Episode 106: Don’t Pay for Law School

It’s been a whirlwind week in law school and LSAT news. Learn how LSAC is responding to those affected by hurricane Harvey. Plus, Ben shares the major stories of the legal world, including some high drama from U Penn and a federal investigation into the Charlotte School of Law. And, of course, the guys dive in to an impressive number of LSAT-related emails.

00:38 – Email 1—LSAC sent an uncommonly thoughtful email to LSAT takers in Texas who may have been potential victims of hurricane Harvey. Tune in to hear how LSAC is making accommodations for hurricane victims. And if you’re among those affected, learn how you can contact LSAC to change your September LSAT plans. Ben and Nathan read through the email in full, and wonder if LSAC has a heart after all.

03:56 – Email 2—Anonymous is shopping for LSAT prep books on a limited budget. They write Nathan to ask which of the Fox LSAT books should they purchase, given their inability to afford all of them. Nathan recommends his LSAT primer, which is the fastest read and most affordable of his books. Anon goes on to mention that they do have a Kaplan book on hand, and wonder whether that will be helpful. Ben and Nathan discuss what’s helpful and what’s harmful for Anonymous given their situation.

10:06 – Hang on to your hats, listeners. There’s a whirlwind of news updates from the legal world:

23:45 – DING DING DING!! Thanks for ringin’ that tip jar, Kat. Your $5 donation is greatly appreciated. We guarantee that at least 50% of the monies will be used on frivolous expenditures.

24:18 – Email 3—Anonymous is going into the September LSAT with a rock-solid 3.99 GPA and several strong practice test scores under their belt. They also plan to take the December LSAT to attempt to squeeze a few more points. They want to know: should they apply to safety schools after the September results come back and wait to apply to reach schools for the December results? The guys consider the downsides and upsides to this approach. Pro tip: go ahead and apply to your safeties and start negotiating your tuition… but they better be pretty damn safe.

29:38 – Email 4—Jeremy has excellent accuracy on his LSAT practice tests, but he’s never able to complete all of the sections in time, which is hurting his score. He knows he can eke out a 170+, if only he could get to all of the questions! Nathan and Ben weigh in on the best ways to improve your speed on the test.

43:15 – Email 5—Catherine writes to ask a near-identical question to that posed in today’s email #3. After smashing out a 170 on the June LSAT (and hooking up a 3.8 undergrad GPA), she’s wondering if she should apply wicked early to her safety schools. She’s also planning to take the September LSAT to try and nab her practice average score of 174, after which she’ll apply to her target schools. Good idea? Bad idea? The guys opine and conclude that Catherine should absolutely go after her safety schools with those wicked credentials, but that it is really, really early in the cycle to be firing off applications.

46:42 – Email 6—Anonymous has been taking a prep course since June in preparation for the September LSAT. During that time, they’ve been disappointed by their (lack of) improvement on timed practice tests compared to what they’re capable of scoring via blind review. They want to know: what gives? Well, Anonymous, Ben and Nathan have good news and bad news for ya. Everyone. Everyone scores better on an untimed review compared to a timed test. So you’re not alone. The bad news? It sounds like you’re not doing enough timed practice tests! Separately, Anon wants to know if their degree from a musical theater conservatory and subsequent career as an actor will work against them as they apply to law school. We think this sounds pretty awesome. Why are you applying to law school, again? Tune in to hear how the guys suggest incorporating this info into letters of rec and a personal statement.

01:01:59 – Email 7—Avid listener, Mackenzie/Michaela, is planning to hunker down over the next week or so and study full time for the upcoming LSAT. With her GPA and practice-test scores, she’s hoping to reach for a T14 law school, but she’s skeptical that she’ll receive any sort of scholarship. If she gets into a T14 school, are her career prospects worth the debt she’ll accrue to attend a prestigious school? Separately, she finds that while she performs well on timed sections, she runs out of steam over the course of an entire timed test. The guys weigh in.

01:15:50 – Email 8—Hey, listeners. Is there any echo in here? Accomplished Marine veteran, Anonymous, writes in asking how to balance the want to move the needle on their LSAT score with the need to apply as early in the cycle as possible. They also have some questions about a droopy GPA due to poor performance. Ben and Nathan offer their differing opinions on how to discuss this in an addendum, given that Anon was busy writing essays in combat situations when their academic performance was poor.

Your best bets for some last-minute help before the September 2017 LSAT are right here: Ben’s free LSAT lesson and Nathan’s free online LSAT course. If you’re prepping for December and beyond, check out Ben’s 100-Hour Online LSAT Course or Nathan’s Fox LSAT On Demand.

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  1. Hello Nathan and Ben,

    I am new to your podcast and am very grateful there is such an invaluable resource out there to help out with the LSAT prep. I especially appreciate the no BS approach to everything you discuss. You can’t find that in any books, and you certainly can’t get that from A LOT of tutors out there.

    It’s four days until the September LSAT, and I keep going back and worth trying to decide whether or not I should take it. I know you say it’s okay to take the test a couple of times, but I believe you also say that it’s best to take the first test when you have done your best preparing and are confident about your performance on test day (I hope I understood that correctly).

    My predicament is that I ***know*** I can do better with more prep time, but the advice I keep getting from almost everyone in my life (all well meaning) is to take the test to “see how I do” and to use this September test as a practice. Would you agree with that recommendation?

    I’m leaning toward rescheduling the test for December, but curious what you think. I know I can do better. I’ve studied for about 2.5 months, my most recent score is 158, up from 151, and I feel there is more potential there. I have two very small kids and a full-time job, so it was quite a bit to juggle the different priorities, and I realize that I can benefit greatly from a few more months of “slow and steady” practice (well, can’t cram for this test anyway, so in a way, this works with my schedule). Also, that the range where I’m scoring isn’t going to help me get into the schools I want, so this September LSAT would truly be a practice test if I take it.

    Thanks again for your podcast – I’m hearing a lot of things on it that I learned the hard way all on my own, and not in the books I bought or in the 8 week in-person course I paid for 🙂

    Thank you.


    1. Glad you like the show!

      In general, I’d suggest to take it twice because doing so increases the number of opportunities (and thus your chances) of doing well. But if the average score of your most recent practice tests is still 3-5 points away from anything that you could even use to apply to law schools that you’d consider attending, then there’s not much downside to sitting this one out. Given that you’re planning to take it in December, there’s not necessarily a “right” answer here. But that’s my rule of thumb.

      Good luck! Ben


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