Episode 98: Pearl vs. Turd

With the June LSAT behind us, we discuss early reports from the test and dig into listener emails. Sorry for Nathan’s bad audio—he’s 1) on the road and 2) bad at technology.

00:01:03 – Russian(?) donation discussion

00:02:10 – News about the calendar changing—Six tests each year!

00:08:08 – John from Canada and a noisy courtroom LSAT experience (bulletproof coffee aside)

00:10:25 – Email 2 (anon) – 3 LR sections, and one threw me off. Should I keep studying? (probably)

00:13:08 – Some folks back out of the LSAT multiple times. Let’s not do that. Instead, get fully prepped. Once you take, go ahead and re-take until you get a score that reflects your abilities

00:15:46 – Email 3 (anon) – someone fainted in section 2, a cautionary/interesting tale

00:18:04 – Email 4 – Kevin gives an update on the test and gives a lot of specifics on the test (which we can’t talk about). LR was avg, RC was so hard, and games were child’s play with time to spare—this experience varies person to person.

00:21:21 – Email 5 from Calvin – sharing story about the June LSAT: proctors showed up late

00:22:22 – Lots of reports that the games were really easy. Are they trying to balance out the test, or conspiring to drive more law school applications?

00:26:42 – Email 6 – Rachel just completed all episodes of the podcast, and showers the guys with praise

00:30:00 – Email 8 1/3 – Ryan – wanting to know if law schools look at double major GPAs as cumulative or individual.

00:35:43 – Email 8 2/3 – Will passing the patent bar help Ryan during the admissions process?

00:37:01 – Email 8 3/3 – Is a 170+ realistic when Ryan struggles so much during RC? Some RC section tips—take it slower, skip a passage, contemplate more during the test—the answers are not fuzzy.

00:44:17 – Email 9 (anonymous) 3.0 scholarship renewals—the difference between high school and college GPAs vs law school GPA. The 3.0 renewal can be seen as a moneymaking technique by law schools that bet on students losing scholarships after year 1 or 2. Is it worth it to proceed after losing the scholarship (considering a lucrative opportunity to work in the family practice awaits)? —It’s not a bad idea to drop out after 1L if you’re not killing it.

01:05:12 – Doubling down on Wonder Woman recommendation

01:07:28 – Email 10 (anonymous)—using a highlighter to draw a games board, so if you need to erase your pencil markings, the board stays, and you won’t need to re-draw. Pearl of wisdom, or turd of wisdom?

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  1. You guys are amazing. I came up with the bright idea to go to law school. I would like to become a Criminal/Public Interest Lawyer. I graduated with a General Studies degree Texas Woman’s University. My GPA was a 3.2 (I believe). I’ve started studying for the LSAT and I am terrified but your podcasts have slightly given me some peace of mind. I am signed up to take two practice LSATs in July and August.

    I know that I cannot afford a PREP class as I am a single mom and am barely struggling as it is. I have spent a couple hundred dollars at Half Priced Books/ Barnes and Noble on test prep manuals – Barrons, Princeton Review, PowerScore to name a few. I’ve also purchased Test 77 from LSAC. I am so scared; however, I know fighting for justice for others would be personally and professionally fulfilling. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for in writing you guys, but I just wanted to thank you for doing what you do each week! You’ve encouraged little ole’ me! 🙂


    1. Glad you found us! Keep up the good work.

      After you take test 77, enter your results here:

      LSAT Score Tracker

      You’ll find some of my video explanations after you enter your results.


    2. Yes, I’m so glad you connected with us!

      One common mistake is throwing money at the problem: I’d wager that those books you bought are currently gathering dust. The key is to find something that clicks for you, and then keep working at it every single day. So yes: Use Ben’s score tracker for PT77 and watch his videos.

      Also, consider my free LSAT class, here:

      And listen to all 100+ hours of the Thinking LSAT Podcast, of course…


  2. Hi Nathan and Ben, I’ve been listening to your guys’ podcast for a few months now and I appreciate your advice about the test and your ability to make light of it. I have a question regarding advice you guys frequently give about LR, which is focusing on getting the first 10 LR questions right, then 13/15, then 17/20. Before asking my question, I’ll provide you guys my law schools of interest and studying plan to help guide your response (I apologize in advance for the super long message).

    I aspire to earn admission to a top-50 (top schools are UCLA, Berkeley, and Irvine) law school but am open to lower tier schools in CA (e.g. USF, McGeorge, USD). I graduated with a 3.4 from a Cal. State (May 2013) but earned several nationally recognized academic awards, the McNair Scholars Award and NYU Leadership Alliance Award (I completed a summer research project at NYU). I also earned two awards from UCLA, one as a current participant in the UCLA Law Fellows. Since graduating, I’ve been working for a labor Union, so I plan to apply to law school with a focus on labor law and public interest. I plan on taking the LSAT this coming December.

    I have been studying for the LSAT off and on for about a year now (I pretty much didn’t study from December through March). I enrolled in my first TestMasters course last July 2016. During this session, I took 6 PTs. My scores are as follows: 137, 137, 141, 142, 145, 147.

    During my first studying block (July 2016-Dec. 2016) I mainly focused on the TestMasters’ theories and methods for LR and LG.

    I enrolled in another TestMasters course this past March and mainly focused on the homework problems for LR and LG. I recently took my first PT since Sept. 2016 and scored a 146 (raw score: 47).

    On the first LR section I got 6 of the first 10 correct and 8 of the first 15 correct. On the second LR section I got 7 of the first 10 correct and 9 of the first 15 correct. I definitely plan on thoroughly reviewing the first 15 questions from both sections, but I’m curious to know if you guys think I should also review questions 16-20? Is it worth my time to review these questions or should I focus on getting the first 10 and then the first 15 correct? I’m considering concentrating on the first 15 questions and then reviewing questions 16-20 after gaining command of the material.

    I’m confident that after doing a month of PTs I’ll enter the low 150s but hope to score between a 163-170 come December.

    Again, sorry for the super long message. Thanks again for your guys help!



    1. Hey DA, thanks for listening and for writing in.

      I don’t think you need to worry about questions 16+ at this point, since you are just barely getting half of them right in the first 15. You need to go DEEPER on these easier questions. The harder ones are beyond your current level.

      I don’t mean this to be insulting, but at this point you’re really not even doing the questions. I know you think you are, but your low accuracy indicates that you’re not understanding the arguments, and/or not understanding what they’re asking you, and/or not understanding the answers you’re picking. You’re skimming the surface. You need to attempt less questions, but get them right. Missing a question should be a surprise. You shouldn’t be missing nearly as many as you currently are.

      When 35 minutes is up, correct your mistakes and dig deep. Why did I miss this question? Did I make a prediction? Should I have? What’s wrong about the wrong answer? Why did I pick it? What’s right about the right answer? Why didn’t I pick it? Don’t bother working through any of the questions you’re not comfortably reaching within 35 minutes. You’ll reach these questions someday, but only once you start actually answering the earlier, easier ones.

      Thanks again for listening and for writing. You have a long road ahead of you, but we’re here to help!


  3. Hi Nathan and Ben,
    I enjoy the show and appreciate all the work you guys do.

    I recently signed up for Nathan’s online LSAT class, and I’m already seeing improvement just after a couple weeks of studying, especially in the LR section. I am taking the September 2017 LSAT.

    I hope to get a full-ride scholarship to law school as I do not want to incur any debt. I got my English BA without going into debt, but I got accepted to the third best university in the UK for a one-year masters degree. Now I have a shit ton of debt–yeah…

    I graduated summa cum laude, and my alma mater wants me to attend their law school next fall. Before I graduated this past May, the dean of the law school had lunch with me and three other students, basically offering us all money if we applied.

    They are rated in the top 5 for legal writing, but in the mid-60s in the general law school rankings. Do rankings really matter? If I’m getting a full-ride, should I just go with it? The prospect of a GPA renewal scares the shit out of me. I also don’t want to feel like I bought into their advertising.

    Also, (sorry to keep you) I don’t know how burned out I’ll be after this masters degree. I’ll have to finish my dissertation early to start at law school in August 2018. Should I wait a year before I start law school? I just started studying for the LSAT in June, and I’m worried I won’t score well enough and have to retake the test in London.

    I guess I don’t know what I want. To sum up this mess of a comment/question, I’m worried about debt, rankings, scores, and burning out. Any suggestions?


    1. I’m glad you’re finding my online class helpful! Thanks for listening, and for your questions.

      The offer from your alma mater sounds nice, but you’re absolutely right to be worried about GPA renewal. And rankings really DO matter, depending what kind of work you want to do. My advice is to apply broadly, so that you can see what your true value is in the marketplace. Then you’ll find out how generous that offer from your alma mater really is. It sounds to me like they’re trying to “steal” you from the other schools. Buy you a fancy lunch, have the dean blow a bunch of smoke up your ass, provide an easy route to scholarship money (for the first year anyway)… this all seems designed to try to get you to be lazy and not apply to competing schools.

      1) Get the best LSAT score you can. You’re well on your way! Don’t give up until you’ve reached your true potential.

      2) Apply broadly. No less than 10 schools, ideally more like 15 or 20.

      3) When the offers come in, compare them to one another and renegotiate! The first offer may or may not be their best offer, and the only way to find out is to ask for more money.

      Regarding burnout / taking a year off, I don’t see any reason not to take a gap year. I’m in my 11th year of teaching LSAT and I’ve never heard a single one of my LSAT alums say “I wish I would have started law school sooner.” This next year will be your best chance to relax, travel, learn a new hobby, and enjoy life before entering the permanent grind of the legal profession. Take your time!

      Thanks again for your question. Please reach out any time.


  4. I see “Pearl or Turd” becoming a new occurring segment on your show.

    Keep up the good work guys!


      1. I prefer the term “collaborate.” I shudder to think what his management style is like considering what that neanderthal does to all his gadgets.


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