Unconscious Competence in the LSAT (Ep. 335)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

Today on the show, Ben and Nathan discuss the four phases of learning and why LSAT students should strive to achieve “unconscious competence” in the material. They also break down when and how many times applicants should plan to take the official LSAT and advise a listener who is debating whether to join the Fulbright program before law school. They wrap up with a snowboarding analogy and advice to a student who scores perfectly on Logical Reasoning but struggles with Reading Comprehension.

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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2.2.2022 — January LSAT Score Release

2.3.2022 — March LSAT Registration Deadline

2.12.2022 — February LSAT

3.3.2022 — February LSAT Score Release

3:13 - 2022 LSAT Dates

Demon student Spencer shares LSAC’s recently released test dates for the upcoming cycle. He notes that there is a test scheduled for September and asks the guys if they’d recommend applying in the fall with a September score. The answer to Spencer’s question isn’t black and white and depends on several circumstances. Nathan and Ben advise listeners on when they should plan to take their first official LSAT.

18:48 - Fulbright Scholarship

An anonymous listener was selected to be an English teaching assistant as part of the Fulbright Program in Argentina. They ask Ben and Nathan for advice on whether to accept the position before applying to law school. The guys address each of this listener’s concerns and ultimately recommend taking the opportunity. They remind Anonymous to make arrangements for taking the LSAT while abroad.

35:47 - The Four Learning Phases

While listening to a book on Audible, Ben noted what were described as the four phases of learning:

  1. Unconscious incompetence
  2. Conscious incompetence
  3. Conscious competence
  4. Unconscious competence

The guys discuss how these learning phases pertain to studying for the LSAT.

49:16 - Waitlisted at USC

Listener Ty is surprised to have been waitlisted at USC with a 170 LSAT and a 3.96 GPA. The LSAT Demon Scholarship Estimator predicted that he’d receive more than full tuition. Nathan and Ben suggest a few possible explanations and offer Ty advice on what to do moving forward.

56:12 - Overcoming Hardships as a Personal Statement Topic

An anonymous listener writes in with some personal statement ideas to be critiqued. They’re considering writing about how they overcame hyper-dependence on an abuser to become independent in the Peace Corps and as a park ranger. Ben and Nathan strongly advise against writing about the abusive relationship. Instead, Anonymous should write a positive essay about their work experiences. Check out these LSAT Demon blog posts for more personal statement advice.

1:05:16 - Podcast Reviews

Nathan shares a recent 5-star review of the Thinking LSAT podcast. The reviewer praised both the podcast and the Demon but also remarked about the guys’ bluntness. Nathan wants to normalize bluntness. Ben agrees that there is value in being blunt, but he also realizes that tone affects how the truth comes across. The guys encourage more listeners to review the podcast. They’d love to hear your feedback, both negative and positive, so they can improve the listening experience.

1:12:26 - A Snowboarding Analogy

After heeding Ben and Nathan’s advice, an anonymous Demon student scored their first 100% on a Logic Games section. This student, who happens to be a snowboarder, explains how slowing down to create a better setup is analogous to a snowboarding strategy: “Moving into the questions without making sure your setups are correct and knowing how the rules interact is similar to rushing down the mountain without lacing or strapping the snowboard firmly to your feet. You’re gonna have a bad time.” The guys think this is a fitting analogy and add that it applies to all sections of the LSAT, not just Logic Games.

1:19:40 - Put in the Reps

Student Fran has been struggling with Reading Comprehension despite scoring near-perfect Logical Reasoning and Logic Games sections. After looking at her LSAT Demon dashboard, she realized that she has worked 16 more hours on Logic Games and 11 more hours on Logical Reasoning than on Reading Comprehension. She recalled a podcast episode on which Nathan mentioned “putting in the reps” for Logic Games, and she realized that she needs to do the same for Reading Comprehension. She also thanks Ben for his work on LSAT Demon’s analytics. The guys suggest that Fran focus 60–70% of her time on her weakest section but still allow time to practice the other two sections.