LSAT Writing Samples (Ep. 223)

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Whether you’re getting ready for life on Mars or preparing for life in law school, preparedness and awareness are keys to survival. You gotta be ready. You gotta know your stuff. And you gotta avoid the mistakes you made in the past—or that others have made in the past. You know, like using excess semi-colons and other B.S. punctuation that gums up your writing. Nathan and Ben speculate about life in outer space and talk bizarre LSAT questions before diving into y’all’s law-school-prep quandaries. They give you the skinny on top-down vs. bottom-up questions, offer up some advice on when to make worlds during the Logic Games, and help a dentist with a mid-life crisis. Plus, a 1L hopeful asks about old letters of rec, the guys read an article about law school students and debt, and they take a look at some LSAT Writing samples from you, dear listeners.

As always, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.

LSAT Demon

Personal Statement Review Package

Strategy PrepFox LSAT

Thinking LSAT Facebook Group


Important Dates

12.19.19 – November LSAT scores are released.

1.7.20 – Registration deadline for the February LSAT.

1.13.20 – Pop the champagne! It’s the first LSAT of 2020.

2.22.20 – It’s the February LSAT

17:53 – Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up + Flaw

Anne’s been smashing her way through LSAT questions in the LSAT Demon. And she’s noticed something. Nathan and Ben often refer to questions as mostly being either “top-down” or “bottom-up.” She wants to know what question types fall into these categories. The guys oblige and categorize.

In yer top-down category, you’ve got yer good friends:

  • Must Be True
  • Necessary Assumption
  • Main Point, or Conclusion
  • Flaw Questions
  • Role Questions
  • Reasoning Questions

And some of yer other faves can be considered bottom-up questions:

  • Strengthen
  • Weaken
  • Paradox
  • Sufficient Assumption

The guys discuss how and why each of these question types can be understood as top-down or bottom-up, and they do a deep dive on how to tackle flaw questions.

42:28 – Ben’s Tip For When To Make Worlds

Word on the street is that Ben’s got a hot tip—a test, as it were—about just when y’ought to bring your pencils out and make worlds during LG questions. The idea is that Ben looks through the challenge and decides if there are enough markers that merit a diagram. Well, dear listeners. Both Ben and Nathan spill the beans on when to make worlds. And here goes: it’s most of the f*cking time.

If the game calls for a variable to go in just a few select places, and if, when you place said variable in one those spots, you see a few clear outcomes? Make those worlds y’all. Make ‘em good. Here is Ben’s Worlds Test, broken down into three questions you should ask yourself while considering a game:

  1. What variables seem constrained?
  2. How many places can they go?
  3. Does it seem like putting them in those spots would be helpful? If so? Game on.

56:16 – Old Letters of Rec

Mike graduated from undergrad 10 years ago and was prepared to take the LSAT way back when. He even got a letter of recommendation from a professor around that time. But Mike didn’t go “the way of the lawyer.” He opted, instead, to head out and get a few years of work experience under his belt. Now he’s considering law school again, but the letter of rec is still in his LSAT file. He asks the guys if he should use this when applying to law school today. The guys agree that this is probably a bad idea. Get a new letter of recommendation or ask the schools you apply to if you still need an academic letter, given you’ve been working so long.

1:01:07 – On Law School Debt

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled, New Lawyers Are Swimming In Debt. Nathan and Ben read some of the article on the show, and *spoiler alert*, the terrible scenarios the guys have outlined on the show for years are now a documented reality. The article paints a picture of recent law-school grads who accrue crippling debt and enter a job market where salaries are awfully low. The guys talk about the article and plead with y’all, yet again, to not pay for law school.

1:19:29 – Mid-Life Crisis Career Change

A dentist in their 50s is sick and tired of cleaning teeth and lecturing ungrateful people about the benefits of flossing. They need a change and they’re thinking of heading to law school. Ben and Nathan give Mid-Life Crisis a mini-lecture about the benefits of sticking it out as a dentist instead of throwing away your life to the black hole that is a late-in-life “career” in law.

1:23:12 – Writing Sample Examples

Marshall and Galen have heeded the call of the Thinking LSAT duo. A few episodes ago, Nathan and Ben called for listeners to send in their LSAT Writing essays for a proper teardown on the show. Thanks to Marshall and Galen, y’all can sink yer teeth into this super simple, but oft perplexing section of the test. The guys read two LSAT Writing samples and offer their usual critiques.