Service to School with Nathan Lowry (Ep. 297)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

Today’s show features an interview with Nathan Lowry of Service to School, a national nonprofit organization that provides guidance and resources to veterans applying for law school. Ben and Nathan also discuss a new Excuse of the Week and dig into the listener mailbag. Some common themes reappear: Don’t rush into law school. Take your time. Get the best LSAT score you can get. Go to the best law school that offers you a full scholarship.

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

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

2:57 – Interview with Nathan Lowry

Nathan sits down with Nathan L, the co-director of JD Operations for Service to School—a national nonprofit that focuses on helping veterans attain higher education. The organization helps about 300 applicants per cycle, pairing them with ambassadors who provide advice on the whole application process, from test prep to admissions. Nathan and Nathan discuss the many parallels between military training and LSAT prep. Both require hard work, discipline, time commitment, sacrifice, and attention to detail. A willingness to respond to authority can also help—don’t argue with the teacher who scored 179 fifteen years ago and has taught the LSAT nonstop ever since. LSAT Demon is looking forward to a future partnership with Service to School! Check out their JD resources here.

26:15 – Logic Games Test Your Reading Comprehension Skills

Like the rest of the LSAT, logic games test your ability to understand what you read. Last week’s LSAT Demon newsletter lesson started with a brain teaser that included two questions: One, if the red clown gets out of the clown car before the blue clown, which one of the following must be true? Two, unless the red clown gets out of the clown car after the blue clown, each of the following could be false except. Nathan and Ben discuss how both of these questions are asking the exact same thing. But most students find the first question easy and the second one hard if not impossible. Why? Because they struggle to translate the wording.

32:45 – Excuse of the Week

“I’m not good at numbers.” This episode’s excuse of the week comes from a Demon student who missed a Sufficient Assumption question with a passage that said “X’s price went down while Y’s price went up, so Y must be more expensive.” This is not difficult, but some students immediately put up a “I don’t do math” wall when they see anything numbers-related. Ben suggests replacing the X and Y with something more concrete. Consider this example: The price of Teslas went down, while the price of Toyotas went up. Does that mean Toyotas must be more expensive? Of course not. It’s common sense. You don’t need to love math, but all lawyers need to understand relative claims. There’s not an area of law that doesn’t require some math at a basic level.

41:50 – 170 to 178 Made Possible by LSAT Demon

Vera shares the news of her amazing score on the April LSAT. It’s even more impressive when you consider the fact that she’s not a native English speaker. She thought she had maxed out with a score of 170 after studying 12 hours a day for four straight weeks (yikes!). But then she found LSAT Demon and was able to unlock an extra eight points fairly easily through our commonsense approach to the test. Nice work, Vera!

47:25 – Rusty Games

Our next listener email comes from E, who explains her LSAT journey so far: She scored 167 on her first timed diagnostic test and then completed a total of 22 full-length practice tests. She mentions her recent untimed blind-review scores going above 170 (but her actual score stayed in the mid-high 160s). E took the April LSAT and scored 162, noting that she was “rusty on games.” First question the guys have: Why did she sit for the official test if she knew she was rusty on games? Ben notes that’s like entering a triathlon with a rusty bike. Nathan adds that people generally don’t get into the 170s without performing perfectly on games. They agree that she is spending too much time analyzing trends in her scores and not enough time working on actual LSAT questions. Your score is the result of your success on each individual question, so your focus should be on understanding each question. As your understanding of the questions improves, so will your score.

1:01:47 – Test-Day Score Drop

S was averaging in the low 170s before taking the April test, but her official score came back at 164. While she is disappointed, S notes that schools only care about the highest score, so she is signed up to take it again in June. Sounds like S has the right attitude. Still, she is struggling to figure out what went wrong on test day and asks the guys if they have any advice before her retake. Nathan and Ben surmise that S probably did something different on her official test that she didn’t do on her practice tests. A mistake that many students make is swinging for the fences on test day. Going too fast in an attempt to finish the sections may cause you to make silly mistakes. Going too slow and excessively rechecking every question can also backfire. Their advice: Start treating your practice tests like official tests—and treat the official test like just another practice test.

1:07:46 – Weighing Admissions Offers

Former Demon student Carlos is now at the end of his application cycle and weighing different offers. He studied with the Demon for six months and lifted his score from 135 to 161. He took Ben and Nathan’s advice and applied broadly. Although he has received 22 admissions offers, he claims to have narrowed it down to two options. His dilemma, as he describes it, is choosing between Minnesota (ranked 22nd) for a total cost of $140,000 and Mizzou (ranked 67th) for a total cost of $59,000. Neither of these options sound like good offers. What about the other 20 schools he was accepted to? The guys’ advice, as usual, is to take the best full-ride offer. Or, if there weren’t any great offers, take the LSAT again in August, get a few more points, and apply at the beginning of next cycle. Don’t borrow a life-changing amount of money to go to a regional school.

1:15:57 - Keep Prepping to Get Your Best Score

Zoe is a new listener from Alaska planning to study tribal law. She has been prepping for the LSAT for two months now and is worried because she hasn’t been able to get her score above 151. She is currently registered for June, but the guys advise her to hold off on the official test until she gets her practice scores solidly into the 160s. Two months of prep is really just scratching the surface for most people. Keep studying to reach your highest potential score!