Showing posts with label book recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book recommendations. Show all posts

LSAT PrepTest 75 (June 2015 LSAT) Available

Just wanted to let you all know that LSAT PrepTest 75 (the June 2015 LSAT) is now available on

PrepTest 75 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 October 2015 LSAT and beyond to thoroughly study this exam. The LSAT evolves over time.

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).

New LSAT SuperPrep Book from LSAC

LSAT Blog New LSAT SuperPrep Book LSAC
Coming soon: A new LSAT SuperPrep book from LSAC

LSAC has announced that in Spring 2015, it will release LSAT SuperPrep II: a new LSAT book containing LSAC-written explanations for LSAT PrepTest 62 (December 2010 LSAT), LSAT PrepTest 63 (June 2011 LSAT), and a "never-before-disclosed test form."

Up to this point, LSAT SuperPrep was only book containing LSAC-written explanations for full LSAT PrepTests. That book contains the February 1996 LSAT, February 1999 LSAT, and February 2000 LSAT (PrepTests A, B, and C, respectively).

I'll update my day-by-day LSAT study plans to reflect the release of the Official LSAT SuperPrep II once LSAC releases it.

Aside from the SuperPrep books, you can get explanations for LSAT PrepTests here on LSAT Blog. There's a big list of them in Best LSAT Prep Books.

LSAT Books for People Who Aren't Lazy (but don't want to read zillions of pages)

A few weeks ago, I read one of those articles about how sitting at desks is bad for your back, curves your spine, yadda yadda.

But I learned I could improve my posture by elevating my computer while sitting.

I thought a phone book might do the job, but turns out, they don't exist anymore.

So, I looked around... 

And noticed a couple of LSAT books (surprise, surprise). I put them under my computer, worked!

I was able to raise my computer...A LOT:

LSAT Books Are REALLY long

Logic of Real Arguments by Alec Fisher | Excerpt

The following excerpt about analyzing arguments is from Professor Alec Fisher's The Logic of Real Arguments.

Law School Decision Game Book

LSAT Blog Law School Decision Game BookI just received a copy of The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers from law school admission consultant Ann Levine.

In her new book, Ann gives some great advice about how to make the decision about whether to go to law school.

Among other topics, she covers:

-how to decide whether law school is right for you
-how much money lawyers actually make
-how to pick a law school
-how to decide which area of law to specialize in
-how to decide whether to go into BigLaw, solo practice, or alternate careers

Among the most important aspects of Ann's book is the fact that she devotes a good deal of space in her book to the fact that many of you will take on significant student loan debt in order to pay your law school tuition.

Ann surveyed more than 300 practicing attorneys about their experiences, both with regard to the practice of law and with regard to current economic realities.

In short, her book is a welcome response to the many recent articles about the current state of the legal profession and will be a much-needed dose of reality to those whose reasons for attending law school stem primarily from John Grisham novels and To Kill a Mockingbird.

LSAT Cheat Sheets

I hate long-winded books - here's how I made LSAT studying easyish.

Imagine it's the first day of class.

Professor McSuckyworkloadington says:

"For my class, you have to read these 3 books. Each one's 300-400 pages long....but if you'd rather not read 3 books, you can read this other 500-page book instead. 
Whichever option you choose, you still have to read EVERYTHING...AND I assign TONS of exams to get you ready for the big final."

I don't know about you, but I'd be out the door REAL fast.

But what if that class was required?

You'd have to come up with a strategy to QUICKLY condense everything in those books. do you do this?

You could find classmates and divide up the work with them.

BUT...they might end up being busy, or forgetful, or just plain dumb.

You could just read the first and last paragraph of each chapter to save time.

BUT...there's important stuff in the middle, and you don't know where or what it's going to be.

Unfortunately, my friend, you have to actually get that stuff into your brain.

So, here's what I'd typically do in college:

I'd read what the professor emphasized in class and condense it all onto a SINGLE piece of paper.

It still took a lot of time, and I had to write very small.

But having everything reduced to 1 piece of paper gave me a quick reference - it made things a lot less threatening and a lot more manageable.

Studying for LSATs, however, was like Professor McSuckyworkloadington’s class on steroids.

Most LSAT books are 300-500 pages long! And the ones on the shorter side usually cover only ONE section when the LSAT has THREE.

Now, I REALLY wanted to increase my LSAT score and get in the 170s, so I put a lot more effort into studying for the LSAT than some random class in college.

That's part of the reason I spent A FULL YEAR studying for this damn thing, reading every LSAT book I could find.

While I was going through all those books, I came back to my trusty "cheat sheet" method from college. Without them, it was just too hard to keep track of everything I needed to know.

So, inspired by the ones I made for myself way back when...

I've done the same thing for LSAT prep and admissions to save you the trouble of doing it yourself.

Here's exactly what I've done for you:

I've created Cheat Sheets for each of the LSAT's scored sections: Logic Games, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension.

Each one's a quick 2-page reference to a particular section. If you (or a trusted friend) are clever with a printer, you can print them double-sided, giving you 1 piece of paper covering each section.

I ALSO created a cheat sheet for the law school admissions process covering both the personal statement and résumé.

You can print as many copies as you want so you'll have them ready anywhere you go.

Things you can do with your LSAT cheat sheets:

-Staple/paper-clip them to the inside cover of your LSAT prep books.
-Tape/pin them to the wall above your desk.
-Post them on your refrigerator.
-Tape/pin them to the wall in front of your toilet for bathroom reading.
-Keep them in the car for when you're stuck in traffic or just have time to kill.
-Load them onto your smartphone, tablet, e-reader, etc.

Things you CANNOT do with your LSAT cheat sheets: 

-Cheat (in case LSAC sees this & gets confused)
-Make paper airplanes (please respect them)

"Sweet, I'm in! How do I get these cheat sheet things?"

Here's what you need to do to get the cheat sheets:

1.) Choose the cheat sheets you'd like below.
2.) This takes you to a PayPal payment page. (You don't need a PayPal account.)
3.) Enter your credit card and press ‘Pay’.
4.) PayPal will confirm your purchase.
5.) You'll immediately get an email from me with your link to download your cheat sheets.
6.) You'll start getting better...SSOOOOOOO much the LSAT.

You can get all 4 Cheat Sheets at once for only $49.97:

LSAT Logic Games, Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Law School Admissions Cheat Sheets

Or, you can get just the 3 LSAT Cheat Sheets for only $39.97:

LSAT Logic Games, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension Cheat Sheets

If you're already doing great in some sections and just need help with others, you can pick out the individual Cheat Sheets you want for only $14.97 each:

LSAT Logic Games Cheat Sheet

LSAT Logical Reasoning Cheat Sheet

LSAT Reading Comprehension Cheat Sheet

Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet


UPDATE: After several requests, I've now added a Law School 1L Cheat Sheet to give you an overview of the different classes you're likely take in your first year of Law School. You can get it for only $9.97 here:

Law School 1L Cheat Sheet

View Cart


"What do they look like?"

Here's a mini-screenshot of the LSAT Logic Games Cheat Sheet, just to give you an idea:

LSAT Logic Games Cheat Sheet Sample
Side 1 (Front)

LSAT Logic Games Cheat Sheet Sample
Side 2 (Back)

More fun facts: 

* The 1st page of each LSAT Cheat Sheet gives you general advice, strategies, and information for that section. The 2nd page helps you identify and approach the specific question-types for that section.

* The 1st page of the Admissions Cheat Sheets gives you general advice, strategies, and information for the law school personal statement and "Why X?" essay. The 2nd page helps you create your law school résumé.

* In order to fit everything to 2 pages for each Cheat Sheet, font sizes used range from 9pt-12pt. If you have REALLY bad eyesight, I suggest using a magnifying glass or a copy machine to "en-medium" them. Or some special screen-reading software.

* Each cheat sheet is meant to be printed on a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

* Obviously, these are only 2 pages and don't cover EVERYTHING about a specific topic. Please don't buy this and then write to me saying, "But you didn't mention [obscure topic that barely ever comes up]." If you want something that covers EEEEEVVVVERRRYTHING, buy one of the 500+ page books instead. I exercised my dictator-like judgment about what was worth including, and what wasn't.

* These are PDFs available for instant download after submitting payment via PayPal. You can use Adobe Reader to open the files.

* If you're already registered with PayPal, the instant download link will be sent to your PayPal email address. Otherwise, it'll be sent to whichever email address you submit.

P.S. If you’re having second thoughts about buying this...I offer a full 30-day money-back guarantee. If FOR ANY REASON you don’t like the cheat sheets, just let me know, and I'll give you back all your money the very next day.

Steve J. Schwartz

P.P.S. If you consider how much money you'll make from increasing your LSAT score and getting into a better law school...or getting more scholarship money...$49.97 is such a tiny drop in the bucket.

Complete LSAT PrepTest Explanations PDF

LSAT Blog PrepTest Explanations PDF CompleteUPDATE: LSAT explanations for these exams are now available in various bundles as PDFs.

Please disregard the below.


Complete Explanations for LSAT PrepTests 47-59 (October 2005 LSAT - December 2009 LSAT) are now available for instant PDF download.

One of the most common requests I get from my students and blog readers is for explanations of particular LSAT questions.

Although I'll explain any question in my LSAT tutoring, there's a limit to the amount I have time to write down.

Fortunately, I just learned that fellow LSAT tutor Matt has written complete explanations for every single question in each section of LSAT PrepTests 47-59 (October 2005 LSAT - December 2009 LSAT). The explanations for each PrepTest are over 50 pages in length. Not only do these explain why the right answer is right, but they also discuss why each wrong answer is wrong.

At the moment, each exam's complete explanations are only


You can download complete explanations for the free June 2007 LSAT PrepTest (PDF) to see what they're like. Download the June 2007 LSAT PrepTest (PDF) to follow along.

Rather than having to add over a dozen different sets of PrepTest explanations to your cart one-by-one, you can save time by clicking the range of sets of explanations you'd like:

Explanations for LSAT PrepTests 47-59

Explanations for LSAT PrepTests 47-51

Explanations for LSAT PrepTests 52-59

Also click the relevant link below to add each individual set of complete LSAT PrepTest explanations to your cart.

LSAT PrepTest 63 Explanations (June 2010 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 62 Explanations (December 2010 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 59 Explanations (December 2009 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 58 Explanations (September 2009 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 57 Explanations (June 2009 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 56 Explanations (December 2008 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 55 Explanations (October 2008 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 54 Explanations (June 2008 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 53 Explanations (December 2007 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 52 Explanations (September 2007 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 51 Explanations (December 2006 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 50 Explanations (September 2006 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 49 Explanations (June 2006 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 48 Explanations (December 2005 LSAT) PDF

LSAT PrepTest 47 Explanations (October 2005 LSAT) PDF


Please note:

-In order to benefit from these, you must separately get the related LSAT PrepTests. This download does not include the actual LSAT questions from these exams.

-These are PDFs available for instant download after submitting payment via PayPal. You can use Adobe Reader to open the files.

-If you're already registered with PayPal, the instant download link will be sent to your PayPal email address. Otherwise, it'll be sent to whichever email address you submit.
-Due to the nature of digital downloads, LSAT Blog cannot offer any refunds. All sales are final.

Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold | Ebook PDF

LSAT Blog Law School Getting In Ebook PDFThe vast majority of content here on LSAT Blog is, unsurprisingly, about the LSAT.

However, plain common sense tells me that just about all of you are considering law school.

As such, I asked lawyer/author Thane Messinger to make his excellent book, Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold (Amazon), available to all of you for instant PDF download. He graciously agreed.

You can read this excerpt about personal statements from the book as well as this interview I conducted with the author.


At the moment, this 374-page guide to law school is only $6.97.


Here's a description of the book directly from the publisher:
Nearly all law school books steer students in the wrong directions: ubiquitous case briefs, extensive notes, "color coding," cramming, and bad behavior against other students. None of that is good, and none of that will work. At best it creates a needlessly negative environment for many if not most law students. More deeply, it feeds an environment seen later in unethical behavior towards clients and peer professionals alike. The focus in the middle of the book is in cutting half of the makework that passes for a "study" workload, yet leaving more time for genuine comprehension. This approach draws upon how real lawyers learn law; they can hardly waste time as law students routinely do.

No other book offers a method to study law, well, in less time, with a focused, realistic approach. This book, which builds upon rather than competes with these other titles, is written by an attorney and educator with decades' experience in learning law concisely, and it is this approach that will be so beneficial to law students.

Please note:

-This is a PDF available for instant download after submitting payment via PayPal. You can use Adobe Reader to open the file.

-If you're already registered with PayPal, the instant download link will be sent to your PayPal email address. Otherwise, it'll be sent to whichever email address you submit.

Law School: Getting In | Personal Statement Excerpt

The below excerpt is from Thane Messinger's Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold.

The Perfect Personal Essay

Personal essays might be the only form of cruel and unusual punishment never raised to the Supreme Court. How to find your soul—and then package it just right—for some unknown admissions committee? How to do so when you’re busy enough with part-time jobs, classes, crushes, and the occasional all-nighter?

First, your essay cannot be rushed. You should, optimally, think about it for years. If you’re reading this while contemplating law school once you graduate college (or high school and then college), that’s time enough to think about what it is that’s important to you, and then how you might—with at least some literary flair—present that to a faceless group of senior law school professors, deans, and admissions officers.

What if you don’t have years? Well, this is hardly theoretical as most of us end up throwing something together in months, if not weeks. You must think of something unique. Not off-the-wall. But unique. This means unique to you. The admissions committee will have read, hundreds if not thousands of times over, about “Why I love the law!” and “Why me ’cause I’m gonna’ save the world!” And so on. Does this mean you should not say that you love the law or that you’re planning to save the world? Well, unless you have some way to convincingly explain that love, or that passion for utopia…that’s correct. You should not attempt a “standard fluff” essay.

You should also not read any book on “best” essays for admission to law school. The moment they hit the shelves, they become exactly the type of essays not to use. Why? Because admissions folks then see hundreds of essays that practically plagiarize. No, no, no.

I was surprised when I spot-checked some of these. The essays I read were such a turn-off that I would have been hard pressed not to toss the entire application into the Reject pile, regardless of the LSAT. This is deeply personal, true, but what they should see is a glimpse of your better self—or your not-so-better self, with some indication of self-awareness, critique, and general ethical value. In other words, are you a decent person? Not perfect. Decent.

What the admissions committee is looking for is some indication of what type of lawyer you will be—the type of person you are. While this might seem like a tall order—how can thousands upon thousands of essays be “unique”?—in reality it’s a taller order for them than for you. After all, you need to write just one.

So, writing an essay about a childhood experience with, say, a grandparent’s involvement in a lawsuit and the impact that that had on you, and the reasons that affected your thinking about what the law should be—that might be more effective than a fluffy “I wanna’ save the world” (which is easy to read as “I really wanna’ make a lot of money but I’ll pretend to want to save the world”).

Now, don’t everyone write about your grandparents. It should be something unique. To you. Something that, while it might and should strike a chord in anyone who reads it, is intensely personal. No one other than the committee (and whoever you ask) will read it. As with the LSAT, this is something you should take exceedingly seriously, and it is something you should want to be proud of. It should be an essay that will knock your socks off when you find it in a box fifty years later.

It’s not much of an exaggeration to state that, aside from your LSAT score, your personal essay is the most important part of your application. It almost goes ahead of your GPA. Even with a stellar LSAT score and GPA, a bad essay will kill your application. And if there’s anything to save a mediocre LSAT score or GPA, it’s your personal essay.

As to asking others to read your essay, it’s common to ask parents, family, or friends to read your drafts. This is a mistake. Even if they are exceptional writers, they’re the wrong ones to give advice. First, they’re too close. That means they’re probably too subjective about whatever it is you’re writing. Second, they’re probably not from the academic or law school worlds, which means that what guides them might (and probably will) be different than what guides the admissions committee. Finally, they’re almost certain to be too gentle. Yes, that is worse. Unless they tell you “This is crap!” as a standard response to any situation (in which case see “they’re too subjective,” above), chances are they won’t tell you what really does need to be redone.

So who, then? Most likely, you should ask professors who have known you at least reasonably well, and you should make it clear that you want genuine criticism—and you should be prepared to take it. If you even start to talk back when they do critique your work, pinch yourself. Hard. If you can slap yourself without being noticed, do that too. You need help. And what you write will almost certainly not be good enough…not yet. This willingness to honestly review and then to revise is the essence of high-quality writing. You should accept with genuine appreciation a real critique, meaning a higher-order “This is crap…and here’s what you might do to fix it.”

The result should be an essay that you read, re-read, and re-re-read many times over, smiling as you wonder who on Earth wrote such a lovely piece. My goodness, how can they not let you in?


Check out Thane Messinger's Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold for more.

You can also read more Law School Personal Statement Tips on the blog.

Excerpt/interview for LSAT Blog / © Thane Messinger 2008-2011

Photo by Allie Brosh / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Law School: Getting In | Interview

Law School Getting In InterviewI recently interviewed Thane Messinger, author of Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold.

Our discussion follows.

1. What are your thoughts on the importance of law school rankings?

Law school rankings have become almost a hypnotic focus among both students and administrators. Curiously, it is of only indirect (but serious) interest within the profession. It might thus pay to also look at just how legal employers view rank.

The law is an intensely status-oriented profession. Much has been written, and much is said (and not said) in everyday conversations among lawyers and law students, each of whom is aware of—if not consciously promoting—a pecking order of legal status. Less is said on why this is so. First, let’s get a few points out the way.

Are rankings meaningful? Yes, they are.

So they describe real differences among law schools? Yes, they do.

Should they be used to decide which law school to attend? Well, in true lawyerly fashion: yes and no.

To treat law school rankings as unimportant—whether out of ignorance or indignation—is foolish. Rankings do reflect qualitative differences between and among law schools. On the other hand, looking only to rankings is equally foolish, and treating law schools with rankings within a half-dozen places of each other as hugely different is simply nonsense. Both extremes set up a bit of a straw man, as few take either approach.

Still, it’s important to keep the value of rankings firmly in mind, as a decision about attending one law school or another can make a big difference. Moreover, as to the last point, it is quite common to use rankings to highlight close difference—But this school is three points higher!—rather than treat them as they should be treated.

Rankings reflect gross, not fine, distinctions, based on both objective and (hugely) subjective criteria with wide margins of error. So, comparing #12 with #37 or #37 with #92 are fair comparisons worthy of consideration. Comparing #12 with #16 is seductively easy—and qualitatively incorrect. Within a half-dozen, other attributes are more important.

2. I’m glad you’re bringing the practitioners’ view into the discussion. So what are some of these qualitative differences?

Law school is not just some combination of buildings, faculty, students, and graduates. Instead, a twofold reality heightens the sensitivity of lawyers to status. The first is the highly competitive nature of law school. The second is the highly risk-averse nature of law practice. These two factors combine to create a system that is nearly a caste system in its orientation and effect.

Is this right? Wrong question. I happen to believe it is foolish. Many others decry it. But the reality is that it is. To hope that we can wish it away—without substantive changes in how our profession operates—is simply that, wishful thinking. For our purposes, wishful thinking is worse than silly. It will set you up for failure, as it’s easy to mistake the “wishful” part for something approaching reality.

There’s a paradox in this debate, and that is that law practice has elements of egalitarianism that are almost the opposite of all of the above. In litigation especially, it is the nature of persuasion and of winning, and of a consistent superiority at both, that marks the superior attorney. The paradox comes in that one’s pedigree is of little importance in the real world of the courtroom (and even, for a corporate lawyer, boardroom)—but of great importance in getting there.

Even more, the airs of a fancy law degree, or of a superiority complex, can work very much against us. Few jurors like being condescended to, and as a result, many top litigators look as if they just arrived to the courthouse via Trailways. Quite a few affect a less-than-holier-than-thou appearance, so as to connect to the individuals who will ultimately, if indirectly, decide their case (and earnings). Even in corporate offices, while senior executives expect a pedigreed counsel (and get it), they generally prefer down-to-earth, let’s-get-the-job-done consigliere, not snippy bluebloods.

3. I can certainly agree with that. Law students are very, very smart, and it’s good to hear this advice. How does this tie in with the “name brand” aspect of rankings?

There are two ways to approach this: the “egghead” answer and the just-the-facts-ma’am answer. Law schools are status-conscious because of professors, and because of lawyers. Together—along with a society that knows only brand-name schools—these support a self-reinforcing structure built on status.

So who sets these standards? Law professors are an obvious starting point. But, because their worlds are generally focused in, well, law school, there’s another group that heightens this already-strong orientation towards status. That is the world of lawyers and law practice. Firms are populated with individuals who have attended law school, of course. The better the firm, the more likely its inhabitants have attended the top schools. But, in most cases, the experience with law school begins (and ends) there. As a result, the practitioner takes a nearly-monochromatic view of the law school world: there’s “my” school…and then there’s everyone else’s.

The “law schools for everyone else” are clearly worse than my school…unless everyone else “knows” that such-and-so school is better. Drats. So, if one attends, say, a well-regarded regional law school, its graduates will relish the ego-boost of admiration from others, especially if practicing in that region. What happens when someone walks in from, say, Stanford? Well, sure, that’s an okay school too. And so it goes.

How many law schools can most non-lawyers (or even lawyers) mention? Hmm. There’s Harvard, of course. And, oh yes, Yale, Stanford. Columbia and NYU, for those on the East Coast. And the Universities of [insert nearest states here]. See where this goes? Chances are most of us can name the top dozen or so schools. We could probably come up with another dozen, and if someone named a few others, we’d get those too. But two hundred? No way. Only one group knows even a substantial fraction of that total: those about to apply to law school. Even law school deans focus only on schools near and above them.

So, what that means is that the entire population relies on “name brand” and on “me-and-better” to decide status (above the general status of being a law graduate). This is one reason law schools have begun to spend serious money in branding—to improve name recognition among those who might apply (and, ahem, among those who might be asked by U.S. News and World Report.)

In short, there’s a very real emotional pressure to believe one’s own school is better than it is—and to help others to believe so too—and so there’s constant pressure to connect with those schools higher above. This, in turn, heightens the value of schools—geometrically if not exponentially—the higher they are. Winner take all.

It’s an academic version of what happens in locker rooms from junior high on. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but it’s hardly likely that we’ll change this little aspect of our psychology. More to the point, what this means is that the law practice world—which accounts for the vast majority of lawyers—feeds the weight given to objective measures, which in turn are driven by standards such as how many books are in the library (and you thought measurements would stop), how much money is spent on faculty (of obvious interest to law professors), and professors’ own views of their world.

Professors deal with the same human emotion: the school they went to is best, while the others range from dreck to okay. And it doesn’t matter who you’re talking with. If they attended the University of Virginia, their many glories are front and center, and only schools clearly better than UVA are in The Club (i.e., the Ivy League.) In this sense, it’s like looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars: everything around what you’re looking at is squished to nothingness.

An important point: the less secure one is, the more important status is. I’ve seen lawyers almost visibly sizing each other up by their law schools. This happens more often among younger lawyers; this is a no-no among older and better lawyers. Indeed, after working with excellent lawyers from “lesser” schools—and poor lawyers from top ones—few senior attorneys get hung up on pedigree. Among law students, it’s often a one-upmanship about their LSAT or undergraduate school or, amazingly, prep school. I remember one attorney in particular who it seemed was thinking for a split second how to respond when hearing that a more-junior associate attended a better school. It was actually far better, and both were playing games with the other in terms of one-upmanship. It was a game both lost, by the way. Why a focus on this? Why can’t we just say “law school is law school” and be done with it?

Well, for one thing, it’s not true. For another, there’s that human element again. Once one has graduated, there’s a natural inclination to live in the reflected glory of that school. This can be for practical reasons (getting a job), or for ego-driven ones. (You went there!?) But still…why? Because our sense of self-worth, particularly for lawyers, is tied up with how we perceive ourselves as smart, and how much we depend upon others seeing us as smart. If we can reflect in academic glory, we feel the warm glow of that self-worth.

4. Another question I get asked a lot is related to whether there is a difference between the quality of material actually taught in different law schools.

Yes, indeed. The “Don’t Top Law Schools Teach Law Better?” question.

The answer? Nope. This used to be a common refrain among (you guessed it) graduates of the top schools. The accusation and assumption was that good law schools taught theory—the ability to “think like a lawyer”—while lesser schools taught mere mechanics of black letter law, like a trade school. This was often said (and written) with a proverbial sneer: a “real” law school taught manly law (i.e., theory), while piddling law schools taught sissy law (i.e., how to go to court).

Although this might have been true at one time, it is no longer. All law schools now teach the same law, the same way. The bulk of law professors come from the same background: Top 5 law school, top clerkship, a year or two at a top firm, and then on to an assistant professorship. Even the lowest-ranked law schools can get, with today’s job market, the same caliber of astonishingly pedigreed new professor. They have all sipped from the same well, and even “local schools” that have an interest to focus on the laws of that state now focus as well on exactly the same doctrines that the “big boys” do. And even if all their professors didn’t come from a Top 5 school, they all want to have come from one…so they’ll be even more sensitive to teaching “theory,” just like the big boys.

This prejudice carries forward in odd ways. One book states that “top J.D. programs require a lot of work.” Um, all J.D. programs require a lot of work. It’s just that they don’t require as much work as everyone seems to believe—and they certainly don’t require makework. Top or otherwise. So, if you’re going to go to one school over another, don’t let it be for this reason.

LSAT PrepTest Question Explanations for Logical Reasoning (a free sample!)

I've written explanations for over 1,000 LSAT questions. Below, I'm including a small free sample of the Logical Reasoning explanations just so you can see what they're like.

Get the full LSAT PrepTest explanations for LSAT PrepTest 65 (and TONS of other exams) HERE.

These are just for the first Logical Reasoning section of LSAT PrepTest 65:

Section 1

1. Question Type: Strengthen

Gap: The argument concludes that a diet doesn't necessarily have to be extremely low in fat in order to protect the heart. This is based upon evidence that those following the Mediterranean diet were less likely to have a 2nd heart attack than were those in the other group, even though the Mediterranean diet contains fat. In order to strengthen this argument, we're looking for new information to help connect the Mediterranean diet (and its fat) to a lower risk of heart attack.

(A) This just promotes another route one could take in attempting to reduce the risk of a second heart attack. It certainly doesn't do anything to promote the idea that the Mediterranean diet can aid in the health of one's heart.

(B) See above. This tells us that the particular oils in the fat found in the Mediterranean diet actually *aids* the health of the heart, rather than harming it. If this is true, then a diet certainly doesn't need to be low-fat in order to protect the heart.

(C) We're not concerned with whether the study's participants continued following the Mediterranean diet after the study concluded. We're concerned with the implications of the study's results on the relationship between fat consumption and heart attack risk.

(D) We're not concerned with other factors (such as exercise) in addition to diet. We're specifically concerned with the relationship between diet and heart health.

(E) Whether drugs can help in addition to the Mediterranean diet is irrelevant. We're only concerned with the Mediterranean diet and the fats/oils associated with it.

Correct Answer: (B)

2. Question Type: Conclusion

Among other things, this stimulus contains both evidence (1st and 2nd sentences of stimulus) and an intermediate conclusion (3rd sentence of stimulus). The intermediate conclusion is supported by the 2nd evidence sentence, and it goes on to support the main conclusion itself, which is the first half of the stimulus' final sentence. The second half of that final sentence also serves as evidence for the main conclusion, which immediately precedes it.

(A) See above. This statement is directly support by the immediately-preceding sentence, which, in turn, is supported by the stimulus' 2nd sentence. The entire stimulus is concerned with promoting the idea that florists should plan ahead and stock up on white carnations.

(B) This is the second sentence of the stimulus, which simply serves as some basic evidence - there aren't any statements that support this one.

(C) This first sentence of the stimulus simply serves as some evidence. There are no statements that support it, so it can't be the overall conclusion.

(D) This serves as evidence for the main conclusion that florists should stock up on the white carnations.

(E) This is our intermediate conclusion. While it's supported by the second sentence, it also serves as support for the following sentence. Since it serves as evidence for something else, it can't be the main conclusion itself.

Correct Answer: (A)

3. Question Type: Evaluate the Argument (EXCEPT)

The wording of this question stem is a bit unusual. For this question, we're really just looking for the four choices that could help us evaluate the argument. Whatever remains is our answer, as it doesn't really help us to evaluate the argument (and would be the choice least useful in helping us to evaluate it).

This argument essentially claims that everyone should use low-wattage bulbs even though they cost more because they have a variety of enormous advantages for the homeowner. In order to evaluate the argument, we'd want to know, among other things, what those advantages are, as well as how they relate to the money one has to invest in the bulbs.

(A) The cost of electricity associated with using each bulb is certainly relevant to determining which type of bulb is truly better for the homeowner.

(B) The profits the industry folks expect to make from sales of these bulbs are not relevant to whether everyone should actually use them or not. It's tempting to eliminate this choice as one that *is* relevant because one might think "well, they're obviously biased in advocating for it (in the middle of the stimulus)." However, just because they'd happen to benefit from these sales, it doesn't have anything to do with whether low-wattage bulbs are actually the better option. To say otherwise would be to commit an ad hominem attack (attacking the personal characteristics of the source of an argument, rather than considering the argument on its own merits).

(C) Knowing how much more the low-wattage bulbs cost as compared to the regular ones is important to determining which is better. If the low-wattage bulbs were significantly more expensive, that would certainly weaken the argument, and if they were only a little more expensive that would strengthen the argument.

(D) The experiences of those who've already experienced the difference would certainly be relevant as well. Perhaps the light that low-wattage bulbs give off is low-quality in some way that detracts from the experience of those who use them.

(E) Learning how the life of each bulb is very important to determining whether a homeowner should use the low-wattage bulbs. If the low-wattage bulbs burn out very quickly, then the homeowner would have to keep buying new ones.

Correct Answer: (B)

4. Question Type: Conclusion

The stimulus features an argument by analogy. It's giving us evidence in the form of the swimming pool example to give us a general principle that it claims should be applied to the soft drink/candy example. It argues that it's more important to teach children what to do instead of forcing them to do what's appropriate. As such, the stimulus is arguing in favor of *teaching* children why they shouldn't consume soft drinks and candy instead of solely restricting the products.

(A) Nothing in the stimulus supports the idea of TV being a good source of information. TV is simply mentioned in passing as a source of advertisements of the soft drinks and candy.

(B) There's no evidence in the stimulus to suggest this. Again, TV is mentioned in passing as a source of advertisements of the soft drinks and candy.

(C) See above. The stimulus is concerned with demonstrating that it's more important to teach children the nutrition relevant to consumption of soft drinks and candy than it is to simply restrict consumption.

(D) The stimulus doesn't suggest anything about physical activity - the principle we're to extract from the swimming example doesn't suggest that the children in this example should be taught behaviors such as these.

(E) The principle we're to extract from the swimming example doesn't suggest avoiding the source of the problem altogether. Rather, it suggests learning how to deal with the issues it raises.

Correct Answer: (C)

5. Question Type: Weaken

Gap: The argument assumes that simply because 2/3 of those interviewed by TV program were against the proposed freeway, that the program itself is biased against the freeway. It's failing to consider that perhaps this is a fairly accurate representation of the general opinion of those affected by the proposed freeway. Or perhaps maybe even more than 2/3 of those affected by the freeway are against it, so the fact that 2/3 of those interviewed were against it was actually under-representing their numbers.

(A) Whether those watching the program were aware beforehand or not is irrelevant. We're concerned with whether the percentage of those depicted on the program against the freeway is indicative of bias on the part of the TV program.

(B) The viewers' expectations are completely irrelevant to potential bias on the part of the TV program.

(C) We don't know whether their emotion would indicative of greater or lesser bias on the part of the TV program, so this can't be said to affect the argument.

(D) See above. This suggests that the actual percentage of those against the proposed freeway is somewhat in line with general opinion. If a significant majority of the public were in favor of it, then the stimulus' argument would have a better case for accusing the TV program of being biased. However, learning that this is *not* the case weakens the argument significantly.

(E) This strengthens the conclusion (even if only a little bit), rather than weakening it, by suggesting that the TV station is *more* likely to be biased, rather than against it. In any event, this still doesn't involve the evidence about the percentage of those interviewed who were against the proposed freeway.

Correct Answer: (D)

6. Question Type: Parallel Reasoning

The stimulus gives us a situation where someone is unsure of whether something is true, but the individual errs on the side of caution by extending the benefit of the doubt to another.

(A) This choice exhibits a line of reasoning similar to that described above, making it parallel to the stimulus. The individual isn't sure whether he or she repaid Farah, but this individual errs on the side of caution and decides to repay Farah just to be safe.

(B) This choice is simply concerned with the speaker's expectations - not with erring on the side of caution to *perform* a particular action.

(C) The speaker gives a reason why he or she opposes a particular course of action, but there's no admitted ambiguity similar to that of the stimulus.

(D) This choice features a line of reasoning arguing in favor of a particular course of action and even explains how it could be financed, but, again, there's no admitted ambiguity or erring on the side of caution similar to that in the stimulus.

(E) This choice gives us an example of a person whose writing was not adversely affected by her personal experiences in a particular way, but none of this has anything to do with erring on the safe side and extending the benefit of the doubt to another.

Correct Answer: (A)

7. Question Type: Conclusion

The stimulus features an argument by analogy. The evidence in the form of the medicine example gives us a general principle that it claims should be applied to the topic of government intervention in the free market. We can extract the principle from the medicine example that a particular course of action has both positive and negative effects, the course of action should only be pursued if the positives significantly outweigh the negatives. As such, we can infer that the argument is concerned with demonstrating (in its conclusion) that government intervention in the free market should only be pursued if the positives of doing so significantly outweigh the negatives.

(A) The popularity of a course of action among those affected is not a principle covered by the stimulus.

(B) The medicine example doesn't set such a high standard for taking a course of action. Rather, it lays out the positives significantly outweighing the negatives as the requirement for pursuing a course of action.

(C) It might be perfectly fine for the course of action (government intervention in the free market) to significantly worsen existing problems if the positive consequences of such intervention significantly outweighed those negative consequences.

(D) See above.

(E) The concepts of solutions and unsolvable problems are never discussed by the stimulus.

Correct Answer: (D)

8. Question Type: Flaw

Flaw: This argument is guilty of a correlation-causation flaw. It assumes that just because there's a relationship between a relatively lower consumption of fat calories and those who read nutrition labels, that the label-reading is what's *causing* people to consume fewer fat calories. It's entirely possible that both of these qualities are simply due to the fact that these people are health-conscious.

(A) See above.

(B) The argument doesn't make use of any kind of sample. This stimulus is not describing a study. Rather, it's simply talking about this category of people in general.

(C) This describes the flaw of confusing necessary and sufficient conditions, but this argument doesn't feature conditional statements, so it can't be guilty of this flaw, as it doesn't feature any necessary or sufficient conditions at all.

(D) The argument only features one explanation (a causal relationship) - not two.

(E) The argument never discusses anyone's intentions.

Correct Answer: (A)

9. Question Type: Conclusion

The argument concludes that it's unlikely that Apatosaurus was able to gallop. It uses the fact that Apatosaurus' leg bones wouldn't have been able to deal with stress of galloping, and would've broken as a result, as evidence, and this evidence is supported by experiments with modern bones that were similar in key respects to those of Apatosaurus.

(A) This is tempting, as it is an intermediate conclusion, supported by the experiments. However, this is used to support the main conclusion, that it's unlikely that Apatosaurus would've been able to gallop.

(B) This evidence serves to support the claim at the beginning of the stimulus' 2nd sentence.

(C) See above.

(D) This serves as a general summary of the argument (when combining the intermediate conclusion and main conclusion). As such, this choice is going beyond just the main conclusion itself, which is simply the final clause of this choice.

(E) This is a fact would strengthen the validity of the experiments conducted with modern bones, but there's no evidence supporting this statement in the stimulus, so it can't be the main conclusion.

Correct Answer: (C)

10. Question Type: Role of the Statement

The stimulus claims in its second sentence that the advance of fortifying the salt with iron could reduce anemia caused by iron deficiency. The stimulus then goes on to provide some facts about salt that support this claim. The statement in question is one of these facts, so it serves as evidence for the argument's conclusion.

(A) The statement in question supports the argument's conclusion about the advance helping to reduce anemia due to iron deficiency. As such, it's not the conclusion itself.

(B) See above.

(C) The argument never attempts to disprove this statement. Rather, this statement supports this argument's conclusion, so it is part of the argument.

(D) This statement doesn't limit the argument's conclusion in any way - it supports the argument's conclusion, giving us reason to believe it's true.

(E) It doesn't serve as any kind of example. It's a broad statement that gives us reason to believe that salt fortified with iron could be a viable way to reduce anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Correct Answer: (B)

11. Question Type: Parallel Flaw

For this question, we must find the flaw in the stimulus and then look for the answer choice exhibiting the same flaw.

Flaw: In the stimulus, the inspector fails to consider an obvious possibility - perhaps Mr. Tannisch stole his guest's diamonds himself. As such, we're looking for an answer choice where there's an obvious potential culprit that the argument fails to consider.

(A) See above. In this choice, the argument fails to consider the possibility that perhaps the food from the camp cafeteria is the cause of the campers' illness.

(B) This argument actually doesn't exhibit any kind of flaw. It's perfectly reasonable, and its conclusion is moderate ("might have").

(C) This argument just takes past trends as being somewhat indicative of future ones. The conclusion is a little strong ("unlikely") given the simple fact that there are multiple swimmers, it's at least somewhat likely that one of them might win. In any case, this isn't the same flaw as that of the stimulus.

(D) This argument fails to consider that the cause of the cavities on the left side of her mouth may be due to causes other than chewing on that side. It's simply assuming that chewing must have been the cause. However, the stimulus doesn't assume that one specific factor must be the cause to the exclusion of others. Rather, it fails to consider one obvious cause.

(E) This argument is flawed because it assumes without providing adequate evidence that the peas will probably perform similarly to the tomatoes. However, we don't have any kind of comparison without warrant in the stimulus, so this flaw isn't similar.

Correct Answer: (A)

12. Question Type: Resolve the Paradox

This question is asking us to help explain why different shrimp populations at the different reefs have significant genetic differences, given that we would've expected the currents to mix the populations, leading them to be genetically similar. A choice that explains how mixing (due to the currents) could occur, yet interbreeding still *not* occur between the different populations, would help to resolve the paradox.

(A) Even if this were true, it still wouldn't do anything to help explain why the shrimp of different populations in these reefs aren't interbreeding but are instead remaining separate, developing genetic differences. The information provided by this choice is both unsurprising and unhelpful. It'd likely be the case with regard to any species that animals within one species differ less genetically than do animals of different species. 

(B) We're not at all concerned with what happens within a shrimp population. We're only concerned with what's going on *between* the different shrimp populations at these 11 different reefs. Also, note that the choice says "differ genetically" - all it's telling us is that these shrimp aren't genetically *identical* (like clones or twins). As with (A), this isn't telling us anything we wouldn't already reasonably assume based on a common understanding of genetics one would learn in a middle school biology class.

(C) See above. If we learned that the shrimp return back to their own reefs for breeding, this would prevent the interbreeding expected in the stimulus, allowing the genetics of each population to diverge.

(D) Learning that shrimp may leave their reef of birth upon reaching maturity doesn't tell us anything about why the different populations aren't mixing genetically.

(E) This choice is somewhat similar to (D). Learning that some shrimp leave their reef of birth and don't remain within one of the 11 different reefs still doesn't explain why those who *do* remain aren't mixing with shrimp from other populations.

Correct Answer: (C)

13. Question Type: Strengthen

Gap: The argument concludes that seawater farming near the sea level should be cost-effective in desert regions based upon the evidence that pumping seawater into such farms is relatively cheap. It would help us to strengthen this argument if we learned that pumping seawater into such farms is a significant cost associated with farming. This new information, combined with the fact that we already know pumping seawater into such farms is relatively cheap, would increase the likelihood that these farms are cost-effective.

(A) We're not concerned with the relative nutritional value of different types of plants. Rather, we're concerned with strengthening the conclusion related to the cost-effectiveness of certain types of crops.

(B) The fact that salt is necessary as opposed to tolerable for halophytes is irrelevant - we're concerned with the costs associated with seawater agriculture near sea level in desert regions.

(C) These research expenditures wouldn't necessarily be related to the costs associated with conducting the seawater agriculture described - and if, for some reason, they were, that would likely weaken the argument regarding cost-effectiveness, rather than strengthening it.

(D) Variation in the costs associated with growing halophytes in different types of farms is unimportant, as we don't know *how* the costs differ. Are they cheaper to grow by means of seawater irrigation? Are they more expensive to grow in this way? The answer choice doesn't tell us, so, by itself, it doesn't affect the argument either way.

(E) See above. Learning that such pumping of water is a proportionally-large cost associated with farming certainly increases the likelihood that seawater farming near sea level in desert regions can be cost-effective, given that pumping water in this type of area is cheaper than in other types of regions.

Correct Answer: (E)

14. Question Type: Strengthen

The general principle in the stimulus tells us that if a contract is written in such a way that a reasonable customer wouldn't bother to read it thoroughly before agreeing to it, then the law should privilege what one would've reasonably expected it to say, rather than what it actually *does* say. The application suggests that the insurance company should be required to pay for damage to Celia's car caused by hail, even though the contract specifically excluded hail damage.

The missing piece here that would make the principle relevant to the application, strengthening it, would be if we learned that the contract that Celia signed was one that a reasonable person wouldn't have bothered to read thoroughly. If we learned that this was the case, then it allows us to make sense of the statement that the insurance company should have to cover the hail damage to Celia's car, even though the contract excluded it (because we're now privileging what the policyholder would've expected, rather than what the policy actually stated.

(A) and (D) These doesn't explicitly tell us that the contract was written in such a way that a reasonable person wouldn't read it thoroughly before signing it.

(B) See above.

(C) and (E) This doesn't tell us that it would be reasonable for someone to expect hail damage to be covered by the policy. (With regard to (C), the fact that Celia *did* read the contract is irrelevant.)

Correct Answer: (B)

15. Question Type: Flaw

Flaw: The argument assumes that simply because iatrogenic disease accounts for half of all deaths, that if we were to prevent all iatrogenic disease, the number of deaths per year would decrease by 50%. It's failing to consider that at least some of the people who would've died from iatrogenic disease will instead die from something else (perhaps whatever it was that they were in the hospital for in the first place). It's not as if all of these people would suddenly be immortal if they were prevented from dying due to iatrogenic disease.

(A) This category of disease is completely irrelevant. The stimulus isn't concerned with preventing noniatrogenic disease. Even if it did consider the effect of the prevention of noniatrogenic disease, the fact remains that the stimulus is failing to consider that which is described above.

(B) Even if some can be replaced by less risky alternatives, this still doesn't address the argument's assumption about cutting the number of deaths per year in half.

(C) See above. Even if they're won't die from iatrogenic disease if it's to be cured, this doesn't mean that they won't die from something else.

(D) The stimulus accounts for this by introducing the idea with "if". Whether it's possible to do so or not is irrelevant.

(E) Whether iatrogenic diseases are as common as this choice implies is irrelevant. We're concerned with addressing the argument's conclusion about cutting the number of deaths per year in half.

Correct Answer: (C)

16. Question Type: Sufficient Assumption


(If we had the statement "A or B", we could diagram it as:

NOT A -> B
NOT B -> A)

As such, the first sentence of the stimulus can be diagrammed as following:

NOT Vote Against -> Abstain
NOT Abstain -> Vote Against

The second statement tells us:

All Abstain -> Decided by Voters

Combining this with the first conditional above, we get:

NOT Vote -> Abstain
If ALL Abstain -> Decided by Voters

Faced with these conditionals, the activist concludes that at least one city councilmember should vote against.

Learning that the proposal shouldn't be decided by voters would explain (and fully justify) the activist's conclusion that at least one city councilmember should vote against.

As such, the principle that the proposal shouldn't be decided by voters is the ideal sufficient assumption, and it's what we're looking for in the answer choices.

(A) This is referring to the second sentence of the stimulus, as well as telling us which way the city's voters would vote. However, this has nothing to do with the activist's recommendation in the conclusion regarding what at least one city councilmember should do. And we're not concerned with what the voters would do. The stimulus is primarily concerned with the city councilmembers.

(B) See above.

(C) The stimulus is not concerned with what the city councilmembers *will* do. Rather, it's concerned with what they *should* do.

(D) This is simply a negation of the stimulus' 2nd sentence, and it still doesn't have anything to do with the activist's recommendation in the conclusion regarding what at least one city councilmember should do.

(E) This doesn't really fit any of the parts of the argument. The conclusion tells us that *at least* one member should vote against - it's not concerned with what should happen if *exactly* one votes against. Additionally, this doesn't relate the conclusion back to the evidence, so it's not doing anything to guarantee the conclusion's validity.

Correct Answer: (B)

17. Question Type: Flaw

Flaw: The argument fails to consider that perhaps people's confidence in their own personal financial situations is directly related to their confidence in the overall economy. If this is the case, then the media critics aren't necessarily mistaken.

(A) This choice has it backwards - the argument should be considering how people's perception of the overall economy affects their views of their own situations, not vice-versa.

(B) The argument never made any assumption or claim regarding the extent to which such news reports are accurate. The argument's more concerned about whether the reports impact people's views of their personal financial situations.

(C) This is along the lines of negation and distortion of different pieces of information in the stimulus advanced by the critics. They tell us that people's views of their own economic situation can be affected by hearing of information from economic reports, but this doesn't mean that anything close to the opposite of that needs to be considered. The argument isn't concerned with those who *don't* pay attention to economic reports - we're only concerned with those who do.

(D) See above. This suggests that if people take a negative view of the overall economy, then they'll also take a negative view of their personal finances. As such, we can say that their opinion of the former is closely related to their opinion of the latter.

(E) We're not concerned with whether people are affected by economic downturns differently depending on their degree of awareness of what's coming - this isn't specifically related to the critics' claim that news reports can affect people's perceptions of the economy.

Correct Answer: (D)

18. Question Type: Necessary Assumption

Gap: The argument assumes that because people must have already tried to domesticate every large mammal species currently in existence, most of those around today would probably be hard to domesticate or not worth the trouble. It fails to consider that perhaps human understanding of domestication has significantly advanced in the past few thousand years. If this were the case, then perhaps domesticating these animals would be worth another shot, since it might be much easier to domesticate them with modern technology and techniques.

(A) We don't need them to have tried to domesticate every *single* wild large mammal species. The conclusion is limited to *most* wild large mammal species.

(B) See above. In order for the conclusion to be valid that domesticating these animals is too hard or not worth doing, it must be the case that it's not much easier to domesticate these animals now then it was back then.

(C) The stimulus doesn't *require* that some of them went extinct. Even if none of them had gone extinct, that wouldn't affect the argument in the slightest. Either way, it's only concerned with those still in existence today.

(D) The argument doesn't impose any relationship *between* the ease of domestication and the benefit derived from doing so - it simply mentions both of these factors in its conclusion.

(E) While the stimulus implies that the ones that are easier to domesticate have probably been domesticated already, it doesn't require that they were domesticated in order of ease of domestication.

Correct Answer: (B)

19. Question Type: Strengthen

Gap: The argument assumes that this year's bird population must be larger than usual *because* of the mild winter. The mild winter allowed birds to stay in the region instead of migrating, *and* it allowed them to forage instead of using the bird feeder. Something relating at least one of these facts about the mild winter to a larger-than-usual bird population would help to strengthen the argument.

(A) This doesn't tell us *which* specific weather patterns lead to increases in bird populations.

(B) This doesn't tell us *how* the mating behaviors differ. If this choice had told us that when birds don't migrate south, more mating occurs in general (leading to population increase), *that* would strengthen the argument.

(C) See above. This relates foraging to survival because it's telling us that using the bird feeders (as they would've done in a harsher winter) would make them more vulnerable to predators, leading to a relatively lower population.

(D) This actually weakens the argument, rather than strengthening it, by suggesting that birds that don't migrate south, but instead remain where they are would have less food available to them during the winter. This would likely lead to a population *decrease* rather than a population increase.

(E) This has no impact on the argument. We're not concerned with where they get their food from unless we we're given specific reason to believe one source is better than another.

Correct Answer: (C)

20. Question Type: Flaw

Flaw: The argument fails to consider the possibility that newspapers cover small observational studies more frequently than larger randomized trials not because the small observational studies have a higher likelihood of dramatic findings than do large randomized trials, but because there are simply many more small observational studies, period. It's entirely possible that small observational studies are just as likely (or even less likely ) to have dramatic findings as are large randomized trials, but it's simply due to the much-larger *numbers* of small observational studies that there's a larger number of such studies with dramatic findings.

(A) The argument doesn't question the motives of those reporting study findings (it never even mentions these individuals, who would likely be scientists).

(B) The journalist's doesn't question the validity of any study's findings merely based upon how dramatic the results might seem.

(C) The argument isn't guilty of any such confusion - it simply states that there's a greater absolute number of newspaper stories about small observational studies than there are stories about large randomized trials *because* small observational studies are more likely to have dramatic findings.

(D) See above.

(E) The journalist never discusses *why* results might sound dramatic - it simply states that certain studies’ findings do sound dramatic (1st sentence of stimulus), or are dramatic (last sentence of stimulus).

Correct Answer: (D)

21. Question Type: Necessary Assumption

Gap: The argument suggests that because trees aren't as effective as native grasses when it comes to capturing carbon dioxide, the government incentives encouraging farmers to plant trees are actually worsening the problem of global warming. However, we don't necessarily know that the land where farmers are planting the trees could've been used for native grasses instead, or that native grasses were there already. What if native grasses couldn't be grown in that region for some reason? If this were the case, then the trees may actually be helping by capturing some of the carbon dioxide.

(A) This would certainly strengthen the argument that trees are making the problem worse, but this doesn't actually *need* to be the case. The argument never requires that trees actually emit carbon dioxide - just that they capture less carbon dioxide than do the native grasses.

(B) The first sentence of the stimulus tells us that the government incentives are *causing* many farmers to plant trees, but it doesn't need to be the case that government incentives are *required* in order for most farmers to plant trees.

(C) The stimulus never tells us anything about land that's been deforested - nothing needs to be the case about such land.

(D) See above. In order for it to be the case that the government incentives are worsening global warming (relatively speaking), it *must* be the case that at least some of the land where farmers are planting trees for that government money would've otherwise been used for native grasses (which would've captured even more carbon dioxide).

(E) We're only concerned with countries where government incentives for *tree-planting* have been put into place. We're not concerned with incentives encouraging the growth of native grasses.

Correct Answer: (D)

22. Question Type: Role of the Statement

The argument's conclusion is the stimulus' first sentence, and all of the following statements serve as support for that conclusion, either directly or indirectly. The statement in question is a subsidiary (intermediate) conclusion. It supports the first sentence and is supported by the stimulus' final two sentences.

(A) It supports the conclusion - it's not the conclusion itself. The first sentence is.

(B) The argument doesn't show this to be inconsistent with any evidence - the evidence actually *supports* this statement.

(C) No observed phenomenon is mentioned in the stimulus - everything's abstract.

(D) This is evidence that supports the argument - the argument doesn't ever go against this statement.

(E) See above. It serves as evidence for the argument's main conclusion (first sentence).

Correct Answer: (E)

23. Question Type: Point at Issue

(A) The first two statements made by the physician suggest that the physician would agree with this statement, but the trampoline enthusiast never expresses an opinion about whether a *significant* number of people are injured using them.

(B) Neither the physician nor the trampoline enthusiast makes a statement about what the *main* source of trampoline-related injuries is.

(C) The physician doesn't even come close to expressing an opinion about whether the rate of injuries per use is declining. The trampoline enthusiast suggests that the rate of injuries per *home trampoline* is declining, but the enthusiast doesn't express any opinion on the number of injuries per trampoline *user*.

(D) This is tempting, but neither the physician nor the trampoline enthusiast actually expresses an opinion on whether professional supervision tends to lead to a decrease in related injuries. It's simply that the physician favors professional supervision and the trampoline enthusiast opposes it.

(E) The physician explicitly states in the final sentence that trampolines should only be used when there's professional supervision, so the physician would likely agree with this choice. The trampoline enthusiast explicitly states "I agree" immediately following that statement, indicating that the enthusiast would disagree with this choice.

Correct Answer: (E)

24. Question Type: Strengthen (Principle)

The editorial concludes that the coverage of the local politician's nephew was good journalism because it was accurate and there was significant interest. For this question, we're just looking for a generalized version of this argument, because if a generalized version of it (in the form of a principle) is valid, then the specific reasoning in the stimulus is further justified.

(A) This is a negation of the situation in the stimulus, so it's not relevant. We're concerned with journalism *not deserving to be criticized if it *does* provide what people want.

(B) This is along the lines of a negation of the situation in the stimulus, so it's not relevant. We're concerned with journalism *not* deserving to be criticized if it *doesn't* intentionally misrepresent the facts. We'd actually want to go one step further and say "if it's accurate," since the information in the coverage was accurate in the stimulus.

(C) See above. If we learned that being accurate and covering a subject of interest to many constitutes good journalism, then the editorial's conclusion that the coverage was good journalism is greatly strengthened, as it met both of those criteria.

(D) We're concerned with what's sufficient to guarantee that something constitutes good journalism, not with what good journalism does in general.

(E) This is along the lines of a negation of the situation in the stimulus, so it's not relevant. We're concerned with journalism that *does* satisfy curiosity and *does* provide information, not journalism that doesn't. Additionally, we'd want to go one step beyond saying that something can be *considered* good journalism to say that it *definitely* is good journalism, as that would further justify the reasoning in the stimulus.

Correct Answer: (C)

25. Question Type: Must Be True

Because the stimulus contains multiple conditional indicators ("if" and "all"), it's a good idea to diagram it to make some links between statements:

1st sentence: C or R -> PP
2nd sentence: Most WD PP -> Art 
3rd sentence: NOT C PP -> NOT WD PP
4th sentence: C PP -> SI

Since the 3rd and 4th sentences both talk about being comfortable, we can take the contrapositive of one of them in order to link them together. I'd recommend taking the contrapositive of the 3rd one in order to make NOT WD into WD. This way, we can make the statement entirely positive (by also changing UC into C - essentially making that variable positive as well). Doing this gets us:

3rd sentence contrapositive: WD PP -> Comf PP (if a public place is well-designed, then it's a comfortable public place)
4th sentence: Comf PP -> SI (if it's a comfortable public place, then it has a spacious interior)

Linked: WD PP -> Comf PP -> SI

This is the only true linking we can easily do with this information, so it makes sense to just run through the choices and see if anything matches with what we've got (while keeping the first 2 sentences in mind as well).

(A) This is along the lines of a logic reversal of the 4th sentence, confusing necessary and sufficient conditions (since we know that restaurants are public places).

(B) This is a confused combination of the 2nd sentence and the contrapositive of the 3rd, while transposing the "most" into the wrong place. We can't infer anything about most public places that feature artwork, as this is a category never discussed in the stimulus.

(C) This is also a misapplication of the word "most" from the 2nd sentence. We know that most well-designed public places in general feature artwork, but we don't necessarily know that this ratio of majority extends within the category of coffeehouses in particular. In other words, just because most well-designed public places feature artwork, this doesn't mean that a majority of each *type* of public place features artwork - we don't know that the ratio holds true within categories.

(D) This one's a bit tricky, but we know from the first sentence of the stimulus that coffeehouses and restaurants must be public places, and we know from our linking of the contrapositive of the 3rd and 4th sentences that any well-designed public place must have a spacious interior.

(E) This is a logic reversal of our linking of the contrapositive of the 3rd sentence and the 4th sentence. Just because well-designed public places have spacious interiors, this doesn't guarantee that anything with a spacious interior is a well-designed public place (and we certainly don't know that this applies specifically to coffeehouses, either).

Correct Answer: (D)

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