Ep. 217: Practice vs. Real Life with Ann Levine

Sometimes test day just sucks. You’ve put in the work. You’ve done 30-minute sections each day. You’ve reviewed. Your practice tests indicate you’ll score in your desired range. But then you sit for the test and for one reason or another you just don’t come out on top. That’s life, and that’s the LSAT. Nathan and Ben are joined by Ann Levine to talk about how your day-of performance won’t always be like your best practices. Plus, the guys rate some wisdom dropped by an elite scorer, they share their favorite beverages, take a look behind the scenes of an email from a law school, and more.


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.


LSAT Demon

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Strategy Prep

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Important Dates

11/25 – November LSAT


14:55 – Life Lessons from Ann Levine

Friend of the show and law-school expert Ann Levine joins the guys to talk LSAT and life lessons. Ann recently ran a half marathon and completely missed her goal of getting a PR even though she put in the work to have a great race. And that’s life! Sometimes you do the work, you put in the time, and you have a tough day. It’s a lot like working towards the LSAT and missing your mark on test day. The guys talk about Ann’s goals, how her experience relates to law-school hopefuls, and they learn what Ann’s outlook is as she heads toward her next race. Check out Ann’s blog article about her race here.         


32:08 – Pearls vs. Turds

It’s your (sometimes) weekly dose of Pearls vs. Turds! The segment where the guys take a look at some found or overheard a bit of LSAT advice and determine whether it’s useful for the masses. Today, Anon writes in to share what helped them smash out a 180 on the LSAT. Over the summer, Anonymous sat for an official test for the first time and earned a 170, which they promptly canceled. That’s right. They canceled their 170. I’ll let you sit with that for a second and get your composure back. Ready? OK. For that test, they took the Thinking LSAT advice of chilling out the day before the official test. In September, however, they took the advice of another elite scorer who recommended doing a full practice test and then some sections the day before the test, to get yourself in that “test mindset.” Anonymous went ahead and crammed the day before, then blew through the September LSAT and destroyed it. So, dear listeners, should you be doing a full practice test the day before an official test? The guys talk at length about whether this advice is helpful or not and ultimately put it in the turd pile. A caveat, though? If this sounds like you’d be interested to try it, or if you feel like this is “for you”? Go for it.


45:06 – Favorite Drinks

Chris came away from the LSAT feeling like a boss. The games were easy. He sliced and diced his way through LR and RC. Now he wants to celebrate. He asks Nathan and Ben what their favorite drinks are, so he can buy them a round when he gets a chance. For Nathan? It’s a tough choice, how do you pick just one drink, when there are so many to love? Deep down, he’s a whiskey man and says you can buy him an Old Fashioned. If you’re going to buy Ben a drink? You might want to leave the bar and head to the smoothie hut because he’s gonna want a green shake. But if you’re posted up at the bar, he’ll have a mojito, or “something sweet,” with ya.


46:55 – Where To Apply To Law School

Anonymous is scratching his head and wondering where the hell he should apply. When you’re looking at your GPA and your LSAT score and then you’re looking at acceptance rates at schools, it can be easy to think a school is below you (too easy to get in to), or too much of a reach. But acceptance percentages are only one variable you should be thinking about. What if a school seems like a good bet for acceptance, but they never offer scholarships. What if you get accepted to a reach school, but you have no interest in practicing law in Texas? Here are some *loose* guidelines from the guys on where to apply.


  • Always, always, always look at a school’s ABA 509 report If you’re in the 25% or below for acceptance, consider that a reach school

  • If you’re around 40-60%, consider that a target school

  • If you’re in the 75% or above for acceptance, consider that a safety school

  • Take scholarship information into account

  • Consider schools in the state or region where you want to practice law (most lawyers practice where they went to school)

  • Apply broadly! You may be surprised by where you get in and what scholarships you’re offered. Then you can use all of that information to negotiate the best deal for yourself


57:41 – Email From University Of Arizona

The James E. Rogers College of law is at it again, y’all! The guys review an email sent by the Arizonan school that betrays a certain sense of…desperation from the school’s admissions staff. Tune in to hear how the email—which still has the word DRAFT in the subject line—can give you an idea about how law schools are thinking about you, and how you can respond.


1:02:14 – Law School. Brainwashing. And Scientology. 

You have to take a test before you get in. There’s a free trial, but really?—you have to pay to start the process. The deeper you go, the more it costs. You have to learn and regurgitate mystical abstract mumbo jumbo that you aren’t sure you even believe in. Is this law school or the Church of Scientology??? Nathan makes the case for why he thinks law school is akin to Scientology, and Ben goes along for the ride.


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