telling you that you need to spend a year, only a year, to realize your maximum potential on the LSAT, you should be thinking this is a fucking bargain. Because it is. You're getting a great deal. And I haven't even counted the tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships.

The LSAT is a test of skills. Your skills in parsing difficult grammar. Your skills in conditional logic. Your skills in causation logic. Your skills in argument evaluation. These skill, like all skills, require time to take root and grow. You have to actively cultivate these skills. You have to train. A necessary ingredient is time. There is simply no substitute. You need time.

2. You're wasting irreplaceable LSAT Prep Tests

This second mistake causes irreparable harm.

You have to realize that there are a finite number of Official LSAT Prep Tests (PTs). (You're not a moron so you must know that you are to avoid fake LSAT questions like the plague.) To date, there are around 70. That's it. If you exhaust all of those PTs, you're pretty much done. You have nothing left to train with.

This is because the one thing you have to do over and over and over and over and over again is to take timed, proctored, full length PTs and then Blind Review. Performance on a new, recent PT, under conditions of stress and strict timing. That's why it's so important not to spoil recent PTs.

Of course, you do have to learn the fundamentals somehow so you have to sacrifice some PTs for that. But, not the recent ones!

Here's how we do it.

We only pull LSAT questions from pre-PT 36 to use for the curriculum and problem sets. Every PT starting from 36 and above are kept pristine for you to take under timed conditions.

3. You're setting an unrealistic schedule

Don't be naive.

Seriously, take a good look at your ability to handle responsibilities and commit. Back in college, at the beginning of every semester I'd load up on classes thinking this is it. This is the semester that I turn my life around. I will be awesome and responsible and blah blah blah and 3 weeks in I watch ALL the episodes of The Wire in 5 days and shit I missed all my classes. But, hey, I went out and had the BEST TIME OF MY LIFE or whatever shreds of the 36 hour binge drinking marathon that I could recall anyway. And all my heroic, naive promises to myself just look stupid.

Sound familiar? Look, if that's you, that's fine. Just don't expect the LSAT to change you. That shit takes a long time. What's faster is recognizing, embracing, and planning around your limitations. That's called "wisdom".

Don't be like me: "I GOT THIS. I WILL STUDY 30 HOURS A DAY. SLEEP IS FOR LOSERS." No, moron, there's only 24 hours in a day and you need to be not conscious for 7 of those hours. You also need a realistic study schedule. If you're in school. It's very, very hard to study for the LSAT. Plan on something light, like 4 hours a week. Same if you're working full time. Study first thing in the morning, not last thing after all your other things of the day. Draw out your LSAT schedule to a year.

If you are studying full time, still don't study more than 30 hours a week. You simply need to give these ideas time to take root and grow. You also need time to relax. Go on a date. (You're studying for the LSAT, you're obviously single or will be very soon.) Go for a jog. Go on a date with your computer. Go see a movie. Stare at the moon. Get away from the LSAT. Burnout is a real phenomenon and you don't want to be anywhere near it.

Ideally, a wise student who avoids all three mistakes sets out a year long LSAT study schedule, begins with learning the fundamentals (e.g., logic, grammar, causation, argumentation, the scientific method). Then, she practices them on problem sets from pre-PT 35. Then, after some months of doing that, she starts to take timed, proctored full length PTs and Blind Reviews.

Slow and steady. That's the way to go.

Featured image: fast food credit chief_huddleston

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It's very important that you print your PrepTests correctly. If you don't, you're denying yourself the opportunity to get comfortable with the actual layout of the test.

Here are the simple steps to follow:

1. Scroll to the first page of Section 1 of your PrepTest.
2. Scroll back 1 page so you're on the page before the first page of Section 1.
3. Start printing on that page.

This way, whether you print single sided or double sided, you'll get the correct layout. An added bonus is that you are NOT printing the cover page which just wastes ink.

Reading Comprehension, for example, opens up like a book. Passage on the left hand side, (most of the) questions on the right hand side. No flipping the page back and forth to go from passage to questions or vice versa.


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Nearly all LSAT experts agree that reading outside articles is helpful as prep for LSAT. In this lesson, I want to show you how to improve your LSAT score by doing that. Let's read this very interesting article from the Economist together. It's less than 400 words and it's about attractive women.

Article summary

First, we're told that the conventional wisdom/hypothesis holds that attractive women should get ahead in the workplace. Why? Because people project positive attributes like sensitivity and poise onto them. Indeed, this conventional hypothesis is backed up with empirical evidence in the form of studies that show that attractive women are promoted more often.

Naturally, we think that this same advantage attractive women have in securing promotions would be present in securing job interviews, no?

As it turns out, new research reveals otherwise. The new empirical evidence suggests that attractive women who applied to jobs with a photo had to apply to an average of 11 jobs for every one interview offer. Contrast this with the exact same applicant who applied without a photo who only needed to apply to an average of 7 jobs to get an interview offer.

What's going on?

A new hypothesis is submitted: The dumb blonde hypothesis. People must think that prettier women are dumber. But, this hypothesis is immediately shut down. Prior to the study, these photos were rated on perceived intelligence and attractiveness and no correlation was found.

A better hypothesis is submitted: The jealousy hypothesis. 93% of Human Resources departments are women and they are the gatekeepers to interviews. They are discriminating against attractive female applicants.

Isn't this fascinating? Okay, but more to the point, from this passage, we can build many Logical Reasoning questions. Some of you seasoned LSAT students probably already sense an LR question looming on the horizon. That's a good sign!

Resolve-Reconcile-Explain question

RRE questions commonly introduce two seemingly conflicting ideas.  The two ideas could be hypotheses, phenomena, or data.  To build a RRE question out of this article, the passage would read:

It is generally accepted that attractive women get promoted more often but a new study finds that attractive women who submit photos with their applications to new jobs have less than half the interview rate than the same candidate who does not submit a photo.

Which one of the following, if true, would best resolve the apparent discrepancy above?

Within the article, we can find two resolutions (i.e., correct answer choices). First, we can say that people tend to think that prettier women are dumber. Second, we can say that employees who are gatekeepers to interviews are mostly women and women tend to be jealous of other beautiful women.

Weakening question

To make a Weakening question, we simply have to move some pieces around.  The stimulus would read:

A new study finds that attractive women who submit photos with their applications to new jobs have less than half the interview rate than the same candidate who does not submit a photo. This shows that people generally think that prettier women are dumber.

Which one of the following, if true, would best weaken the argument above?

Within the article, we can find two answers.  First, we can say that these photos were previously rated on perceived intelligence and attractiveness and no correlation was found. Second, we can offer an alternative hypothesis that says employees who are gatekeepers to interviews are mostly women and women tend to be jealous of other beautiful women.

See if you can build your own Strengthening, Descriptive Weakening, Weakening, or Resolve-Reconcile-Explain questions.

Or check out other Economist articles.  Their science articles are written like LSAT questions.

Featured image: the economist

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 8]

Blind Review Summary

While you’re studying for this very difficult test, it’s important to keep your morale high. One of the most demoralizing things is to not see improvement despite effort. While sometimes this is unavoidable - for example, you’ve hit your ceiling - most of the time, students don’t improve because they are not studying the right way. Using the Blind Review guarantees that at least you’ll be practicing the right way. At least you’ll get to rise higher and higher and actually make contact with your ceiling and possibly even have a shot of piercing your ceiling.

You have little sparks of intuition residing somewhere deep in your sub-conscious. Through Blind Review, you will identify those sparks and cultivate them into flames. With that flame, you will burn through LSAT questions.

This is how you practice the LSAT. If you’re doing it any other way, you’re doing it wrong. If this is how you’re doing it, then there’s nowhere to go but up.

I highly recommend using the 7Sage LSAT Grader to score and track your LSAT PrepTests.  It lets you enter your actual AND blind review answers.  Then it does all the work of tracking and analyzing your blind review for you!

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 7]

Analysis for skipped questions

Skipped questions
These questions were skipped over. You didn’t have time to attempt them. But, during Blind Review, you did all of them.

If you got it right, then great. This question is potentially within reach. Why did you initially skip this question? Would it have taken too long for you to answer? Perhaps you should have skipped another question that was more difficult and spent your time to attempt this question instead. Next time, you will be better at deciding which questions to attempt and which ones to skip.

If you got it wrong, then you made the right decision to skip this question. It wasn’t just a matter of being pressured by time. Even during Blind Review, with all the time in the world, you still got it wrong. Questions like these are candidates for skipping during a timed run.

Action:
1. Watch the video explanation for this question
2. Talk to other students about it
3. Talk to your instructor about it.
4. Cut this question out and keep it. Review it every so often.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 9

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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