LSAT Diary: Making Hypotheticals in Logic Games

LSAT Blog Diary Logic Games Making Hypotheticals
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Law School Dreamer's LSAT Diary:

Monday, March 29, 2010 – Monday Already? – Almost April Already?

I can’t believe its nearly April! I really wanted to have all of my logic games studying out of the way by April, but I don't think that's realistic. All I can do is work on it as much as possible and try to not to panic too much that I may be behind schedule. Though, inside my head I keep singing that Michael and Janet Jackson song “Scream!”

I went over some of the advanced linear (unbalanced) games that I struggled with and tried to figure out where I went wrong when I chose the wrong answer. I think it's often just as important to figure out why an answer choice is the wrong answer, as much as it's important to figure out why an answer choice is the correct answer.

By analyzing where I went wrong, I was able to find a very important pattern in my wrong choices. It seems I’m often forgetting a particular rule, and when I go to make my next diagram I do not include the important rule in my duplicate diagram. One way I think I corrected this issue is by making all diagrams (showing the various placement of variables) before going on to the questions, while all of the rules are still fresh in my mind. I guess I had previously overlooked it or wrote it off thinking it's silly to spend valuable time on hypotheticals that may or may not later be used. However, this proved to be very helpful to me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 – Bad Advice!

Today at my undergraduate university I volunteered at a voter registration table (well I didn’t just volunteer, I actually planned the whole thing). During non-passing periods the halls were fairly quiet so I broke out my logic games and got to work. At one point I must have left my prep materials out on the table in plain view; before long a friend was asking my advice on prepping for the lsat.

Before I could even make a peep, one of those gunner-type know-it-alls chimed in and to my dismay gave my friend TERRIBLE advice. He said “go ahead and register for the lsat, take the test, see how you do.” Stunned, I sat there in disbelief, then I thought maybe he was joking and would correct himself. No such luck. I hate to sound argumentative but there was no way I was going to let this go – I explained this would be a bad decision not only because it would waste $150 on a registration fee just to see what the test is like, and not to mention how rattling it would be to sit for an exam without any preparation, but especially because the lsat score would stay on one’s LSAC record for three years!!!

The gunner’s rebuttal: “oh but it doesn’t matter because all law schools now take your best score.” Sure, while it may be true that many law schools now take your best score, I am not entirely convinced law schools will not take into consideration a very poor score and wonder, gee what happened?

I have also heard that some law school applications mandate you must give a written statement as to why your lsat score may have gone up or down (if the score is 5 or more points different) – this is hearsay, I haven’t seen it but I’m not quite to that point of my application cycle. Either way, I think I’ve made my point – it would be pointless to take the lsat without feeling prepared enough to go in with full confidence of performing to the best of one’s abilities.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 – Another Reason Why Its Best To Graph Hypotheticals Before Moving to the Questions

On Monday I mentioned some of my screw-ups on the logic games and how graphing hypotheticals while all of the rules are still in my mind served as good “quality control” and solved most of my hang-ups. Today I conducted an experiment. I took two similar games (advanced unbalanced linear). On the first game I only graphed one hypothetical to show the game rules and not laws, it was not a comprehensive hypothetical, it only showed one possibility of the placement of the variables, and then I went on to the questions, finding that I had to graph two more hypotheticals in between answering questions. It took me 12:18 to complete the one game.

On the next go-around I graphed all of the hypotheticals (which resulted in four graphs/different placements of the variables) and was sure I had a graph showing each variable placement option BEFORE moving on to the questions. When I moved on to the questions, I did not have to do any more graphing, all I had to do was chose which graph best represents the question, and look for the correct answer choice (I already knew which answer was correct without combing through each answer choice). This method took me 7:12 for the game! That’s a five minute difference! (Not to mention I completed with time to spare! (each game should take no more than 8:45)) In sum, its definitely a worthwhile investment of time to go through the various placement of variables and fully understand why (or why not) a variable can (or cannot) be placed in a given slot.

I’m really trying to improve my “means rea” (legal term for “mental state”) for the logic games even when I am not working on real logic games per se. I do this by trying to retain as much information as possible and then recite it when needed. May be this seems silly, but exercising my memory seems to be helping. I work as a paralegal so lately I have been doing this when I am going over medical records for personal injury cases and preparing our complaints (in our fill-in-the-blank form). So it goes something like this: “Accident, 4/22/08; total medical damages $267,781; loss of use, 10%; underinsured policy limits $500,000; . . .” Of course, I always double check my info after plugging in the blanks, but I seem to be getting better and better. Even when needing to go hunt down a file, instead of writing down the 7-digit file number I make myself remember it. This way, I’m studying even when I’m not “studying.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010 – April Fools!

Happy April Fool’s Day! I hope no one played any lsat-related jokes on you! As I feared, I have not completed my study of the logic games, but I am feeling fairly confident about them and should be able to finish the various logic games types by the end of the weekend. I began to work on grouping games today in the tunnel (which was a gazillion degrees – so thinking positively, I was able to work on distractions of people walking past me as well as melting from the warm temperature just in case my test center will lose all sense of the words “air conditioning” on my test day).

I checked to see if my lsat ticket is ready for printing, to my disappointment, it is not. I would like to check out the actual test center room ahead of time so that I can start visualizing test day. All my life I have found comfort in being able to visualize ahead of time what a certain event will be like. Even if it turns out to be completely different than I thought, I still find it calming.

A friend of mine told me that she was actually able to go to her test center and actually take timed practice tests on weekends. Apparently, the auditorium was never locked and always vacant during weekends. It would be so nice if I could utilize that same idea. I have been told that the test center I will be going to has small auditorium style seating with the small “flip up” style desks. This doesn’t leave much room, so I’m trying to keep that in mind. Additionally, I checked out this LSAT test center review website listed on LSAT Blog, and got a little nervous when I read the review for my test center (which seems to be totally negative).

Friday, April 2, 2010 – Not So “Good Friday”

I was really looking forward to Good Friday – the courts are closed so I would not have my internship and could use the day to finish up my logic games, but I have come down with a terrible cold and am running a 101° fever! No fair! I am trying to muddle my way through the last bit of my logic games but my head is in such a fog I am only serving to frustrate myself. I am tired, exhausted, and irritable. Though, I must say, I am actually HAPPY to be sick right now – this surely means I won’t be sick over my June test date (assuming I would only get sick once in a summer). I am definitely an lsat nerd!

Saturday, April 3, 2010 – Encouragement

“Achooooooo!” I am sick! Sick ‘n tired of being sick! Need encouragement. This post cracked me up! I still do not feel “myself” but am trying to slowly work my way through the rest of my logic games, grrrr I hate being sick.

Sunday, April 4, 2010 – Feeling Lots Better

I am feeling so much better today and even stepped out of my house for some fresh air! I mentioned earlier that I think I’m turning into an lsat nerd – it must be official. I was trying to talk myself through lsat logic game PT 20, Game 1 (quite unsuccessfully I might add) and realized I was actually saying “no, no you silly answer choice number B, you can’t possibly be correct, what do you think I am? An idiot!?”

Okay, may be I should lay off the cough syrup, but hey whatever helps get me to understand these crazy things.

Steve's comments

As Law School Dreamer suggested, the gunner is wrong in saying you should take the LSAT just to see how you do. Although most law schools no longer average multiple scores, some of the top ones do average them.

Additionally, you don't want to make a bad impression by having a bad LSAT score on your record, even if it won't necessarily be counted.

While I haven't heard of law schools requiring you to explain any score increase of 5 points or more, you may want to explain significant score differences in the hopes that your lower score will be ignored.

Another consideration is that you can only take the LSAT 3 times in a 2-year period (unless a law school requests that LSAC make an exception for you). Taking the LSAT just to see how you'll do would count as one of those 3 times.

Photo by hippie / Att NC

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