Ep. 128: The Turd in the Punchbowl

Nathan is back from his snowy golf trip to the north and Ben wants to know about his time in Portland before diving into listener mail. But more importantly, we’ve got some fun updates. You can now meet other Thinking LSAT members, find study partners, debate hot topics and more on our new Facebook page. And the guys talk about the patrons who are making a monthly pledge to the podcast through Patreon.

8:57 – Email 1—By now, it’s our most popular topic perhaps in the show’s history. And you know what it is. HALO. TOP. Halo Top (not) ice cream. Marjory writes in with a full-throated critique of this sad, sad “treat” from the perspective of a fitness junkie. While Halo Top was made popular in the health and fitness industry, Marjory’s got her own thoughts on the matter. The guys, of course, discuss.  

15:56 – Email 2—Tino is writing in to give all you law-school hopefuls a morale boost. An active duty Green Beret, he’s got a 166 LSAT score, but a 2.2 LSAC GPA due to some poor grades before entering the military. Still, even with this tough LSAC GPA, he’s been accepted to some decent law schools, and is even waitlisted at George Washington. He wants to know what the guys think about the possibilities of transferring. The guys pull up some ABA 509 reports and take a look at the hard data on transfers.

25:31 – Email 3—John is from Brazil and graduated from college in the US in 2007. Now, at age 32, he’s thinking about a career in law. But at 32, and as an immigrant, John is wondering if he is a non-traditional student. Is he too old to start looking into this whole law school thing? Will his age and background help or hinder him when it comes to attending law school? Ben and Nathan agree that John isn’t that non-traditional (but they discuss who might be), and give him some long-proven advice: focus on getting a great LSAT score, and worry less about almost everything else.  

31:16 – Email 4—Since starting his prep in December, Joe’s seen his score jump from the mid 140s to the high 150s. Nice progress, Joe! He’s been using the Manhattan Prep books to steadily improve, but recently discovered that the books strongly recommend approaching questions by reading the—get ready to gasp—STEM FIRST. Obviously not something the guys recommend. So Joe started to freak out. Is everything else the books say complete horseshit? Nathan and Ben let Joe know whether or not he should light up the bonfire. They also slam him for several glaring grammatical errors.

42:26 – Email 5—Vicky is a badass. A 3.89 GPA from Rice. A cold 160 practice-test score followed by a 169 on record. And she’s aiming higher. She wants to apply in the fall and sees three more opportunities to reach into the 170s now that she’s taking the guys’ advice of working one 35 minute section per day. She’s considering applying to Northwestern’s early decision program, which offers a $150k discount upon acceptance, but is a binding agreement. Vicky wants to know if she should try to get into this prestigious school, or play the field and hope for something better. The guys agree, Vicky. Don’t sell yourself short.   

54:56 – Email 6—Jacob writes in with some interesting news! An op-ed from a law school dean recently came out that may reveal why the bar passage rates are absent from the new ABA 509 reports. It turns out that the ABA is requiring law schools to post this information on their school websites. Jacob is as clueless as we are, however, as to why the information can’t live on both the schools’ websites AND the 509 reports. Thanks for the scoop, Jacob!   


  1. Hi Ben and Nathan,

    I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for all you do! I began listening to your podcast while I was working abroad from 2016-2017 and contemplating applying to law school.

    I was able to study the most effective way (TIMED SECTIONS everyone!) right off the bat, and saw my score go from a 157 diagnostic to a 174 on test day.

    Where you guys really did me a solid though is in drilling in the idea that you shouldn’t only plan to take the test once. I am a definitely a type-A, get everything perfect the first time kind of person, so when I had an emergency appendectomy 36 hours before the June 2017 LSAT, your advice really came in handy. However, I did still take the LSAT a day and a half later completely hopped up on pain meds and got a 164 (bad idea…). Since I was already planning to retake, this
    little bobble turned out to be no big deal, and I hit my goal 174 on the next test date.

    Considering all of the great advice I got from the podcast, I applied broadly and made use of fee waivers which yielded me a total of $1,070,628.00 in scholarship offers from 10 schools. I haven’t started negotiating yet, but I will update if the numbers change.

    You guys are seriously rock stars in the law school admissions game, every minute I spent listening was 100% worth it and I refer all prospective applicant to the podcast.

    Thank you again!



  2. Hi Ben and Nathan,

    Please don’t beat me up for what I’m about to say. Even though I know your thoughts on reading the stem first, I can’t help but notice instances in which my ability to solve a problem quickly was aided by knowing a question was just asking for the main point and was not a flaw/assumption type of question.

    The perfect example is PT23, Section 3, #25. As I was about to do it I glanced down at the stem and noticed it was a main point question. I wasn’t planning to do that, it just happened.

    The argument is highly abstract and I couldn’t quite articulate what was wrong with it. But knowing that it was just a main point question made picking the correct answer very quick and easy. If I had not noticed it was a main point question, I could easily see myself becoming puzzled about what the argument is assuming. Upon more thorough review, I can see that the argument doesn’t really explain why nothing else besides the intended outcome can justify an action — why couldn’t unintended outcomes justify an action, even if they are not the reason for the action? But it took some time to think about that flaw. So I can’t square your advice with my personal experience on this problem! Knowing that this question was just asking for the main point did help me solve the question in a timely fashion…

    What are your thoughts? Feel free to discuss on podcast, too.

    Cthulhu (feel free to use my real name)


    1. Small sample. Even if it helped this time, it will hurt far more often than it helps. Don’t do it.


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