Be a River Guide (Ep. 152)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

Today on the show the guys cover a ton of ground. You’ll hear the latest news from LSAC about some changes coming to the test next year, and you’ll get access to a killer spreadsheet full of ABA 509 report data. There’s some more discussion about the GDP-to-debt ratio, Ben briefs us on his upcoming vacation, and the guys make a call to y’all in hopes of finding a new member for the Thinking LSAT team. And, as usual, the guys answer a bunch of listener mail.

Nathan and Ben are getting excited about the upcoming Thinking LSAT prep class in NYC. If you haven’t signed up, you totally should. The class enjoys universal acclaim, and there are some extra goodies this time around, including a Q&A with a lawyer who works in big law.

As always, you can connect with your fellow test-preppers in the growing community on Facebook. Watch thinking LSAT on YouTube. Tweet @ us. Or contribute to the show on Patreon. If you’re looking for some help with your personal statement, the guys’ personal-statement review service will help you get ready for the upcoming application cycle.

7:29 – Kicking off the show with a bit of questionable journalism from Above The Law. Apparently the number of law-school applicants is surging in 2018. And what’s more? Many of those would-be law students are applying with higher and higher LSAT scores. That data sounds suspect to the guys, but the news doesn’t stop a-flowin’ there. Apparently 2019 will see LSAC administer ten LSAT exams. That’s right, dear listeners. Ten. And they’ll finally be moving to a computerized test sometime next year.

14:47 – Email 1—In the wake of the July 2018 test, Mr. T slams out a drunken missive to Nathan to thank him for writing the very helpful Logic Games Playbook. Mr. T worked through the book, and as a result, he sliced through the logic games in July like a hot knife through butttahhh. The guys launch into a thoughtful discussion about how to succeed in the games.

21:13 – Email 2—Everyone, take a cue from Trevor: a listener who did some much-appreciated legwork for this week’s show. Trevor researched the ABA 509 reports for each of the top 50 law schools according to Above The Law. He created a spreadsheet based on his findings, and the data is really useful. Take a look at the sheet to see which top schools are dishing out the most dough for their students.

26:10 – Email 3—A listener writes in to challenge Nathan on the merits of the GDP-to-debt-ratio analogy that Nathan made last episode. He also sends the guys a personal statement for review. Ben and Nathan decide to read and review the statement for as long as they’re able to stomach the writing. Tune in to see how far they make it.

42:46 – All right, dear listeners, the time has come. Thinking LSAT is nearing its one millionth download! That’s pretty badass. And it’s thanks to this awesome community that the show continues to grow. But as the show gets bigger, the deluge of emails to the show is becoming unwieldy. So the guys make a plea to you Thinking LSAT fans out there: is there one among ye who would take up the mantle of Thinking LSAT Volunteer Producer-Intern? You would help the guys sort the incoming mail. Help edit the agenda for the show. And assist in the creation of a Thinking LSAT FAQ so that the guys can cover some new ground in future shows. If you’re interested, make sure to email the guys at

46:43 – Email 4—Ben and Nathan make quick work of an email from Lemony Snicket who wants to know how to handle her GPA addendum after a few car accidents caused her grades to suffer.

48:40 – Email 5—Runner Nerd has been working as a legal assistant, and she digs the work! But recently she was offered a job as a brand manager for one of her favorite running-shoe companies. She’s pumped about the job offer, but she’s nervous that it won’t look great on her resume when it comes time to apply for law school. The guys reassure Runner Nerd that diversity on her resume will look awesome to admissions staffers. They also recommend that she just run, run, run away from a career in law toward something she’s clearly more passionate about.

51:23 – Email 6—Britney feels like she’s got a handle on the test, but RC keeps giving her trouble. Even after taking some private tutoring, she still gets several questions wrong throughout the section. So she’s turning the Thinking LSAT duo for advice. The guys dish out some pro tips on reading comprehension, including whether you should mark up the passage, what to look for in the answer choices, and how to get better by using LR questions as practice.

57:45 – Email 7—Anonymous is feeling concerned on two counts! She got wind that Ben’s Score Tracker is going away and wants to know what gives. But what’s really got her frazzled is that she’s a freakin’ rockstar student at Stanford and she’s worried that schools outside the top 14 may implement some kind of yield protection that would prevent a high achiever such as anon from attending. Nathan and Ben explain what’s happening with Ben’s Score Tracker, and assure anon that if she puts her best foot forward, she’ll probably get in wherever she wants to go.

1:04:00 – Email 8—Olivia writes in from Miami, FL with a bunch of questions. She wants to know if admissions staff across the country will take her seriously, even though she’s not a local. Like will someone in California look at her application and be like, “Miami?! HA!,” before lighting their cigar with her personal statement?

She goes on to ask the guys about taking a Test Masters class (which she’s planning to do) vs. private tutoring vs. self-study. And lastly she wants to know what she should do with her gap year before law school. Like should she work in a law firm?

The guys answer her questions and suggest that Olivia do anything but work in law in her gap year, such as study the art of bonsai or become a river guide. The only excuse for working in law during your gap year is to get some experience to discover whether this is something you really want to commit to for a career.

1:14:06 – The guys have a quick discussion about a weaken question from prep test 75. They cover a few things to keep in mind when addressing weaken questions on the LSAT.

1:20:38 – Email 9—Lizzie’s concerned. She’s taking the LSAT and plans to apply for law school this cycle.  However, she’s been thinking about applying next year instead, but she’s scared that in that year law schools will raise their standards, thus making her a less attractive candidate. Are her concerns legitimate? Nathan and Ben weigh in, but both agree that there’s really no downside to waiting a year…or three…to attend law school, and that it’s pretty unlikely the admissions criteria will change in any meaningful way in that time.