Ep. 108: Wizard Academy

The September LSAT hath been slain, dear listeners, and the guys jump right in to discussing feedback they’ve heard about the test. Tune in to get the latest hearsay. Plus, the guys report on some law-school news, and Nathan gives a few PSAs. And, of course, Ben and Nate answer a whopping number of listener emails.

02:56 – PSA no. 1: Nathan talks binding deferrals and shares some troubling stories from his students. The guys discuss the ins and outs of binding agreements with law schools. Here’s a pro tip: be fucking careful when doing business with lawyers.

16:08 – A few weeks ago, Ben was doing a little browsing in the iTunes store and came across the Thinking LSAT podcast. He was surprised by the 100+ ratings and reviews! Thanks everyone, this really helps us spread the word. The guys read several reviews for your amusement. Do us a favor and add your own rating and review here. Thanks!

26:20 – Big news in the law-school-application universe: it appears that 25% of law schools plan to accept the GRE. The number is up 10%—which aligns (unsurprisingly) with the guys’ prescient observations from the beginning of the summer. If you’d like to buy a vowel, you can probably guess why GRE acceptance is a growing trend: H_RV_RD

29:12 – Email 1—Caitlin is enraged. And it’s not hard to understand why. A white-supremacist rally at confederate monuments in Richmond, VA caused the test center at VCU to close, preventing her from taking the LSAT. The LSAC hasn’t immediately come forth with a new test date or other solution, but has indicated they’re cooking something up. So stay tuned.

31:08 – Email 2—Aaron writes in to share his experience in taking the September LSAT. Tune in to hear about how a cockroach made a cameo appearance during the test. Plus, Aaron dishes on the pencil situation of the guy who sat next to him.

34:15 – Email 3—Also excited to share his own LSAT experience, Mitch writes Ben to tell him what it was like to take the test last week. Mitch’s comments pretty much fall in line with the other feedback we’ve heard about the test (LG was easy, RC had one tough passage). Now he’s just waiting for those scores to come back on “grey day.” The guys illuminate the meaning of “grey day,” and propose that no one ever use this term again.

39:49 – Email 4—First, a reminder: The Apple Watch is not analog. Next, the guys take a walk down memory lane and reminisce about what taking the LSAT was like before the era of the smart phone. Finally, they talk about the dangers of having digital devices with you on test day. All of this in response to Nick’s observations from taking the LSAT in Tennessee. The conversation goes from sticky desks and Clorox wipes to Nathan’s second PSA of the day. Tune in to get the full scoop.

01:01:14 – Email 5—Agent J. went in to test day feeling cool, calm, and collected thanks to the many pearls of wisdom they collected from Thinking LSAT. Based on advice from the show, J. found the RC and LR sections truly engaging and, that’s right dear listeners, fun. Congrats on a (hopefully) awesome test performance! Plus, Agent J. shares one of the many turds of wisdom law schools sent to J’s inbox ahead of the test.

01:05:25 – Email 6—Naomi is one of Nathan’s private students and writes to let the guys know that she feels like she totally crushed the LSAT. Congrats, Naomi! She also says she felt much calmer than the poor person who brought so many writing utensils that they proceeded to spill them all over the floor. Just goes to show, private tutoring from Ben or Nathan can set you up for success in a big way on test day.

01:07:54 – Email 7—Lots of fun stories coming out of the September LSAT. Sammy was that girl who was the maid of honor for her sister’s wedding ON TEST DAY. Talk about craziness. Hear about Sammy’s jam-packed test day, which elicits several quirky test-day stories from the guys.

01:12:11 – Email 8—Anonymous David is planning to take the December LSAT, and has been prepping with materials that use questions from the first 20 PrepTests. He is wondering what his practice regimen should look like over the next 10 weeks, and whether he should use the same testing materials. Nathan and Ben weigh in with their recommendations for test materials and practice schedule leading up to the December test.

01:23:32 – Email 9—Imagine the horror. You’ve studied your ass off. You’ve managed to reach the upper 160s on your practice tests. And you go into test day feeling great. But at the end of one of your sections, you look down to discover that you must have made an error on your bubble sheet somewhere. You’ve answered 26 questions, but there are only 25 completed bubbles. Where did you go wrong?! At question #2 or question #20? Such was the experience of Anonymous, who wants to know if they should cancel their score. Nathan dives in with some pretty detailed analysis as to why Anon should just let grey day happen. And Ben shares his fail-safe bubbling technique.

01:29:34 – Email 10—Shawarma (mmmm…tasty anonymous name!) wants some advice on how to frame their sub-3.0 GPA. During college, Shawarma struggled with alcoholism and managed to graduate, though their academic performance suffered. Today they’re four years sober—congratulations Shawarma!—and have been scoring in the low 160s on their practice exams. With the high 160s in their sights for the December LSAT, Shawarma is stuck worrying about a low GPA as well as how their current career as a truck driver might appear on applications. The guys discuss how to (and how NOT to) frame their personal statement, and give Shawarma a pro tip: the higher your LSAT score, the less you need to be concerned about your GPA. So stop worrying, and start studying even harder. You got this.

If only there were some way that you could get a free LSAT lesson and a free online LSAT course… wouldn’t that be amazing? And then, if only there were some way you could purchase Ben’s 100-Hour Online LSAT Course and Nathan’s Fox LSAT On Demand.

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  1. You guys should invite JY from 7sage and Dave from PowerScore or maybe even a current law student to speak on the podcast! I loved listening to past episodes with guests like Ken and Alison!


  2. Hey guys- love the show! A couple months back I saw that Ben posted a pdf link to some of the hardest logical reasoning questions ever tested, I haven’t been able to find it since. If possible, would you be able to repost a link? Thank you!


  3. Hello guys,
    I’ll keep this brief to avoid the much dreaded “wall of text,” lest I be shamed to the whole podcast community.
    I’m currently studying abroad in India, without steady internet access. Although I have been able to order LSAT books on Amazon, for several reasons beyond my internet difficulties, I am postponing my serious study until December 1st, when I return.
    My goal is to apply for Harvard’s Junior Deferral program, which would require me to take the February LSAT. Would it be possible for me to improve my average by approx. 10-13 points with two months of intensive study, plus some minor studying while abroad, or should I bite the bullet and begin in earnest while abroad, despite the serious challenges this would present?
    My secondary question is that upon returning to the US, I would like to get tutoring from one of you, as you two are undoubtedly experts and I don’t live close enough to attend your classes. Which of you might be the best tutor me?


    1. Hi Richard, well done. You kept to the point.

      1. It’s possible, and not unreasonable, for most people to get 10-13 points in two months of solid studying, but also impossible for us to predict your situation. Until we work with you, it’s hard to say for sure. If you can do just one 35-minute section once or twice a week and then review those sections thoroughly now, then I would do so to increase your chances of success later.

      2. It’s hard to say who would be best for you without knowing you. We both have solid advice. So I’d just consider our personalities, from listening to the show, and decide which one appeals to you more.

      And good luck!


      1. Thanks for the advice Ben! I’ve started doing a few times sections per week, but what constitutes thorough review? I find the reason why the right answer is right and my answer is wrong, but what more can I do?
        I’ve also found, once I’ve done a timed section, I have a barely resistable urge to do more sections. Studying for the LSAT has proven truly enjoyable, and I definitely don’t have a lack of motivation. However, how much LSAT studying is too much?


        1. As long as you’re enjoying it, more is better.

          As far as “thorough review” is concerned, it seems like you’re missing a few questions:

          1) Could you have predicted the answer? Did you try?
          2) Why did you choose the wrong answer you chose? What attracted you?
          3) Why didn’t you choose the right answer you didn’t choose? What scared you off?
          4) What can you take away from this mistake? How will you avoid similar mistakes in the future?


  4. Hey guys,

    I have a question about retakes. I’ve taken the LSAT four times now. The first being an attempt years ago that went terribly. I then took a class and got my score up to 160. I was still improving on the day of that exam (consistently PTing between 165 and 167). I decided to take it for the third time in June 2017. But I ended up with a terrible proctor experience with the proctor talking throughout the test and different proctors going in and out through the room. I received a 159. I was still PTing high 160s. I decided to take it one more time for September (fourth retake). RC killed me, and even though LR is my best section, I bombed the second LR and ended up with a 155, a score I hadn’t had in years.

    I don’t know what to do. I’m so frustrated that my timed sections and full length PTs have always been at least 164 with it being consistently between 165 and 167. Does it look awful to have this many retakes? Do I take it for a fifth time?


    1. Multiple retakes is not ideal, but applying with a higher score from a fifth retake is always better than applying with only four lower scores.

      Given that you can hit between 165 and 167 on tests that you haven’t (presumably) seen before, I would take it again.

      I’d also retake the September LSAT (before you look up the correct answers) to figure out what happened on test day. Do you still get so many of the LR questions wrong? If not, maybe you just shot for the moon on test day, and you need to cool your jets by just aiming for your normal range of scores the next time you take it officially.


      1. Yep, this is a 100% retake situation. If you take it a fifth time and score 164, they *might* notice that you took it five times and discriminate against you slightly when compared with other 164s. But they’re currently going to discriminate against you in a much worse way, because your high on record is currently a 159. When you’re a 159, you’re not even in the same discussion as the 164s, no matter how many times they took it.


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