Dispatches from the North (Ep. 151)

Ben Olson's headshot.

Today the guys are joined by LSAT expert Graeme Blake to answer some listener mail from Canada. Graeme runs the site LSAThacks.com and is the moderator of the LSAT forum on Reddit. If you’ve been a long-time listener, you’ll remember Graeme from way back in episode 30. Nathan and Ben also argue briefly about how to open the show, share a listener’s stinky LSAT story, reveal how law-school admissions staffers are pulling the wool over your eyes, and discuss the pretty terrible LSAT prep course at SMU.

If you missed the first live Thinking LSAT weekend class in July, never fear. Ben and Nathan are coming back for another live class in NYC on August 25-26. Sign up here.

As always, you can find a ton of helpful resources from Nathan and from Ben on their respective websites, including Nathan’s free classand Ben’s free class. The guys also offer a personal statement review service to help you put your best foot forward when applying to law school. For more free stuff, connect with your fellow test preppers on the Thinking LSAT Facebook group and on Twitter. Don’t forget you can listen to the show on YouTube if it strikes your fancy. And if you’ve got some spare change, consider supporting the show by joining our Patreon community.

8:33 – Email 1—Fuck him. Fuck you. Fuck. Everything. That’s what Ariel was thinking when she walked in to take the July LSAT. I mean, you’d be feeling the same way if your asshole significant other BROKE UP WITH YOU THE DAY BEFOREHAND. It’s like, what the fuck kind of timing is that?! Anyway. It may have been a blessing in disguise. Ariel channeled her anger into what sounds like a pretty smashing performance on the test. She gives her rather hilarious review of the July LSAT, and describes the noxious conditions on the ground on the day of the exam. Plus, Nathan shares a recent experience with a particularly malodorous movie-goer.

14:57 – Email 2—Leah writes in to describe her experience attending the Law Admissions Workshop Series. That’s right. It’s a seminar by lawyers and law-school admissions folks whose title is L.A.W.S. Pretttttyyyy square if you ask us. But hey. Leah thought maybe it could be helpful. L.A.W.S. is billed as a forum where prospective students can go interact with admissions staff at top schools. But Leah says the experience was pretty underwhelming. And that the speakers had some confusing messages, like “there’s no need to read all of the details of your financial aid agreements.” Pretty weird, right? Tune in to hear what law-school admissions staff recommend when applying to law school, and to hear the guys’ reaction to that advice.

28:31 – Email 3—Last year, Max applied to a bunch of law schools and received some appealing offers. But Max decided to forego law school last year and decided to re-apply after getting a better LSAT score. Now that he’s got a better score in the bag, he’s excited to send in applications this cycle. However, he’s worried about repeating his personal statement on this round of applications. He wrote a pretty killer personal statement last go-‘round…does he need to write something new now? Nathan and Ben say nah. Maybe go over the document and improve it, or change it if something significant happened in the last year. But it’s pretty unlikely the admissions folks are going to remember your statement—you’re probably safe.

32:07 – Email 4—SG writes in to tell the guys about some pretty shoddy advice she’s receiving from her LSAT course at SMU. She asks the guys if she’s crazy in thinking that it’s pretty poor instruction. Ben and Nathan affirm that SG is getting terrible information in this LSAT class and recommend some free sources like Ben’s free course and Nathan’s free course for some better quality test prep material.

42:14 – The guys welcome Graeme Blake back to the show. Graeme is an LSAT expert from Canada and is here to help Nathan and Ben answer some dispatches from the north.

44:14 – Email 5—Ben writes in from Canada with a possible rebuttal to the presumption. Even though he’s got a 3.5 GPA and a 168 on record, Ben’s not getting a lot of love in the scholarship department. There are fewer law schools in Canada, and the candidate pool is far more competitive. Plus, Canadian schools generally have lower tuition and don’t offer as many scholarships as their US counterparts. So Ben wants to know if it’s OK to consider paying for law school in Canada given these circumstances. Graeme weighs in on the nature of tuition and scholarships, and the guys discuss.

52:51 – Email 6—A prospective law student in Canada is currently on the waitlist at McGill and wanted to write the guys to let them know a few differences between applying to law school in Canada vs. the U.S. Differences like the fact that some law schools in Canada take the average of your LSAT scores rather than your highest score on record. And some schools look at only your LSAT score and GPA, while letters of rec and other accoutrements mean nada. Graeme weighs in with four main differences between law schools in Canada and the U.S. The gang also offers our correspondent some advice on what to do given that their GPA and average LSAT score are a bit low.

1:02:15 – Email 7—Alyona has been working pretty hard. And that’s good, because she’s got some pretty ambitious goals. She’s living in Toronto and working at a law office as a clerk while preparing for the LSAT. Even though English is her third language, she’s managed to push her LSAT prep-test scores from the low 140s to the high 160s. That’s pretty badass. But she still struggles with RC—probably because of the whole English-as-a-third-language thing. She wants to know if the guys have any advice on improving on this section of the test. Nathan, Graeme, and Ben all agree, she’s just got to grind it out and work really hard to spruce up her English chops.

1:12:30 – The guys ask Graeme if there’s any LSAT advice he’s been excited about lately. Graeme discusses his strategy for tackling some of the newer, harder logic games.