The LSAT is first and foremost a test of English reading comprehension. Strong English reading and reasoning skills are essential because lawyers in the United States are gladiators of the English language. While the LSAT is learnable for everyone, non-native English speakers may face more of an uphill battle. Today on the show, Nathan and Ben offer advice to an international student who describes his lack of proficiency in English as a barrier to achieving his desired LSAT score. In keeping with the international theme, the guys answer another listener’s questions about law school scholarships for international applicants. They also discuss whether an applicant ought to write an addendum explaining an F on their transcript. But first, the guys revisit their analysis of the index formulas discussed in previous episodes.
As always, if you like the show and 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.
6.10.2022 — June LSAT begins
6.28.2022 — August LSAT registration deadline
6.30.2022 — June LSAT scores released
8.12.2022 — August LSAT begins
Listeners Dante and Sean share their analyses of the data compiled in the Weight of LSAT to GPA spreadsheet (referenced on episode 349). Though the consensus is that LSAT scores are weighted significantly more heavily than GPAs in most law schools’ index formulas, the difference may be less drastic than Ben and Nathan had originally estimated. The guys encourage listeners to submit feedback on their analysis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
International student Santi plans to take the August LSAT and apply for fall 2023 admission. Because of student visa restrictions, he must be actively enrolled in school by that time if he wishes to remain in the United States. Santi asks Nathan and Ben for the cold hard truth on whether a 20-point improvement is likely within a three-month period. He also requests advice on how to improve his English reading and writing skills, as English is his second language.
First, the guys point out that Santi is right to be focused on improving his English skills—the LSAT is a test of reading and reasoning skills in English, so non-native speakers are at a disadvantage. Nathan encourages Santi to immerse himself in the language. He should read and write in English as much as possible for the next three months. Ben recommends that Santi focus on reading LSAT Reading Comprehension passages and learning the definitions of words he doesn’t recognize. He can gauge his understanding of each passage by how well he does on the questions, and he should refer to the Demon’s explanations for feedback on any questions he misses. A 20-point improvement is possible for Santi but only if he puts in the work with his LSAT prep.
An anonymous listener wonders whether law schools evaluate international student applications differently from those of domestic applicants. Are international applicants less likely to qualify for scholarships? The guys assure Anonymous that law schools are primarily focused on LSAT scores and GPAs. If your numbers are highly competitive, then you’ll likely qualify for scholarships—regardless of international status. Plug your stats into the LSAT Demon Scholarship Estimator to get an idea of how much scholarship money various schools are likely to offer.
An anonymous listener describes their efforts to have an F grade removed from their community college transcript. The community college denied the request. Should Anonymous write an addendum to clarify that they received the F for disciplinary reasons rather than for a lack of proficiency in the course content? Absolutely not. Ben and Nathan explain that writing an addendum would only hurt Anonymous’s application. Receiving an F due to an ethical violation is no less damaging than receiving an F for academic reasons. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by drawing attention to the worst part of your application.