#FakeNews in LSAT Reading Comp

If you’re studying for LSAT Reading Comp, it might not be best to practice with news stories. This is because they generally fit into one of two categories:

Hard news stories
1. Hard news stories tend to include the key details first, then zoom out to give the context

Ex. The president signed a bill into law yesterday to _______. The article then continues by giving other parties' reactions, then some reflections on why or why not this new law might be important and/or good.

Human interest stories
2. Human or public interest stories with more of a local spin usually start with a short anecdote, then zoom out for larger story.

Ex. "Yesterday, a giant squid attacked Joe as he relaxed in his in-ground swimming pool the other day. Sadly, this attack is only latest in a long string of giant squid attacks. No one knows how the giant squids are getting into these pools. Local law enforcement officials say they are doing everything in their power to prevent future attacks. The mayor recommends that citizens carefully check their swimming pools before entering. The evil scientist at the local marine biology research laboratory was not available for comment."


Okay, maybe a giant squid attack is more along the lines of hard news, but it just sounded like fun. You know what I mean.

People have short attention spans, so newspapers want to get most important info to readers first. This goes for The Economist, NYTimes, etc.


Newspapers generally choose one of the two models I mentioned for one main reason: they know that most people probably won't read the entire article, but they want to keep the public informed, or at the very least, give people the impression that they're learning something important.

LSAT Reading Comp passages are NOT structured this way. By design, they aren’t from the “real world”.


LSAT Reading Comp passages are written by LSAC and take regular reading material and rework it to make it as boring as possible.

The best advice I can give when preparing for Reading Comprehension passages is to read a lot of Reading Comprehension passages. 


Sounds simple, but there just aren’t any short cuts here. If you read my article on this, you’d know how to focus and make it easier. If you didn’t catch that one, or just need a reminder, you can find that article right here.

Catch you next time!
Steve


Recommended Resources:
1. LSAT Courses
The best of my LSAT material with exclusive access to attend my Live Online LSAT Master Classes + Q&As, and on-demand video lessons you can watch anytime. Plus, LSAT study plans to keep you on track. Save hundreds of dollars with an LSAT course package.

2. Logical Reasoning Explanations
The explanations that should have come with the LSAT. These don't just fall back on "out of scope," but actually tell you why the wrong answers are wrong, why the right answers are right, and the easiest way to get the correct answer.

3. Logical Reasoning Cheat Sheet
Based on what I'd typically do in college: read what the professor emphasized and condense it all onto a single piece of paper. It gave me a quick reference, making things a lot less threatening and a lot more manageable.




LSAT-Flex vs Regular LSAT | Biggest Differences

For many, it's a more pleasant experience to be doing it at home and to be doing only 3 sections rather than 5.

But some will be disappointed if they're relatively stronger in Logical Reasoning, given that logical reason has gone from being 1/2 of the scored questions to only being 1/3 of the exam instead.

Logic Games is approximately 1/4 of the exam for the in-person administration, is now approximately 1/3 on LSAT-Flex. (In practice, it's slightly less than because it's typically 23 questions, on average.)

Reading Comprehension is typically around 27 questions, so slightly more than one-third of the LSAT-Flex.

Logical Reasoning is about 1/3 -- 25 questions.

The overall LSAT-Flex will be approximately 75 questions. They say "approximately" to give themselves some wiggle room, and my interpretation of that is the approximately even number of questions per section allows for them to go with the traditional number of questions per section =(which varies slightly from exam to exam).

For more, check out the LSAT-Flex FAQ and LSAT Unplugged LSAT-Flex playlist.

How Dan got a 25+ point LSAT score increase

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite LSAT stories.

Dan isn’t shy about letting people know how he whiffed on practicing for his first LSAT. He’s brutally honest - reading through his story, it’s clear he was procrastinating and putting his social life ahead of his studying. And he isn’t alone in this!

Second, Dan started out with a 141 and ended up with a 168. That’s huge!! It’s just a great testament to what you are capable of if you really put your mind to it.


“I found that on my second attempt using a day-by-day LSAT study schedule was the most important thing. For the previous exam I had simply given myself tasks that were to be completed by the end of the week. With procrastination kicking in here and there, this method often left me behind on my work.


I went back to previous exams and questions and thought very carefully about what sections I needed to improve on and where I could make the biggest gains. First, it became very obvious that I needed to spend time practicing reading comprehension questions. Scoring -9 to -7 on this section just simply wasn’t going to cut it, and I also believed that it was a section that, with time, could become a personal best. I began by reading Steve’s tips on the section and then disciplining myself to writing two timed reading comprehension sections a day beginning with prep test 7 and ending with 46.

As I became more comfortable with the reading comprehension section I found two of Steve’s recommendations to be the most helpful: (1) focus on structure, and (2) be able to support every answer with information from the passage. Repeated practice also allowed me to foresee what areas of the passage would be questioned and thus, my markings became less-often and more precise. In a few weeks I was between -3 to -5 per RC section—a great improvement.”



That’s just a small section of Dan’s LSAT Diary, which is absolutely full of good advice. Also, he’s great at communicating his thought process at every step, so you can follow along with him as he made that monumental leap from first test to final score.



If you’ve got some time, I highly recommend it.

Sincerely,

LSAT Steve




P.S. Whether you’ve taken the LSAT yet or not, I want to hear your stories! Just reach out - I read every message myself.





Which first - LSAT question stem or stimulus?

Hey everyone!

I was fortunate enough to get to interview Dr. Stephen Harris, who is a former LSAT question writer as well as the author of a fantastic book called Mastering Logic Games.

We got into a lot of good stuff in the interview, but one of my very first questions for him was a simple one that I’ll bet you’ve asked yourself too:

Should you read the stimulus or the question stem first?  
Here’s what Dr. Harris had to say:
“Always, always, always read the stem first. To begin with, the stem typically tells you what the task is that’s associated with the item, so you don’t know what you’re supposed to do (or even if you want to try) until you’ve read the stem. This is especially important since what you want to pay attention to in the stimulus depends on the task at hand. For example, you should approach the stimulus of a conclusion question completely differently than that of a flaw question or an inference question.

And even within a particular item type, say inference items, subtle differences in wording can suggest different things to look for in the stimulus. For example, if an inference stem says “…must be true that …” you have a strong hint that formal logic (“P ---> Q” stuff) may be involved and will look for it in the stimulus; but if instead the stem reads “…provides the most support for…” you would expect that the process of elimination will be involved, and you would pay attention to the relative strength of the answer choices as you worked through them.”   



So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.


You can read the rest of the interview right here ------->  


Or, if you really enjoy these sort of things then you can real ALL the interviews I’ve done with him. Spoiler alert: there are a lot. I’ve compiled those on this page.

’Til then,
Steve, the “Oprah Winfrey” of the LSAT

…because I do a lot interviews.



P.S. Next time, we’ll get to hear from someone who improved their score over 20 points! 


Recommended Resources:

1. LSAT Courses
The best of my LSAT material with exclusive access to attend my Live Online LSAT Master Classes + Q&As, and on-demand video lessons you can watch anytime. Plus, LSAT study plans to keep you on track. Save hundreds of dollars with an LSAT course package.

2. Logical Reasoning Explanations
The explanations that should have come with the LSAT. These don't just fall back on "out of scope," but actually tell you why the wrong answers are wrong, why the right answers are right, and the easiest way to get the correct answer.

3. Logical Reasoning Cheat Sheet
Based on what I'd typically do in college: read what the professor emphasized and condense it all onto a single piece of paper. It gave me a quick reference, making things a lot less threatening and a lot more manageable.





How Andy turned an LSAT tragedy into a triumph

Today we’re going to meet former LSAT student Andy, who turned tragedy into a triumph.

Andy will be the first to admit in his LSAT Diary entry that he didn't study nearly has hard as he should have for his first LSAT, and that came back and bit him with a score that wasn’t even close to what he wanted.
Determined to do better, Andy discovered my 4-month day-by-day LSAT study schedule and got to work. The result: a 15-point improvement to a score of 169!

Andy learned a few things in this process – here are just a few of his tips - in his own words:


1. Review. Take a break. Review:
For my first initial PrepTests, I was flabbergasted behind some of the reasoning for the correct answers. On rare occasions, I would spend up to an hour thinking of why B was right over A until I got it. It almost didn’t seem worth it. I revised my strategy for reviewing, circling the questions I really didn’t understand and coming back to them after a nap or a nice run. Mental breaks from problems allowed me to approach the question again from another perspective; whereas without it, I was still stuck in a particular train of thought.  



2. Work with a small desk:
I mainly studied on a small, cheap IKEA desk in my room. It was flimsy, bothersome, and pretty similar to my test center conditions. Because I was used to tiny desks normally, I didn’t have to fiddle around like the other test takers around me to adjust on test day.



3. Talk to people:
It can really help to ease the nerves, especially approaching test day. Talking to people before the exam helped, it made me realize we were all nervous people ready to get this over. It also made me realize that quite a number of people were retaking and that it was a-okay.



I love this, because it’s the kind of advice you can only get from someone who has been there before. How many LSAT prep guides tell you to practice on a small desk?!

Check out Andy's full LSAT Diary to get his full story (and more of his tips).


Keep at it!
LSAT Steve


Recommended Resources:

1. LSAT Courses
The best of my LSAT material with exclusive access to attend my Live Online LSAT Master Classes + Q&As, and on-demand video lessons you can watch anytime. Plus, LSAT study plans to keep you on track. Save hundreds of dollars with an LSAT course package.

2. LSAT Day-By-Day Study Plans
Preparing for the LSAT is confusing. There are dozens of prep books and practice tests out there, and 1,000+ articles on my website alone. When, and how, should you use them all? These super-specific study plans give you a clear plan of attack.

3. LSAT Cheat Sheets
Based on what I'd typically do in college: read what the professor emphasized and condense it all onto a single piece of paper. It gave me a quick reference, making things a lot less threatening and a lot more manageable.






How to tell when you’re looking at LSAT conditional reasoning

LSAT conditional Reasoning isn’t the easiest thing to grasp. Especially when you’re throwing around things like contrapositive, mistaken reversal and mistaken negations. I get it - it’s easy to get bogged down.

To get started, it’s best to get the basics of LSAT conditional reasoning down first.

Here’s a quick explanation of sufficient and necessary conditions:
The sufficient condition:
-appears to the left of the arrow when "symbolized"
-is often indicated by the words "if" and "when"
-is enough to cause the necessary condition to follow, but it's not necessarily required for the necessary condition to occur
-serves as the evidence



The necessary condition:
-appears to the right of the arrow when "symbolized" 
-is often indicated by the words "then" and "must"
-often appears after a comma
-is required by the sufficient condition
-serves as the conclusion


Why this is important:
Breaking down which parts of the argument are sufficient and necessary allows you to determine the evidence and conclusion. This helps you figure out potential flaws and opportunities to strengthen/weaken the argument.

Click here for more LSAT conditional reasoning info (including examples) ---->
Next time we’ll get into some insights from Andy who increased his score 15 points to a 169 



Keep up the great work!
Steve


Recommended Resources:

1. LSAT Courses
The best of my LSAT material with exclusive access to attend my Live Online LSAT Master Classes + Q&As, and on-demand video lessons you can watch anytime. Plus, LSAT study plans to keep you on track. Save hundreds of dollars with an LSAT course package.

2. Logic Games Explanations
The explanations that should have come with the LSAT. These tell you why the wrong answers are wrong, why the right answers are right, and the easiest way to get the correct answer.

3. Mastering LSAT Logic Games
This guide to Logic Games is by a former writer of actual LSAT questions! Enough said.




How Anne improved to a 164 on her LSAT retake

Hello LSAT Faithful!

For many of you, the LSAT you are currently studying for isn’t your first go-around. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, as there are a lot of people who do this. It’s absolutely worth it too if you can improve that score!

This time, I’m sharing some tips from Anne, a former LSAT student, who had a goal of 160 but fell just short of it – she got a 159!
“I swore to myself I’d never take it again, but I gave it a month or two, asked a few very wise people for advice, and finally decided I’d go for it. I’d always been very ambitious, and the pre-law advisor at my school told me that if I was willing to really crack down, I should go for it. So I did. I was a little harder on myself this time around, making myself do more five section tests, timing myself more strictly, and overall being more realistic. I didn’t baby myself this time, and was more committed to what I was doing. I went over every single question that I missed until I got it (okay… for the most part—and especially logic games), and tried to score more consistently on each test rather than the random 167 mixed in with the 158 two days later. Also, I think I was just refreshed. I had a new take and outlook on the test, and I was able to clear my head.”


Fast forward to October, and Anne walked away with a score of 164!

Here's Anne's full LSAT Diary if you want to learn more about her journey and get more tips on studying for an LSAT retake. You might even see a bit of yourself in there!


Next time, I’ll share some advice on conditional reasoning – a fundamental LSAT concept that may change the game for you, or just a good refresher, whether you’re retaking or not.

Sincerely,
LSAT Steve



P.S. You can share your LSAT story, too! Just reach out and share your story whether you’ve taken the test yet or not.




August 2020 LSAT vs LSAT-Flex


No photo description available.If LSAC wants to administer the August 2020 LSAT in-person with social distancing, rather than an online LSAT-Flex, they will have to start thinking about things like this.

A CDC diagram from an article in the NYTimes entitled, "How Coronavirus Infected Some, but Not All, in a Restaurant":

"A diagram of the arrangement of a restaurant’s tables and air conditioning airflow at site of an outbreak of coronavirus in Guangzhou, China. Red circles indicate the seating of future case-patients; the yellow-filled red circle indicates the index case, or first-documented, patient."

Prepping for the Digital LSAT w/ scratch paper

Here’s something you may or may not know: scratch paper WILL be allowed at the Digital LSAT!

Why? Because the test-makers don't want you to be sad and miserable.

I’m kidding…kind of.

The Digital LSAT doesn't let you draw on the screen itself with the stylus pen. I don't know why not -  that's just how it is.
But obviously you need to be able to diagram Logic Games! And being able to diagram and take notes for the other sections doesn't really hurt either, just sayin'.

So if you haven’t taken the Digital LSAT yet, I'm glad to be the first to tell you that you'll have a booklet  devoted entirely to your scratch paper (about 12-14 pages, which should be plenty). So given all this...


A few ways to change your prep for the Digital LSAT:
1. Make all your diagrams and notes on scratch paper in a separate notebook.


2. If you can, work with PDFs of the exams on-screen, rather than with physical books. It's a different experience.


3. Limit your scratch paper for each PrepTest you take to a reasonable amount. I can imagine some people using it up quickly. So don't go overboard with how much space you take up. Be economical. Here's one way you might lay it out.

Digital LSAT Logic Games Scratch Paper


Of course, you can find a whole lot more about LSAT Logic Games on that section of my site.

Til next time!

LSAT Steve



P.S. Next time, we’ll highlight what goes into improving your score on an LSAT retake with some tips from a previous LSAT student, Anne.


Recommended Resources:

1. LSAT Courses
The best of my LSAT material with exclusive access to attend my Live Online LSAT Master Classes + Q&As, and on-demand video lessons you can watch anytime. Plus, LSAT study plans to keep you on track. Save hundreds of dollars with an LSAT course package.

2. Logic Games Explanations
The explanations that should have come with the LSAT. These tell you why the wrong answers are wrong, why the right answers are right, and the easiest way to get the correct answer.

3. Mastering LSAT Logic Games
This guide to Logic Games is by a former writer of actual LSAT questions! Enough said.




How I helped one student increase her LSAT score from the 150s to 170

And we’re back!

Ok, so usually I like to let LSAT Diaries speak for themselves, but I can’t bury the lede on this one.

Allison improved from the mid-150s to a 170 on the October LSAT after working with me and taking my LSAT Premium course!

I’m really proud of Allison’s progress, so here’s a bit of her story in her own words:

“I had every workbook, every practice test, every possible resource, and yet I felt really stuck a few months into studying for the LSAT. I was nowhere near my goal in terms of scoring, and I felt like I was doing everything I could do without making any progress. I was studying hours every day over the summer, working on logic puzzles and logical reasoning questions until my frustration and exhaustion would become too much. It was a terrible routine, and I was feeling more and more defeated every time I studied.  


Finally, after a few months of studying and not a lot of improvement, I found Steve's blog and began reading, and ultimately I realized that Steve's strategies and ways of talking about the LSAT on his blog resonated with me and helped things click into place, and I hadn't even accessed any of his study materials yet. I decided to buy some tutoring sessions, and to take his online video courses.


Within a few days of watching Steve's videos, I was getting better and faster at the LSAT. My thought process became more efficient and organized, and I no longer agonized over different answer choices. Then, in my tutoring sessions with Steve, I was able to discuss in detail with him questions that stumped me, and I began to identify patterns of mistakes I was making that I could now rectify with his help. With more confidence than I had felt in months, I threw myself back into studying for the test, and I was overjoyed to see my score slowly but surely climbing towards my goal.”


Allison goes on to talk about her test day experience and some great study techniques she discovered all on her own. I recommend reading the rest right here.


If you're struggling with any areas in particular, or just feeling defeated, it can sometimes be easier to work with someone personally.

I have some openings in my schedule coming up, so if you'd like help identifying and improving on your weak areas, or just feel stressed about everything in general, reach out and let me know.

Because even with all the courses, books, and free resources, the fastest way to get the score you need is by working directly with somebody one-on-one who's already been through the process.



LSAT Coaching is for you:
* if you want me to give you guidance on your study schedule.

* if you want me to analyze what you're doing wrong in problem areas (and give you ways to correct those problems).

* if you feel like you need some one-on-one help but don't have time to start over with a whole new course of prep.



So, if you feel like LSAT coaching might help with your situation, or you just want to say "Hi," just reach out and let me know, and we can talk more about it.   

And your life will transform.

-Steve (LSAT Coach)


P.S. Some find it especially helpful to receive coaching alongside other highly-motivated students in a small group. That's why I created 3PC: The 3 Percent ClubClick here to find out more.

P.P.S. For those of you who are feeling good about everything, and just want some advice on preparing for unexpected Test Day disasters.... I've got more coming your way about that next time.