The Blind Review Method ("BR"), as introduced in this series of lessons, is meant to be used for the Problem Sets and timed LSAT PrepTests in this course.

You must Blind Review for your Logical Reasoning sections. You can also use it for Reading Comprehension and Logic Games.

The Blind Review

Most students review LSAT questions the wrong way. I’m going to show you a proven approach that gets much better results.

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 an LSAT proctor.  The clock is running and he chooses his answers 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.  I've been there and I know the temptation well. Why’s that bad? Isn’t checking the answers obviously what you should do after you take a timed PrepTest?

Well, no.  In fact, checking your answers right after a timed PrepTest is the worst disservice you can do for yourself.  You've essentially just wasted the time you spent taking the PrepTest.  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 deployed good and reliable 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.

The Blind Review is a Habit

The Blind Review teaches you to sharpen your intuitions so that they are 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, you do it.  And with enough doing, it becomes a habit and that's good.

The Blind Review Step 1 - 100% Certainty

This first step is to setup for the other steps.  Not all answer choices are equal.  Some 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, 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.

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

What does it means 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 study for the 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 means you must circle the question. It means there’s a chance that you got this question right because of luck and not because you understood 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 answer 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 is not 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.

At the end of Step 1, 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.  Now, let's figure out just what to do with each of these types of questions.

First, do not look at the answer key. Ignore the questions you didn't circle.

Second, focus on just the ones that you didn’t have time to get to. They are blank. Now, take as much time as you need to answer those questions. Make sure that you are at 100% certainty for these questions. This is important for the analysis later.

Third, focus on just the ones you circled. Now, take as much time as you need - typically 5-30 minutes per question - to review those questions.

What does "review” mean?  It means to carefully go over your reasoning, since it’s still fresh in your mind.  Make sure you talk out the rationale that makes that answer right and the rationale that makes each of the other four answers wrong.  You want to make sure you are practicing and getting better at traveling down both paths to the correct answer choice.

Articulate your reasoning to someone - other students, your instructor.  Anyone!  Just force yourself to speak it out.  If you’re already two months into your LSAT studying, that means you can teach a newbie everything you know.  Do it!  It’ll reinforce your own understanding. We created the Sherpa program precisely to encourage this kind of communication between 7Sagers.  If you're studying alone, remember talking to yourself doesn't make you crazy.  If you’re insecure about your sanity, seek professional medical help.

Often, you don’t know what your reasoning is until you say it out loud. You just have a vague idea in your head. Sometimes, when you say it out loud, you’ll realize that your idea is actually nonsense. So talk to someone about why you choose that answer choice and why you eliminated the rest.

Action: As you review, you must either:

If you pick a new answer, keep track of the change and the original.  This is important later on for analysis. This step of the Blind Review does two things:

1. It takes the timing out of the equation. We want to know whether our errors are attributable to time or to lack of understanding.  This way, since you get unlimited time, you get to see the difference. Can you get the question right without the time constraint?
2. It forces you to engage with each answer choice.  It forces you to crystallize, to solidify, to really have a concrete reason for each answer choice.  When you're doing this you are no longer just wishy-washy half guessing flying by the spark of intuition.  Now you have the time to articulate a reason for your choices.  That's a sharp distinction between what most LSAT students do, which is just placing bets.

Yes, this method takes a lot of time.  It’s supposed to.  Learning is a slow process.  But, at the end of it, is a better LSAT score.

Now that your answers mean something, we can check them. This step is easy. You look at the answer sheet and you mark up your Problem Set or PrepTest. Remember to keep track of both sets of answers. You'll want to see how well you did the first time around under time pressure and how well you did without time pressure on Blind Review.

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee, I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee that says 'Fool me once LSAT... shame on... shame on you... you fool me, you can’t get fooled again.'”

-George W. Bush

## The Blind Review Step 4 - Analysis for non-circled questions

Non-circled questions
These questions were not circled.  That means you were 100% sure that you got them right.

If you got the question right, then great.  You’re golden.  Nothing more to do here.
If you got the question wrong, then that’s bad.  How could you have gotten it wrong? You were 100% certain!

Socrates can explain. Socrates, often thought of as the father of Western philosophy, famously, or maybe apocryphally, once said, "All I know is that I know nothing."  For that (and probably a lot of other things he’s said), he was regarded as the wisest man in Athens.

The applicability of that saying for us is that there is a huge difference between knowing what you don’t know and not knowing what you don’t know. Either way, you don’t know it.  The difference is whether you realize there is a gaping hole in your knowledge.  That pretty much sums up your relationship with the LSAT.  You don’t know very much.  The question is just whether you realize it or not.

Another way to think about it is that there's a difference between confusion and pre-confusion.  Confusion is not that dangerous.  In fact, when you're confused about a question, that’s good!  You already know that you're confused and therefore, you already know that there's something to learn.  That's like swimming in a shark infested sea - you know you need to bring a spear, shark repellent, and a deep sense of regret for making such a stupid decision.  But, you will be extremely careful!  You know you’re in danger.  Those are the circled questions.

What's more dangerous is pre-confusion.  That’s where you don't even know that you're confused. That's when you're actually in the shark infested open ocean and you think you're in a kiddie pool. That’s where you think you nailed a question, but that question actually robbed you blind. That's a kind of danger for which you don’t even have a radar for.

We call this an Over-Confidence Error.  Because you were confident even though you had no reason to be. Thus, you were over-confident.

Action:
Typically, you commit Over-Confidence Errors when the LSAT has fooled you.  They laid out an attractive trap answer (while hiding a subtle right answer) and you took the bait!  This is where you have to examine and uncover the trap.  How did they construct it?  What was so appealing about the wrong answer?  How can I avoid this trap in the future?  Try to answer these questions on your own before watching the video lessons on 7Sage.  Sometimes, the reason is as simple as a mis-reading.  I promise you, everything on the LSAT is repetitive, including their traps.  You will see the same trap again.

1. Watch the video explanation for this question
2. Talk to other students about it

Over-Confidence Errors will occur a lot in the beginning of your studies and will dramatically diminish as you get better and become more sensitive to LSAT traps.

## The Blind Review Step 5 - Analysis for circled questions with no change

These questions were circled.  But, you decided to stand by your original answer choice.

If you got the question right, ask yourself this question: "Did I really have to review this question?" In other words, how much of a guess was my original choice? If it was mostly a guess, then okay, reviewing it is good. Blind Reviewing this type of question means that you've made sure that it wasn’t because of luck that you got this question right. On top of that, you’ve reinforced your correct reasoning for choosing your answer and for eliminating the wrong ones. You've reinforced your gut instinct. That gut instinct and your reasoning will carry you forward to conquer other LSAT questions.

Now, alternatively, you feel like maybe you didn't really have to review this question. Perhaps on reviewing you realize that you had good reasons to be fully confident during the timed run and should never have circled this question in the first place. In that case, you have uncovered what we call an Under-Confidence-Error. Under-Confidence-Errors are pernicious because their harm is subtle. (Over-Confidence-Errors' harm is readily apparent: you got the damn question wrong. So okay, let's fix it.) Under-Confidence-Errors slip under your radar because, well, you got the question right after all. What's to worry?

What's to worry is that you're spending too much time on these questions. This is time not spent on other questions. This is especially true for high scorers who have time to review circled questions during their timed run. You want to make sure that those precious few minutes are being spent on questions that are actually shaky.

If you got the question wrong, then you’re learning. What you’ve figured out is that it wasn’t just a matter of being pressured by time.  Even during Blind Review, with all the time in the world, you stuck by your original answer and you still got it wrong. You really don’t understand this question. Questions like these are candidates for skipping during a timed run. But, during review, you should try to understand them.

Action: You will immediately shatter whatever reasoning you used to justify your choice, then

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

## The Blind Review Step 6 - Analysis for circled questions with change

These questions were circled.  But, you decided to choose a new answer choice.

If your changed answer is right, then great. Reinforce your reasoning that got you here. You just taught yourself and really understand this question now. At first, under time pressure, you went with your intuition and chose incorrectly. But, during Blind Review, you were able to see the error in your intuition and you’ve chosen the right answer. You’ve guided your intuition towards the right direction. Because you corrected for this mistake on your own, you have internalized this lesson better than if an instructor told you why you were wrong. Good job! You’ve made progress. Next time, you’ll be able to tackle a similar question faster and with more accuracy. This is the result that we’re looking for!

If your changed answer is wrong, and your original (pre-Blind Review) answer was right, then you must immediately shatter the reasoning you used during Blind Review. Your original spark of intuition was right, though you didn’t really know why. After all, you did manage to convince yourself that your intuition was wrong and you changed the answer. Oops. Now is your chance to examine that intuition. See if you can figure out why your intuition was right in the first place.

Action:

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

If your changed answer is wrong, and your original (pre-Blind Review) answer was also wrong, well, here you need help right away. You really don’t understand this question. Questions like these are candidates for skipping during a timed run. But, during review, you should try to understand them.

Action:

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

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
4. Cut this question out and keep it. Review it every so often.