Ep. 109: On LSAT Accommodations

We’ve talked about accommodated testing before, and today we get the straight dirt from Dr. Jared Maloff, a licensed psychologist who tests individuals and evaluates their needs for LSAT accommodations. Tune in to learn all about accommodating testing. What are accommodations? Who receives them? How are they granted? And much more. And don’t worry, the guys respond to some emails, too.

01:48 – Some exciting news coming out of Richmond, VA today. You may remember from a few weeks ago that the September’s LSAT testing center in Richmond September was closed on test day due to a white supremacist rally. Would-be test takers were notified that their test was cancelled and would be rescheduled in the coming weeks. Now students are beginning to receive calls from LSAC with a new date. The guys observe that while some folks feel superstitious about their test date, many students are feeling pretty rosy about the extra study time they’ve received.

03:42 – Email 1—Eli is increasingly frustrated with his performance on RC sections. While he tends to have high accuracy, and can finish the majority of the questions in the LG and LR sections, RC gets him every time. Eli makes it through an average of two passages, but with less-than-stellar accuracy. He wants to know: what are some tips to help him improve? Nate and Ben speculate as to what might be holding him back. The guys also share their observations on how students approach RC in their respective classes and offer up this time-proven pro tip: focus on accuracy and true understanding, young padawan, and the speed will come. Plus, Ben shares some interesting tips from an audio book he’s currently listening to, perhaps ironically titled, How to Read A Book.

23:35 – Email 2—Good ol’ Bill is always quick with a test-day horror story. He writes in to share an experience in which a neighboring test-taker…vomited all over the place. MID-TEST, people! And the proctors? They did NOTHING! For fear, Bill speculates, that other students would take the opportunity to fervently cheat on the exam while the distracted proctors tended to the regurgitated mess. I guess you’re right, Bill. No matter how bad it gets, things truly could be worse. Thanks (?) for the tale!

Oh! And fun vomit-vocabulary trivia! In writing these show notes, I considered using the verb “to puke,” to give a little variety from the audio of the show, which uses the word “vomit.” Puke seemed a little informal, but I did check the thesaurus for vomit synonyms, and I also checked the Apple Mac OS Dictionary for the word ‘Puke.’ Just look at what the dictionary had to say:

Origin: late 16th century: probably imitative; first recorded as a verb in: “At first the infant, mewling, and puking in the nurse’s arms,” in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (ii. vii. 144).

Thanks, Shakespeare!

24:50 – Email 3—Big 10 graduated from…well…a Big 10 school with a pretty strong GPA. And as she has settled into corporate life, she’s realizing that a corporate job is not for her. As a result, she’s concluded (naturally) that becoming a lawyer might be a better fit. However, she is nervous about putting her and her new spouse (congrats on your recent marriage, Big 10!), into a ton of debt. Legit concern, B10. Because she’s hoping to nab some serious scholarship dollars, she wants to know if it’s too late to prepare for the December LSAT. Ben and Nathan weigh in, and discuss when Big 10 should consider applying to give her the best chances of getting scholarship money. Plus, they point her toward some at-home study with Ben’s or Nathan’s online course.

30:06 – Guest interview—Dr. Jared Maloff is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who conducts psychological evaluations for obtaining testing accommodations for standardized tests such as the SAT, the Dental Boards, the California State Bar Exam, and—you guessed it dear listeners—the LSAT. The guys explore what the evaluation looks like, who are common and ideal candidates, and the process through which accommodations are granted. The conversation also touches on the ethical implications of accommodated testing, and Dr. Maloff lets you know how you can get evaluated if you feel you may be a candidate.

01:01:59 – Email 4—Socratease (excellent pseudonym, S.) writes in a with a series of questions. 1) Having scored in the 99th percentile on the GRE (verbal score), he’s wondering if it will have an impact on his application, even if the school he’s applying to does not accept GRE scores. 2) If he gets a high score on the upcoming LSAT, but knows he can do better, should he apply early, or wait for a better score?  3) Do his “soft” factors give him an edge? Tune in to hear the guys respond.

01:08:36 – Email 5—Get ready to hang your lazy heads in shame, American listeners. Kiki, a college student from Hong Kong, decided one year ago that she wanted to attend law school in the US. In her first UNTIMED test, she scored a 134. Undeterred, Kiki overcame her self-ascribed “shockingly poor” grasp of the English language by studying and taking 50—that’s right, 50—timed tests. Through her efforts, she achieved a shocking level of improvement with scores reaching as high as 165. Did you hear that? An UNTIMED 134 to a TIMED 165. If that doesn’t make you say “holy shit,” we don’t know what will. Still, Kiki has come this far and wants to strive for a score of 170. She asks the guys for tips on pressing onward, and the boys oblige.

6 Comments


  1. Hey Ben and Nate!

    I definitely enjoyed this episode. I really appreciate yall bringing him on the show. I talked with one of my coworkers about this episode today and I now understand why y’all may have some hesitations on the topic.
    Some people can definitely take advantage of the system just as they have with being diagnosed with adhd and being prescribed Adderall. It’s a real issue and I feel like it takes away from those who really can benefit from this but are too afraid of coming out/reaching for help due to the stigma. That is why I may have been a bit sensitive about the topic in 104.
    I realized I would be classified as the type 2 person since I was tested later in life and was given accommodations at the age of 19. My parents are from Iran and while I was growing up they didn’t really acknowledge there may be something different with my learning capabilities. I graduated HS with a 3.8 in AP classes but would fail the AP exams and I definitely died a little doing the SAT. The comment about good grades but struggled with testing was the story of my life.
    However, after listening to Dr Maloff speak, it now makes me concerned for those who don’t come from a middle class to an affluent household that could afford $1800 for testing. I had mine done in 2012. So it seems like the 5 year mark is running out and it puts some who need it at a disadvantage.
    There’s definitely a lot more questions I have about this so thank y’all for finding Dr Maloff and having him on here.

    Reply

    1. Glad you found the episode helpful! It’s a very complex, constantly changing issue. I’m sure we’ll revisit it on future episodes.

      Reply

  2. Hello!
    First of all, great show! Second, quick question: if the LSAT somehow reflects your law school performance, how is giving score advantages to minorities, by law schools, suppose to benefit them? This question is based on the assumption that in general, minorities perform much worse on lsat. You have discussed this difference in scoring in your earlier episode. I can’t recall what was the source of the data so I’m calling it an assumption.

    Would be cool if you answered this on the show and Olive Juice was mentioned;)

    Thanks!
    OJ

    Reply

    1. Law schools need minority applicants, so the schools are doing it, at least partly, to help themselves.

      Also, the good schools don’t bend the numbers as much as people believe. Minorities can get into good schools with lower scores, but not that much lower. The good schools know that accepting applicants with scores that are way below the school’s numbers is inviting those students to fail.

      The bad schools, on the other hand…

      Reply

  3. I’ve seen countless people manipulate psychological testing. It’s generally very easy and people do it for legal, educational, and healthcare benefits. Nobody wants to hear this, but it’s true.

    Reply

    1. That’s not surprising. There can be huge benefits compared to the costs of testing. $1,800 for testing vs. $180,000 in law school scholarships, for example.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *