7Sage LSAT Blog

The waiting is finally over.

We just received word that the June 2013 LSAT exam scores are being released today!

The release happens in batches.

Share, celebrate, commiserate, on this June LSAT Score discussion thread.

Featured image: June LSAT Scores Released (attribution Martin Fisch)

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When are LSAT scores actually released?

Almost always before the scheduled release date. Below, I'm listing the scheduled release dates v. actual release dates (for the past couple of years) to give you a sense of when you can expect to get your LSAT score back from the June 2013 LSAT. But, before that, here are some interesting

Summary Statistics

Average release date: -3.7 days (before scheduled date)
Average release date for June only: -3.2 days (before scheduled date)

Since the LSAC scheduled the score release for July 5, you can expect your June score either on July 2 or July 3.

Scheduled Score Release Dates v. Actual Score Release Dates

Test date Scheduled Actual Difference Days after test
Jun 10, 2013 Jul 5, 2013 Jul 1, 2013 -4 21
Feb 9, 2013 Mar 6, 2013 Mar 6, 2013 0 25
Dec 1, 2012 Jan 4, 2013 Jan 2, 2013 -2 32
Oct 6, 2012 Oct 31, 2012 Nov 1, 2012 1 26
Jun 11, 2012 Jul 6, 2012 Jul 2, 2012 -4 21
Feb 11, 2012 Mar 7, 2012 Mar 6, 2012 -1 24
Dec 3, 2011 Jan 6, 2012 Jan 4, 2012 -2 32
Oct 1, 2011 Oct 26, 2011 Oct 24, 2011 -2 23
Jun 6, 2011 Jun 29, 2011 Jun 27, 2011 -2 21
Feb 12, 2011 Mar 7, 2011 Mar 4, 2011 -3 20
Dec 11, 2010 Jan 10, 2011 Jan 6, 2011 -4 26
Oct 9, 2010 Nov 1, 2010 Oct 30, 2010 -2 21
Jun 7, 2010 Jun 28, 2010 Jun 25, 2010 -3 18
Featured image: cathedral ceiling - credit stevecadman

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Nearly all LSAT experts agree that reading outside articles is helpful as prep for LSAT. In this lesson, I want to show you how to improve your LSAT score by doing that. Let's read this very interesting article from the Economist together. It's less than 400 words and it's about attractive women.

Article summary

First, we're told that the conventional wisdom/hypothesis holds that attractive women should get ahead in the workplace. Why? Because people project positive attributes like sensitivity and poise onto them. Indeed, this conventional hypothesis is backed up with empirical evidence in the form of studies that show that attractive women are promoted more often.

Naturally, we think that this same advantage attractive women have in securing promotions would be present in securing job interviews, no?

As it turns out, new research reveals otherwise. The new empirical evidence suggests that attractive women who applied to jobs with a photo had to apply to an average of 11 jobs for every one interview offer. Contrast this with the exact same applicant who applied without a photo who only needed to apply to an average of 7 jobs to get an interview offer.

What's going on?

A new hypothesis is submitted: The dumb blonde hypothesis. People must think that prettier women are dumber. But, this hypothesis is immediately shut down. Prior to the study, these photos were rated on perceived intelligence and attractiveness and no correlation was found.

A better hypothesis is submitted: The jealousy hypothesis. 93% of Human Resources departments are women and they are the gatekeepers to interviews. They are discriminating against attractive female applicants.

Isn't this fascinating? Okay, but more to the point, from this passage, we can build many Logical Reasoning questions. Some of you seasoned LSAT students probably already sense an LR question looming on the horizon. That's a good sign!

Resolve-Reconcile-Explain question

RRE questions commonly introduce two seemingly conflicting ideas.  The two ideas could be hypotheses, phenomena, or data.  To build a RRE question out of this article, the passage would read:

It is generally accepted that attractive women get promoted more often but a new study finds that attractive women who submit photos with their applications to new jobs have less than half the interview rate than the same candidate who does not submit a photo.

Which one of the following, if true, would best resolve the apparent discrepancy above?

Within the article, we can find two resolutions (i.e., correct answer choices). First, we can say that people tend to think that prettier women are dumber. Second, we can say that employees who are gatekeepers to interviews are mostly women and women tend to be jealous of other beautiful women.

Weakening question

To make a Weakening question, we simply have to move some pieces around.  The stimulus would read:

A new study finds that attractive women who submit photos with their applications to new jobs have less than half the interview rate than the same candidate who does not submit a photo. This shows that people generally think that prettier women are dumber.

Which one of the following, if true, would best weaken the argument above?

Within the article, we can find two answers.  First, we can say that these photos were previously rated on perceived intelligence and attractiveness and no correlation was found. Second, we can offer an alternative hypothesis that says employees who are gatekeepers to interviews are mostly women and women tend to be jealous of other beautiful women.

See if you can build your own Strengthening, Descriptive Weakening, Weakening, or Resolve-Reconcile-Explain questions.

Or check out other Economist articles.  Their science articles are written like LSAT questions.

Featured image: the economist

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 8]

Blind Review Summary

While you’re studying for this very difficult test, it’s important to keep your morale high. One of the most demoralizing things is to not see improvement despite effort. While sometimes this is unavoidable - for example, you’ve hit your ceiling - most of the time, students don’t improve because they are not studying the right way. Using the Blind Review guarantees that at least you’ll be practicing the right way. At least you’ll get to rise higher and higher and actually make contact with your ceiling and possibly even have a shot of piercing your ceiling.

You have little sparks of intuition residing somewhere deep in your sub-conscious. Through Blind Review, you will identify those sparks and cultivate them into flames. With that flame, you will burn through LSAT questions.

This is how you practice the LSAT. If you’re doing it any other way, you’re doing it wrong. If this is how you’re doing it, then there’s nowhere to go but up.

I highly recommend using the 7Sage LSAT Grader to score and track your LSAT PrepTests.  It lets you enter your actual AND blind review answers.  Then it does all the work of tracking and analyzing your blind review for you!

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 7]

Analysis for skipped questions

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
3. Talk to your instructor about it.
4. Cut this question out and keep it. Review it every so often.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 9

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 6]

Analysis for circled questions with change

Changed answer
These questions were circled.  But, you decided to chose a new answer.

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
3. Talk to your instructor 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
3. Talk to your instructor about it
4. Cut this question out and keep it. Review it every so often.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 8

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 5]

Analysis for circled questions with no change

Didn’t change answer
These questions were circled.  But, you decided to stand by your original answer choice.

If you got the question right, then great. You’re golden. You’ve made sure that it wasn’t because of chance 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. That’s reasoning that you will confidently carry forth into other LSAT questions.

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 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
3. Talk to your instructor about it.
4. Cut this question out and keep it.  Review it every so often.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 7

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 4]

“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

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 "I know 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 question is just do you realize that you don’t know it or don’t you realize?  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 a Confidence Error.  Because you were confident though you had no reason to be.

Action:
Typically, you commit Confidence Errors when the LSAT has fooled you.  They laid out an attractive trap answer and 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.  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.

If you have trouble understanding the trap, then you should:

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

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.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 6

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 3]

Check your answers

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 LSAT prep test. 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.

The pre-Blind Review answers you chose are the ones that indicate your performance under timed pressure. The Blind Review answers indicate your room for improvement.

I highly recommend using the 7Sage LSAT Grader to score and track your LSAT PrepTests.  It lets you enter your actual AND blind review answers.  Then it does all the work of tracking and analyzing your blind review for you!

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 5

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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[This is an excerpt from our full course. Previous Lesson - Blind Review Part 2]

Reviewing your thought process

At the end of the previous step, 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. Then, 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 5-10 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 travelling 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 two months into your LSAT prep, that means you can teach someone just starting everything you know.  Do it!  It’ll reinforce your own understanding.  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:
1. Stand by your original answer or
2. Pick a new answer.

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 having 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.

Continue Reading - Blind Review Part 4

Featured image: keys credit jenny downing

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