Ep. 127: Benevolent Brainwashing

Ben is holding down the fort in DC while Nathan is gearing up for a cold and rainy golf trip to the PNW. But that doesn’t stop the guys from answering a bevy of listener mail, and reminding you that there’s a great new way to listen to the show. Head on over to the Thinking LSAT YouTube channel and enjoy hours of Thinking LSAT podcasts just as you would in a podcast app! Except it’s on YouTube. Pretty great, right? We think so. And guess what else: there’s now a Thinking LSAT Patreon page. So if you love the show, or if it’s helped you increase your LSAT score, consider supporting the show as a patron.  

5:41 – Email 1—L hasn’t had the easiest go of it. They had to drop out of community college after jumping from school to school in order to take care of their grandmother in the final years of her life. Happily, they just graduated from the University of Phoenix, but now they’re wondering how they’re supposed to get letters of recommendation since all of their classes were online. The guys weigh in with some advice for L.

17:20 – Email 2—Alex has been binging on Thinking LSAT episodes. They listened to 45 hours of the show while on a road trip to visit law schools. Forty. Five. Hours. Holy smokes. But it seems to have helped. Alex has seen his practice-test scores jump from around 160 to around 170. Awesome news, Alex! Clearly a hound for everything law-school related, Alex sniffed out an interesting article that indicated more people than ever before took the December 2017 LSAT, and that test scores were up a significant amount. The guys share their different perspectives on why this might be.

22:21 – Email 3—Anya’s juggling a lot. School’s busy. She helps run a club that has her traveling often. And she’s signed up for the June LSAT. With everything going on, she’s not sure if she’s got enough time to prepare for the test in June and wants to know if she should just cancel and sign up for the July test instead. Nathan and Ben give her an earful of pro tips starting with this: don’t cancel the June test, and sign up for July AND September. Take the test as many times as you can to get your best score. Oh, and start putting LSAT prep on your calendar. Everyday. For an hour. It’s not that much to invest in your life’s work.

30:24 – Email 4—@Spicybutt99 writes in with some very sweet things to say about Thinking LSAT. In fact, she includes a full-blown Thinking LSAT radio advert in the middle of her email. But she’s also got a question. Her undergrad GPA rounded out at a 3.27. However, in the midst of her college career, she spent a semester abroad with her university’s law school taking two law courses. She doubled up on a B+ for each course, giving her a 3.3 “Law” GPA. So how about this? Will admissions offices weigh her “Law” GPA differently than her undergrad GPA? Ben and Nathan agree: probably not.

39:49 – Email 5—In-laws sure can be a bitch. Don’t you agree? Well. Not alllll—we know. But when you’re a computer scientist working in silicon valley with a perfect math mind, and your future in-laws are telling you that your MS degree isn’t good enough, things could get dicey. Such is the situation with John. His entire life he’s scored perfectly on math and science tests. And though he’s got a decent job in the valley, he’s been getting pressure to become a lawyer, or at least get an advanced degree of some kind. He tells the guys about how he’s scoring on his practice exams. The guys tell John he should never, ever go to law school. At least not if he’s paying for it.  

52:51 – Email 6—Jake asks Nathan and Ben if they know what their practice-test scores were before taking their first tests. The guys—or at least Nathan—have mentioned that their practice-test scores jumped up during test day. Jake points out that way back when Nathan and Ben were just wee law-school hopefuls, they couldn’t have had the understanding of the test that they have today. Thus, it doesn’t require the level of masterful understanding found in prep classes and prep-book question breakdowns to score in the 170s. But he’s wondering. How the hell do you build up that intuition in the first place? Tune in to hear some deep wisdom from Ben and Nathan.

8 Comments


  1. Hello!

    I have a question about managing my expectations regarding what LSAT score, and by extension what school, to set my sights on. I have been listening to the podcast for a few weeks and I hear you loud and clear: don’t pay for law school. Knowing that, and knowing what I know about my mediocre undergraduate performance (3.11, but it will be worse once LSAC gets ahold of it), I know I will need a killer LSAT score to receive a full-ride to any decent school. I guess what I still haven’t figured out is, how decent should I be aiming for? Despite my poor study skills and overextending as an undergrad, I talked my way into the top four Masters’ program in my field and did quite well there, but I also know nobody cares. I currently work in educational compliance, and I really enjoy it. I would like to pursue educational law, either in contractual and ESS* compliance or perhaps educational equity/civil rights.

    My questions are:

    1. I am not delusional enough to bother with any of the T14 schools, but is ANY school that is ranked in the top 100 going to provide me an acceptable law education? I understand the higher ranked, the more opportunities, but I also have read that if you want to work in the public sector, ranking is less important. I scored a 151 on my first full length practice test, and I am fortunate to be working in a steady job that I enjoy, so I could take a year or more to study if I need to. Ideally I would like to claw my way to the 170s, but what if I can’t? I am trying to find the balance between a good school that would be happy to have me and throwing money at a back-alley diploma factory.
    2. Should I concern myself with trying to find a law school that specializes in educational law? I have done some research, but it appears that this field is not considered broad enough to be searchable on any of the databases. As a L2 and L3, I know I have some freedom to choose classes and make connections that will allow me to specialize in what interests me, so maybe it doesn’t matter? Do other prospective law students choose law schools based on which school has, for example, the best corporate law program?

    Thank you so much for your help and for the podcast. I will throw you guys some cash as soon as I can.

    Sincerely,
    Blanket

    *ESS = Exceptional Student Services, the latest term for Special Education.

    P.S. Halo top is vile.

    Reply

    1. Hey Blanket,

      1. A 151 is a good starting score, so a score in the 170s is not out of the question, even if it’s still difficult. And any score in the high 160s will get you into decent schools with scholarships. I’d just start studying to see where you can get, especially with one of our courses:

      http://www.foxlsat.com/free
      http://www.strategyprep.com/free

      2. Don’t worry about this. Focus on where you want to live and go to a school in that region. Or if your score is high enough, to go a higher-ranked school that has national reach.

      Good luck!

      Reply

  2. Dear Ben and Nathan,

    Today on my morning walk around the local lake, I watched an old man stare down a goose that was in his way until it eventually cleared a path for him. These giant ass geese not only shit all over the path that circles the lake, but they frequently fight each other and make threatening noises towards people. I for one am scared of them. Anyway, I’m listening to the podcast as I always do at the lake, and as I plan to take a long route around the goose standing in the middle of the walkway, I see this old guy (he kind of looks like Mike from Breaking Bad) wearing dark sunglasses just slowly walk up to the goose. He eventually stops, maybe two feet away, and looks down at it. The goose stares at him and I swear this standoff lasted for a good thirty seconds. The guy stands there, hands in his pockets, just waiting for the goose to move. Eventually it slowly walks away and the old man continues on.

    Now look, I hate geese. I remember being chased by one when I was a kid. What I realized though, is that it’s time to face that fear. It’s time to stand in front of the goose and say, “Get the fuck out of my face.”

    I’ve been going about my LSAT prep the wrong way, and I want to thank the two of you for helping me develop the right mindset about how to study and approach this test. I started my preparation with fear. I was afraid of what my diagnostic score would be. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to “learn the test,” based on the rumors I heard. I was scared that I might fail.

    Nathan, I’m noticing something new about myself as I approach the LR sections–I’m growing hostile towards the questions. I can’t help but be a dick as I read the arguments, and I eagerly call out the bullshit when I find it. And the answer choices? “Get the fuck out of here and stop wasting my time,” I yell as I read over 3 answer choices that are horrible, one that only makes me slightly mad, and one that sounds good. I’m reading the stimulus, understanding it, and I find that I’m getting better at knowing the answer in some cases before I even go through the answer choices.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got an incredibly long way to go. In fact, I’ve only recently started devoting an hour a day to working on timed sections and reviewing them. But thanks to you guys and the podcast, I’m looking at the test in a new way and it feels good. I’m done with avoiding the LSAT and fearing the outcome. The test is standing right in front of me, I’m staring at it head to toe, and I will not walk around it.

    Best,
    Dave

    Reply

    1. Haha, nice. I don’t know why I didn’t see this post until just now. Thanks Dave, sounds like you’re doing great! Careful around those geese… they’re mean bastards in the springtime. One time I saw a buddy of mine get chased about 100 yards by one on a golf course. I hate those things.

      Reply

  3. Hey Guys,

    I listened to episode 127 and had some questions for Nathan about his friend at Santa Clara. Here is a little background on me for reference. I decided to pursue mechanical engineering late in high school when I discovered my interest in the sciences and math. No one in my direct family has degrees or even much interest in technical fields or the hard sciences. This meant that I was quite naive going into mechanical engineering. I have since had an internship working as a design engineer and another one working as a maintenance engineer. I now have a much more clear understanding of what I could be doing and what I would prefer to do as a mechanical engineer. In my experience working as an intern I have yet to feel engaged enough with the work to want to return to that company. This could just be the company or even just because I was a temporary intern. The idea of becoming a patent attorney was actually introduced to me by a mentor several years ago. I never really gave it much thought until lately but my problem is I just don’t know much about it. I’ve taken the June 2007 LSAT and scored a 151 following some of your techniques discussed in the podcast. I feel like I have a shot at pursuing patent law but I want to make sure it is what I want first. In this last episode Nathan mentioned he had a contact at UC Santa Clara. I am interested to learn more from him if possible about what patent law consists of and if it is worth striving for.

    Thanks,

    Troy

    Reply

  4. Hi Nathan/Ben,

    Since January 1st, I’ve been religiously studying for a couple hours a day (using PowerScore Books because I was able to get them for free from a friend). After each chapter, I feel like I understand the question types well, conceptually. I still have a long way to go on games but I’m managing my expectations on how quickly I’ll improve on those. I scored a 152 cold diagnostic and after 2 months of studying just took my second full practice test since the diagnostic. I only scored a 154. I am super discouraged because I know that law school is what I want to do. I had a 3.45 GPA undergrad so I really need to wreck this test. I’m four years out of undergrad and work on average 10-12 hours a day. I usually commit a full weekend day to studying and do 2 hours between 5-7 AM during the week. (Full disclosure, seven days in the past month I’ve skip that schedule because I’ve either been tired from work or seriously needed a beer with friends.) Is my lack of improvement normal? Will I ever see the fruits of my labor?

    Thanks so much for any advice and love the podcast.

    Frustrated.

    Reply

    1. Are you a morning person? If not, don’t study at 5 AM. You’ll never be awake enough to benefit. Even if you are a morning person, that sounds too early to study. 6-7 AM would be better. But I’d aim for an hour after work, possibly. Try out different study times. You’ll make progress if you do 35-minute sections and carefully review them. Also, try our free courses.

      Reply

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