Ep. 117: Tales from PT83

Hot on the heels of the December LSAT, the guys share (some pretty funny) stories from test-takers across the country. The report? For the most part—it’s the same as always. Some folks fared well, and others, poorly. Tune in to hear news from the latest test as well as Q&A from listener mail.

03:32 – Email 1—Tyler’s test-taking experience got off to a jarring start. Moments before pencils hit answer forms, the entire building was evacuated due to a…get ready, dear listeners…bomb threat. Cut to a bunch of law-school hopefuls standing around in the cold with bomb-sniffing dogs and Tyler thinking WTF. Despite all the commotion, Tyler talks about how Nathan’s online LSAT course helped him with the games, and shares some of the amusing pre-test emails he received from law schools.

08:03 – Email 2—Quart-sized bags bursting with trail mix. Teenagers screaming at the top of their lungs. A mock-UN end-of-term party. Professors…fumbling with each other (do you know what that means? We don’t…). These are just a few of the vignettes in the calamitous scene of Anon’s test-taking experience. Tune in to hear more about their test day and how the episode shapes their lawyerly aspirations.

13:59 – Email 3—Anonymous is a very consistent high scorer. In fact, on their last 15 practice tests they averaged 178—scoring 180 the lion’s share of the time. Pretty impressive, right? Well imagine sitting down on test day and feeling completely flummoxed by a game or two when you’re used to slicing the heck out of them like some gosh darn ninja. It might be pretty demoralizing for someone who generally destroys the LSAT. For anon, that’s just what happened. A couple of stumbling blocks proved to be a slippery slope for this test taker, but the guys have a bit of advice for our perfectionist pal.

32:53 – Email 4—Lando Calrissian writes in with data relevant to one of our favorite discussion topics: accommodated testing. Lando rehashes information from a recent report that seems to generally support the guys’ positions on testing accommodations. It turns out that both requests for testing accommodations and accommodations granted have increased by a staggering amount in the past several years. It’s no surprise to Nathan and Ben… they just don’t want to be subpoenaed to talk about it.

45:54 – Email 5—Keith saw his LSAT score jump from 148 to 163 (congrats, Keith!). By taking Nathan’s and Ben’s advice and simply focusing on accuracy (not on finishing every question), he can confidently put away question after question. Keith even has a strategy for approaching the questions he doesn’t get to answer. Tune in to hear his approach and what the guys have to say about it.

53:10 – Email 6—Junani passed the bar in Sri Lanka, and today works as a paralegal in the US. She’s thinking about sitting for the February LSAT and has some questions about her existing prep materials. How should she prep for RC questions when her LSAT prep calendar does not include specific book suggestions or materials for doing so? Instead of pursuing a JD in the US, should she consider an LLM or an “Advanced JD” for foreign-trained lawyers? The guys suggest checking out Ben’s free online LSAT class and Nathan’s free online LSAT class to get a sense of how you should approach different LSAT questions. Plus, the guys discuss the sticky situation foreign-trained lawyers face when thinking about practicing in the states. The bottom line, Junani? Please, please don’t get ripped off by a law school that wants to make quick money at your expense.

1:15:32 – Email 7 TEASER—As a sneak peek at next week’s episode: an independent LSAT instructor based in New Orleans wrote the guys to ask why the Thinking LSAT duo advises against reading the question stem first. The email lays out a thoughtful—yet misguided—argument in favor of reading the question stem first. So if you’re wondering why the guys think this is a silly way to approach questions, stay tuned for a lengthy discussion next show.


  1. Yeah…. That mode 180 test taker sounds like he effed some things up. I remember the exact question he was talking about.

    The thing that threw us children of the 21st century off was the word tablet. All of us (and I know this because it was discussed online and it tripped up many of my friends) instantly thought Ipad or Samsung note or whatever and we were kinda thrown off by stone tablet wondering for a brief few seconds how a tablet could be stone… until we realized that it was talking about an actual stone slab tablet. Lol.

    Once you got over that (and you didn’t really need to to understand the question) it was an easy question. Without getting into too many details, the answer is something directly opposite what happens in the stimulus and really stands out once you read it because you’re like, “Wait! They did that in the stimulus so of course it rejects that they can’t do this.”

    The test itself wasn’t harder than any other test except that it might have thrown off people who only prepped on the latest 20 practice tests. This test (in regards to LR at least) was very similar in wording and question types to pts 51-59. The only reason I wasn’t thrown off by that feel was that a couple of weeks before the test, I did a few of those tests all the while thinking that I probably wasn’t going to run into types of questions like these but it was good practice and lo and behold….


    1. Ha ha, I can just imagine all the thoughts racing through their heads: “How could a tablet be stone? Is it using some sort of nano-tech?!”


  2. So I’ve done a lot of games sections and for some reason it takes me like 20 minutes for most games to get through and I’ve done at least like 15 or so different ones so will it eventually sink in and let me go faster? I heard Nate talk about it clicking, that’s the moment I’m waiting on …

    So I was thinking, yall think its a wise idea to get a full or part discount to a school that is sinking and be a big fish/small pond? I’m thinking that If I can get discounts at barry law/cooley law for example and then transfer if they go under, at least I took advantage of the discounts that I wouldn’t have gotten at another maybe better law institution. Or take advantage of cheaper rates at a school then transfer to a better school later. Just some thoughts.


    1. 15 sections is not “a lot.” Don’t underestimate the amount of work that’s going to be required to reach your goals. Do another 15 sections and I’m sure you’ll see some progress.

      It’s generally a bad idea to go to law school with the intention of transferring. Transferring takes extremely strong law school grades, and strong law school grades are very hard to come by. Wait another year and get yourself an LSAT score that will get you to a school you would be proud to graduate from. Otherwise, don’t go at all.


      1. Agreed. Transferring is risky. You can look at the ABA 509 report of any school that you want to transfer to to see how many students transferred from the school that you plan to start at. Often it’s zero.


  3. I’m listening now… fun fact, I had 2 pencil sharpeners with me (by accident) and way too many pencils (on purpose). A girl in the row in front of me only brought a mechanical pencil (!!) so the guy sitting next to her slid her a couple pencils, and I passed her my extra sharpener. It was a feel-good moment and started off the test with good vibes all around* so… 2 sharpeners can be the way to go.

    *I got a 178 AND didn’t get a parking ticket where I should have during the test, so good vibes scientifically confirmed.


  4. To answer Junani’s question about free LSAT explanations, I have found this resource to be a really helpful compilation of them: https://180pedia.com/every-lsat-practice-test/

    I find the Manhattan forum explanations especially thorough. The Velocity Prep videos are crap – they just restate the answer. Unfortunately, 180pedia doesn’t have Ben and Nathan’s free classes listed…yet. Let’s try to change that!


  5. I overheard one guy, during the break of my December test administration, complimenting a girl whom he noticed and told was finishing sections very early. She sucked it up as complimentary…I grinned given the more likely cause.


    1. Ha! I should assume that his compliment was genuine, but my gut tells me that he was just searching for some way to start a conversion, however possible. Next episode: How to you, too, can find a significant other on test day…


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