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7Sage was founded in 2012 to provide affordable, on-demand LSAT test prep to students in underserved markets. We’ve forgone the traditional model of expensive three-month classes in favor of an online curriculum that students can access anywhere, any time, for as long as they need. Our courses include over 4,000 video lessons and problem sets, explanations of every LSAT question ever made, analytic tools, and more.

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LSAT Flex Score Estimator

This is based on having the same raw to scaled conversion table, but scored as though there was only one LR section (one half of the usual amount). No one outside of LSAC knows how the scoring will actually be done, so is just for illustrative purposes.


It's frustrating and disorienting not to know how the Flex test will be scored. The LSAT is stressful enough without worrying about a new format.

But, the truth is, you've already been given the best converter in existence from the LSAC itself: the regular 4 section PrepTest. Take 4 section PTs. That will be the best predictor of how you will do on a 3 section Flex test. On test day, frame the loss of 1 LR section to yourself as a treat: 1 fewer stress inducing nerve-racking task to do.

We've debated creating a "Flex score converter" and a "Flex PT" and we've been hesitant to do so because of how speculative it would inherently be.

The truth is that only LSAC can create a "Flex score converter" or a "Flex PT." LSAC has not given any significant details on how they will score LSAT Flex. Anything we try to do on that front will necessarily be guesswork and misleading.

Having said that, we made this "Flex Score Estimator" based on requests by students to see what their score would be if LR, RC, and LG were weighted the same. Feel free to play around with it and don’t take it seriously!


Why Does the United States Have Two Different Kinds of Courts?

In the United States, we have two different kinds of courts: federal courts and state courts. It’s been this way since 1788, when a group of nerdy Americans ratified the Constitution. Article III of the Constitution states that the “judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” With this little sentence, James Madison et al. set the stage for the development of the complex federal judicial system we have today.

Before the ratification of the Constitution, the thirteen original states were governed by the Articles of Confederation, which didn’t provide for a federal judiciary. Instead, legal disputes were largely settled by state courts (the only courts around). This approach had some problems.

First, where cases introduced conflicts between federal and state interests, states had little incentive to enforce federal laws. Second, without a Supreme Court, state courts couldn’t maintain uniformity in their interpretation of federal laws. Third, state courts were too biased to hear disputes between the states themselves. Finally, in the absence of a court with national authority, citizens had no place to file complaints against the national government.

For all of these reasons, we’ve had a federal Supreme Court since the ratification of the Constitution. But wait! You’re a smart cookie. You’ve read in the news that other federal courts exist too. These lower courts were created by Congress in 1789. The number and structure of these lower courts has changed since then, as new laws have been passed and cases decided, but our doubled system of state and federal courts has persisted.

How Is the Federal Court System Structured?

The federal judicial system has three tiers. A litigant in the system starts off in a federal district court. A district court is where the trial actually happens. Where the parties have different stories about what happened, the district court acts as a fact-finder, and writes the official summary of events. Based on these findings of fact, the district court renders a legal decision, applying the law to the facts. 

If a litigant believes the district court decided the case wrongly, the litigant may ask an appellate court to reverse the decision. In the United States, we have 94 district courts, but only 13 appellate courts. Appellate courts are also known as circuit courts because they preside over “circuits” that govern several district courts within the same geographic region. (An exception is the Federal Circuit, which hears cases that involve specialized subject matter.) 

Appellate courts do not have juries, because they do not find facts. Generally, after deferring to the district court’s judgment as to the facts of the case, the appellate court will scrutinize the district court’s judgment for errors of law. If it finds that the district court was right on the facts, but wrong on the law, it will issue a new decision correctly applying the law. 

Litigants who are unhappy with the appellate court’s decision can ask the Supreme Court to hear their case. However, the Supreme Court only hears oral arguments in roughly 100 cases every year. As such, decisions of the federal appellate courts are almost always final. 

How Are State Court Systems Structured?

State judicial systems are also composed of a state’s trial courts, appellate courts, and a state’s highest court(s). However, each state uses a slightly different naming system for its courts, which can make things confusing. For example, the highest court in New York State is known as the New York State Court of Appeals, while its trial court is known as the New York Supreme Court. 

Furthermore, some states have a judicial structure unique to the state. Texas, for example, has two highest courts: the Supreme Court of Texas, which renders decisions in civil cases, and the Court of Criminal Appeals, which renders decisions in criminal cases. Our national highest court, the Supreme Court of the United States, can review the decisions of all state supreme courts. 

What Makes Federal Judges Different from State Court Judges?

Rather than being directly elected to office, federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Given good behavior, the Constitution grants federal judges the protections of life tenure. Furthermore, Congress cannot reduce their salary. This insulates federal judges from political blowback when they make unpopular decisions.

Generally, state judges must run for office. Furthermore, they rarely enjoy the wide set of career protections granted to members of the federal judiciary. As a result, some people argue that federal courts are better suited to protect constitutional rights, particularly the rights of minorities, and enforce politically unpopular laws.

What Kinds of Cases Are Litigated in Federal vs. State Courts?

The vast majority of cases are heard in state courts. State courts are courts of general jurisdiction, meaning that they can try all cases, except those that Congress has specified should be litigated only in federal courts. Federal courts, on the other hand, are courts of limited jurisdiction: they can only try certain kinds of cases.

Generally, a case can only be heard in federal court if it presents a federal question or involves diversity of citizenship. A case presents a federal question if it involves a violation of federal law. A case involves diversity of citizenship if the opposing parties are citizens of different states (or if one is from a foreign country). Given that so many lawsuits involve diversity of citizenship, federal courts will only hear these cases where the amount of money the parties are arguing over exceeds $75,000.

Can State Courts Decide Issues of Federal Law?


State courts can rule on questions of federal law, except where Congress has mandated that a specific kind of case can only be heard in federal court. As the Supreme Court noted in Claflin v. Houseman, federal law is the law of the land––effective in every state. Not only are state courts allowed to rule on federal law, they must enforce federal law to perform their duty of enforcing laws valid within the state.

Can Federal Courts Decide Issues of State Law?


The Supreme Court can review decisions of each state’s highest court, but only insofar as a case raises a question of federal law. Decisions of a state’s highest court are final on questions of state law.

The lower federal courts also regularly rule on matters of state law. As we’ve discussed, even a case that exclusively involves state law can enter the federal system if the parties suing have diversity of citizenship. In cases like these, the court must apply state law to decide the issues. Determining which state’s laws to apply is a convoluted process, but the federal courts are theoretically better able to make impartial decisions than the state courts themselves.

Furthermore, cases that do raise federal questions may be tightly bound with matters of state law. In these cases, a federal court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction to decide the state law issues along with the federal.

Of course, these jurisdictional principles are complicated by a variety of exceptions and legal wrinkles—but you'll learn more about those in law school.

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Circle graphs (also called pie charts) let you see the relative amounts of different categories. For example, if you run a local grocery store and want to see where your sales are coming from (perhaps because you are considering whether to re-allocate floor space), you might look at a chart like the following:

and conclude that as most of your sales come from produce, you may want to allocate more space to new kinds of produce.

Now, when reading a circle graph, the percentages of the different sections will generally be labelled as in the above. So circle graph tells you that in January of 2010, 23% of all sales were from frozen foods, 10% of all sales were from pharmaceuticals, and so on.

Now, if you are given the actual value (as opposed to the proportion) of any category, you can find the value for each category. So, for example:

Example 1

Suppose that in January of 2010, the grocery store sold $23,000 worth of frozen foods. How many dollars worth of canned foods did they sell?


We can also use circle graphs to determine various trends. For example, by comparing the following charts:

we can conclude that the proportion of revenue from canned foods drastically shrunk from January 2010 to 2011.

Example 2

From January 2010 to January 2011, which category grew the most as a proportion of total sales?


Now, if we know the actual value of some category in 2010 and the actual value of some category in 2011, we can calculate the value of each category and 2010 and 2011. Thus, we can calculate the absolute increase in revenue for any particular category as follows:

Example 3

Suppose in January 2010, the total amount of goods sold was $200,000. In January 2011, the amount of canned foods sold was $6,000. Find the absolute change from 2010 to 2011 in the amount of dairy products sold.


Practice Problems

  1. Suppose produce sales were, in absolute terms, $10,000 greater than pharmaceutical sales in January 2010. What was the total amount of sales for all goods?

  2. Overall sales in January 2010 were $100,000. How much more revenue was generated by dry foods as compared to canned foods?
  3. Suppose dry foods in January 2010 were twice as large, in absolute terms, as pharmaceutical sales in January 2011. What is the ratio of overall sales from January 2010 to January 2011?


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A box plot is so named for its iconic shape:

(They can also be laid out horizontally). The parts of the graph correspond to:

Looking at a box plot can give you a quick sense of what the distribution of the data looks like. For example:

Example 1

Find the 25th percentile, 50th percentile, 75th percentile, range, and median for the below boxplot:


Example 2

The following chart represents the books read by the 500 fifth-graders in a school over the summer. Suppose no student read exactly 4 books. How many students read more than 4 books?


Example 3

The following chart represents the books read by the 500 fifth-graders in a school over the summer. What is the approximate number of students that have read between 3 and 4 books?


Practice Problems

  1. The following chart represents the books read by the 100 fifth-graders in a school over the summer. What is the approximate number of students that have read more than 5 books? (We assume that people can only read positive integers of books).


  2. The following chart represents the books read by the 500 fifth-graders in a school over the summer. Suppose 7 is the 80th percentile of this data. Approximately how many people read between 6 and 7 books? (We assume that people can only read positive integers of books).


  3. Researchers measured, over 36 months, how often it rained in a month. About how many months had rain from between 13 and 18 days?


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A histogram looks a lot like a bar graph and, indeed, you can think of it as a special kind of bar graph. But instead of having just any kind of category (as a bar graph does), histograms have, as their categories, certain ranges of values. So, for example, suppose the students in your class score the following scores on their test:

    \[100, 98, 68, 88, 79, 92, 90, 85, 86\]

Now, those numbers are kind of unwieldy. So to get a sense of how many students are acing your class (getting an A) or failing your class (getting an F), you might categorize their test scores according to certain ranges. So put all the 90-100 scores together in one category, all the 80 - 89 scores in the same category, and so on. Graphing this, we would get the following:

This graph tells us that 4 students scored between 90 and 100; 3 students between 80 and 89; and so on.

Example 1

In the following histogram, approximately how many students scored a 170 or higher?


Example 2

In the below histogram, what if anything can we conclude about the median of the data?


Example 3

In the following chart, what can we conclude about the range of the data?


Practice Problems

  1. In the following histogram, approximately how many students scored a 170 or lower?
  2. In the below histogram, what if anything can we conclude about the range of the data?


  3. In the below histogram, what is the minimum possible number of students who scored higher than 75? What about the maximum?


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Talk of "data" is ubiquitous -- what does that word mean in the context of the GRE? We will think about data as observations of given variables. Now what does that mean?

Well suppose we are trying to help our child increase her earnings from a lemonade stand. Some days, she sells a lot and some days she sells almost nothing. To figure out why, we might start keeping track of how much she sells on a given day. So we would start making a table that looks like:

    \[\begin{center} \begin{tabular}{ |c|c|c| } \hline Date & Lemonades Sold \\ \hline 7/2/19 & 1 \\ \hline 7/3/19 & 2 \\ \hline 7/4/19 & 5 \\ \hline 7/5/19 & 2 \\ \hline 7/6/19 & 3 \\ \hline \end{tabular} \end{center}\]

Now, each of the rows in the table is an observation. And we have our variables at the top of the columns: the date and the number of lemonades sold. And more generally: variables are just the characteristics that we keep track of, while an observation is some particular occasion when we record the values of our variables.

Now, a very simple way to keep track of data is via a frequency distribution. This is a table that records, on the left-hand side, possible values of a given variable, and on the right-hand side, it records how often those values appeared. Applied to the above data, we would get:

    \[\begin{center} \begin{tabular}{ |c|c| } \hline Lemonades Sold & Number of Days\\ \hline 1 & 1 \\ \hline 2 & 2 \\ \hline 3 & 1 \\ \hline 4 & 0 \\ \hline 5 & 1 \\ \hline \end{tabular} \end{center}\]

This table answers questions like "How often did my child sell three lemonades?" To find the answer, we go to the "Lemonades Sold" column and look for the row with three lemonades sold. In that row, the right hand column (corresponding to the number of days) says one. So there was one day where the child sold three lemonades.

And, in addition to a frequency distribution, we can also create a relative frequency distribution which records, on the left-hand side, possible values of a given variable, and on the right hand-side, the percentage of all observations where that value occurred. So, in the above example, we would get:

    \[\begin{center} \begin{tabular}{ |c|c| } \hline Lemonades Sold & Number of Days\\ \hline 1 & 20\% \\ \hline 2 & 40\% \\ \hline 3 & 20\% \\ \hline 4 & 0\% \\ \hline 5 & 20\% \\ \hline \end{tabular} \end{center}\]

since the total number of days is 1 + 2 + 1 + 0 + 1 = 5 and \frac{1}{5} = 20% and \frac{2}{5} = 40% and so on through the table.

Now, to really get a handle on what is driving her lemonade sales, we should probably add some more variables (e.g. daily temperature, day of week) and collect some more observations:

    \[\begin{center} \begin{tabular}{ |c|c|c|c| } \hline Date & Lemonades Sold & Day of Week & Temperature (Fahrenheit)\\ \hline 7/2/19 & 1 & Tuesday & 68 \\ \hline 7/3/19 & 2 & Wednesday & 73 \\ \hline 7/4/19 & 5 & Thursday & 75 \\ \hline 7/5/19 & 2 & Friday & 70 \\ \hline 7/6/19 & 3 & Saturday & 71\\ \hline 7/7/19 & 2 & Sunday & 71 \\ \hline 7/8/19 & 5 & Monday & 78\\ \hline 7/9/19 & 4 & Tuesday & 75 \\ \hline 7/10/19 & 3 & Wednesday & 72\\ \hline 7/11/19 & 3 & Thursday & 73\\ \hline \end{tabular} \end{center}\]

Here are some practice problems on the above concepts:

Practice Problems:

  1. Using the above data, construct a frequency table that tells you how often a certain number of lemonades was sold:
  2. Using the above data, how many lemonades were sold on Tuesdays?
  3. Using the above data, how many days had more than 3 lemonades sales?
  4. On days where the temperature was at least 73 degrees, how many lemonades did she sell on average?
  5. On days where the temperature was less than 73 degrees, how many lemonades did she sell on average?