Episode 107: Call it PrepTest 82

You guys. This is it! Tomorrow is the September 2017 LSAT. Are you ready?! Before you get too far into this episode: if you’re looking for some last-minute tips for test day, we’d like to redirect your attention to episode 97. The guys have already bestowed many sweet pearls o’ wisdom to help rid you of pre-test jitters. Nate wants to remind you that this LSAT is just PrepTest 82. Plus, Ben gives the age old (and science-y) advice: before you do anything rash, dear listeners, just take a deep breath.

08:10 – Email 1—Brett, the Naval intelligence officer, is 30 years old. He has a baby on the way (congrats!). And, you guessed it, he wants to go to law school. Because of the GI bill, Brett anticipates that his tuition costs will be covered. He’s wondering if merit scholarships can be used for living expenses rather than tuition. He also asks whether he should let law schools know that his GPA for his major at the Naval Academy was 3.8, while his overall GPA was 3.33. Lastly, with two years before he is eligible to leave the Navy for law school, Brett wants to know how early is too early to start prepping for the LSAT. The guys opine.

19:14 – Email 2—A-Stranger-No-More scored a 151 on their LSAT diagnostic. And they have their sights set on a Boston area school. With a 3.5 GPA and a shit-ton of self-doubt, Stranger-No-More wants to know if they are a fool on multiple counts to hope that they can get into their target schools and also be spared the prospect of horrendous debt. The guys weigh in with a ton of good news. By prepping in the right way, it’s not uncommon to move 10 and even 15 or 20 points, which can put you well within reach of your target schools, and a lot more scholarship dollars.

34:42 – Email 3—Sam’s subject line reads: What the Fuck am I Doing This For? He’s been beating himself up for his June score of 151. His practice scores are in the high 150’s and low 160’s, and according to him, he’s gonna drop the pursuit of law school altogether if he gets one more “shitty” score. He wants to know—will his dreams of working for a nonprofit helping marginalized communities die in law school? Nathan and Ben give Sam a sense of where he is “in the pack” with a low-160 score, and give him the best pro tip of all: chill out.

52:02 – Email 4—Imagine signing up for a LSAT prep course only to have it cancelled two weeks before you were set to take it. Bummer, right? Well that’s just what happened to Ben (Ben who wrote in, not Ben, the co-host of Thinking LSAT). By self-prepping rather inconsistently, Ben went on to score consecutive 149s over the past year. Wanting to eke out some more points, he turned to Nathan’s free online LSAT course (Ben has one, too), which has helped him improve his practice scores. He’s planning to take the September ’17 LSAT, and the December test as well. Ben wants to know: is four times too many to take the test? And should he mention his lower scores in a personal statement? Tune in to hear what Ben and Nathan have to say. Plus, the guys speculate as to why Ben is scoring in the high 140s when his PTs are in the mid-high 150s. They share some helpful tips how to perform in your range (rather than drop in performance) on test day.

01:04:40 – Email 5—Elizabeth is an avid listener of the podcast and has seen her test scores go from the 140’s to the 160’s. Dang. Way to go, Elizabeth! See, dear listeners? Amazing progress is absolutely possible. As long as you do exactly as we say. Elizabeth is finding that she’s missing a total of 5 in LR on average, and is doing well in the games, but is losing big when it comes to RC, with an average of 12 misses. She correctly correlates the LR skillset with what should be a strength in RC. Nathan and Ben go deep on how to approach RC.

Don’t forget to try 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 and Nathan’s Fox LSAT On Demand.

Stop freeloading, and give us a rating and/or review on iTunes! Thanka kindly.


  1. Hi Thinking LSAT,

    Thanks for your RC advice. Reading for structure might be useless. But your advice about reading for engagement doesn’t seem more helpful. It all seems to boil down to “just read better.” “Just understand it better.” What advice can you offer to people who are not strong readers? You must have students who struggle with understanding passages no matter how much time they spend with them. What do you say to them?

    Thank you.


    1. Read the first sentence. If it doesn’t make perfect sense, read it again until it does. I’ve read the first sentence in an RC passage as many as four times. Re-reading is not necessarily fun, but once that turd of a sentence makes sense, you can start seeing eye to eye with the author. You get what they’re saying, and you can start to agree or disagree. (If re-reading the sentence doesn’t help you understand it, focus on only one clause in that sentence and get your mind wrapped around that clause first.)

      Once that first sentence makes sense, question it. Does it seem reasonable? Surprising? And so on. Then try to anticipate where the author is going next.

      Time and time again, after I read a sentence, I’ll have some question, such as “Why the heck did the scientists abandon the study after only one experiment? That’s weird.” And, lo and behold, the next sentence starts to answer that question for me. But I’m so much more prepared for that answer than I would have been had I not engaged with the passage by asking myself questions.

      There are only about 15 sentences in each of these passages. If you want to own the passage, own each sentence. That’s how you read to understand.


  2. I have taken 6 timed practice test. 19-24; figuring that would give me a good baseline on what I need to work on. I have scored between 161-165. I do finish all the questions in each section. The questions i get wrong are evenly spread among the 4 sections. I am planning on taking the LSAT in December. I am taking 20 credits this semester so I will be busy. I can probably dedicate 2-3 hours a week to study for the LSAT, take more practice exams, review the questions I got wrong. I am planning on taking it again in February. Which will give me winter break to dedicate more time to studying. What score range do you think is reasonable in December and Febuary. I am planning on applying this cycle.


    1. I also work part time, and have two large dogs which is why I can only dedicate 2-3 hours a week.


    2. Because those tests are older, you might score a little lower on more recent tests. Then again, the games have been easier lately. Either way, focus on the more recent tests (62 and up). Given your schedule, it sounds like you only have time to focus on tests 72 and up. It’d be ideal to spend a little more time per week, but I don’t see why you can’t hit the 170s. It’s impossible to know for sure, but go for it. And definitely take the test in December, since you’re planning to apply this cycle, even if you’re not hitting your potential score. You’re already doing well, and you’ll almost certainly want to apply right after the December test and then use your February score for leverage after you’ve been accepted. Good luck! Ben


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