Ep. 180: LSAT Question Types
Today on the show, the guys continue their LSAT FUNdamentals series with an introduction to question types in LR. They break question types into two families. They discuss why these families are important. Finally, they’ll tell you what language to look for to help you categorize and tackle the questions. You’ll also hear some success stories from the field: a listener gets more than their application fee waived, one of Nathan’s students shares their practice test progress, and a listener who used the personal statement review service gets a full ride.
Plus, the guys reflect back on 180 episodes and Ben asks if they’re done now that they’ve hit 180. The guys laugh about some of the crazy things they’ve heard over their time in the LSAT universe—like folks bragging about their scores over 180. Ben and Nathan also go off on a little tangent to talk board games.
Thinking LSAT News – Before we dive into the show, here are some important dates coming up:
February 20: Nathan and Ben are having a Facebook Live class entitled Just Do It about getting motivated to prep for and take the LSAT. Tune in at 1:30 PM EST (10:30 AM Pacific) to hang out with the guys and receive some pearls of wisdom like: how to start small, how to learn to fail, how to focus on consistency, and how not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. RSVP here.
February 21: Nathan’s delivering a talk about changes coming to the LSAT in Utah. If you’re in the Salt Lake City area, head over to the University of Utah at 7pm to learn the latest about your favorite test.
March 16-17: It’s the fourth Thinking LSAT: Live! This time? It’s in sunny Las Vegas. Come hang with the Thinking LSAT team for a weekend of test prep and good times meeting your peers. It’s the perfect way to get set up if you’re taking the test in March, June or July. Plus, if you enroll by 2/20, you’ll save $100. And if you’re enrolled in the LSAT Demon, or one of Ben and Nathan’s classes, you’ll get another $100 off. Sign up here.
Demon Update: Ben gives some good news and some bad news about the LSAT Demon. The good news? Coming soon, you’ll be able to take complete tests right inside the Demon to help with your LSAT prep. You can already take 35 minute sections as part of the Demon, but any day now, you can dive into the whole enchilada. Mmmmm. Enchiladas…
The bad news? Some folks are finding it difficult to cancel their subscription when the sad day comes for them to stop studying for the LSAT. “Stop studying for the LSAT?!” You exclaim? We know, dear listeners. But there will come a day where you are no longer worrying about Logic Games and strengthen questions. And when that day comes, Ben promises it will be easier to cancel your Demon subscription. For anyone who’s had trouble, please send us an email.
As always, 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.
25:37 – LSAT FUNdamentals: what’s the deal with question types? It’s almost guaranteed that in your LSAT prep journey you’ve heard of different question types in LR. Today, Ben and Nathan go deep on this topic. The guys discuss how many question types there are, and ask whether it’s even important to know that information. Here’s a pro tip: it’s important. Or at the very least, it’s pretty effing helpful.
Ben and Nathan organize most question types—strengthen questions, must-be-true, “principle,” reasoning, and more—into two different families of questions: top down, and bottom up. In a top-down question, you’re tasked with identifying what must be true (or what is most strongly supported) based on the passage. And for a bottom-up question, you’re tasked with understanding how the passage is affected if the answer choice is true.
The guys talk about how correct answer choices tend to be strongly or weakly worded depending on the question type. And they go through a laundry list of vocabulary to look for that can clue you in to the type of question you’re working with, and help you discern whether an answer choice is correct. At the end of the day, you still have to understand the passage. But understanding question types can help you avoid common pitfalls when tackling LR sections.
1:06:56 – Exciting things are happennninnnngg! At least that’s what University of Alabama’s Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. school of law claims in an email to listener Michael. The only catch is that Michael needs to apply to the school to see what the hell it is. But the good news is that UA is writing to let Michael know that if he does apply, his application fee will be waived AND he won’t have to pay the $45 Credential Assembly Service report fee. So let it be known, dear listeners, you should ask schools to waive this fee alongside your request that they waive your application fee. With 30 applications, those fee waivers would save you well over $1000.
1:13:14 – One of Nathan’s students started with a diagnostic of 142. And just the other day, she scored a 172. This 30-point increase is something Cara never thought possible. But between May of 2018 and February of 2019, Cara studied with the Demon and Nathan’s books, and slowly sharpened her LSAT skills. Her biggest takeaway? It’s important to get completely critical of the test. Be indignant with the questions. It will help you sort the BS from the right answers more often. Good luck when you tackle an official LSAT, Cara!
1:16:00 – Pearls Vs. Turds—it’s your weekly dose of possible LSAT wisdom. This week, the University of Buffalo emailed a tip to a listener that says: you only need to answer 65% of the questions to get a good score. So try to answer the first 15 questions—they’ll be the easiest and quickest. If you’re spending a lot of time on a question, come back to it later. The guys are kinda like, what!? They agree that focusing on accuracy in the first 15 questions is important. They agree that you don’t need to answer all of the questions to get a “good” score. But they also think it’s odd for Buffalo to advise giving up prematurely and then returning to a question. If a question in the top 15 is stumping you badly enough and is sucking a TON of time, or will potentially mess with your performance in the subsequent questions, just guess and move on. Don’t go back. Either commit to accuracy, or decide it’s not worth the trouble. They deem this wisdom a tie, bringing the score to: 1 pearl, 9 turds, and now 3 ties.
1:20:23 – LSAT 168. GPA 3.78. And a personal statement that went through the Thinking LSAT personal statement service. It’s the violinist from episode 171. And she’s currently applying to law schools. She applied to BU where she is just one LSAT point above their 75% and punches in at just above their median GPA (according to their ABA 509 report). So you might guess that she’s a decent fit for being accepted to the school. Except that’s not all that happened. Not only did our violinist friend get in, but she received a full-tuition scholarship. According to their 509 report, BU didn’t even give any full-tuition scholarships in 2018. So why would they declare true love to the violinist? Could it be her rockstar personal statement? The guys speculate aloud.
1:24:31 – The guys go over more details about the Thinking LSAT Live weekend, including some information about places to stay.