June 25, 2015

LSAT Fee Waiver? Free LSAT Prep Book from LSAC

LSAT Fee Waiver? Free LSAT Prep Book from LSAC
If you're able to demonstrate financial need to LSAC's satisfaction, you can get an LSAT fee waiver (in other words, you get to take the LSAT for free, and you get some other free law school admissions services from LSAC's Credential Assembly Service.

However, LSAC doesn't make it obvious to everyone that if you get an LSAT fee waiver, you're also entitled to a free copy of LSAT SuperPrep. All you have to do is ask. 

If you got an LSAT fee waiver, email or call LSAC and ask for your free copy of LSAT SuperPrep.

However, make sure you get LSAT SuperPrep II (the newest edition of LSAT Superprep).

Details on this book in the May 2015 issue of the LSAC Report Newsletter (PDF p10):
New SuperPrep to Be Published
 A new LSAT preparation book, The Official LSAT SuperPrep II, is being prepared for publication and should be available by mid-June. Like its predecessor—the original SuperPrep— published more than 10 years ago, the book will include three previously administered tests with an explanation for each question. This amounts to 303 mini-lessons. This practice book will help users learn how to approach LSAT questions as they prepare to take the test.
 SuperPrep ll will replace SuperPrep as the test prep book provided to LSAC fee waiver recipients upon request (emphasis added).
 

June 11, 2015

Law School Letter of Continued Interest | Sample

LSAT Blog Law School Letter Continued Interest Sample
If you get waitlisted by a law school, it's a good idea to send a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI) in order to increase your chances of acceptance.

LOCIs demonstrate to law schools that you are serious about attending their school if accepted which will help increase their yield (a factor on which they're ranked in the always-important-to-them USNWR rankings.

Here's a sample law school application Letter of Continued Interest to get you started:

To Whom It May Concern / Dear _____ Admissions: 
I would like to reiterate my unwavering desire to attend _________. There is no law school I would rather attend.
 My professional and personal backgrounds would bring diversity to the community. My experience in _____ demonstrates my ability to excel in an intense, highly competitive environment. At the same time, I ___________.
 (Here, I would add a sentence or two with some kind of update on anything new you've been doing since you submitted your application. Can be work or community service-related.)
 I would be honored to be offered the privilege to join the ______ Class of 2018.
 Thank you very much for your consideration.
 Sincerely,


(Just don't use word-for-word, or they'll know you copied it from LSAT Blog!)


Why (and How) to Send Letters of Continued Interest to Law Schools (from this guest post):

Many law schools claim that they don’t want or need to hear why you wish to attend their law school. Do yourself a favor, and ignore these claims. Law schools - and particularly admissions offices - care a great deal about enrollment rates. If half of everyone they accept goes to a different law school, that reflects terribly on the admissions office, and the entire law school. They want to know that if they accept you, you will come.

Many individuals placed on the waitlist at top law schools will get into other top law schools. The admissions office knows this. If you are waitlisted at Columbia, there is a decent chance that you will be accepted at NYU, Chicago, etc. If you are one of the lucky few taken off of the waitlist, admissions officers want to know that you won’t just end up at one of these other schools.

How do you accomplish that? Simply, straightforwardly, and in a letter of continued interest. Send the letter shortly after you have been waitlisted. Let the admissions office know that you continue to be very interested in their school.

Explain why you are interested in their school. What makes them unique? Why can’t you get the same things from another law school? The more specific and detailed you are, the more likely that admissions officers will believe you.

In addition, be straightforward. If you are waitlisted at your top choice, tell them that they are your top choice. Don’t just say that you are “very interested.” If they are your top choice, you should make it very clear that you will be attending their school if you are accepted.

The letter of continued interest may be sent separately from your supplemental essays or materials. However, I would recommend that you send them together. At the bottom of your letter, you can mention that you’ve included additional materials that may be of help in assessing your application.


June 10, 2015

Balancing LSAT Prep with Work and School

LSAT Blog Balancing LSAT Prep with Work and School
Besides learning to solve LSAT questions, one of the most common issues I hear from you is that it's difficult to find the time to study.

A lot of this comes down to starting and maintaining the habits that can help you stay organized and productive.

These include:

-sleep
-diet
-exercise
-stress reduction

I love listening to podcasts, and I just started listening to The 66-Day Experiment podcast. It's all about starting and maintaining habits (iTunes, Stitcher), which is something I know I want to get better at, so I actually subscribed to it.

Relatedly, I talk about daily habits that can help you find the time to study on a recent episode of the Actuarial Journey podcast (iTunes, Stitcher). Although it's a podcast for aspiring actuaries, a lot of the tips I share (and the tips shared in other episodes) apply to anyone studying for an exam.

***

If you prefer to read, rather than listen to podcasts, I've written a few articles on habits that can help you balance LSAT prep with other obligations and find the time to study.



You can find more concrete tips in my LSAT study schedules on how to structure your LSAT studying.

June 8, 2015

Should You Retake The LSAT?

If you took the LSAT and are thinking about canceling your score, or you already got your score and it wasn't what you wanted.

Here are some thoughts on deciding whether to retake. (Also see How to Study for a Retake.)

1. Does your dream law school average multiple LSAT scores?

Most law schools don't average them anymore. Instead, they'll only count your highest LSAT score when they create your "admissions index," which is a formula combining your LSAT and GPA - each law school does it differently.


2. If you retake it, will you have to apply later?

Law schools review applications in the order they receive them (it's called rolling admissions). It's better to apply early in the cycle (usually September or October). Make sure that you'll get at least a few points higher on your retake to outweigh the downside of applying slightly later in the cycle. Consider retaking it and waiting a year, if necessary.


3. Did anything unusual happen the previous time?

If you had were sick, had a personal crisis, the test center was too noisy, or something else happened, you might do better the next time around.


4. Was your LSAT score similar to your scores on practice tests?

If it was significantly below your practice scores, you can probably score better on a future exam and demonstrate your ability.


5. Will you have the time and determination to adequately prepare?

You'll need to salvage your books from the trash and get your brain in gear. This takes effort. Create a plan that allows you a comfortable amount of time to study during both the week and weekend between now and your future test date.


6. What did you do to study the previous time?

It's best to complete several PrepTests before taking the exam for real. If you didn't do this, a retake may be in your best interest. However, doing the PrepTests is necessary, but it's not sufficient. It's also important to analyze your incorrect answers in order to understand why you answered those questions incorrectly.


7. Do you think you can improve your LSAT score?

The LSAT has a great deal of weight in the admissions process. If you think it's within your ability to improve your score, the time you invest in preparing for the LSAT and taking it again will pay for itself when you get into a better school, get merit aid, and, eventually, get a better job after you graduate.


***

I hope you don't need to retake and that you're done with the LSAT for good. If you decide to retake, see some LSAT study schedules for retakers (scroll down). Even if you've used up every single LSAT PrepTest, there's still plenty to learn from them, so don't worry. You'll still be able to study just fine.

***

I also hope my thoughts in the above post are sufficient to help you make your decision.

Unfortunately, I can't give everyone personalized advice about whether to retake, but if you leave a comment, maybe others who read this will give you some thoughts on what to do.

Wish you all the best!

May 28, 2015

LSAT Diary: LSAT Test Day Tips

LSAT Diary: LSAT Test Day Tips
This installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Xavier, who improved from the 150s to a 162 on his first actual test, to a 171 on his February LSAT retake after using LSAT Blog and reading other LSAT Diaries. (See his previous LSAT Diary.)

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please email me at LSATUnplugged@gmail.com. (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)

Thanks to Xavier for sharing his experience and advice!

May 26, 2015

LSAT Diary: LSAT Prep Timeline

This installment of LSAT Diaries comes from Xavier, who improved from the 150s to a 162 on his first actual test, to a 171 on his February LSAT retake after using LSAT Blog and reading other LSAT Diaries.

If you want to be in LSAT Diaries, please email me at LSATUnplugged@gmail.com. (You can be in LSAT Diaries whether you've taken the exam already or not.)

Thanks to Xavier for sharing his experience and advice!

May 15, 2015

LSAT Study Schedules with Donation to Watsi

From now through the end of Memorial Day weekend, I'm giving away day-by-day LSAT study schedules (normally $20-$25) 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.

How to get your LSAT study schedule:

May 13, 2015

LSAT Blog Interview: LSAT Time Management


LSAT Blog reader Jacob interviewed me at length about the strategies of top-scoring LSAT takers.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Some students get to a place where they [reach a plateau] and they’re still scoring 15 or 20 out of 25 questions on the logical reasoning and 15 or 20 out of 23 on the logic games. How do they break that barrier and get a few more points?

May 8, 2015

Fallacies and Argument Appraisal by Tindale | Excerpt

The following excerpt about the post hoc fallacy (a specific type of correlation-causation fallacy) is from Professor Christopher W. Tindale's Fallacies and Argument Appraisal.

April 23, 2015

Law School App Optional Explanation Statements


LSAT Blog Law School App Optional Explanation Statements
The below excerpt on targeted optional explanation statements on your law school application is from A Guide to Optional Essays and Addenda.