If Ben Hypothetically Committed Murder (Ep. 294)

Ben Olson's headshot.

If you’re gonna go into a courtroom—as a defendant—you’re gonna want the most ruthless and savvy law warrior on your side. But how far would you want them to go in advocating for you? Nathan and Ben debate a hypothetical legal entanglement amidst answering listener questions. They also read listener mail about negotiating a full ride to Berkeley, choosing which law school you should pay for (hint: none of them), how to prep in a retake situation, whether to ask for accommodations (probably), and much more. The guys also try to get to the bottom of LSAC’s recent bombshell announcement that the dates of the LSAT testing year have changed, leaving a bunch of test-takers in a lurch.

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.

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Important Dates

04.30.2021 – Don’t miss out—it’s the incredibly early registration deadline for the June LSAT

06.12.2021 – Break out the short sleeves, it’s the June LSAT-Flex testing week!

3:22 – LR Question

Nathan and Ben kick things off by diving into an LR question from LSAT prep test 73. This time the guys explore the world of contractors and heating technicians—you know…the good stuff. They talk about the importance of predicting the questions and correct answers that will follow LR arguments, but they also point out that you need to be calling bullsh*t on the argument with every new piece of information presented in the passage.  

17:10 – Update! LSAT Testing Cycle Confusion Continues

In the last episode, the guys shared a confusing update from LSAC. The overlords there look to have arbitrarily changed the dates of the LSAT testing cycle. 1L hopefuls can take the LSAT three times in a single cycle, which usually falls within a year. Previously, the testing year was May 2020 thru April 2021, but LSAC changed the next testing cycle to August 2021 thru June 2022. This effectively moves the goal post. For folks who took three tests between last May and this April, hoping to have an opportunity to retake in June, they’re out of luck. Now taking in June could mean a fourth try in the current cycle. Naturally, students who give a sh*t are having a wtf moment with this change. Nicole writes in to share how she was able to get an exemption from LSAC to take the June test despite having taken three tests over the past year.  

27:52 – Going to Berkeley Law for Free!

Kevin’s been listenin’ good to the pod. He applied broadly with a 170 LSAT and 3.79 GPA. Originally, he was accepted to Berkeley with a $17k/year scholarship. Pretty sweet, right? You might think so, but if you know anything about Thinking LSAT then you know that’s simply not enough. Based on the other offers Kevin received, he was able to negotiate an unconditional full-ride to Berkeley, which is way, way more badass than the initial offer. The pro tip? Apply broadly. Know your worth. Negotiate for your absolute best offer. And for the love of anything holy, don’t pay for law school.

32:44 – Settling for Paying Tuition?

In stark contrast to Kevin’s story, the guys hear from another prospective student who is wondering whether to attend UC Hastings or USF. Hastings has accepted Anon for more than $60,000 each year, and USF sports a price tag of around $36,000 a year. Anon knows they’re sticking in the bay area, and they want to know which of these two options the guys would recommend. Nathan and Ben beg anon to reject both offers, cast a wider net, and do anything in their power to not pay for law school.

44:51 – Pearls vs. Turds

PC’s been working hard on their LSAT game. After a few months of studying in the LSAT Demon, they’ve seen their score go from 159 to 165, which represents a huge jump in scholarship eligibility and access to…well…many, many more schools. PC shares how they’ve improved their score and asks the guys to consider whether their strategy is a pearl of wisdom. Here goes:When PC approaches LR and RC passages, they jot down predictions for the correct answer, and then they also write down why an answer choice is either right or wrong. The idea is that PC is writing their own Nathan-and-Ben style explanations for each question. The guys agree that while there’s something to this, you really need to be able to do this type of exercise in your head—they deem PC’s advice neither pearl nor turd.

53:27 – Time to Re-take?!

Elizabeth took the LSAT three times a few years ago and put up a 149 as her highest score on record. Now she’s ready to tackle the test again, but she’s worried about her terrible scores on record. Will schools give af? Ben and Nathan agree that Elizabeth absolutely needs to work toward a deeper understanding of the test, take it again, and apply when she’s confident she has her highest LSAT score. The best part? Schools only care about your highest score—full stop. And you can take the test five times in two consecutive cycles (seven in a lifetime), which means Elizabeth has four more attempts at the test.

1:01:24 – To Ask for Accommodations or To Not Ask for Accommodations

Juliana has a score of 170+ in her sights. Like many folks, she gets hung up in the games and feels like it takes her much too long to do them. And even with that time, she misreads or misinterprets the rules. The guys suggest that Juliana’s probably actually going too fast during the games and that by slowing down she may be able to improve her accuracy. Juliana also wants to know whether she should ask for accommodations based on the fact that she has ADHD, even though she’s able to nab a practice 170 without. Tune in to hear what the guys have to say—and then pop some popcorn so you can have a snack while Nathan and Ben argue over Ben’s hypothetical murder trial.

1:35:00 – LSAT Demon Success Story

Sometimes you just leave a test feeling like a badass. That’s Ana during the April test. She feels great about her performance and feels pretty sure she fared better than her February sitting. Now she’s looking forward to the June test, too, as well as more studying in the LSAT Demon. Awesome news, and good luck in June, Ana!

1:36:06 – Leaving Khan for the Demon

Anon stopped studying with Khan and came over to…the dark side. The Demon. The best f*cking LSAT prep platform you could ask for. With the LSAT Demon, anon saw their score jump from a 149 to a 162. That is an amazing, life-changing jump. Congrats!

1:39:08 – Retaking Full-Length Practice Tests

Daniel’s seen some pretty great progress taking the LSAT. After a cold diagnostic of 142, he worked his way up to a 165 on record last July. Now he’s trying to break into the 170s. He just sat for the April test, but doesn’t feel confident about the outcome and is looking to June. He asks the guys the best way to prep for the upcoming test. Should he continue to retake full-length practice tests? The guys suggest looking at older tests. There is a fount of LSAT challenges in older tests. Nathan also recommends that Daniel steer clear of full-length tests and instead do more timed sections and more drilling to prep.

1:46:28 – Excuse of the Week

It’s your (sometimes) weekly segment, Excuse of the Week. In this part of the show, the guys air an excuse overheard in LSAT study groups, prep classes, and the like. This week? A student complains about the disservice the LSAT Demon is doing to users. Apparently, the interface is too nice and doesn’t prepare students for the sh*t interface they have to deal with when it comes to Law Hub and the LSAT-Flex. They also don’t like that The LSAT Demon doesn’t have a highlighter function even though the LSAT does. Ben and Nathan agree that if you’re highlighting sh*t at all, whether the Demon has a highlighter function is the least of your worries. Don’t highlight things. And enjoy a nicer interface while you’re beefing up your LSAT-slaying skills.