I don’t believe in complicated “techniques” for the LSAT’s Reading Comprehension. Actually, I think most of the “strategies” being taught to LSAT students are at best hot air, and at worst counterproductive. (I’ve seen students so attached to underlining, for example, that they carefully underline 90% of the passage and by the time they’re done they have no effing clue what the passage actually said.) It’s not an art project! For me, Reading Comp is a simple two-step process. Ready?
Step one: Read. Step two: Comprehend.
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Section 3, Question 15 of the June 2007 LSAT presents this stinker of an argument:
A consumer magazine surveyed people who had sought a psychologist’s help with a personal problem. Of those responding who had received treatment for 6 months or less, 20 percent claimed that treatment “made things a lot better.” Of those responding who had received longer treatment, 36 percent claimed that treatment “made things a lot better.” Therefore, psychological treatment lasting more than 6 months is more effective than shorter-term treatment.
Ideally, you’ll be able to poke holes in this one before proceeding to the answer choices. This isn’t the only way to do the test, but it’s the best one. Can you tell me why the above argument is bullshit?
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My buddy Larkin Robson has created a countdown calendar for the 2013-2014 admission cycle LSATs. The next one is June 10, with the following deadlines:
Regular Registration deadline: May 7, 2013
Late Registration: May 17, 2013
Test Center Change Deadline: May 19, 2013
Final Withdrawal Deadline: June 9, 2013
The next three tests (after June 10) will be October 5, December 7, and February 8. Any of these tests can theoretically gain you admission to law school in the fall of 2014. But please remember that it’s dramatically in your best interest to apply at the beginning of the admissions cycle, to maximize your chances of both admission and scholarships. Schools start giving out seats, and scholarships, in the fall. Furthermore, many students will need more than one crack at the LSAT. To avoid applying late, get started as early as possible.
Apparently, the University of San Francisco dropped 38 places in the newest US News law school rankings. The fact that this is even possible illustrates the colossal stupidity of the law school rankings game. Every year, I have a student who says something like “Well, I am going to choose School X because they are ranked 10 spots higher than School Y.” A student will do this even when school Y was offering him scholarship money, and school X wasn’t. But next year, as this student is studying for his final 1L exams, an entirely new set of rankings will be published. How’s that going to feel, paying full price at a school that has now dropped below the school that was offering him a full ride? The rankings will readjust again when he’s a 2L. And again during when he’s a 3L. And again and again, every single year of his legal career.
Every spring, the Internet goes all giddy with posts about “winners and losers” in the new law school rankings. I thought about linking to one such article, to illustrate the silliness, but I thought better of it. Dear students: Please stop making decisions about where to invest $200,000 based on a set of arbitrary rankings. Yes, there’s a major difference between Harvard and USF. But you already knew that, before looking at the rankings. And the “fact” that USF used to be ranked higher than McGeorge, and is now ranked lower than McGeorge, means absolutely nothing. Odds are, those rankings will reverse themselves next year.
I’ve got a great new crop of LSAT students grinding away on their preparation for the June LSAT. Some of them are also working on their personal statements and sending me drafts. One draft came accompanied by this question:
My long term goals include advocating for medical professionals who have assisted in “comfort care,” deemed as “euthanasia,” as well as working on “right to die” legislation. It is something that I believe in fully. The estate planning will be rewarding and also the way I pay my bills, but this other work is what I really care about. The reason I left it out is because right-to-die, physician’s assisted suicide, etc. is controversial. I worry that if I mention that in my essay and then get a really religious person reading my personal statement I am screwed. What do you think about this?
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My buddy Larkin Robson (180° LSAT PREP, in NYC) just updated his post with very helpful deadlines (and somewhat frightening countdown timers) for the next four test administrations. Go here to view his post in all its pre-apocalyptic glory.
The next test is December 1. Here are the deadlines for that test administration:
Regular Registration deadline: October 29, 2012
Late Registration Deadline: November 5, 2012
Change Test Date or Test Center: November 9, 2012
Final Withdraw Date: November 30, 2012
Official Score Release Date: January 4, 2012
Will you be ready?
A question from a student who just started my LSAT class in San Francisco:
Hey Nathan- I have some questions about the application process. I have already asked some of my professors if they would write me recommendation letters and they agreed, and I’m still polishing my personal statement. Do I need to wait until everything is done, or can I add stuff little by little? Or do I wait until after the test to upload everything on LSAC? Thank you!
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Section 3, Question 14 of the June 2007 LSAT is a reading comprehension question in disguise. The argument provided is a beast, and the first, most important thing to do here is simply to stay awake and pay attention. Ready? Here it comes:
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LSAT arguments frequently don’t make sense, but sometimes they can be made to make a bit more sense by rearranging them slightly. Section 3, Question 13 of the June 2007 LSAT is a good example. Here’s the argument as it was presented on the test:
Therapist: Cognitive psychotherapy focuses on changing a patient’s conscious beliefs. Thus, cognitive psychotherapy is likely to be more effective at helping patients overcome psychological problems than are forms of psychotherapy that focus on changing unconscious beliefs and desires, since only conscious beliefs are under the patient’s direct conscious control.
That’s probably not how I would have structured my argument.
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Onward through the June 2007 LSAT. Section 3, Question 12 very simply asks us to identify the main conclusion of an argument. Like this:
Which one of the following most accurately expresses the conclusion drawn in the argument?
Shouldn’t be too tough.
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