Perfect, the Enemy of the Good (Ep. 114)

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LSAT Demon Team

Get ready to gasp LSAT Thinkers. There are whispers hither and thither that the LSAT may be going away. The ABA requires law schools to use a “valid and reliable” admissions test in order to become ABA accredited institutions. And until recently the LSAT was that benchmark test. Now, the ABA is debating whether to remove that requirement altogether, leaving our hosts to wonder: are they going to do away with the LSAT? The guys discuss this news and conclude the LSAT is probably safe. For now… Plus, the guys answer a bevy of listener emails.

13:28 – Email 1—Bill is going to an LSAC admissions forum and asks the guys for suggestions on what questions to ask. Beyond seeking important data such as “job numbers,” Bill doesn’t want to come off like some fucking ass hat by asking silly questions. Ben and Nathan offer up some thoughts on whether Bill should attend in the first place, but also some thoughts on what sorts of questions to ask if he does go. A good rule of thumb is to not ask questions where the response might be: “let me Google that for you.” Bill is also considering taking Nathan’s or Ben’s online course, and wonders what kinds of support the guys offer their students. For example, would the guys be willing to offer critiques of a student’s personal statement? The answer? Absolutely. Want to get a feel for their online courses while also gleaning invaluable pearls of LSAT wisdom? Try Ben’s free online class here. And try Nathan’s free online class here!

27:03 – Email 2—Longtime listener, sometimes email contributor, and LSAT teacher Daniel points out that the bar passage rates for any given law school may not be a strong predictor of whether you will pass the bar. Your own academic capabilities are a much better indicator than the “quality of education” at your law school. The guys agree. Indeed, most law schools specifically do not even teach the Bar. Ergo, if you crush the LSAT and get into Yale Law, but decide instead to go to UC Hastings, your likelihood of passing the bar is probably closer to Yale’s reported bar passage rate than that of UC Hastings. Why is this important, dear listener? Daniel points out that if you get into Yale, but get a full ride to a lower ranked school, you might consider saving the money given that your chances of passing the bar remain relatively unchanged.

30:49 – Email 3—“Not Frank” has his sights set high. After listening to Thinking LSAT, he’s got the confidence that he can score above a 175 on the test as long as he puts his mind to it. And Not Frank is looking for some advice on his road to a glorious 180. After an untimed 163 diagnostic, he’s wondering the best steps forward given that RC—with all of its nuance and detail—was his toughest section. The guys jump in with a few points. 1) Never take a test untimed; it just doesn’t serve you. 2) Nuance and detail are precisely what the LSAT is all about—always aim for accuracy over completeness. 3) The road to 180 means getting virtually no questions wrong. So don’t shoot for 180. Aiming that high may prevent you from landing a great score otherwise.

46:05 – Email 4—After hearing that Ben got “LSAT” personalized license plates, Anonymous writes in from the state of Virginia to comment on the vast number of vanity plates they noticed on their commute. Twenty-four plates in an hour! Is that crazy, or what? Ben chimes in with his distaste for most of the vanity plates he sees, asserting that his vanity plates are superior to those of the plebeian masses.

48:10 – Email 5—RJ is attempting the LSAT for the third time in December after some disappointing scores on his first two tries. And he’s bummed out. After picking up several of Nathan’s LSAT prep books, and trying the guys’ online courses, he’s still having trouble with LR sections. When he attempts all of the questions, he nails about 17 of them. But when he attempts fewer, the number of incorrect answers follows proportionately. RJ wants to know—what gives?—what is the best path toward improvement?—and how long should he expect it to take to see improvement? Tune in to hear the guys respond.

1:02:14 – Email 6—What is an ideal LSAT practice schedule? What qualifies as quality practice? How many hours a day should I study? How many practice tests should I take a week? These are all questions CJ poses after months of frustrating study without much improvement. Granted, CJ is working almost 40 hours and taking multiple classes on top of his job, but he wants to get serious about studying. He also wants to know if an upward trend on a previously dismal GPA will hurt his chances of getting in and/or getting money from a top law school. Sadly, yes, but law schools will take in to account that you took some mighty challenging math and science classes, CJ. And of course, Nathan and Ben weigh in with their advice on an ideal practice regimen.

1:13:19 – Email 7—Nick is a Hispanic guy with a 3.1 GPA. He’s currently studying for the LSAT and getting pumped up for law school. He’s even taken tours at schools in the NYC metro area to get a feel for the campuses and the students there. Nick was surprised to meet some students at a school like Columbia who had low GPAs and LSAT scores in the 150s that were admitted to an ivy league institution. He wants to know if underrepresented minors like himself are granted leniency in the eyes of these schools, and what LSAT score should he shoot for given his background. Ben and Nathan discuss. Here’s the deal, dear readers. Without exception, you should aim for the highest LSAT score you’re capable of. And, yes Nick, URMs may have a better chance of getting into a school that’s looking to increase its diversity numbers, but no matter what, you should expect your chances of getting in to align with acceptance rates on the school’s 509 report.

1:19:44 – Email 8—JP is confused. In his LSAT prep materials he’s noticing some inconsistencies around how the prep book asks readers to consider the word “only.” When a statement begins with “only,” you can count on “only” to introduce the necessary condition. However, the prep materials give some contradictory information when the statement includes “THE only.” JP wants to know what’s up, and Ben hooks up some clarity.