In this week's episode, Ben and Nathan dig through the listener mailbag, uncovering an Excuse of the Week, stress over multiple LSAC snafus, and an update from a former listener who took some—but not all—of their advice when applying to law school. They answer questions about reading comprehension, personal statements, and when to start prepping for the LSAT. They also tackle a Paradox question from PrepTest 73.
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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!
2:50 – Excuse of the Week
Listener Jennifer took Ben and Nathan's advice to withdraw her applications and apply at the beginning of next cycle. She's on the right track—having taken the April LSAT and allowing time for a couple of retakes if her score doesn't match up to her expectations. However, she's planning to forfeit her shot at the June LSAT. What gives? Her rationale for skipping June is deemed this week's incidental Excuse of the Week. Jennifer seems to have the mistaken impression that "getting off the Colorado River the day before" precludes her from sitting for the June test. She says she'll just wait to take it again in August and October—not an ideal plan if your goal is to apply in early September. The guys remind Jennifer that they specifically advise people NOT to study on the day before the official test. If you were ready for the April LSAT, you're ready for June. Why not come home from your trip, get a good night's sleep, and take advantage of the opportunity to try again for your best score before applications open? August should be the backup plan, not October (when the application cycle is well underway). The good news is it's not too late to register for June. We hope Jennifer goes for it!
10:37 – Logical Reasoning Question 2 from LSAT PrepTest 73
In this LR passage, Jeneta makes the observation that when a salesperson thanks a customer for making a purchase, the customer—for some mysterious reason—also says “Thank you” instead of saying “You’re welcome.” Yet when a friend thanks a friend for a favor, the response is always “You’re welcome.” It's a paradox! Not really. Jeneta just lacks common sense. The guys explain the difference between two people thanking each other for a transaction and one person thanking another for a favor. Mystery solved.
26:56 – Processing Every Word
A asks for advice on how to ensure they are reading carefully enough and not missing any important details. Is slowing down and rereading everything the only solution? Ben describes his litmus test: After reading a sentence, try to translate the words into a visual concept. If you find yourself unable to do that, it probably means you didn't understand the sentence. So go back and dig in more. Nathan reminds us that the LSAT is, first and foremost, a test of reading comprehension. Lawyers aren't allowed to misread things. If you miss a question on the LSAT, it usually means you misread something. Figure out where you went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
41:20 – Chair Fuss
Stephanie writes in about her mind-boggling experience taking the LSAT-Flex in Japan. She reserved a hotel room to take the test—specifically to satisfy ProctorU's requirement for an enclosed work area. One thing she did not anticipate, however, was being told by the proctor that the floor desk and cushion in her hotel room were against LSAC regulations. Because floor desks are the norm in Japan, "BYO chair" isn't something that was on Stephanie's mind before heading to the hotel. She pleaded with the proctor to no avail and was told that she would have to reschedule—"have a great day." Stephanie asked to talk to a manager. After two and a half hours of back-and-forth, ProctorU informed her that they received a response from LSAC granting her a coveted chair waiver. Stephanie was finally allowed to proceed with her exam, but she doesn't feel she performed her best. (Who can blame her after being put through such commotion.) Nathan and Ben help her weigh her options for filing a complaint and keeping or canceling her score.
58:30 – More on LSAC's New Testing Cycle
Brittany from Tennessee already took the LSAT three times in the past year. She was planning to take it again in June, when the testing cycle resets. Then, out of nowhere, LSAC changed the testing cycle to reset in August. The website would not allow Brittany to register for the June test—she got an automatic message that her test-taking limit was reached. So she called LSAC to complain. The rep told her to write an appeal. Lo and behold, within three hours, Brittany was approved to take the June exam.
1:06:02 – Should a Freshman Start Prepping for the LSAT?
S is a first-year undergrad planning to go to law school and looking for advice on when to start the LSAT grind. It may be too early for S to decide whether they really want to be a lawyer. But, assuming it's the right decision for S, the guys agree that there's no reason to wait. An official score is good for five years. The summer between freshman and sophomore year might actually be the best time to prep. Get the LSAT out of the way when you have fewer other obligations, and then have more time to focus on your grades through junior and senior year.
1:13:52 – Is 10 Points in Two Months a Realistic Goal?
J studied with Demon Free for one month and Demon Basic for another month. They're currently scoring around 155 and shooting for a score in the mid 160s on the June test—is that realistic? Totally. As Nathan points out, not everyone is able to improve 10 points in two months, but some people do. We see dedicated Demon students making those kinds of improvements all the time. Signing up for Nathan's June LSAT Study Group is a great place to start. Come study with us every Thursday between now and the June test—a Demon Free account is all you need. If you like what you see and want more, Demon Live offers multiple live classes seven days a week.
1:19:30 – Nonjudgmental Awareness
Mike writes in with a recommendation for a mindfulness-and-meditation app called Waking Up, by Sam Harris (author of Ben's recommended book by the same title). He brings up the term "nonjudgmental awareness," which Ben elaborates on. It's all about being present in the moment and aware of what you're doing but without judging yourself. Beating yourself up doesn't do you any good. On the LSAT, this means embracing your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve.
1:21:29 – LSAC's Saturday Exemption Policy
Our next listener email comes from a wedding photographer who is planning to take the June and August LSATs. The problem is that Saturday happens to be a pretty popular day for weddings. Anonymous is booked for both Saturdays that the test is officially scheduled for. They called LSAC to ask if they'd for sure be able to take it on Sunday. The rep told Anonymous to wait until 10 days before the test, when they open time slots. Exemptions are only granted for those with religious beliefs that interfere with taking the test on a Saturday. Ben and Nathan both take issue with strictly religious exemptions, but Nathan recommends steering clear of the issue. Fortunately, the last several LSATs have offered time slots across multiple days, so odds are it won't even be a problem.
1:28:50 – Going into Debt for a Top Law School
J, who first wrote in to the show over four years ago, sends us an update. He's now a 3L in the top of his class at a top-10 law school and has a dream job lined up for after graduation. J wants to thank Ben and Nathan for their advice in prepping for the LSAT and applying broadly to a bunch of law schools. However, he chose to ignore their advice about not paying. He turned down a full-ride offer from his local law school and instead took on a mountain of student debt to attend a school in the T14. While J is happy with his decision, he is somewhat apprehensive about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he now owes. He thinks that most people would be better off listening to the advice—don't pay for law school.
1:37:30 – Don't Write an Adversity Statement
A is a junior planning to apply for Fall 2022 admission to law school. He is already starting to think about his personal statement and writes in to the show for advice. Tellingly, he refers to the personal statement as his "adversity statement." A seems to have committed himself to this theme. Now he wants to know how to speak about adversities without making them the highlight of his statement. Nathan and Ben have a better idea—just don't write about adversities. Talking about how you overcame a tough childhood isn't the best way to win over an admissions committee. They'd rather learn about your work and internships. Write about something that demonstrates to them your promise to succeed in law school and the legal field.