The Blind Review Step 1 – 100% certainty

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.

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