Slow Down to Speed Up (Ep. 299)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

“How do I get faster?” LSAT teachers hear some version of this question every day. And Nathan and Ben’s answer will always be the same: Slow down and focus on accuracy. Speed comes naturally with time and practice—you can’t force it. The guys discuss what Nathan calls the fundamental paradox of the LSAT on this week’s episode. They also evaluate a submission for Pearls vs. Turds, tackle another logical reasoning question from PrepTest 73, and answer a variety of questions from the listener mailbag.

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Important Dates

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

5:13 – Pearls vs. Turds

This week’s Pearls vs. Turds candidate comes from the makers of the test. Demon user Ronnie requests Nathan and Ben’s feedback on the suggested approach to logical reasoning found on They consider one sentence at a time:

  1. “Read each question carefully.” It’s hard to disagree with that—assuming LSAC is talking about the passage and question as a whole and not just the question stem. They could’ve simply said, “Read carefully.” Ben and Nathan endorse this advice.
  2. “Make sure that you understand the meaning of each part of the question.” Again, “Read carefully” would cover that. But nothing wrong with doubling down on the advice.
  3. “Make sure that you understand the meaning of each answer choice and how each may or may not relate to the question posed.” This is a definite pearl. Here are the makers of the test straight-up telling you that the wrong answers sometimes don’t connect to the question at all.
  4. “Do not pick a response simply because it is a true statement. Although true, it may not answer the question posed.” Another pearl. Sometimes they may even write an answer that they know to be true in the real world but is false given the context of the question and what they said in the passage—which you have to accept as true regardless of whether it’s true in the real world.
  5. “Answer each question based on the information that is given even if you do not agree with it.” Yep. The LSAT isn’t testing your knowledge or morals. They don’t care what you think of the information in the passage. They’re testing your ability to read and reason. Accept premises as facts, and think about whether they justify some conclusion.
  6. “Work within the context provided by the passage. LSAT questions do not involve any tricks or hidden meanings.” A lot of students, especially novices, may feel that is the case, but it’s not. The test makes perfect sense if you understand it properly. In everyday life, people often are illogical and misuse language. People jump to conclusions based on logical fallacies all the time. Lawyers must rid themselves of that kind of folly. That’s precisely what the LSAT is testing.

Ben and Nathan agree that there are several pearls here. It seems that the people who wrote this advice are the same people who write the test—not the people who administer the test.

30:43 – Slow Down to Speed Up

Nearly every day, LSAT students ask their teachers how to get fast enough to finish all of the questions. The answer at LSAT Demon never changes: Your problem is not speed. Slow down and focus on accuracy. As you get better at answering the questions with 100% accuracy, your speed will naturally start to improve. To speed up, first, you have to slow down. Nathan calls this the fundamental paradox of the LSAT. If you slow down, the test gets easier, and then, eventually, you won’t have a problem with speed anymore. Ben points out that this paradox is true in other domains as well—for example, the military has a mantra, “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

Instead of wasting your time and your teachers’ time by asking how to speed up, ask better questions. Ask questions that will help you to better understand the content of the test. Most questions probably need to start with “I don’t understand.” Ask specific questions about specific LSAT content. In the long run, a better understanding of the test will enable you to go faster.

45:16 – Logical Reasoning Question 5 from PrepTest 73

A science writer concludes that one theory must be considered inadequate simply because a second theory made the same correct prediction. What’s the flaw? We don’t know enough to dismiss the first theory. Based on the evidence provided, both theories are equally adequate. Maybe the first theory is correct, and the second one is wrong. The correct answer says just that—in a wordier way.

56:09 – Sarah’s Update

Last week, the guys offered their advice to Sarah, who was debating between paying to go to UT Austin and going to UW Madison for free. Here’s an update: She has decided to accept the full scholarship offer and will be heading to Wisconsin in the fall! But there’s even more good news. Not only will Sarah be attending for free—she also negotiated a stipend. That’s right, UW will be paying her to attend their law school. Congratulations, Sarah! You have won the law school admissions game.

59:10 – Question about Khan Academy

Dylan from Maryland has recently started prepping for the LSAT and writes in to the show for some advice. His alma mater offers a full scholarship to a law school in Vermont, and to be eligible, he needs a score of at least 160. Dylan describes himself as a generally solid test taker. His diagnostic LSAT score was 154. He has been using Khan Academy to study and wants to hear Ben’s and Nathan’s thoughts on the program. In general, the guys recommend steering clear of Kahn for LSAT prep. They’ve talked about it on the show before and found that some of the advice can actually do more harm than good. The explanations tend to overcomplicate things and can undermine your natural ability to understand the questions. The sentiment behind Khan Academy—wanting to give free LSAT prep to everybody—is great. But their techniques and explanations are bad. Instead, try prepping with Demon Free. You don’t have to pay us a dime. If Dylan takes advantage of all of the free resources we have, he’ll likely start scoring in the 160s within a month.

1:12:30 – Ana’s Update

Quick update from Ana, a former student and podcast listener. She ended up scoring 166 after prepping with the Demon. Her score helped to make up for her lower GPA, and she will be heading to law school in Canada. Way to go, Ana! She thanks Ben and Nathan for the podcast and classes, and she wishes luck to everyone who is still studying.

1:13:40 – Are LLM programs worth it?

W is deciding which law schools to apply to in the fall. The University of Miami is one that W is considering, mostly because they have an LLM program for international arbitration that sounds appealing. Now W is wondering: Is it a good idea to apply to a law school solely because of their Master’s program? Or is an LLM program not even something to consider until after graduating from law school? Ben and Nathan both have a general aversion to LLM programs. It means spending more time and money and delaying your career. You should only do it if you absolutely need to.

1:20:52 – D’s Dilemma

Avid podcast listener and Demon subscriber, D recently graduated from Duke with a 4.0 GPA—and did it while competing as a Division-I athlete. He’s taking the LSAT in June and August with the goal of applying to most of the schools in the T14. But he’s worried about how his experience stacks up against other applicants who completed internships while he spent his summers practicing for his sport. Would his ability to succeed in the classroom while playing a sport make a good topic for a personal statement? Yes, Nathan and Ben agree, people will be amazed that D maintained a 4.0 while competing in Division-I athletics. He has a rare story that will make him stand out. He sounds like a balanced applicant with an excellent work ethic. No one’s going to care that he didn’t also do an internship. D just needs to focus on getting a good LSAT score, and there’s no reason he can’t go to one of the top law schools.