• Ben Olson

Ep. 288: The Calligrapher and the Demon

In what may be some kind of record, the guys dig thru their overflowing mailbag and answer a bunch of listener emails, plus they find time to hear an Excuse of the Week, play a round of Pearls vs. Turds, and answer an LR question from prep test 65. It is an action-packed episode where the guys answer questions about career changes from being a calligrapher to becoming a lawyer, from opting out of law school to become a social worker, whether law schools offer accommodations for students with learning differences, and what to do about being waitlisted in an ultra-competitive cycle, and a bunch 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.


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Important Dates

04.10.2021 – The April LSAT Flex testing week begins!

06.12.2021 – Break out the short sleeves, registration for the June LSAT is open!


2:08 – Logical Reasoning Question 23 from Section 4 of Prep Test 65

Have you ever thought about the evolution of dogs from wolves? Well whether you have or haven’t, you’ll be confronted with some thoughts about the matter in LSAT practice test 65. The guys tackle this late-in-the-test logical reasoning necessary-assumption (or, maybe, must-be-true) question. They take you through the argument line by line and discuss how they interpret the passage and how they use that understanding to catch the correct answer choice almost immediately.


15:18 – Pearls vs. Turds

It’s your (sometimes) weekly segment, Pearls vs. Turds! The part of the show where the guys consider some LSAT advice from out there in the ether—Reddit, Twitter, LSAT prep classes or books, your grandma—and decide whether the advice is a pearl of wisdom, worthy of following every time you approach the test or a lowly turd of wisdom that ought to go out with the bathwater. Today’s advice is brought to you by Justin Su’a (@justinsua on Twitter) by way of listener Rebecca. Justin says:


Part of embracing the process is understanding that no matter how focused you are or how hard you work, you can’t force how fast the results come. Manage your emotions as things unfold, when results aren’t lining up with your expectations, keep focusing on what you can control.


In a rare win for the advice, the guys deem this one a pearl. LSAT students usually want to see results as quickly as possible. But focusing solely on the outcome takes you out of the process! The guys agree, focus on what you can control and what you can do now, and the results will come over time.


20:49 – Excuse of the Week

Back. To. Back. It’s another (sometimes) weekly segment, Excuse of the Week, wherein the guys take a look at excuses heard in LSAT classrooms around the globe. This week’s excuse? “I wish I could read it out loud…” Yeah… you and everyone else. Here’s the deal: you really aren’t doing yourself any favors by making this excuse. You’re keeping yourself closed to progress and understanding. You won’t be able to read aloud on the LSAT, nor will you be able to read aloud on law school exams, or in a court of law. Focus on reading and understanding—without reading aloud—and you’ll be improving your reading comprehension skills in a way that will serve you in many, many points along your law career.


29:42 – Thinking LSAT reviews on Apple Podcasts

The guys read through some reviews—both positive and not so positive—for Thinking LSAT. Nathan is confronted with a review that asserts he has unresolved childhood trauma. I mean…don’t we all?


32:17 – LSAT Demon = Score “Miracle Worker”?

Kevin has had an absolutely smashing experience with The LSAT Demon. After just two months of studying with the LSAT Demon, he saw his score jump from a diagnostic of 145 to an official score of 165. Ben and Nathan take a moment to celebrate Kevin on his life-changing jump and also to chat about how badass the Demon is.


34:46 – The Calligrapher and The Demon

Angi is a successful artist and calligrapher. Like making-six-figures-with-your-handwriting successful. But she’s considering a career change…and is thinking about becoming a lawyer! Womp womp womp! That sounds like the most boring and godawful decision ever tbh, Angi. Still, the guys take the time to answer Angi’s questions.


How important are letters of recommendation and how important are the authors? Not terribly important on both counts. The person writing your LOR should know you—that’s about it. LSAT score and GPA are carrying most of the water for you.


What’s the cutoff to apply for law school in 2022? You should apply as early in the cycle as possible. Yeah…if you get much past October, you really should consider waiting another cycle to give yourself the best chance of getting a great offer.


51:27 – Learning Differences in Law School

Anon recently learned they have been living with dyslexia and another learning difference that they suspect contributed to low GPAs in high school and college. They’re wondering what law school is like for a student like them. Nathan and Ben agree that Anon should absolutely seek accommodations on the LSAT. Then, they discuss what they remember about accommodations in law school. Yes, they exist. Policies may vary from school to school. Be an advocate for yourself! After you’re admitted to law school (no need to tell them about any learning differences before admission), head to the resources center for your desired school and see what’s available to you as a student, should you choose to attend.


57:39 – Super Splitter on a Waitlist

Scott’s riding high with a 178 LSAT score, but he’s weighed down a bit by a 3.15 GPA (from Columbia!). After applying pretty late to a range of schools, he’s getting waitlisted by a bunch of them. But here’s the catch: some schools are waitlisting Scott and guaranteeing admission for the next cycle. Scott wants to know if that’s a good move, considering he’s gotten an offer like this from places like U Michigan. Nathan and Ben point out that this is one of the most competitive law school admissions cycles…ever…and that Scott should simply re-apply next cycle. There’s really no reason not to. It’s almost sure to yield better offers for Scott, which will mean he’ll be starting his law career on way better footing than if he locks himself into a full-tuition offer now. Scott—you’ll probably be admitted (or waitlisted) at the same schools you are applying to now, but you’re way more likely to have better outcomes if you apply in early September.


1:05:36 – Refund from LSAC?

O’s just 20 years old, and like so many young folks out there, O’s trying to find their way. Do they want to be a lawyer? Be a public defender? A child advocate? They’ve switched degree programs in undergrad a few times and now they’re looking forward to a career as a social worker. The only catch is that somewhere along the way, O was sure they were headed to law school and signed up for the June LSAT. Now they’re worried they’ve sunk money into the pursuit of law school that they won’t get back. They want to know if they can get a refund from LSAC. The guys say “yeah.” Get on the phone and ask for the manager, y’know?


1:10:52 – Georgetown PSA

A listener who is waitlisted at Georgetown gives the guys the inside scoop from a recent Zoom call they had with the school. Apparently, Georgetown had an insane number of applicants this year—14k! Considering this, it’s pretty wild that Georgetown is spamming the world asking for more apps when they can barely sift thru the mountain that’s in front of them. Ben and Nathan hypothesize that this is Georgetown working on their ranking and exclusivity numbers.


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