In my last post, I framed the LSAT as a mental athletic contest. Your objective isn’t just understanding the material on the LSAT, it’s also performing when you have to perform. Most LSAT prep programs don’t spend any attention on the second of these, and that’s one reason why people’s scores often fall on test day—not just a little bit, but dramatically. You have to approach some basics correctly. You have to know your opponent, know that there are rules and know the defense (that is, what are they throwing at you). Here, I want to talk mostly about the last of these.
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The LSAT is a game. It has rules established by the LSAC and the LSAT plays by them. I am convinced that the failure to appreciate the LSAT as a sport damages LSAT performance. To succeed on the LSAT, you have to do two things successfully.
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The LSAT is a hard test because the writers are very good at writing tests. What makes it hard is just that—not that it’s complicated because it’s not. The writers have a clear theory of argument in mind and they stick to it; no tricks, no sneak attacks, no changing of the rules; they play by the rules. The simpler your approach, the better. Simplicity has two virtues: it makes you both more accurate and more efficient..
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With a little under two weeks to go before you walk into the room to take you LSAT, you should be at a certain stage in your preparation. To finish your preparation in the best way, there are things you should and should not be doing so that you’ll be at your best on test day.
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The Law School Admission Council recently removed the cap on the number of times you can take the LSAT. That reverses a policy of a few years ago. The rationale seems to be to increase the number of test-takers and it may have worked, the June 2017 test showing a sharp increase in test sitters from a year ago. The LSAC’s policy is good for them—you have to pay each time you take the LSAT—and good for the LSAT prep industry, since a lot of people will pay for multiple prep programs over the course of trying to get the LSAT score they want. So you can now take the LSAT as many times as you like. But should you?
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The year-over-year number of LSAT takers rose by 20% in the 2017-17 cycle. Since that portends an increase in law school applications as well, that’s good news for law schools, some of whom have struggled in the last few years with declining admission numbers and declining standards for remaining admissions. It’s moderately bad news for applicants.
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When I first started Advise-In Solutions, one of my first blog posts—and advice I’ve given to countless prospective LSAT re-takers since—was about the factors you should consider when thinking about whether to retake the LSAT if you were not satisfied with your initial score. The general points: avoid confirmation bias, and avoid thinking you are an exception to the data without clearly understanding why you think so.
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For years, the LSAT has been offered 4 times per cycle, in June, September/October, December and February. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) recently changed that. In the 2018-2019 cycle, the test will be offered in June, September and November 2018, and January and March 2019. Is the change good for future law school applicants? How will law school admissions adjust?
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Two weeks in front of the LSAT, if you’ve properly prepared for the test, it's time to consolidate what you’ve done and fine-tune it; it’s not time to innovate or develop entirely new strategies. The reason is integral to the demands of the LSAT. A test-taker needs to have two related but distinct abilities...
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Advise-In’s very first blog post was about simplifying the LSAT. I warned about the “blizzard of paper” that LSAT study guides and programs produce, which make studying for the test more difficult rather than easier. There are too many decisions to make and each one of them takes you away from the words on the test page, which is what you need to focus on during a pressurized exam day.
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