News from the January LSAT (Ep. 228)

Ben Olson's headshot.

The winter winds are sweeping across the land. The January LSAT is behind us all. Now it’s time to wrap yourself in a blanket, sit in your rocker by the fire, and hear the latest in all things LSAT from Nathan and Ben. The guys talk about the first reports back from the January LSAT—and it sounds like the test was (drumroll, please) easy. as. pie. They also hear a few heart-warming stories from listeners about LSAC test-center fails and law-school-scholarship wins. Plus, Nathan and Ben consider a new reading comp “memory method,” they make some recommendations about taking consecutive tests, they clear up some confusion about their own personal statement advice, and offer some thoughts about law school financial aid. And as a little winter treat for you at the end? The guys read a very new year’s email update from our old friend Dean Faigman of UC Hastings.

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

Instagram (upcoming events)

Important Dates

2.11.2020 – Don’t oversleep! It’s the registration deadline for the March LSAT.

2.22.2020 – Hearts-for-eyes emoji! It’s the February LSAT

3.30.2020 – The March 2020 LSAT

4:12 – Work with Ben

Do you love Thinking LSAT?! Do you dig the LSAT and are you pretty awesome at the test? Like 99th percentile awesome? Then you might be excited to learn that Ben has an open position for an LSAT teacher at Strategy Prep in Washington, DC. If you want to spread the LSAT love and help others master the test, send an email to with:

  1. Your official LSAC score report
  2. Your resume
  3. How long can you fill this position?
  4. How many hours can you work per week?
  5. When are you typically available to meet with students?
  6. How soon can you start?
  7. What are some times you can meet on Skype for an interview in the next two weeks?

7:13 – PSA about test-center debacles

Jessie, a former student of Ben’s, sat for the November LSAT. Unfortunately, she was one of the many unlucky students who experienced a nightmarish test-center scenario on the day of the test. The test started two hours late, and her tablet froze in the middle of the test, causing further delays. She promptly cancelled her score after the test and sent a letter of complaint. Then she signed up for the January LSAT. And guess what, dear listeners. LSAC wrote her back with an apology and waived her test fee. It pays to speak up!

9:09 – Pearls vs. Turds

It’s your favorite (sometimes) weekly segment wherein the guys hear out and judge some LSAT “wisdom” from the internet or other questionable sources. This week’s hot tip is all about reading comprehension. And it’s a doozy, y’all. This advice is a method for drilling RC and improving your skills. It’s called “The Memory Method,” or the “3.5—1.5—3.5 method.” The guys read through the proposed method, which is quite involved. Phase one is a three-part, 12-step process that encourages…reading comprehension. And then there’s a whole phase two! The guys barely make it through this convoluted technique before marking it a sure-fire turd. Here are some pro tips for actually ameliorating your RC abilities:

  • Discern and stay focused on the main point of the passage
  • Get a study partner to do RC sections with
  • Take the passages seriously while you’re reading them
  • When you review, deeply understand why the answers you got incorrect are wrong

35:10 – Consecutive tests?!

Anon’s been busting their butt prepping for the LSAT. And they’re pumped to take the February test. They hoped to schedule a follow-up test as well and were looking at April. Unfortunately, the April test date doesn’t work for them, meaning they’d have to wait until the summer for another shot at the test. Anon wants to know if taking in March is too soon after their February test for a re-take. Nathan and Ben offer a swift answer: no, it’s not too soon. If you are prepared to take the test the first time you take it, you should absolutely always take consecutive tests to re-take. The key is actually being prepared the first time you roll into the test center. That means you’re happy with your practice test scores, including in practice proctored environments.


41:54 – Personal statement advice.

Meagan has been listening to Thinking LSAT, and she’s gleaned many a pearl o’ wisdom from the archives. But she wants the guys to clarify some of their advice re: personal statements. The guys oblige.

50:30 – Law school for free!?

Nathan and Ben share some pretty fab stories of folks who were determined to not pay for law school and who succeeded by nabbing full-ride scholarships and stipends. A great LSAT score will repay you with dividends, y’all. One particular student started their LSAT journey with a cold diagnostic of 148. After six months of study, they nabbed a 163—and then a 164 a few months later. Many students would be wildly happy with that improvement, but this student wasn’t satisfied! They continued to work for a few months and smashed a 172 a full year after their first cold test. Now they’re headed to law school for free and they’re getting paid a salary for doing so!

59:39 – Asking for financial aid.

Going to law school for free sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Well, it is. In fact, it’s the only deal you should consider. Anon writes in to ask if and how you should apply for financial aid once you’ve been accepted to a school. Ben and Nathan set the record straight: not paying for law school means getting a scholarship, not financial aid. They talk about how scholarship offers usually come, and what to do if there are indeed other special programs that impact your tuition.  

1:03:05 – A Faigtastic New Year

Nathan reads through an email from the head of his alma mater (UC Hastings) and friend of the pod, Dean Faigman. Faigman’s message is all like, “new year, new me,” but the guys find it rife with Faigmanisms and evidence that this whole law school thing is effed. Ben and Nathan give the note a good ribbing in proper Thinking LSAT spirit, and Nathan shares some not-so-fond memories of campus life.