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November 20, 2014

LSAT Pre-Black Friday Deal

LSAT Blog Pre Black Friday Deal
Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is just around the corner. Many Americans will spend the day fighting crowds to get deals in shopping malls and department stores.

With all the advertisements bombarding us from Thanksgiving through Christmas, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger issues. There are millions of people far less fortunate than us around the world who have much more to worry about than getting a good deal on electronics.

So, from now through the end of the weekend prior to Thanksgiving (November 23). I'm giving away free day-by-day LSAT study schedules and plans to anyone who makes a donation for the equivalent amount (or more!) to Watsi.org

For those of you who don't know, Watsi is an awesome, reputable, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that directly funds people who need medical care in developing nations around the world. You can read more about them on Wikipedia and their FAQ page.

Law School Admission Essay Topics to Avoid

LSAT Blog Law School Admission Essay Topics to Avoid
Last week, I published an excerpt on law school personal statement topics to avoid from The Art of the Law School Personal Statement by Michelle Fabio.

This week, we're continuing the series with more law school admission essay topics to avoid.

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5. Poetry or Other Creative Writing

As touched on in the 12 Commandments, your personal statement is not the place to write haiku or the draft of a screenplay. You want your essay to be memorable but not in the “Can you believe she actually sent this in?” kind of way.

And to expand a little more on the inclusion of humor, never, under any circumstances, should you write the equivalent of a stand-up monologue. Law schools are looking for intelligent, mature, hard-working individuals, so your personal statement should highlight those characteristics—not make your case to replace Conan O’Brien.


6. Awards and Achievements

The brainstorming questions touched on this topic, and one outstanding award or achievement could make for a great personal statement topic, but a resume rundown of your awards and achievements can come across as pompous and arrogant. Believe me, I’ve seen this type of personal statement, and it’s not pretty.

Your resume is the appropriate place to list your awards and achievements, especially if there was nowhere else on the application to include them.


7. Trite Reasons for Wanting to Be a Lawyer

Trite is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to “why you want to go to law school,” here are general answers you should avoid:

                      My parents (or whoever) told me I’m good at arguing.
                      I loved my elementary/high school moot or mock trial court program.
                      It’s been my lifelong dream.
                      My [fill in the relative(s)] is/are lawyers.
                      I didn’t know what else to do with my English major.

You may be chuckling to yourself, thinking who would ever try to form a personal statement around any of these ideas? Trust me. I have seen a variation of each of one of these over the years, and it’s never been good.

So should you never write about why you want to become a lawyer? Never say never, because this could actually be a wonderful personal statement topic so long as you have a compelling story to tell and tell it, well, compellingly.

Generally, though, the “why I want to be a lawyer” topic is overdone and hard to pull off in an interesting, engaging way. This is especially true if you’re planning a "save the world" theme (it's difficult for it to come off as sincere and credible—sorry!). But if you've had a particularly formative, recent experience that has stirred your passions for practicing law, sure, it can work. Just be careful.


8. Random Childhood Memories

Your personal statement should focus on people and/or events that have shaped who you are, so don’t try to form a personal statement about the one time you volunteered at the hospital telethon working the phones.

Volunteering, of course, can make for an excellent personal topic, but only if you focus on a meaningful experience that made a significant impact on you.


Now that we’ve been through what would make for good and bad topics, it’s time to get this statement put together.

November 13, 2014

Law School Personal Statement Topics to Avoid

Law School Personal Statement Topics to Avoid
Below is an excerpt from The Art of the Law School Personal Statement by Michelle Fabio.

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Before narrowing down that final topic for your personal statement, look at these below that you’re better off avoiding entirely or at least being extremely careful when writing about.

1. Low LSAT Score

Your LSAT score is in your file; if it’s low, never draw more attention to it in a personal statement. A low LSAT score because of a unique extenuating circumstance may be an appropriate topic for an addendum (more on that in Chapter Ten), but it’s difficult to imagine a situation in which it would be a good personal statement topic.

Remember, your personal statement is your chance to sell yourself, so write an outstanding essay highlighting why you’d be such a wonderful addition to the entering class. Leave the LSAT score out of it.


2. Low College Grades

Along the same lines as the low LSAT score discussion, your grades are listed on your transcript, which adcomms will receive, so don’t put a neon flashing light on your C- in Thermodynamics.

Again, if you feel there is a strong reason to attempt to explain low grades, think about doing so in an addendum (again, more fully discussed in Chapter Ten).


3. Politics

One of the questions in the brainstorming exercises asks you to consider your special interests, and for many of you, one of those is likely politics. Your experience in politics is a potentially good personal statement topic, but be careful on how you frame it.

Even if you think you’re pretty sure about an adcomm’s political leanings, it’s best to stay away from overly partisan personal statements. Your essay shouldn’t become a position paper on controversial issues such as the death penalty, abortion, war, etc. Aside from not talking about you enough (remember we want the personal statement to be personal), such an essay could risk offending an adcomm with your fiery writing on a topic close to your heart.

On the other hand, if you have worked for a politician or in depth on a particular issue and that experience has shaped your desire to attend law school, that could very well make for a great personal statement topic. Overall, though, remember to keep the focus on you and not on the politician or issue.


4. Philosophy

Along the same lines as avoiding politics, don’t use your personal statement to talk about your thoughts on jurisprudence, the role of society in the justice system, etc.

Adcomms don't want philosophical discussions, they want personal statements. Even if you think a philosophical essay represents you well, it is unlikely that you’ve expressed much about yourself personally, which should always be your goal.

A special note on this one: I’ve read many statements over the years that, although not fully philosophical, start out with a generalized proclamation about how the applicant feels about a certain aspect of society or another bland, general philosophical opening sentence.

Bor-ing.

November 12, 2014

LSAT Diary: Learning LSAT Logic Games

This LSAT Diary is from Jasmine, who's studying for the December 2014 LSAT. Below, she shares her LSAT studying experience. Read her previous LSAT Diary.

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please fill out this survey. (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)

Please thank Jasmine for sharing her story below in the comments!

November 6, 2014

LSAT Diary: Avoiding Law School Debt

LSAT Diary Avoiding Law School Debt
This LSAT Diary comes from Eric, who got a full ride to the University of Oregon Law School!

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please fill out this survey. (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken an actual LSAT exam already or not.)

Thanks to Eric for sharing his experience and advice!

LSAT Reading Comp Explanation - Evolutionary Game Theory

LSAT Reading Comp Explanation - Evolutionary Game Theory
Below is a complete explanation for the third Reading Comprehension passage of LSAT PrepTest 52 (September 2007 LSAT) and associated questions. It's an excerpt from Complete Reading Comprehension Explanations for LSAT PrepTests 52-61.

October 29, 2014

LSAT PrepTest 73 (September 2014 LSAT) PDF Download

Just wanted to let you all know that LSAT PrepTest 73 (the September 2014 LSAT), is available for instant PDF download through LSAT Blog.

PrepTest 73 is the most recently released LSAT, so it's the best reflection of the LSAT's current state. It's especially crucial for anyone preparing for the December 2014 LSAT and beyond to thoroughly study this exam. The LSAT evolves over time.

September 2014 LSAT Logic Game Solution

I just made a video explanation for the first LSAT Logic Game from LSAT PrepTest 73 (September 2014 LSAT). It's the game where a record producer plans a CD containing five instrumental pieces: Reciprocity, Salammbo, Trapezoid, Vancouver, and Wisteria.

I explained all questions in one video. (Get more free LSAT videos.)

Enjoy!

September 2014 LSAT Logic Game Explanation

I just made a video explanation for the second LSAT Logic Game from LSAT PrepTest 73 (September 2014 LSAT). It's the game where a business symposium contains 5 speakers: Long, Molina, Xiao, Yoshida, and Zimmerman speaking in either the Gold or Rose rooms.

I explained all questions in one video. (Get more free LSAT videos.)

Enjoy!

LSAT PrepTest 73 Logic Games Solution

I just made a video explanation for the third LSAT Logic Game from LSAT PrepTest 73 (September 2014 LSAT). It's the game where 3 families: Trents, Williamses, and Yandells, own at least one of 5 buildings: forge, granary, inn, mill, and stable.

I explained all questions in one video. (Get more free LSAT videos.)

Enjoy!

LSAT PrepTest 73 Logic Games Explanation

I just made a video explanation for the fourth LSAT Logic Game from LSAT PrepTest 73 (September 2014 LSAT). It's the game where a florist fills orders for 3 bouquets of containing at least one of 5 flowers: liles, peonies, roses, snapdragons, and tulips.

I explained all questions in one video. (Get more free LSAT videos.)

Enjoy!

Choosing the Right Law School Location

LSAT Blog Choosing the Right Law School Location
The below excerpt on choosing the right law school location is from Jenny L. Maxey's Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank Second Edition.