• Ben Olson

Ep. 222: The Weird Ones

We’re just on the heels of the November LSAT, and Nathan’s on a whirlwind trip from LA to San Fran to Tahoe to NYC, but he and Ben settle in for a veritable grab bag of LSAT related questions, PSAs, Advice, and more. Curious about all of the weirdest, hardest LSAT questions? So is Nathan, and he pitches a new book idea to Ben. Wondering about the difference between Necessary Assumption and Necessary Condition questions? Ben comes correct with some LSAT guru wisdom for your noggin. Plus, the guys learn about a helpful corner of the ABA disclosures website, some features of LSAT Writing, and they take a look at a heady personal statement.


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

Personal Statement Review Package

Strategy Prep

Fox LSAT

Thinking LSAT Facebook Group

Instagram (upcoming events)


Important Dates

12.19.19 – Stay by your inbox. November LSAT scores are released.

1.7.20 – If you’re planning to take the February test, you need to sign up by this registration deadline.

1.13.20 – Pop the champagne! It’s the first LSAT of 2020.

2.22.20 – Are those hearts in your eyes? Or are you just excited for the February LSAT?


11:27 – Some kind words from Anon

Anonymous writes in to share some kind words about Thinking LSAT and Nathan and Ben’s Personal Statement Service. When Anon started working on the test as an LSAT fledgling, they… sucked at it. But after listening to the podcast and working with Ben and Nathan’s books and other materials, they smashed out a 174 on the test. Even better? With that 174 and a polished personal statement from the Personal Statement Service, Anon nabbed a full ride to a great school. Way to go, Anon!


Ben and Nathan muse about whether they can know the true value of the Personal Statement Service considering the many variables that play a role in the law-school-admissions process; and they make an interesting offer to you, dear listeners.


21:46 – Weirdest LSAT Questions

Nathan talks to Ben about a book idea he’s been dreaming up: putting all of the weirdest (and often hardest) LSAT questions in one place. A book that explains the bizarre logic behind the test’s most perplexing, head-scratching passages. The guys discuss some of their favorite weirdos and talk about making the book a strange reality.


34:10 – Necessary Assumption vs. Necessary Condition

The LSAT is always talking about sufficient conditions, necessary conditions, assumptions and more. And it can get confusing. But Ben wants to bring some crystal clarity to your muddled understanding of these terms and their meanings, dear listener. The guys talk about sufficient and necessary conditions and how the necessary condition differs from the necessary assumption.


40:31 – Pearls vs. Turds

The guys take a look at some LSAT “wisdom” discovered on the internet. And if history is any indicator of whether this sh*t’s any good, things aren’t looking bright for most advice “from the field.” However, the guys are pleasantly surprised by Harvard grad, Jessica Pishko, who gives advice about writing those pesky optional essays when applying to law school. Ben and Nathan don’t give it true Pearl status, but they do give the advice a Tie. Check out Pishko’s article about law school optional essays here.


58:00 – Writing Sample PSA

Naomi and Sean write in to confirm that the digital LSAT Writing does indeed have spell check functionality. For funzies, they also let y’all know that LSAT Writing offers a rich text editor, meaning you can bold and italicize text as well. But even though those buttons may appear appealing, we beg you to please, please repeat the following mantra: I will never bold or italicize text in my LSAT writing sample….I will never bold or italicize text in my LSAT writing sample…I will never bold or…. You get the picture. Don’t use ‘em.


If you’ve been listening for a while, you may have heard Ben and Nathan lament the omission of Bar-passage-rate data on ABA 509 reports. After all, knowing your chances of passing the bar once you’re done with your six-figure education is pretty important. Listener Abigail discovered a page in the cobwebbed recesses of the ABA required disclosures website that provides this long lost info, and shares with y’all. While the data isn’t easy to parse, it seems like there is some information about Bar-passage rates by school as well as employment information and more. Nathan and Ben take a look and discuss the implications of some of the data.


59:50 – Bar Passage Rate PSA

If you’ve been listening for a while, you may have heard Ben and Nathan lament the omission of Bar-passage-rate data on ABA 509 reports. After all, knowing your chances of passing the bar once you’re done with your six-figure education is pretty important. Listener Abigail discovered a page in the cobwebbed recesses of the ABA required disclosures website that provides this long lost info, and shares with y’all. While the data isn’t easy to parse, it seems like there is some information about Bar-passage rates by school as well as employment information and more. Nathan and Ben take a look and discuss the implications of some of the data. Take a look at Bar-passage outcomes by school here.


1:08:31 – On Dual Law Degrees

N. is a numbers person. They’re a corporate tax accountant with a bachelor’s in finance. Now they’re thinking of taking the next steps in their career and they write in to ask the guys whether a dual degree program is right for them. Does it make sense to do a dual MBA and JD program? What about an LLM? The guys weigh in, but offer this pro tip: take a look at professionals who are doing the job you want to do. How’d they get there? If they have a dual degree, it may be helpful for you to follow in their lawyerly footsteps.


1:14:33 – Personal Statement Review

English and Comparative Lit master’s grad D. writes in to ask the guys for a review of their personal statement. They offer their usual scathing line-by-line breakdown of this atypically academic statement. It leaves them wondering, will admissions staffers be impressed, or eye-rollingly unimpressed by the dense lingo therein.


Book club recco from Ben: Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace


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