Archive for the ‘Lesson Excerpt’ Category

[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 1]

The Blind Review is a habit

The Blind Review teaches you to sharpen your intuition so that they become more reliable.  The previous lesson mentioned that the Blind Review is how you practice the LSAT.  I want to emphasize this word "practice". The emphasis is on action.  This is active which means it's something you do.  With enough doing it becomes a habit and that's good.

100% Certainty

This first step is to setup for the other steps.  Not all answer choices are equal.  Some answers you are certain about, some you merely took a stab at and gave it your best guess - maybe you got it right, maybe you got it wrong.  We want to distinguish between the two types of answer choices. In other words, we want to watch out for luck.  We want to be careful that we don’t credit ourselves for questions that we got right because of a lucky guess.  So, as you're flying through the timed sections, you should circle the questions that you're not 100% certain about the answer you chose.  Later, we will talk about how this also allows us to track the accuracy of our confidence in our choices.

Are you 100% certain about the answer you chose?

If you are, do not circle the question.
If you are not, circle the question.

What does it mean to be "100%" certain?

1. You are certain that the answer you chose is correct and
2. You are certain that the other four answers are incorrect.

In addition to the two conditions listed above, if you are just starting to prep for LSAT, you may want to consider this factor as well: If the stimulus contains an argument, you should also be certain what the conclusion of the argument is and how strong the conclusion is supported by the premises. Anything less than that, and you must circle the question. It means there’s a chance that you got this question right because of luck and not because you understand what’s going on.  If that's the case, that means there's something to be discovered and learned from that question.  So, you have to circle the question.

We insist that you are certain about the right answer and the wrong answers because on the LSAT you are offered two paths to get a question correct.  The first path, the obvious one, is that you recognize the right answer as the right answer.  The second path is that you soundly eliminate the other four incorrect answers.  These two paths are independently sufficient for you to get the question right.  In other words, you don’t need to travel down both to get credited.  But, during practice, you definitely want to practice both routes of getting to the right answer.

During the actual test, you’ll take a right answer however you can get it.  Who cares if you guessed?  If your eyes somehow see a blue aura emanating from correct answers, perfect.  Shamelessly embrace your freakish nature.  For those of us normal people, what happens is under time pressure, we eliminate 3 wrong answer choices confidently and we vacillate between the two remaining ones and we go with our gut and choose one, without really knowing why we chose it.  We make a judgment about the certainty of our choice weighed against the additional time it would take to improve that certainty and most of the time, we simply accept a lower degree of certainty and move on to the next question.  That’s a perfect strategy for taking the test.  That's what you ought to be doing under timed pressure.  The only problem is that it's not reliable.  If you get lucky this time, you may not get lucky next time.  But, what is reliable is the consistent application of a theory of the LSAT to actual LSAT questions that yields the right answer choices.  During review, your goal isn't just to be credited.  Your goal is to get better at applying that consistent theory so that next time, you will be able to implement it faster and get more questions right.

Action: circle every question that falls short of 100% certainty. If you don't get this step right, you cannot proceed to the rest of the Blind Review steps.

At the end of this process, you should have a bunch of circled questions, a bunch of not circled questions, and maybe a couple that you didn't get to answer because time ran out.  Next, let's figure out just what to do with each of these types of questions.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 3

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course.]

The Blind Review

The Blind Review Method as introduced in this series of lessons are meant to be used for the problem sets in our course and timed LSAT Prep Tests.

Most students review LSAT questions the wrong way. I’m going to show you a proven approach that will increase your LSAT score.

If you’re already studying the LSAT, this is most likely not what you've been taught to do.  If we’re the first ones to teach you the LSAT, great.  Either way, this ought to be how you practice the LSAT.

How do people normally study and what’s wrong with it?

Take your average LSAT student.  Say he finished LSAT PrepTest 53 (December 2007), fully timed, using the proctor apps for iPhone/iPad or Android (or the online LSAT proctor).  The clock is running and he chooses his answer quickly, sometimes tentatively.  The time is called and he puts down his pencil.  He breathes a sigh of relief and what does he do next?  He immediately checks his answers: "Sweet, got this one right - I'm awesome.  Oh no, this one's wrong - I’m dumb. Oh yay, I got this one right - I'm awesome again."

I know that's what most LSAT students do.  Why’s that bad?  Isn’t checking the answers obviously what you should do after you take a timed prep test?

Well, no.  In fact, checking your answers right after a timed prep test is the worst disservice you can do for yourself.  You've essentially just wasted the time you spent taking the prep test.  Okay, I exaggerate, but not by much.  Think about what you’re actually doing when you check the answers right away.  Do you just want vindication that you're smart?  The psychology of doing that is like placing a bet and you can't wait to find out if you've won or lost.  I’m betting A, I'm betting C, and so on.  The answers are right there and it's like you're at the roulette table at Vegas and you're praying "I hope it lands on red 18 (or whatever answer choice you selected)!”

But, that's kind of insane isn't it?  You're not placing bets.  The LSAT is not a casino.  There are reasons that distinguish right answers from wrong ones.  Random chance is never a factor.  You, in fact, are the only factor.  You're studying for this test.  You're trying to improve the way you think.  You're trying to get better, intellectually.  And that’s completely the wrong way to go about it.

Again, to emphasize one last time, if you're immediately checking your answers, you're doing it wrong. You’re just checking whether you filled in the right circle. You’re NOT checking whether you had good reasoning.

Blind Review, the right way to study for the LSAT

So, how to do it right?  We call it the Blind Review method. In the next couple of lessons you'll see how to use the Blind Review method to correctly practice the LSAT. You can contrast that with the method you already use or you thought was the right way and decide which one is better.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 2

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

6 comments

LSAT panic

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.

Featured image: meditation credit ePi.Longo

10 comments

2013-03-13 Update:
If you are enrolled in a full course you can use the Study Schedule Generator to make a study schedule customized to your needs.

Students often ask for LSAT study schedules, so we decided to release ours for free. It's based on problem sets and lessons from our online LSAT course.

This schedule is designed to be used 10 weeks before test day. This is the same schedule that our 7Sage Live! in person LSAT course uses. If you're studying with a bit more time or a bit less, don't worry. Just modify this schedule to go a bit faster or slower, and it will work just fine. There's considerable freedom with the 10 week schedule.  It's a guideline.  Many students skip around, focusing on just what they need to.  Others do everything in it and then some.  We want there to be flexibility with how you use this schedule so the curriculum is tailored to your needs specifically.  To that end, our private tutors are here to help you make those decisions.  Email J.Y. at jy@7sage.com to inquire more about private tutoring.

Start now with our 10 weeks day-by-day LSAT study schedule below!

Week 1

Monday, 9/24:
-Online Lectures at Home
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Introduction to Arguments." (1 hour 27 minutes)
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Main Point & Main Conclusion Questions." (1 hour 03 minutes)
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Grammar & Argument Part Questions." (1 hour 50 minutes)

-Online Lectures at Home
-Watch video explanations for questions from PrepTest 66 if you still don't understand after Blind ReviewTuesday, 9/25: 6pm-9pm
-Live! Class Meeting
-Complete Main Point & Main Conclusion Questions Problem Set 1 and check the answers.
-Complete Main Point & Main Conclusion Questions Problem Set 2 and check the answers.
-Complete Argument Part Questions Problem Set 1 and check the answers.

Wednesday, 9/26:
-Online Lectures at Home
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Most Strongly Supported Questions." (1 hour 11 minutes)
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Introduction to Logic." (3 hour 40 minutes)

Thursday, 9/27: 6pm-9pm
-Live! Class Meeting

-Complete Most Strongly Supported Questions Problem Set 1 and check the answers.
-Complete Most Strongly Supported Questions Problem Set 2 and check the answers.
-Complete Most Strongly Supported Questions Problem Set 3 and check the answers.

Friday, 9/28:
-Online Lectures at Home
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Assumptions & Weakening Questions." (2 hour 19 minutes)
-Watch all lessons in the Class "Strengthening Questions." (1 hour 15 minutes)

Saturday, 9/29: 10am-4pm
-Live! Class Meeting

-Complete Weaken Questions Problem Set 1 and check the answers.
-Complete Weaken Questions Problem Set 2 and check the answers.
-Complete Weaken Questions Problem Set 3 and check the answers.
-Complete Strengthen Questions Problem Set 1 and check the answers.
-Complete Strengthen Questions Problem Set 2 and check the answers.

Sunday, 9/30: Rest!  Continue reading

Featured image: 10-week-day-by-day-lsat-study-schedule

9 comments

This is one of the logic games that students hate the most. It's the one about a music store that carries both new and used versions of jazz, opera, pop, rap, and soul CDs. It's from LSAT PrepTest 31, June 2000, Section 1, Questions 7-13, Logic Game 2.

I love this game. The reason is because I'm a sadist. But, that's obvious. What's not so obvious is that this game showcases how important it is to know your conditional logic well. I don't just mean knowing that "if" introduces a sufficient condition. That's child's play. What's hard about this game is knowing which conditional rules trigger and which ones are irrelevant. Most students react to the sheer volume of rules in this game with some form paralysis. Consider the video explanation below your antidote. Watch, learn and master when conditional rules trigger and when they are irrelevant.

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For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.

Featured image: music store 3 credit loop_oh

1 comment

This is a foundational game to master for any LSAT taker. It's the birds in the forest game from LSAT PrepTest 33, December 2000, Section 4, Questions 6-12, Logic Game 2.

This is the first Logic Game we teach in our LSAT Course to introduce students to the Grouping Games. This one only has two groups - the "in the forest" group and the "not in the forest" group - and thus, we call it an In/Out Game. Let me repeat. You must master this game. Because this game is the acid test of whether you understand and can apply conditional logic.

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For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.

Featured image: bird watcher credit dario sanches

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Like the birds in the forest game, this game is also essential. It's the fruit stand game from LSAT PrepTest 36, December 2001, Section 4, Questions 1-6, Logic Game 1.

This game is an excellent test of your mastery of conditional logic. Watch, learn and practice until you know this game inside and out.

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For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.

Featured image: fruit stand credit lendog64

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This is a difficult logic game. It's the one about a organizer of a reading club that will select French, Russian, novels, and plays. It's from LSAT PrepTest 32, October 2000, Section 3, Questions 7-11, Logic Game 2.

This game is an In/Out game, the foundational type of Grouping games. It's difficult because you cannot make very many inferences. In other words, there are a vast number of possible selections of the game items or "hypothetical worlds." So, the approach? Well, it's easier than it seems. Most people get stuck when they can't make an inference. For games like this one - by that I mean games where your set of rules/premises aren't enough for you to push out a lot of inferences - pretty much anything goes. You just have to check your hypothetical setups (your possible worlds) against the rules to make sure it doesn't contradict them. That's different from the simpler games, where the rules force you to infer a small number of hypothetical/possible worlds. Watch the video tutorial for this game here.

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For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.

Featured image: books-attribution-zitona

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This is a difficult logic game. It's the one about the doctors Juarez, Kudrow, Longtree, Nance, Onawa, Palermo and which clinic, Souderton or Randsborough, they are assigned to. It's from LSAT PrepTest 34, June 2001, Section 4, Questions 19-24, Logic Game 4.

This game is difficult mostly because of its two hurdles. First is that you have to recognize this as an In/Out game, where the In/Out groups are disguised as Souderton/Randsborough. Second is that it has very interesting conditional rules that lead to a contradiction. If you get past these two hurdles, then you've gotten past most of the difficulty in this game and it becomes a straightforward In/Out game. Watch the video tutorial here.

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For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.

Featured image: doctor-attribution-alex-proimos

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This is a difficult logic game. It's the one about a jeweler having to select six stone from rubies, sapphires, and topazes for six rings. It's from LSAT PrepTest 33, December 2000, Section 4, Questions 13-18, Logic Game 3.

This games is difficult because it is an In/Out game with sub-categories. A recurring inference that you have to remember while doing this and other games like this is that once a group is full, all the other items must go into the other group. That will help you solve this game. Watch the video tutorial here.

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0.8x
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For more Logic Games explanations like this one, hop over to our Logic Games page. There, we've recorded video explanations for every Logic Game going back over a decade. All in HD, with variable playback speed, and you get to ask questions. Oh, the best part: it's completely free.

Featured image: gems-attribution-mauro-caleb

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