Stop statsturbating (Ep. 122)

Ben Olson's headshot.

January is in full swing, we’re woefully behind on emails, and Nathan is flexing his Christmas gift to himself: Movie Pass. The guys give a brief review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi—including identifying Kilo Ren’s most badass moments—and discuss other flicks currently in theaters. It’s not Siskel and Ebert, but hey, it’s something. Speaking of video, Thinking LSAT episodes can now be found on YouTube – please go subscribe so we can score a custom URL. After that it’s all LSAT all the time as Ben and Nathan try to catch up on your LSAT questions.

8:16 – Email 1—Search your feelings, Rey (or Luke)! That’s what a recent study has claimed will raise test scores for LSAT students. Researchers found that when test takers practiced expressive writing where the subjects wrote down their deepest feelings about the test, their test scores went up. Nathan and Ben discuss why this might be true. If you decide to try this at home, let us know how it goes: email

15:14 – Email 2—Dang. Not Peter has had a pretty interesting life since graduating college. He wrote a book, sold a television show, and performed sketch comedy in NYC. Then he built a multi-million-dollar food-import and distribution business with his family. And now? He’s working on his personal statement for law school applications. If you’re going, like, WTF—you’re not alone. Not Peter, we’re not sure why you’re not opting to not go to law school. But OK. Given his exciting post-collegiate life, he’s wondering which of these wild stories to tell law schools. Is he a hip comedy writer with a proven track record of writing funny things? Is he a savvy entrepreneur capable of building a viable business? The guys offer their recommendations. But here’s the pro tip: when you write your personal statement, it should clearly answer two questions for admissions staffers—why you, and why law school?

32:28 – Email 3—Anon writes in to ask about a June 2007 LSAT LR question the guys answered way back when. In the old episode, the guys state that “most strongly supported” questions are, in essence, “must be true” questions. Anon asks the guys to pump the brakes because Anon sees the two as fundamentally different types of questions. Ben and Nathan stand by their initial claim and explain why.

38:09 – Email 4—Shawn teaches folks how to excel at the Bar exam. He also works with a test-prep company, and is an avid listener to Thinking LSAT. He writes to weigh in on the GRE vs. LSAT debate. According to Shawn, everything about the LSAT is designed to test you on whether you’ll succeed in law school, on the Bar exam, and as a lawyer. The GRE, by contrast, is more of a general aptitude test. The guys talk it over, and dish some thoughts on why colleges may be accepting the GRE more and more.

49:58 – Email 5—Is it too early to start getting your letters of recommendation if you’re applying to attend Law School in fall 2019? That’s what Brittney wants to know. She’s a working professional who wants to prepare her application…but is it overboard to get the letters 9-10 months in advance? Nathan and Ben agree that Brittney can go for it. Get those bad boys in the can. The guys also wonder whether the letters of rec hold as much weight as most folks believe.

55:11 – Email 6—Imagine sitting down to a cold diagnostic. You open the book. You strictly time each section. And you self-score to find out that you just smashed a 163. Pretty badass, right? Then imagine signing up for a well-known LSAT prep course with that new-found confidence. You’d probably think you were headed to the 170s, right? Next, imagine sinking $800 into a prep course only to see your score stay the exact same. Pretty shitty, yeah? Meet Luke. Poor Luke had some bad luck on a self-study course through Kaplan and is wondering what’s next. Is he an unteachable mind? Can he even improve at all? Are there things he should un-learn from Kaplan? Ben and Nathan assure Luke that there is still hope. And even though he’s strapped for cash, there are some excellent free resources with Fox LSAT and Strategy Prep that might help.

1:07:26 – Email 7—Wes is up to some old tricks. He’s heard around town that the middle section of LR contains the hardest questions. And now he’s wondering if it’s a viable strategy to answer the early LR questions and then skip to the end of the section and work backwards. The simple answer, Wes, is no. You just gotta work the section from front to back.

1:09:44 – Email 8—Good ol’ Albert is taking Nathan’s online class and is seeing some exceptional gains in his score. He’s ramped up from 163 and is now scoring in the low 170s. Sadly, his GPA remains a dismal 3.0. Albert wants to know if the addendum he has planned sounds viable to the guys. Nathan and Ben opine, but the pro tip is simply to state the facts. Explain why you’re a splitter if you can, and let them know what kind of student you really are.

1:17:32 – Email 9— Gravy has a 171 on record and wants to improve his score. But how? Is private tutoring his only recourse? Logic games is what he finds most challenging, but on a teacher’s salary and without knowing much about what happens in private tutoring, he’s skeptical. Tune in to hear the guys describe what their tutoring sessions are like, and to hear their advice for Gravy, because it’s not tutoring…