Trump in the Woodchipper (Ep. 284)

Ben Olson's headshot.

Over the past few weeks, lawyers, judges, and politically interested folks around the world were audience to the latest Trump impeachment trial. And while there’s been a lot of commentary about the cases made by both the prosecution and the defense, the Thinking LSAT crew has some opinions of their own—mainly about the wildly poor writing exhibited in Trump’s impeachment defense brief. In this episode, the guys laugh their way through portions of the legal brief in a case study of what not to do if you ever become a lawyer. The guys also field a question about how much one can expect to improve on the LSAT after studying for a few months, they hear an LSAT Demon success story, they consider some advice for improving reading comprehension, and they burn through another LR question from prep test 65. Plus, a motivational note about plateauing performance from producer Adam.

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Important Dates

02.20.2021 – You better be falling in love with this test, ‘cause it’s the February LSAT

02.24.2021 – It’s not a joke, it’s actually the registration deadline for the April LSAT

04.10.2021 – The April LSAT Flex testing week begins!

3:02 – Motivational Content

Producer/editor Adam (yours, truly) writes in with a bit of creatives’ advice for all y’all out there studying for the LSAT. The advice? Get really comfortable with the plateaus in your performance. After an initial jump-start, you may find yourself stagnating—having a hard time making progress and continually effing up the same types of questions. If you can stick it out through these tough times, more improvement awaits you further along on your LSAT journey. Nathan and Ben share their views of inevitable plateaus and discuss how they’ve seen students in the past respond to these lulls in progress.  

9:02 – Are My Expectations for Improvement Too High?

A writes in with a question a lot of folks have—just how much can they expect to improve? After an initial practice test (in the Demon) which landed them a 146, they set to work in the Demon. Two months later? They’re sitting on a 158. That’s a pretty sweet improvement for just 6-8 weeks of studying. Still, A’s concerned that their target score of 170 is quite a ways away. The guys point out that a 12 point improvement is a life-changing bounce, and if A hopes to continue to improve, they need to stop thinking about 170 and start thinking about how to turn the 158 into 160. Getting anxious about your performance can cause you to cast aside best practices in favor of swinging for the fences. The pro tip is to focus on improving one point at a time.

19:29 – Citizen Trump’s Impeachment Defense Brief

Nathan and Ben read through sections of the laughably bad impeachment defense brief submitted by Donald Trump’s lawyers. In their usual fashion, the guys pick apart the embarrassingly poor writing, style, and formatting of what should be a top tier legal brief. Instead, it appears that Trump has alienated nearly every quality legal resource he could hope for and his impeachment defense is left to bottom-of-the-barrel counselors.  

36:25 – Pearls vs. Turds

A devoted listener has been noticing something about Nathan’s classes. When it comes to LR and RC questions, Nathan holds a “story time” section where he will read passages aloud to the class and think about them aloud while reading. This sparked an idea for said devotee. They began reading passages aloud, as if to an audience, which has made Devoted Listener pay more attention to the arguments compared to letting his inner monologue do the reading. This practice has helped DL and they recommend the following as a pearl of wisdom: read passages aloud, theatrically, as if to an audience, to improve reading comprehension. Tune in to hear why Ben and Nathan don’t fully endorse this idea.

47:12 – An LSAT Success Story

Freakin’ Emily is a badass. While working 60 hours a week as a healthcare worker and parenting a 1-year-old, she also made time to prep for the LSAT. After four months of persistence, she saw her score go from a cold 149 to a 168. That is an insane level of improvement and speaks volumes about Emily’s resilience and willingness to sacrifice. The guys talk about what this means for Emily as she looks ahead to law school and congratulate her on this awesome success story.

57:05 – LR Question from Prep Test 65

Nathan and Ben continue plowing through LSAT practice test 65 and answer the 20th LR question in section four of the test. It’s a necessary assumption question, and the guys share their approach from digesting the first sentence through to identifying the only answer choice that makes any damn sense.