Before You Take the LSAT with Doreen Benyamin (Ep. 241)

Ben Olson's headshot.

The guys sit down with Columbia 3L and podcast host, Doreen Benyamin, to talk about what law school is actually like. Benyamin dishes the dirt on what matters in your 1L year, and let’s all y’all know what she wishes she knew before going to law school. Plus, Nathan and Ben help a listener think about how to incorporate their sports career into a personal statement, they consider some advice about how to recreate testing conditions at home, they read a letter from UC Hastings Dean Faigman, and they weigh in on a hypothetical decision between two law schools.

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

4.24.2020 – Don’t miss it! It’s the registration deadline for the June LSAT.

4.25.2020 – It’s still on, but they’re calling for rain! This is the April LSAT.

6.08.2020 – Get out the sunblock, it’s the first LSAT of the summer!

8:11 – Pearls vs. Turds

It’s your (sometimes) weekly segment of Pearls vs. Turds. The part of the show where the guys take a look at some “found” wisdom from the field. It could be from some random LSAT-prep chatroom on the internet, advice given by an instructor, or even some tips that listeners have devised to help their studies. The guys weigh in and deem it a pearl of wisdom, or a lowly turd.

This week it’s all about your mental fortitude on test day, dear listeners. Since “the inside times,” Frank has been studying for the LSAT in the blissful silence of his home. But now he’s worried. There are countless horror stories online of folks who sat for the test, only to be distracted by the test environment. In an effort to prepare for a noisy, distracting test day, Frank is dialing up some general hub-bub on YouTube and leaving it on while he takes practice tests. Things like “the sounds of a coffee shop,” and other social settings. The guys get what Frank is trying to do, but deem this piece of advice a turd. Fortunately, or unfortunately, your test day won’t sound like the Now That’s What I Call Barista Magic! soundtrack.

16:04 – Personal Statement About A D1 Sports Career?

Joe’s just graduated from his undergrad career, where he played division one football. In case you didn’t know, dear listeners, that’s a badass feat. And Joe seems to think that you might not know because he wants to write a personal statement about what an accomplishment it is to have done that. He asks the guys if it’s a smart move to leverage his D1 football career in his personal statement. The guys agree that it’s probably a strong subject for the essay, but as in all things, it’s how you frame it and how you tell the story that will sell you to law schools.

23:44 – UMich or Wayne State?!

Mohammad is in a theoretical pickle. And by that I mean he’s not in a pickle at all. But he’s gettin’ all “what if” on us, so the guys decide to give him some advice anyway. Mohammad wants to know that if he gets into UMich with no financial assistance, vs. Wayne State, ranked 92, with a scholarship, which should he attend. Nathan and Ben wonder about the substantial gap between the schools—top 10 vs. top 100—and tell M the best thing he can do is to apply to more schools to get himself some more competitive offers.

28:50 – The “Hire Hastings” Campaign

The guys read an email from your favorite school head and ours: it’s Dean Faigman of UC Hastings. Dean Faigman shares some personal anecdotes in an appeal to alumni to help support UC Hastings and UC Hastings students during this trying time. Ben and Nathan tear the email apart and do some reading between the lines.

44:24 - Interview with Doreen from @BeforeYouTakeTheLSAT

Nathan and Ben speak with Doreen Benyamin of Before You Take The LSAT about what it’s like in law school from the perspective of a 3L about to graduate. Doreen shares what she wishes she knew before her 1L year and how to prepare for law school exams. She also offers some need-to-know info to anyone going into their first year of law school, like who to befriend, how to network, and why you need to get really good grades in year one.

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