Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

 

Living in The Walking Dead universe.

Chernobyl.

Having one of these in your brain.

Wearing one of these!

Being Milhouse.

Having this guy as an enemy.

Having THIS guy as an enemy (!).

Surprise Double-K.O.!!

Being micromanaged by her.

Waking up to this.

 


2 comments

As part of a new series here in the 7Sage blog, we've asked our community leaders (Mentors, who were selected from among their peers for their outstanding contributions and character, and Sages, who are community leaders who scored above 170 on the LSAT) to answer a series of questions and provide us with their LSAT wisdom.

This series is just a sampling of the kind of wisdom ready at hand to anyone in our Discussion Forums.

What's the biggest myth about the LSAT?

Mentor Sam “That 2-3 months is plenty of time for a 170+ score. It's not, unless you're a genius or have somehow mastered logic prior to ever being exposed to the LSAT.”

 

Sage Alex “In my opinion, the biggest myth about studying for the LSAT is that you should only expect to improve your score by 10 points.  This claim is not only false, but very detrimental to future law students. Relaying to people that 10 points is all you should expect to gain from studying deters test-takers from devoting enough time to study for the LSAT until they reach their goal score.”

 

Mentor Brett “In my mind the 2 biggest myths about studying for the LSAT are that you only have to study for 3 months and that you won’t see improvement in any one section. This is a long test, and the skills that it tests aren’t things that you can truly learn and master in 3 months for most people. It’s one where it may take you 3-5 months just to get through the curriculum and then from there you take another 3-6 in taking tests. But the process is worth it in the end. “Also, the assumption that ‘You can’t improve on RC, LG, or LR’ is completely false.  Everyone taking this test is different but all of the sections are exactly the same at their base; the questions all test a set of skills and are created by professionals who can exploit the psychology of test takers. All you have to do is learn the skills, avoid the pitfalls, and be able to be able to do this efficiently and confidently.”

 

Sage Allison “One myth about this test is that it's just an input, output equation with how many hours you put in leading to a particular score. That is part of the equation, but cranking through PTs without good reflection is bad practice. You absolutely must scrutinize your comprehension, question your thought processes, and accept that you have erroneous ways of reasoning that need to be corrected in order to excel on this test. Do your homework, but reflect on your methods and spend time to diagnose your weaknesses.”

 

Mentor Daniel “That high scores are rare and achievable only among those who are great at tests, geniuses, or savants destined for Harvard. I was once told by an instructor of a test-prep company that I could reasonably expect a score five points higher than my diagnostic. I'm now sitting at an average score increase more than four times that, and I firmly believe at least most should be aiming for a score fifteen-to-twenty points higher than their diagnostic. It takes time, but a score that much higher is doable.”

Featured image: theilr

Comment on this

Ok. LSAT Logical Reasoning—you got this! You're logical. You're reasonable. You destroy (or repair) arguments all the time on Twitter or Tumblr. You've even done some debate in high school or college. How hard can it be?

And then you take your first PT after completing the Core Curriculum.

First few questions are a little wordier than you'd like, but you feel like you got this. You get to question 4 and ...

... Pff ... You know you got this! Just had to get up to speed, that's all. Things are going fine until ...

... You come to a Necessary Assumption question with a really unattractive answer choice that just nags at you. Why did they even bother putting that one in there? And then there's this other answer choice that sounds like EXACTLY what the argument needs ... But is it the right answer choice? And then ...

... A Most Strongly Supported question with an answer choice that seems to be just soft enough, just specific enough, just irrefutable enough to fit the bill for the right answer choice. It's got all the hallmarks of a right answer choice for MSS. So ... You ... Slowly ... Circle ... the AC ...

... And run smack dab into a Parallel Flaw question that takes up the entire left hand side of the page. So you find the flaw in the stimulus ... And then you try to remember if you're supposed to map out the logic in the Answer Choices ... Or is that for the other Parallel question type? You thought you HAD this ...

... And even though you're on FIRE with the next 3 questions, finding those main points, honing in on those flaws in the support structure, naming those assumptions, you're still thinking about that question 2 pages back.

You finish the PT and you question your whole existence for a good 10 minutes.

Then you remember ...

... You've got dreams to grab ahold of.

So you pick yourself up and get ready for some Blind Review.

And you think to yourself ...

And maybe it would.

Featured image: Randy Heinitz

1 comment

You worked hard in undergrad and now you're getting ready to start applying.  But do you know how hard is it to get into law school?  Or more importantly, how do you get into a good law school?

The one thing you need to know about how to get into law school

The answer can be summed up in four letters. LSAT.  You need to demolish the LSAT.  That's the one thing you need to know.

In the topsy-turvy world of law school applications, LSAT is king.

Isn’t GPA / Personal Statement / Recommendations / Whatever More Important for Getting into Law School?

What about GPA?  First, your GPA is pretty much set.  Even if you still have another year of grades before you send in your applications, the A in GPA will ensure that the impact of your best efforts won't have much of an impact.  Secondly, even though most people agree that GPA is the second most important admissions criteria, it is not nearly as important as the LSAT.  A rule of thumb many students use is +1 LSAT point = +0.1 GPA.  It's reasonably common for students to improve 10 points on the LSAT with 4 months of studying.  Good luck bringing your GPA from 3.3 to 4.3 with 4 months of studying :D.

What about Personal Statements, Recommendations, Extracurriculars, Job Experience and Interviews? They make a difference, but not that much.  If you have a lame-duck recommendation or a douchey personal statement, it can tank you.  If you were the President of your home country it'll really help.

Most of the time these aren't going to make a big difference.  At least not compared to the LSAT.  Most of the time, you should put effort into making these shine only after you've taken the LSAT.

WTF?  Why do law schools care so much about the LSAT?

There are some obvious reasons, and at least one non-obvious one.

Among the obvious reasons is that the LSAT isn't subject to grade inflation/deflation and competitiveness of different colleges.  For example, are a 4.33 GPA from Greendale Community College and a 4.33 GPA from MIT equally impressive?  Probably not, at least not academically :)  The LSAT acts as an equalizer.

Another reason is that the LSAT tests abstract logic and reasoning, as well as time pressured reading comprehension skills.  Both of these are extremely important in law school when you grind through endless readings and try to pull out the arguments and implications.

Here's one non-obvious reason: US News & World Report Rankings.

They rank 200 or so US law schools using a bunch of metrics.  One of these metrics is the LSAT.  The better the median LSAT score of a school's students, the better the school's rankings.  The better the school's rankings, the higher the prestige.  More prestige lets the school attract better law students (prestige is like crack for law students), and get a higher median LSAT.  The circle of LSAT continues.

What now?

If you want to go to a good law school, now you know how to get in. You study your ass off for the LSAT.  Sign up for a free trial to get started on LSAT prep.  Or jump right in and prep for LSAT with a full 7Sage Course (there is a 14 day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind).

Featured image: How to Get Into Law School - LSAT (photo attribution David Ortez)

2 comments

If you're taking practice LSAT PrepTests, then you need to simulate the test environment.  It is crucial so that you are ready for the real thing.

It’s really important to experience testing with a simulated proctor so you’re not thrown off on the test day by a person announcing a five minute warning or by the lack of time between the first three sections. In a test that’s as psychological as the LSAT, practicing dealing with those things is critical. - Robyn B.

If you're using our video proctor with real LSAT instructions, that's a great start!  But setting up an LSAC approved timer, and finding a place with just the right amount of ambient noise can be a bit of a pain...

So we made an LSAT Proctor App for iPhone/iPad/iPod just for you ;)  We designed it to be easy to use, while including all the features we knew were important from teaching thousands of LSAT students.  Simulate the LSAT test environment perfectly, anytime, anywhere.

This includes procedurally generated distraction noises, turbo mode, realistic virtual timer, five minute warnings, real instructions, and more.  If you like it, give us a great rating!  It'll encourage us to keep making great LSAT tools available for free :D

Get Proctor App

 

Featured image: LSAT-Proctor-App-iPhone-iPad

Comment on this

For those of you taking the upcoming June administration of the LSAT or thinking ahead to future administrations, we'd like to share a few best practices/pro-tips to help ensure that you're in top shape heading into the exam. We've included some guidance for the week leading up to the exam as well as for Game Day itself.

Right up front, we'd like to say that you're not going to learn anything new the week before the exam. The hay is in the barn. You've already done the work that will carry you into the exam. Don't cram PT's; at most, do a few sections to keep your mechanics sharp. You need to make sure that you're fresh and in the right mindset for Game Day.

1) Between today and Sunday, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (and this should be the same time you'll need to wake up for the June exam). Waking up ~3 hours before the earliest time you're likely to start the test (as soon as 30 minutes after the show-up time) will help ensure that your cortisol levels are up and that you're fully awake. Waking up at this time during this week and Monday June 6th helps to ensure that you'll be tired enough to go to bed Sunday night. Also, no screens/blue light after 10pm. This will help ensure that you're not artificially stimulating cortisol (waking yourself up) before bed.

2) Pre-hydrate. Drink a 3-4 liters of water every day of the week before the test. It's really not that big of a deal to drink that much water, and doing so will ensure that you are well hydrated the morning of without having to drink much (if any) liquid.

3) Practice your game day routine at least twice. This means wake up at the time you'll wake up on Monday, eat the exact same breakfast/lunch you plan for game day. Keep track of what you eat and drink and when you do it. Track your hunger, thirst, and bathroom need levels (just like in The Sims). Pro-tip: if you need to go at 2PM, there's a very strong likelihood that if you follow the same plan/timing, you will need to go in the middle of a section. Which is what we want to avoid. 

4) Day of, general: Don't do anything differently from your dress rehearsals. No magic pills. No extra coffee. No tricks. No surprises. Perhaps get to the test center early and just go for a walk around the grounds if feasible. You might see some very nervous folks in crisis mode. Disregard. You are not them.

5) Day of, warm up: Whatever you do, don't score anything. And don't do any new material. Maybe take a handful of LR Q's, maybe one easy game, maybe one easy RC. Just chill out about it. You're just warming up your mechanics. 

6) Day of, during the break: People will try to talk to you because they are nervous or want reassurance. You are not there to be anyone's friend. You are not there to be anyone's therapist or life coach. However you put up your personal "Do Not Disturb" status—just don't let anyone throw you off your game.

Featured image: Tomasz Dunn

Comment on this

Not sure what all those letters and arrows are that people draw for the LSAT? Watch this video on Sufficient and Necessary Conditions, fundamental to LSAT Logic.

5s
5s
0.8x
1.0x
1.2x
1.4x
1.7x
2.0x
2.4x
3.0x

Drawing LSAT Sufficient And Necessary Conditions

LSAT Penguin Logic

This doesn't involve logical arrows, but it's funny.

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.

example: 

"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.

Featured image: Steven Depolo

Comment on this

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

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.

Featured image: square credit kevin dooley

1 comment

Sometimes it can feel like we are prisoners to our own habits, and indeed, research suggests more than 40% of our daily actions are automatic processes we no longer screen. As author Charles Duhigg explains in his popular book The Power of Habit, "When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. [...] So unless you deliberately fight a habit--unless you find new routines--the pattern will unfold automatically." For the LSAT, eliminating bad habits and developing productive new ones can be tremendously helpful in improving your score, especially if you're shooting for the 90th percentile and above.

Three elements make up a habit--the cue, the routine, and the reward. Duhigg suggests that one way to replace a bad habit is to change the routine, as smokers often do by substituting gum or other snacks for cigarettes. Another way to tweak an existing habit is to tack on a new, good habit to the routine, such as doing a few squats while brushing your teeth or more pertinently, adding the blind review process to your normal practice test schedule.

What Duhigg calls "keystone habits" should be another point of focus. These are the habits that when changed, can also impact other habits in positive ways. Making one's bed in the morning is one such habit, producing a small "win" early on in the day and instilling confidence that "bigger achievements are within reach." For the LSAT, you can create a pre-test routine of several "keystone habits" to build up confidence with each step--a process that, as Duhigg writes, will help you feel victorious even before you reach the main event of the day.

Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, I built a pre-test routine similar to what Duhigg recommends, practicing it each time I took a sample exam: eat some oatmeal while reading Wired (stimulating but not rocket science), do a really easy logic game to get my brain going, and "free write" my anxieties (i.e. what could be the worst case scenarios, what would be my plan, and reminders that these things had never happened in the previous practice tests). If nothing else, it cut down on my anxiety by making the exam less of an event and more of a natural next step on my checklist.

You can read more about changing habits in the Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

Featured image: Mertie .

Comment on this

Sometimes it can feel like we are prisoners to our own habits, and indeed, research suggests more than 40% of our daily actions are automatic processes we no longer screen. As author Charles Duhigg explains in his popular book The Power of Habit, "When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. [...] So unless you deliberately fight a habit--unless you find new routines--the pattern will unfold automatically." For the LSAT, eliminating bad habits and developing productive new ones can be tremendously helpful in improving your score, especially if you're shooting for the 90th percentile and above.

Three elements make up a habit--the cue, the routine, and the reward. Duhigg suggests that one way to replace a bad habit is to change the routine, as smokers often do by substituting gum or other snacks for cigarettes. Another way to tweak an existing habit is to tack on a new, good habit to the routine, such as doing a few squats while brushing your teeth or more pertinently, adding the blind review process to your normal practice test schedule.

What Duhigg calls "keystone habits" should be another point of focus. These are the habits that when changed, can also impact other habits in positive ways. Making one's bed in the morning is one such habit, producing a small "win" early on in the day and instilling confidence that "bigger achievements are within reach." For the LSAT, you can create a pre-test routine of several "keystone habits" to build up confidence with each step--a process that, as Duhigg writes, will help you feel victorious even before you reach the main event of the day.

Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, I built a pre-test routine similar to what Duhigg recommends, practicing it each time I took a sample exam: eat some oatmeal while reading Wired (stimulating but not rocket science), do a really easy logic game to get my brain going, and "free write" my anxieties (i.e. what could be the worst case scenarios, what would be my plan, and reminders that these things had never happened in the previous practice tests). If nothing else, it cut down on my anxiety by making the exam less of an event and more of a natural next step on my checklist.

You can read more about changing habits in the Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

Featured image: Made in Canva, image purchased by CL.

3 comments