Showing posts with label re. Show all posts
Showing posts with label re. Show all posts

Ashley and the LSAT Dragon: An LSAT Unplugged Story by Steve Schwartz

Ashley and the LSAT Dragon: An LSAT Unplugged Story by Steve Schwartz

(Listen on YouTube & Podcast)

Once upon a time, there was an LSAT dragon, who was very, very angry.

He should have been the last dragon with the everlasting glory of being the final majestic and fearsome beast of his kind.

But due to an overlooked typo in his contract reversing two key letters, the glory went to another dragon. (If not for that, the LSAT dragon would have been the one starring in a popular HBO television series centuries later.)

Our dragon was simply an LSAT dragon, mainly of interest to pre-law students.

So he moped about in his cave, occasionally misdirecting his anger on the neighboring townspeople.

He terrorized them with all the usual tactics, setting fire to their granaries and stealing their gold.

The only person left alone was the wizard who lived on the edge of town.

But because he was vain (even for a dragon), he hoarded the town's legal casebooks, obsessively studying them in the hope of one day resolving the contractual error that had stolen his glory.

Unfortunately, while pillaging the town's library, he accidentally took all of the LSAT practice exams that future lawyers needed to study for the test.

Among those hopeful students was Ashley, a young woman on a quest to get into a top law school and become a successful attorney.

Ashley had already faced countless obstacles, but this was the last straw. 

"I will not rest until those books are back in their rightful place," she said. "I have come too far on my legal journey to let this petty LSAT dragon stop me. I will DEFEAT the LSAT dragon if it's the last thing I do."

You see, in medieval times, women were not supposed to be educated.

So, Ashley would sneak into the town's library every night after her wicked stepmother had fallen asleep.

First, she taught herself to read and quickly devoured every book and scroll in sight. 

Then, she enrolled in a pre-law correspondence course so she could receive scrolls by raven from the law school in the kingdom's capital, many miles away.

One day, her wicked stepmother discovered the scrolls hidden under her mattress.

"What are these?!" she shrieked, as she hit Ashley with the scrolls. "Women should not read. You'll never find a husband that way." The wicked stepmother burned every last one. 

Ashley cried for days. Finally, she resolved to leave her wicked stepmother behind and study with the wizard who lived on the edge of the town.

Everyone said he practiced Magick, so Ashley was a little scared but felt she had no choice. 

"Besides," Ashley said to no one in particular, "if he is willing to defy the norms of our backward society, perhaps he will understand my plight. Only he can teach me what I need to know to defeat the LSAT dragon and get back those practice exams!"

So, she lived with the wizard for a time and learned from him the skills of logic and rhetoric from ancient times (you see, this was the rumored Magick, nothing more).

Each night, she would hone her skills by debating matters of politics, law, and current events in the tavern.

Her thinking became more deliberate. She became more critical and skeptical of arguments. She learned to consider alternative possibilities and explanations, rather than taking what was presented at face value.

She'd unplugged herself from her long-held default assumptions. She'd learned the habit of taking that critical moment to pause and evaluate an argument first

The townspeople soon became so fearful of encountering her "Magick" that they'd change the subject to avoid being demolished by her scathing criticism.

And, of course, none of them had the courage to challenge the LSAT dragon themselves.

"You're all cowards!" she said. "Here we are, living in medieval squalor. The LSAT has already gone digital in the kingdom's capital, and we're still eating nothing but porridge and relieving ourselves in outhouses. There they drink the finest coffee, take selfies, and scroll through newsfeeds as they sit on porcelain flush toilets." 

The townspeople hung their heads in shame.

She continued, "The LSAT dragon has terrorized us for far too long. He's hoarding all of our legal casebooks in his lair, and no one dares to challenge him. We pay tribute to the King, yet he won't even protect us from a pathetic dragon who can't properly read his employment contract."

"I've defied the odds and studied all my life to become educated. I'm not going to let this dragon prevent me from continuing my quest any longer. I'm going to get those books back to the library where they belong. Then I will master the LSAT and go to the capital to become the successful attorney I was always meant to be."

With that, Ashley stormed out of the tavern and climbed the hill to the LSAT dragon's lair.

"Who goes there?" snarled the LSAT dragon, as trails of smoke billowed from his snout.

"It is I, Ashley, slayer of dragons and future successful attorney, sent here by destiny to return the legal casebooks to the townspeople and get the LSAT exams I need to continue my quest."

The LSAT dragon issued a stream of fire that singed a wisp of Ashley's hair.

She jumped back in fright. But the wizard had trained her for this.

Ashley said, "I call upon the spirits of my legal heroes: Elle Woods, Harvey Specter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- lend me your strength and guide me in my time of need!"

Suddenly, a sword materialized from thin air, and Ashley struck the LSAT dragon on the snout with a fearsome blow.

The LSAT dragon roared in anger and pain.

"That really hurt!" he screamed. "What'd you do that for?"

Ashley sarcastically replied, "Um, because you're a dragon and you stole the books, duh. You see, I'm a pre-law student and want to go to law school so I can..." 

"I don't need to hear your life story," said the LSAT dragon, gingerly rubbing his snout.

"Well, if you give me the books, I'll leave you alone." Ashley retorted. "Nobody has to get hurt. But if you don't, I'll use whatever means are at my disposal to defeat you. And I'm quite well equipped to do so; I've studied the law since I was a young girl and learned Magick with the wizard."

The LSAT dragon thought for a moment, then said, "You studied law?"

"Well, only in the town's library and by raven. I want to study properly at the top law school in the capital, but I can't because you took all the LSAT practice exams."

The LSAT dragon looked around his lair, then settled his gaze on a pile of exams sitting in the corner, coated in a thick layer of dust.

He finally said, "Oh, those? You can have them. I just grabbed everything in a hurry when the townspeople were chasing me with pitchforks. I can't make any sense out of them anyway, and I really only need the legal casebooks."

Ashley replied, "I can't let you keep those either. They belong to me and the rest of the townspeople. We may not be educated yet, but one day we will fight for our rights from the capital and establish democracy. You can't just steal our books!"

The LSAT dragon roared and let loose another stream of fire. Then he declared, "You leave me no choice. We will battle to the death. I need the law books to figure out how to get out of my employment contract. I was supposed to be the last dragon ever, but due to a typo, I was instead sentenced to an eternity of being the LSAT dragon instead."

"Yeah, I've heard," Ashley said sympathetically.

He sighed, then continued in a more conversational tone, "I don't know if I'll ever make sense of the law. I couldn't even figure out the LSAT! It's a lot more difficult than I expected. Why do you need to take it for law school anyway?"

Ashley responded, "No offense, but the fact that you didn't catch that typo means you didn't read carefully enough. That might be part of the reason why future lawyers have to take the LSAT. Did you hire one to represent you?"

As Ashley spoke, the LSAT dragon shifted and became increasingly frustrated. Finally, he straightened his spine and leaned over her, issuing another stream of fire against the wall in warning.

"Listen, young woman. I'm 500 years old, and I don't need a lecture from you on what I should've done after the fact. You're going to turn around, get out of my cave, and..."

"Wait, did you say you're 500 years old?"

"Yes, why?"

"Since dragons live for millennia, that would make you only 15 in dragon years. You're still a minor. And contracts signed by minors aren't legally binding, even for dragons."

Ashley's decision to take an elective in Dragon Law during her correspondence course had turned out to have a real-world application after all.

"You mean that contract is null and void?"

"Correct, you don't have to be the LSAT dragon anymore! You can be whatever you want. And you can negotiate a new contract with The Powers That Be to become the last dragon instead if you like."

The no-longer-LSAT dragon flapped his wings in excitement. "That's the best news I've heard in centuries! I'm glad you stopped by my cave, young woman."

"My name's Ashley. Pleased to meet you." She stuck out her hand and grasped one of the dragon's claws.

The two became fast friends. The no-longer-LSAT dragon returned all the books to the townspeople. Ashley studied for the LSAT and took it, scoring higher than 99% of test-takers throughout the land. She now had the score she'd need to gain admission to the best law school in the capital.

Although Ashley had defeated the LSAT dragon, her quest was not yet over. First, she would have to defeat the Personal Statement Dragon.

But that's a story for another time.

(UPDATE: That story was rudely interrupted by the LSAT Virus, another LSAT Unplugged Story.)

What's the most common LSAT mistake?

Ask a dozen LSAT experts this question, and you'll get a dozen different responses.

When I talk with others in the LSAT biz, they mention things like confusing necessary and sufficient assumption Qs, misunderstanding "weird" conditional indicators, etc.

But from what I've seen working with students for 10+ years, the most common LSAT mistake is even more basic than THAT.

The #1 most common mistake I see students make:

Not investing themselves fully in their LSAT studying!!!

(And I'm not just talking about people who can't make it through a section without checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, whatever.)

I'm talking about the 99% of people out there trying to balance LSAT prep with work, school, family, etc. It's not that these students aren't's not their fault...

It's just that they have a lot of other things going on.

Does this sound familiar?

I've been there.

IT TOOK ME A FULL YEAR to kick the LSAT's butt and finally be done with the damn thing myself.

Sometimes random people reach out to me asking what to do, how to study, and if I can help them.

I'm going to tell you about a long-time follower named James. 

This guy has emailed me every month or two for the past year. We've even spoken on the phone a few times about working together. But he's never actually taken action, and nothing's changed for him.

Some people treat LSAT prep casually - like it's no different than choosing a restaurant on Yelp or  walking into a coffee shop and ordering a latte. A lot of people haven't even gone through a fraction of my free material, but they email me as if I'm going to sit down and write a response that magically fixes everything for them.

Listen up, people - the LSAT is no joke, and there are already hundreds of LSAT tutors out there. If you want someone who charges by the hour and explains questions like a prep book would, that's fine. You can find them on sites like Craigslist.

What I do is completely different.

Instead, I coach under the framework of complete immersion. My coaching is tailor-made and deeply personalized.

I've designed an apprenticeship for the rare student who is willing to go deeper than they've ever gone before in order to completely transform their mindset.
My personal philosophy is that when someone invests in my coaching for anything over $5,000…the average person should be able to increase their score 5-10 points after working with me the FIRST MONTH. And 10-15 points from their investment in 2-3 months.

So if I had a $5,000 LSAT coaching option, someone who takes it seriously and follows my advice during their LSAT studying should be able to go from 155 to the low 160s in their first month and to the high 160s or low 170s in 2-3 months.


There is a minimu
m investment of $5,000 to work with me and students pay up to $20,000. But this opportunity will cost you more than just money. You must be ready to invest your time and energy. You must be ready to commit to this process and make it such a powerful force in your life that it will have a lasting impact into law school and beyond.

But if you're not ready to make that kind of investment in yourself, That's ok. Not everyone is. And you may not even need LSAT coaching. Some people do fine with books and courses. I actually only with students who DON'T need coaching - they're the ones who have the most potential for miraculous improvements if they add on my support.

Regardless of whether you're ready to make a serious financial investment in your LSAT prep, it's important to make sure you're investing the TIME. A lot of tutors sit there while students work through problems, and that's the only work the student does all week! 

So here are some simple strategies for fitting in the time to study:

* Start your prep earlier than you think is necessary.
* Set aside specific times to study each day.
* Try to spread your studying throughout the week.
* Give yourself at least one or two days off from studying per week.
* Try to reduce other obligations during the period that you'll be prepping.

These might seem kinda obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people fail to do these basic things.

I know that's not really enough, so if you're looking for more detailed here for the full article I put together about this:

How to Balance LSAT Prep with Work and School ---->

And if you ARE fitting in the time, congrats! That puts you ahead of 99% of LSAT-takers.

The next step is to make sure you're not just taking test after test, but actually studying SMART, building a strong foundation before wasting tests. (That's what my day-by-day study plans are all about.)

Anyway, enough about that.

Next time, I'll share how I responded to James, along with some tips on how to avoid the dreaded "Test Day score drop."

Because after scores come out, I always get tons of emails from people who DON'T follow this advice, which is really sad because their mistakes could've easily been avoided.

So make sure you read my next article so the "score drop" doesn't happen to you, too.

Talk soon,
Steve - LSAT Coach

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 Checklists
All the little items and details students don't usually think of. They hold you accountable and help you make sure you're not missing anything.

myths of the LSAT Mindset

The biggest myth I've been hearing from students lately about the LSAT Mindset:

#1: You have to be a "genius" - either you get it or you don't.

At one point when I was studying for the LSAT, I got desperate enough to admit I couldn't do it on my own, so I finally met with a tutor (let's call him "Leonard").
LSAT Leonard
(Not really LSAT Leonard, obviously.)

But here's the thing:

Leonard could only show me how HE did the problems. He couldn't possibly understand how or why ANOTHER human being could possibly have trouble with them.

During one session, I asked how to diagram a Logic Game.

He did it for me, but along the way, he said things like:

"See? It's easy. You just do X, Y, and Z."

Then I tried, but wasn't able to draw the diagram on my own.

And EVEN after looking back at Leonard's, I couldn't make all the inferences he did.

My brain didn't work that way.

For a few minutes, he watched me struggle without saying a word, then did the worst thing possible.

He let out the tiniest "sigh."

Two things happened at that moment:

1. My cheeks turned red and I felt like the DUMBEST person to ever consider going to law school.

2. I decided never to work with him again.

I wanted to say:

"Of course it's easy for YOU - you're the kinda guy parents send to nerd camp to read logic textbooks for fun."

If Leonard had ever truly shown someone HOW to do something, he would've known I needed him to patiently walk me through it.

Even when a step-by-step approach meant taking BABY steps.

I needed a tutor who was willing to: watch me screw up on a question over and over before I finally got it. - and - patiently explain that question AS MANY TIMES AS IT TOOK.

Since then, I've worked with TONS of smart people who struggled the way I did, yet still ended up going to top law schools.

If nothing else, it's taught me one thing:

Getting the same question wrong over and over DOESN'T make you an idiot.

It just means you haven't found the right approach yet.

And that's what I can help you figure out.

Because while some people are born with the LSAT Mindset, most aren't.

Unless you're a genius like "Leonard" from before, your main challenge will probably be getting into the MINDS of the test-makers.

You might score 160-165 by blindly following someone else's strategies. But if you want to score into the high 160s, low 170s, and beyond...

You'll need to understand WHY the strategies work.

But I will admit that people who get top scores tend to develop a similar approach to reading arguments, reading the passages and, of course, to attacking the games.

That approach comes from being skeptical of arguments, not taking things at face value, and considering alternatives.

It’s about really developing attention to detail, not just looking at things in a general way and skipping over or skimming things.

So - how do you master this approach?

Well, it doesn't hurt to do lots and lots of the LSAT problems and read critically EVVVVERYTHING you encounter in real life.

This puts you in a much better position to conquer any LSAT question you come across, whether it seems familiar at first or not.

But if you simply apply a technique you learned (aka copied) from somebody else, you’re not going to be able to attack that as well when you’re faced with an unfamiliar problem on test day, and it may throw you off due to general test day stress and that sort of thing.

What does this mean for you?

That it's really important to adopt the HABITS of high scorers, rather than just learning how to diagram this or that kind of rule when you come across it.

One of the things I focus on in the LSAT courses is getting the habits of high scorers so you can develop the LSAT Mindset for yourself. Not blindly following "techniques" or memorizing flashcards.

And I do it in the most non-judgmental way possible. No "Leonards" allowed.

Very truly yours,
LSkeptical-yet-Supportive Steve

P.S. Next time, I'll debunk another LSAT Mindset myth - one that's been driving me CRAZY for a while now.

LSAT Logic Games Strategy for When You're Out of Time

LSAT Logic Games Strategy for When You're Out of Time

Let's say that you're doing a timed logic game section on Test Day. You've done the first 3 games, and you're down to the 4th game, when you only have 5 minutes remaining. What should you do in this scenario?

I would recommend, first of all, read the paragraph, read the rules, and try to get a general sense of what's going on with the game. See if you can make any major inferences, then do the orientation question, because that's gonna be a gimme (I hope).

Then you could do the local questions, and then finally, if you have time, which you probably won't, you would go on to the global questions. And you'll notice here, that this isn't any different at all from my actual LSAT logic game strategy as a whole. Do the questions in the order that makes sense for you within a game.

So, if you never get to those inference questions, or the global questions, or the rule substitution questions, that's fine. Those are the hardest questions anyway.

If you made some major inference upfront, then you might have wanted to tackle a global question sooner, but if you don't, that's okay, too. You're knocking out the easiest questions first.

Why are they easy?

Well, the orientation question, that's just kinda like a main idea question in reading comp. It's a general warmup question, that is meant to acclimate you slowly. All you're doing for orientation questions is process of elimination, going rule by rule, through all five answer choices.

And then, the local questions, those give you a jumping off point, because they say, "If L's in three." or whatever it might be, you can automatically, in most cases, draw a diagram, and go from there.

So, overall my recommendation, if you have five minutes left for the fourth logic game - is just, proceed as you normally would. Don't panic, and trust that you'll be able to knock out, at least a few of the questions just using your basic structure / approach.

However, my goal for you is that this *doesn't* happen to you and you're better prepared.

Check out my Logic Games articles and YouTube playlist for more.

And reach out with any questions at all.

- LSAT Steve

Free LSAT Logic Games book

I was obsessed with truly mastering Logic Games.

And I realized that in order to fully understand LG, you have to know them inside-out.

The best way to do that is to create your own from scratch. So I did.

And the result is a free book of 10 unofficial Logic Games for you.

10 Unofficial LSAT Logic Games

Some are easy, but most are harder than average, just to give you a challenge.

Get your copy of the book here:

10 (VERY) Unofficial LSAT Logic Games ----->

Have fun!


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.

why the difference between LSAT assumption Qs matters

tl;dr  Because the "negation test" only works on necessary assumption questions.


You might ask.....

But WHY does it only work on necessary assumption questions, oh wise LSAT Lord Steve?

The reason, young grasshopper, is that these questions are asking COMPLETELY different things.

It's apples and oranges:

LSAT necessary vs. sufficient assumption Qs

Necessary assumption questions are a VERY specific type of "must be true" question.

THAT'S why the negation test works on those types of questions.

(Sufficient assumption questions ask for something completely different - which I'll cover in a future email)

If you're like, "hold up, buddy, I don't even know that the negation test IS...."

Don't worry.

I did an entire write-up showing you what it is, and how to use it (with examples!)

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.