• Ben Olson

Ep. 232: Do the Work

It’s way late in the admissions cycle, and folks are starting to think about applying in the fall. So, naturally, folks are starting to get the 2020 law school itch. They want to know how to make it easy on themselves to nab a great score and get into a great school. Here’s the deal, tho. There is no easy path. You gotta dig in and do the work to achieve your best LSAT score. Nathan and Ben take a look at how schools calculate your LSAC GPA. They answer questions about how to approach “hybrid” games, whether being a paralegal will look good to admissions staffers, and how students in different score ranges think differently about the test. Plus, Nathan talks Oscar picks, the guys talk non-traditional students, and they hear from the newest UC Hastings student.


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

February 22, 2020 – It’s ye olde February LSAT

March 10, 2020 – The last day to register for the April 2020 LSAT

March 30, 2020 – It’s the March LSAT

April 25, 2020 – It’s raining LSAT questions! This is the date for the April test


14:08 – Index Calculation

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where we were considered for law school based on the content of our character, our work ethic, and not our past decisions? Yeah. It would be nice, wouldn’t it? But that ain’t how it is, kid. Nope. Law schools boil your whole lousy life down into a single number, put you on a chopping block, and then scrape the pieces into a “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” pile. It’s a cruel system. But hey, that’s life y’all. And since that’s the case, you might be wondering how the hell law schools come up with that one number—the LSAC GPA—in the first place. Nathan and Ben discuss the mysteries of the LSAC “index calculation,” and consider what it means for you.


Check out another discussion on the index calculation on Episode 87.


23:08 – LSAT Demon Questions

Julien has gobbled up over 40 practice tests. And by that, we mean that he’s worked through over 40 tests since October. In that time, he’s seen his score rise from 155 to 172, and he’s hoping for at least a 170 on the March LSAT. Julien’s been using the LSAT Demon to study, and now that he’s seen a bunch of tests, he’s noticing some trends. He asks the guys when comparative reading questions were introduced (in June 2007, that’s when). He also wants to know if the Logic Games are easier in tests 40-50. The answer is “yes.” LG questions in the 40s were pretty easy, and not unlike the games on more recent tests. But never fear, Julien. More peculiar and difficult games await thee in tests 30-40 and below…


33:18 – Hybrid Games Advice

Kendra writes in to ask the guys if they can help her demystify “hybrid” or “weird” logic games. We’re assuming this means games that combine things like grouping and ordering into a single game. But here’s the deal: you don’t really need to think of these types of games any differently than all of the others. Each Logic Game gives you everything you need to perfectly answer the questions for that game. The best way to get better at them? Do them. Do a lot of them.


47:47 – Episode Starting Point

Josh just started listening to Thinking LSAT and he’s two episodes in. He’s hoping to take the test sometime soon and wants to know what episode should he start with to really soak up the guys’ LSAT philosophy. The guys recommend just starting with the most recent episode and listening backward or jumping to the LSAT FUNdamentals, which start with episode 176.


50:09 – Paralegal Advantage

Josh also goes on to ask the guys if taking a job as a paralegal will help him get into law school (and will help him succeed once he gets there). Ben and Nathan discuss the myriad ways that being a paralegal can help you in life, your legal education, and your legal career. The pro tip, though? Don’t become a paralegal just because you want to up your chances of being admitted to law school.


56:36 – Questions from the Facebook Group

Nathan and Ben take a look at a few questions posed in the Thinking LSAT Facebook Group. D. asks if the guys can spot trends or identify the mindset of folks who score in different ranges. The Thinking LSAT duo dive in and consider how folks in the 140s, 150s, 160s, and 170s consider the test. Here are some takeaways.


140s: You’re looking for tips and tricks, and you’re racing the clock. You don’t have a solid understanding of the questions whatsoever.


150s: You’re gaining a more solid understanding of the early parts of the test, and are generally confident (and accurate) in the first 15 questions of each section. You still have a quantity over quality mindset, though. You may not fully understand why you got a question right or wrong.


160s: You’re slowing down, you’re concerned far more with accuracy than speed. And you’re spending more time trying to deeply understand passages and answers.


170s: You’re highly critical of answer choices and are determined to respond accurately—even if you don’t finish any section. Not only do you desire to truly understand why the correct answer is correct, but you want to understand why wrong answers tempted you (even when you answer correctly).


(1:11:58) Next up? S. wants some, any, or all advice for a “nontraditional” student. Unfortunately, S. doesn’t explain wtf that means, but the guys take it to mean an older candidate. The guys agree that many candidates in their late 30s or in their 40s have rather undesirable outcomes when it comes to taking the LSAT and going to law school. It’s possible to have a successful law career late in the game, but their advice? Either straight kill it at the LSAT, or don’t go.


1:27:41 – Cycles and counter-cycles

If you’re out there in cyberspace, lurking on LSAT message boards, you may find some rather questionable advice. And that’s just what happened to M. They were scouring Reddit for law school admissions advice and found talk of admissions cycles and “counter cycles.” The guys are both clueless as to what this means. And while M. describes the idea of a counter cycle, Nathan and Ben maintain the same advice: get your best LSAT score. Apply early in the cycle. That’s all y’all need to succeed in this game.


1:33:59 – UC Hastings Love Story

Lois writes in to let the guys know that she scored a pretty sweet scholarship to UC Hastings. Yep. After doing the work in the LSAT Demon, she saw her LSAT score jump 12 points, which gave her the numbers she needed to get a full ride to Hastings, PLUS a fat check for living expenses. Tune in to learn more about Lois’s LSAT journey.


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