To Stem First, or not to Stem First? (Ep. 118)

Ben Olson's headshot.

Ben has entered the cryptocurrency market with some speculative “investments” in Bitcoin. And the guys take a shallow dive into the world of personal finance before turning to some interesting LSAT news. LSAC recently announced that the late registration period alongside the late registration fee are being eliminated. So sign up for the test to your heart’s content! LSAC also released the dates of the 2018 tests. The guys discuss the interesting tone of LSAC’s email and give out some handy advice on when you should register for the LSAT.

Congrats to Zach on his awesome 175, and thanks for the tip! If you’ve just taken the December LSAT and want to review the test—or if you want to see how Nathan would have tackled the test, he’s holding a 3-hour review on January 10. There are only 30 spots, so make sure to sign up here.

13:46 – Email 1—Leslie heard the guys’ recent advice on fee waivers. So while waiting at a stoplight, she whipped out her cell phone and shot an email off to her target school asking for a fee waiver. And guess what. Within an HOUR the school wrote back confirming she would pay nary a fee to apply. See, y’all? Totally worth the ask. Plus, Nathan and Ben jump into the hazards of texting and driving, self-driving vehicles, and centenarian super heroes. Will the future apocalypse be prevented by an aged wheel man? Tune in to find out.

22:39 – Email 2—Ally had a good chuckle when she received a good-luck-on-the-December-LSAT-tomorrow! email. Not because it wasn’t a sweet gesture from a law school. But because it arrived on November 29, a full 48 hours before the test. Pretty great, right? Anyway, Ally went into the December test feeling pretty confident and had a blast slicing and dicing the first three sections. During the break a fellow test-taker said they hoped the writing section would be next…? Ally asked if they’d ever taken a practice test before, to which the law-school hopeful said ‘no’. Pretty great, right? It gave our Thinking-LSAT-listening friend the confidence boost she needed to destroy the remainder of the test. Congrats, Ally, and thanks for listening!

28:18 – Email 3—You may remember from last week, dear readers, that Will N., a New Orleans based LSAT instructor, wrote in to the guys to argue in favor of reading the question stem first in LR sections of the test. Any long-time listener will know that Nathan and Ben are not stem-first teachers—and are vehemently against this strategy. However, Will thoughtfully wrote out the points of his argument advocating a read-the-stem-first approach. The guys rebut Will’s arguments in an exhaustive look at why they cannot endorse a stem-first strategy. According to Ben and Nathan there’s just one pro tip to be had: understand the fucking argument presented in the passage, and the answer will present itself, padawans.

1:10:16 – Email 4—In the wake of this crazy stem-first conversation, we hear from J. Upon hearing last week’s episode, J. (also an LSAT instructor) wrote the guys with his own argument in favor of reading the stimulus first. He lays out the reasons why he teaches stem-first, and why he believes his top-scoring students approach LR stimulus first without exception.

1:15:48 – Email 5—Finally, we settle in for a fireside chat as Nathan reads a personal statement from Zack, a Fox LSAT alum. Sidle up in your favorite easy chair and put on some cocoa and hear an exemplary personal statement that helped Zack land a spot at Stanford law. Well-written. Concise. Excellent and engaging storytelling. A consistent message. And a catchy nickname all lend to a pretty cool self-portrait that would make an instant impression on any admissions staffer with a beating heart. Tune in to hear the guys discuss.