Ep. 137: The Sufficient-Necessary Machine

Spring is upon us, and the guys are helping students gear up for the June and July tests. Nathan and Ben catch up on what they’ve been up to in their recent classes. The guys share how their approaches to the games have changed over the years. And then they move on to answering some listener mail, but not before talking about some of the recent chatter happening in the Thinking LSAT Facebook group. I’d tell you about it, but it’s easier if you just go and read it for yourself, don’t you think?

11:15 – Email 1—Amateur Philosopher has been watching Thinking LSAT on YouTube (or at least we suspect). And they’re finding Ben and Nathan’s advice pretty darn valuable. But they want to know about the guys’ approach to LR. Should AP stop after every single sentence and digest? Or should he skim the passage before diving in, as some “other companies” may suggest. Should he write down notes, or will that mess with his pacing? The guys offer a ton of advice on approaching LR and RC. The pro tip? Go as slowly as you need to go to get every question you attempt correct.  

34:47 – Email 2—Dorothea is living it up in Spain, but she wishes she could get some better study time in. It seems like there’s nowhere in Spain that’s quiet. Guess what, Dorothea. There’s probably somewhere in Spain that’s quiet enough to dig into these questions… Her practice tests have her in the 140s, and untimed she’s hitting the upper 150s. She suspects that she’s not gleaning all the benefits of her review, and she asks the guys to weigh in on her review process. She also wants to incorporate Ben’s recommendation of doing the review a week removed from the practice test, but she’s wondering if there’s a way to do that digitally. The guys jump in and dish up some advice to Dorothea.

46:24 – Email 3—Tiana has a pretty great dry score out of the gate—a 155 diagnostic. Nice work, Tiana. Upon review, she noticed that most of the questions she got wrong were LR questions that were either flaw or necessary assumption questions. She asks the guys if they can spend some time going over those question types to offer any advice on how to tackle them. Nathan and Ben explore the differences between flaw, necessary assumption, and sufficient assumption questions, and give you some ways to think about each question through the lens of some…interesting analogies.

1:10:46 – Email 4—The guys take some time to chat about personal statements thanks to a few questions from Elsa. She achieved a 4.0 undergrad GPA (holy cow…awesome job) and she’s been out of college for a few years in the workforce. Now she’s busy listening to Thinking LSAT.  Taking Ben’s free online course. And she’s already taken Nathan’s free online course. All to help her get the best LSAT score she can get. Sounds to us like Elsa’s headed somewhere pretty effing awesome for law school. As a Mexican woman with a difficult family story, she’s wondering how she should frame her personal and diversity statements. She wants to talk about how her family story informed her life, but she doesn’t want it to sound too dramatic. Nathan shares some new tips from law school expert Ann Levine. And Ben offers his advice on where and how to share the elements of her story.


  1. Hello,

    Quick question, what is your opinion on taking the LSAT multiple times? I had taken the LSAT four times and my last attempt (and best score) was 3 points below my average practice scores. Do you think I should retake the LSAT? Or do you think that five scores on record are too much and at that point, law schools will start averaging the scores?

    Thank you


    1. Ha ha, that’s a lot, but a higher score is still a higher score. Push up your PT average score 2 more points (5 above your last official LSAT) and then take it again. Good luck!


  2. Any thoughts on a tutor who advertises the following? The advice seems to go against what you recommend and yet this tutor also has a lot of experience with students:

    “I see some posts asking about tutoring, so I wanted to put my services out there for anyone who’s looking.

    I’ve been teaching and tutoring the LSAT for 15 years and much of that is full time experience, including a major test prep company. I have helped design LSAT courses and am an “LSAT nerd;” I don’t love using my LSAT score as a tutoring credential because I think experience and the ability to convey the knowledge is more important, but if it’s a concern, I’ll be happy to answer that (nothing to be ashamed of in the least, just not something I think is the biggest selling point since I’ve gotten much better at the LSAT since I took it originally). Yes, I’ve gone to law school, and have taken and passed the bar in the first attempt in two states.

    Key things I advocate in my tutoring include:

    Reading at a high level for a quick first pass; researching specific question answers in the text for RC.

    Understanding patterns in questions and answer choices for LR instead of trying to understand everything in the stimulus (which usually isn’t needed).

    Exposure to as many released LG as you can possibly fit it.

    I generally recommend 7Sage for course work but can work with whatever materials you are using. “


    1. Too many unknowns, IMHO. He or she is advertising on a forum, doesn’t reveal his score, doesn’t say which company he worked for, and so on. But if he will do a free consultation, give it a whirl to see what you think of his advice. I’d be happy to connect you with a tutor who works for me if it doesn’t work out.


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