Ep. 171: Slightly Unprofessional

The LSAT is changing, y’all. It’s keeping Ben and Nathan on their toes. LSAC’s been sending rogue emails to students who are freaking out about impending changes to the test, and the guys are busy getting ready for the transition to the digital LSAT. But really, the test isn’t changing all that much, and the guys discuss how the test should be changing even more than it already is. Today on the show you’ll hear some news from LSAC, you’ll learn about Kaplan’s hiring practices, you’ll see if the guys have finally found a pearl of wisdom, and you’ll hear from fellow test-preppers who are weighing the need to apply early against the need to apply with top scores and impressively written personal statements. Plus, the guys crush another LSAT India question, and read a personal statement from the Thinking LSAT personal statement review service. It’s an action packed show—happy listening!

9:57 – The guys read some feedback about the LSAT Demon. And from the sounds of it, the Demon is helping folks improve their scores by quite a bit. It helps to have the ability to practice the test pretty much anywhere you can take your smartphone. Nathan and Ben discuss how their approach to the LSAT is impervious to changes in the test, because it promotes a more natural, intuitive way of thinking about the questions.

14:52 – Nathan and Ben share an email they received from LSAC regarding the registration start date for the June and July tests next year when the transition to the digital LSAT will take place. Earlier, LSAC announced with much fanfare that registration would begin on December 12. Well, dear listeners, perhaps unsurprisingly, LSAC has missed their own deadline—which they didn’t even need to set for themselves! The guys lovingly mock their way through the email.

24:55 – A friend of Nathan’s is riding high after getting a job offer from…Kaplan. But the circumstances of the offer will give you some insight to the hiring practices of the Big K. Nathan’s pal smashed out a score in the 150s on the LSAT and went to a law school ranked (or decidedly unranked) outside of the top 100 law schools. She passed the bar on her first try—pretty badass—and recently posted her resume to indeed.com in search of a job. Within 24 hours she had an offer from Kaplan to become a teacher for the test-prep company. Just think, dear listeners, an applicant with zero teaching experience received a bonafide job offer in less than a day. Nathan’s friend is, you know, pretty awesome. But maybe she’s not the best person to help you prepare for a test that has enormous financial implications. It’s yet another reason, aside from their many offered turds of wisdom, to be wary of this test prep company.

32:17 – Email 1—Dianna writes in with a question we hear from many listeners. She took the test over the summer and scored a 146. She decided to study more and take the test again in November. In the second bout she scored a 153—a pretty impressive improvement from 146. Now she wants to know if the guys think she should take it again considering she’s got considerable room for growth, even though it’s getting late in the cycle. The pro tip? Absolutely take again. Absolutely wait to apply until next cycle, or until your LSAT score is where it needs to be to save you money going to law school and to give you a better chance of securing a well-paying job when you become a lawyer. The guys break down a number of ways that waiting and applying with a better LSAT score will help your future self.

45:05 – It’s your weekly Pearls vs. Turds segment! So far, even though we’ve been running about like hogs on the hunt for truffles, we’ve found nary a pearl in the month that we’ve been looking. Will today break the Pearls-0 Turds-4 turd streak? Today’s bit of wisdom comes from your Thinking LSAT co-host, Ben “The Hen” Olson. And he’s not sure whether the advice he’s been giving is a pearl or a turd, so he asks Nathan to weigh in. When students ask Ben how they should spend their time—improving their LSAT score, or improving their personal statement—Ben has advice that involves checking your standing with your target school. Tune in to hear Ben’s wisdom, and to hear whether Nathan deems it a pearl or turd.

59:08 – Email 2—Wink Face is ready to apply to law school as early in the cycle as he’s able. But he knows that his personal statement isn’t quite perfect. What’s more important? Applying early with an imperfect personal statement? Or taking two weeks to rewrite and applying later in the cycle? The guys agree that since the personal statement is the first document of your legal career, you should really try to get it right before submitting. Good luck, Wink Face!

1:03:14 – Ben and Nathan tackle LSAT India question number five. The guys blow through this easy strengthen question like a storm through a high-school graduation. Along the way they point out the traps that the test sets for its readers and how to avoid them. As always, the key lies in reading and understanding the argument, making a prediction, and looking for the answer choice that best aligns with that prediction.

1:08:15 – The guys read a statement from the Thinking LSAT personal statement review service. Tune in to hear a 600-word fact-filled statement that will make you think twice about writing “I’m a hard worker” in your next essay.

Of course, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.  

Facebook Group

Personal Statement Help

Strategy Prep

Fox LSAT  

LSAT Demon


  1. If this personal statement hadn’t gone through your service, you would have mocked it to death.

    “When the time came for me to choose a college, the natural next step was a degree in violin performance.”
    Getting a degree in violin performance has nothing to do with choosing a college. It is choosing a degree. And calling a degree in violin performance “the natural next step” is telling the reader something that was shown in the first three sentences.

    “A mixed accent here, or a wrong articulation there…”
    Why are “here” and “there” included? “A mixed accent or a wrong articulation..” has the same meaning. “Here” and “there” seems overtly conversational.

    “…to a dingy school practice room.”
    The inclusion of “dingy” reminded me of “kind eyes.” It is a weird, irrelevant detail that leads me to question whether I am reading a law school personal statement or a Yelp review of a school’s practice facilities.

    “…I finally set a date to record my audition tape.”
    This is implied by succeeding two sentences where the person records the audition tape. And the reader doesn’t need to know this person “finally” did it, since this adverb makes this person sound like a procrastinator.

    “…I was still stunned. I was a freshman. In the fall, when I began my first season with the Civic, I learned that I was the youngest member of the orchestra.”
    Stating “I was the youngest member of the orchestra” has the same effect. I don’t care that this person was “stunned.” The fact is impressive enough without knowing how the person felt about it. “Youngest member of the orchestra” sounds prodigious. “Freshman in college,” at the least, makes it sound less prodigious. And we already know that she is a freshman in college when this happens. I don’t care when this person learned this fact (“in the fall”). And by saying “I was the youngest member of the orchestra,” I already knew that this person “learned” this.

    “…I began taking the three hour trip…”
    Oh, *the* three hour trip? Yes, we all know that there is only one item in the set of things labeled “three hour trips.”

    I could go on.


    1. Your email address (cruz@senate.gov) made me laugh. I appreciate the feedback.

      – If you’re a top performer and you want to get a degree in violin performance, the college you choose does matter. Some colleges are better at teaching violin performance than others.

      – I like the conversational tone of saying “here” and “there.” We’re telling a story. Saying it in the way that most people speak is usually a good thing. There are exceptions, of course, but I don’t think so here. Or there!

      – Dingy suggests that she works even in uncomfortable environments. It says something about her in a way that “kind eyes” doesn’t.

      – Saying that she finally set a date suggests that she was hesitant because she wanted to do it perfectly. She’s a perfectionist. Attorneys often work late into the night and finally decide to submit their brief in part because they’re running out of time and in part because they want to work as long as they can to make their product as perfect as possible.

      – Saying that she was stunned shows humility for someone who might come across as arrogant given all her success.

      – Saying “in the fall” just gives us context. It’s three words.

      – I don’t understand your concern with saying that it was a three-hour trip.

      Thanks for listening, Cruz!


  2. Hi Ben & Nathan!

    Love the podcast. Wondering if the LSAT Demon app is available on Android?

    Thanks! Have a nice day,



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