Mike's Trainer Thread

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:21 pm

Lukky wrote:Hey Mike!

One more question, for the practice problems on the logic games, are they "fake" or real questions from actual tests?

Best,
Lukky



Hey Lukky --

the Trainer includes both sample games / game situations I've made up, as well as actual LSAT games and q's -- it's the same as with the LR -- you can tell which are official games and q's because they will be marked with their PT, Section, etc., again, just the same as LR -- and, like LR, you can expect to see more actual games and q's the deeper you get into the book --

hope u r enjoying it -- take care -- mk

TrunksFan1
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby TrunksFan1 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:59 pm

Hey all, I have the 2013 version of the Trainer. Is it obsolete at this point? should I grab the 2015 version instead? thanks.

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:24 pm

TrunksFan1 wrote:Hey all, I have the 2013 version of the Trainer. Is it obsolete at this point? should I grab the 2015 version instead? thanks.


hey - no, the 2013 version will work just fine - as long as u don't mind a few typos, no need to get a new one -- take care --mk

Holodigm
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby Holodigm » Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:59 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Lukky wrote:Hey Mike!

One more question, for the practice problems on the logic games, are they "fake" or real questions from actual tests?

Best,
Lukky



Hey Lukky --

the Trainer includes both sample games / game situations I've made up, as well as actual LSAT games and q's -- it's the same as with the LR -- you can tell which are official games and q's because they will be marked with their PT, Section, etc., again, just the same as LR -- and, like LR, you can expect to see more actual games and q's the deeper you get into the book --

hope u r enjoying it -- take care -- mk


The fake practice problems are worth it just so you can read about a double bacon hashbrown avocado popcorn shrimp burger...which I've made...and it's freakin delicious (pro tip: add pepper jack).

CottonHarvest
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby CottonHarvest » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:40 pm

Is the new 2016 version any different?

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:22 pm

CottonHarvest wrote:Is the new 2016 version any different?


hey - the book gets continuously updated over time, but if you have an older version then there is no need to buy the new one --

good luck with your prep -- mk

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby CottonHarvest » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:25 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
CottonHarvest wrote:Is the new 2016 version any different?


hey - the book gets continuously updated over time, but if you have an older version then there is no need to buy the new one --

good luck with your prep -- mk

thanks for your response, I just noticed that it switched from 2015 to 2016 on Amazon yesterday

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby CottonHarvest » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:59 pm

Is there any way to access the old 16 week schedule that utilizes prep tests 29-71? I printed off the schedule, but not the specific drill sets that say what problems to do for each set, before it was removed from the website.

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:48 pm

CottonHarvest wrote:Is there any way to access the old 16 week schedule that utilizes prep tests 29-71? I printed off the schedule, but not the specific drill sets that say what problems to do for each set, before it was removed from the website.


Hey! Sorry about that -- I'm just moving that schedule to the archives page, which I'm still finishing up and which will probably be up Mon or Tuesday -- so if u check back then it'll be there -- if u need it before then you can pm me an email address and i'll email you a copy --

Mike

klaudiaxo
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby klaudiaxo » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:14 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
klaudiaxo wrote:Hi Mike,

I bought your book and love it so far.

I have a question: I will be taking the October LSAT .. I just had a baby so I am taking the extra months to spread out my studying. What is the best way for me to study? should I use your 16 week schedule and then do review, drill, practice tests after that? I should also mention I have taken the LSAT before so I know the gist of the exam.

Also I'm a bit confused how to best use your notebook organizer- from what I gathered there review pages are just to remember what questions I have trouble with and the question pages are for each INDIVIDUAL question? So how often should I use these while i'm studying? Also what kind of notes should I take on the lined pages?

Thank you! :D


Hi there -- so sorry for the delay -- I had to take some time off work but I am now back, and I hope this gets to you in time to be of use --

I do think that the 16 week sched is the best way to go -- I generally suggest students go w/the 52-71 version, but if you want to start with the 29-71 version that’s fine as well --

Keep in mind that the schedule accounts for your entire study process, not just the Trainer work, so it accounts for additional drill work, pt’s,and so on -- so, ideally, I think your mindset should be that you are spreading out the 16 week schedule over a longer period (and slowing down and spending more time on certain topics and whatnot as you see fit), as opposed to finishing up the 16 week schedule then moving on to other things.

In terms of the notebook organizer pages -- I can offer a few suggestions but in general you should feel free to use them however you see fit -- one thing to keep in mind is that if your studying goes as planned, the way you think about and study problems will be very different later in your process than it is at the beginning, so you should expect your notes and what they focus on to also change.

So, with all those caveats laid out, some general thoughts --

a) if you want, you can note every single problem you try on these pages, or you can decide to take notes on just the ones that caused you the most trouble, or you can just take notes once in while to check in on how you are progressing / as part of particular drill assignments. You can try all this out and see what you prefer and what works best for you.

b) one thing these notes ought to serve as is a record of how you solved a particular problem. So, do what u can to take /create notes that show what u were thinking (as opposed to, for example, just writing down how you think you ought to have solved it). That way, if you go to solve that same problem again in 2 weeks, you have some way to assess what you did the same (maybe same traps you fell for, etc.) and what you did differently. This can be of tremendous benefit in helping you gain more wisdom from your review.

c) these notes should also help you in your attempt to see overall patterns in the problems that cause you trouble. When you are reviewing a particular q, it’s always much easier to see and accurately list all the trouble you had (“couldn’t decide between c and e” for example) and harder to see what caused the trouble in the first place (whereas you might believe you have trouble deciding between two answers, the main culprit for your issues could be something like the wording structure of that particular argument conclusion, which happened to make you lose sight of the conclusion’s exact meaning, which, in turn, made you attracted to an answer you shouldn’t have been attracted to).

Again, doing that sort of above assessment correctly in the moment is something none of us are very accurate at --

However, if you have an aggregate record of your work, and study it carefully, it can allow you to see certain patterns (like, wow, so many of these games that cause me trouble have this one thing in common, or so many of these LR q's from different q types that i miss happen to have same reasoning structure) that you may not see otherwise.

So, try to note your experiences in whatever way you think can be best for noticing these things later on.

d) One final specific suggestion I have is to make sure to accurately mark your process with the answers -- namely, which ones you eliminated, which ones you didn’t consider much, and which ones you picked, and so on.

For example, if on an LG q, after reading the q stem you could figure out the right answer immediately, you should indicate that on the page by circling that one right answer and leaving all others blank.

If, on another LG q, you used the process of elimination to get rid of 3 choices, then considered two answers carefully and selected one, you can notate that by crossing out those 3 choices, putting dashes next to the answers you considered carefully, then circling the one you chose.

Or you can use any other notation system you’d like -- the main point being, again, that the marks you make not only help you think through the answers in the moment, but also provide a record of which answers you eliminated, didn’t think about much, considered carefully and didn’t select, and selected. This will of huge use to you both when you review your work, and when you try the q again later and assess your progress.

Hope that helps and wish you the best -- sorry again for the delay and if you need anything else let me know -- mk


Mike, Thank you so much for the response! I LOVE your book so far. I am on lesson 17 currently.

I am really struggling with necessary/sufficient. For example on PG 246 you wrote the abstract language drill. I really struggled with it but most of all I struggled with the answers that mentioned "x is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result" or " fails to address adequately the possibilities that even is a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary"

I read back over lesson 6 and 7 in the necessary/sufficient blurbs, but I am still having a really hard time understand the difference between confusing necessary with sufficient and sufficient with necessary. It makes my brain hurt! Please help.

I am also struggling with finding the flaw, any advice on solidifying the different types of flaws? (apples/oranges etc)

Thank you!!

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:39 pm

klaudiaxo wrote:
Mike, Thank you so much for the response! I LOVE your book so far. I am on lesson 17 currently.

I am really struggling with necessary/sufficient. For example on PG 246 you wrote the abstract language drill. I really struggled with it but most of all I struggled with the answers that mentioned "x is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result" or " fails to address adequately the possibilities that even is a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary"

I read back over lesson 6 and 7 in the necessary/sufficient blurbs, but I am still having a really hard time understand the difference between confusing necessary with sufficient and sufficient with necessary. It makes my brain hurt! Please help.

I am also struggling with finding the flaw, any advice on solidifying the different types of flaws? (apples/oranges etc)

Thank you!!


Hey -- it makes my brain hurt too -- hope this helps clear things up a bit --

First, let’s lay out a basic definition of the terms necessary and sufficient.

A necessity is something that needs to be. We need to drink water to live. It doesn’t guarantee that we can stay alive, but it is something we need to do. In a similar way, a necessary premise is one that absolutely needs to be correct in order for an argument to work (but won’t guarantee that an argument will work), and a necessary consequence is a result that absolutely needs to (or must) happen if a certain trigger is satisfied.

Sufficient is something that is enough. So, a sufficient premise is one that is enough to guarantee the validity of a certain conclusion.

So, let’s imagine you want to buy a certain poster for $30.

You look in your wallet and you have $50.

Notice, the amount of money in your wallet is enough, or sufficient, to buy the poster.

Do you need to have $50 in order to buy the poster? No -- you need to have at least $30. So, having $50 is not necessary for achieving the result (buying the poster).

To think of the situation a slightly different way --

Do you need to have more than $5 in order to buy the poster?

Yes, absolutely -- if you don’t have more than $5 you won’t be able to pay for it.

Does having more than $5 guarantee that you can get the poster?

No -- it doesn’t guarantee you have enough to buy the poster. You need at least $30 -- maybe you just have $6.

So with all that said, let’s look more carefully at the two phrases you mentioned:

“X is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result.”

In simpler language, what this means is that the author made the following mistake:

He/she assumed that since knowing A was enough to prove B, knowing the opposite of A must be enough to prove the opposite of B.

Using our example of the $ and the poster, -- a reasoning mistake that would match this would be “Since having $50 guarantees that I can buy the poster, not having exactly $50 must guarantee that I can’t buy the poster.”

Notice, per what we discussed above, that it would be a mistake to infer such a thing -- for example, you could just have $40 and still buy the poster.

The second phrase you mentioned was “fails to address adequately the possibilities that even if a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary.”

In simpler language, what is means is that the author is made the following mistake:

He/she forgot to think about the fact that even though something might be enough to guarantee a conclusion, it may not be needed for guaranteeing the conclusion.

Using the poster example, a reasoning mistake that would match this would be, “Since having $50 guarantees that one can buy a $30 poster, it is necessary for one to have $50 in order to buy the $30 poster.”

Again, notice that having $50 is sufficient, or enough, for buying the poster, but it’s not something that needs to be, or is necessary.

Finally, in terms of flaws, unfortunately I don’t have any magic advice about that -- being good at identifying flaws is not a black and white situation, but rather something you want to get better and better at throughout your studies --

Here are a couple tips you might find helpful --

1) When you experience symptoms, look upstream for the causes

Typically, when we run into problems on the LSAT, the causes of those problems happened well before -- for example, if you get stuck between two answer choices, it’s far less likely that it has to do with those particular answer choices, but rather with the way you thought of the problem up to the point when you started evaluating those answer choices --

When it comes to identifying flaws, there are several essential steps you have to perform well in order to put yourself in the right position -- namely --

1) you have to correctly understand the point/conclusion

2) you have to correctly emphasize with the author and correctly isolate the reasoning he/she is using to justify that point

And

3) you need to put yourself in a mindset where you focus in on just that conclusion and the support and make it your goal to understand, as best you can, why the support given doesn’t guarantee the conclusion reached.

So, when you have trouble IDing a flaw correctly, I suggest you always start your review with a focus on the above issues -- per my experiences with other students, I think it’s highly likely that getting sharper and sharper at those 3 steps will be the most important factor in terms of you getting better and better at recognizing flaws correctly.

2) Learn from your challenges

This falls into the “duh” category of advice, but as I mention often, your misses are your blueprint to a better score -- so, every single time you miss a flaw problem, or find one overly challenging, make sure to study it intensely and to not let it go until you understand completely, for yourself, in your own words, what the author’s point is, what the reasoning is, and why the reasoning doesn’t guarantee a conclusion.

You can use my flaw categories and such as a means to an end -- as a way of trying to understand flaws better -- but categorizing is not the same thing as understanding, and again, at the end of the day, your bigger goal is to try to understand each and every flaw you run into as best you can (and if there are any LSAT arguments you struggle with and after the fact just can’t see the flaw for, let me know and I’ll try to help as best I can) -- and, in addition to trying to understand them, with each new tough flaw you run into, do your best to organize/compare/relate it to other flaws you’ve seen, and you are likely to find the same types of arguments challenging you again and again (and the moment you see that (and why) clearly they will stop challenging you so much) --

I hope that helps --

One last thing I want to mention is that I’ve recently gotten a couple of related q’s on Lsatters -- I’ve answered one q and will be posting a response to the other as soon as I have some time -- figured you might be interested and find these discussions helpful --

http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/suffic ... necessary/

http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/words- ... uarantees/

Glad to hear you are finding the book useful and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike

klaudiaxo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby klaudiaxo » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:38 am

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
klaudiaxo wrote:
Mike, Thank you so much for the response! I LOVE your book so far. I am on lesson 17 currently.

I am really struggling with necessary/sufficient. For example on PG 246 you wrote the abstract language drill. I really struggled with it but most of all I struggled with the answers that mentioned "x is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result" or " fails to address adequately the possibilities that even is a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary"

I read back over lesson 6 and 7 in the necessary/sufficient blurbs, but I am still having a really hard time understand the difference between confusing necessary with sufficient and sufficient with necessary. It makes my brain hurt! Please help.

I am also struggling with finding the flaw, any advice on solidifying the different types of flaws? (apples/oranges etc)

Thank you!!


Hey -- it makes my brain hurt too -- hope this helps clear things up a bit --

First, let’s lay out a basic definition of the terms necessary and sufficient.

A necessity is something that needs to be. We need to drink water to live. It doesn’t guarantee that we can stay alive, but it is something we need to do. In a similar way, a necessary premise is one that absolutely needs to be correct in order for an argument to work (but won’t guarantee that an argument will work), and a necessary consequence is a result that absolutely needs to (or must) happen if a certain trigger is satisfied.

Sufficient is something that is enough. So, a sufficient premise is one that is enough to guarantee the validity of a certain conclusion.

So, let’s imagine you want to buy a certain poster for $30.

You look in your wallet and you have $50.

Notice, the amount of money in your wallet is enough, or sufficient, to buy the poster.

Do you need to have $50 in order to buy the poster? No -- you need to have at least $30. So, having $50 is not necessary for achieving the result (buying the poster).

To think of the situation a slightly different way --

Do you need to have more than $5 in order to buy the poster?

Yes, absolutely -- if you don’t have more than $5 you won’t be able to pay for it.

Does having more than $5 guarantee that you can get the poster?

No -- it doesn’t guarantee you have enough to buy the poster. You need at least $30 -- maybe you just have $6.

So with all that said, let’s look more carefully at the two phrases you mentioned:

“X is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result.”

In simpler language, what this means is that the author made the following mistake:

He/she assumed that since knowing A was enough to prove B, knowing the opposite of A must be enough to prove the opposite of B.

Using our example of the $ and the poster, -- a reasoning mistake that would match this would be “Since having $50 guarantees that I can buy the poster, not having exactly $50 must guarantee that I can’t buy the poster.”

Notice, per what we discussed above, that it would be a mistake to infer such a thing -- for example, you could just have $40 and still buy the poster.

The second phrase you mentioned was “fails to address adequately the possibilities that even if a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary.”

In simpler language, what is means is that the author is made the following mistake:

He/she forgot to think about the fact that even though something might be enough to guarantee a conclusion, it may not be needed for guaranteeing the conclusion.

Using the poster example, a reasoning mistake that would match this would be, “Since having $50 guarantees that one can buy a $30 poster, it is necessary for one to have $50 in order to buy the $30 poster.”

Again, notice that having $50 is sufficient, or enough, for buying the poster, but it’s not something that needs to be, or is necessary.

Finally, in terms of flaws, unfortunately I don’t have any magic advice about that -- being good at identifying flaws is not a black and white situation, but rather something you want to get better and better at throughout your studies --

Here are a couple tips you might find helpful --

1) When you experience symptoms, look upstream for the causes

Typically, when we run into problems on the LSAT, the causes of those problems happened well before -- for example, if you get stuck between two answer choices, it’s far less likely that it has to do with those particular answer choices, but rather with the way you thought of the problem up to the point when you started evaluating those answer choices --

When it comes to identifying flaws, there are several essential steps you have to perform well in order to put yourself in the right position -- namely --

1) you have to correctly understand the point/conclusion

2) you have to correctly emphasize with the author and correctly isolate the reasoning he/she is using to justify that point

And

3) you need to put yourself in a mindset where you focus in on just that conclusion and the support and make it your goal to understand, as best you can, why the support given doesn’t guarantee the conclusion reached.

So, when you have trouble IDing a flaw correctly, I suggest you always start your review with a focus on the above issues -- per my experiences with other students, I think it’s highly likely that getting sharper and sharper at those 3 steps will be the most important factor in terms of you getting better and better at recognizing flaws correctly.

2) Learn from your challenges

This falls into the “duh” category of advice, but as I mention often, your misses are your blueprint to a better score -- so, every single time you miss a flaw problem, or find one overly challenging, make sure to study it intensely and to not let it go until you understand completely, for yourself, in your own words, what the author’s point is, what the reasoning is, and why the reasoning doesn’t guarantee a conclusion.

You can use my flaw categories and such as a means to an end -- as a way of trying to understand flaws better -- but categorizing is not the same thing as understanding, and again, at the end of the day, your bigger goal is to try to understand each and every flaw you run into as best you can (and if there are any LSAT arguments you struggle with and after the fact just can’t see the flaw for, let me know and I’ll try to help as best I can) -- and, in addition to trying to understand them, with each new tough flaw you run into, do your best to organize/compare/relate it to other flaws you’ve seen, and you are likely to find the same types of arguments challenging you again and again (and the moment you see that (and why) clearly they will stop challenging you so much) --

I hope that helps --

One last thing I want to mention is that I’ve recently gotten a couple of related q’s on Lsatters -- I’ve answered one q and will be posting a response to the other as soon as I have some time -- figured you might be interested and find these discussions helpful --

http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/suffic ... necessary/

http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/words- ... uarantees/

Glad to hear you are finding the book useful and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike


Thank you so very much for the long response. I appreciate it greatly. I will definitely let you know if I have any more questions as I go further into my studies.

Thank you!!

klaudiaxo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby klaudiaxo » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:36 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
klaudiaxo wrote:
Mike, Thank you so much for the response! I LOVE your book so far. I am on lesson 17 currently.

I am really struggling with necessary/sufficient. For example on PG 246 you wrote the abstract language drill. I really struggled with it but most of all I struggled with the answers that mentioned "x is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result" or " fails to address adequately the possibilities that even is a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary"

I read back over lesson 6 and 7 in the necessary/sufficient blurbs, but I am still having a really hard time understand the difference between confusing necessary with sufficient and sufficient with necessary. It makes my brain hurt! Please help.

I am also struggling with finding the flaw, any advice on solidifying the different types of flaws? (apples/oranges etc)

Thank you!!


Hey -- it makes my brain hurt too -- hope this helps clear things up a bit --

First, let’s lay out a basic definition of the terms necessary and sufficient.

A necessity is something that needs to be. We need to drink water to live. It doesn’t guarantee that we can stay alive, but it is something we need to do. In a similar way, a necessary premise is one that absolutely needs to be correct in order for an argument to work (but won’t guarantee that an argument will work), and a necessary consequence is a result that absolutely needs to (or must) happen if a certain trigger is satisfied.

Sufficient is something that is enough. So, a sufficient premise is one that is enough to guarantee the validity of a certain conclusion.

So, let’s imagine you want to buy a certain poster for $30.

You look in your wallet and you have $50.

Notice, the amount of money in your wallet is enough, or sufficient, to buy the poster.

Do you need to have $50 in order to buy the poster? No -- you need to have at least $30. So, having $50 is not necessary for achieving the result (buying the poster).

To think of the situation a slightly different way --

Do you need to have more than $5 in order to buy the poster?

Yes, absolutely -- if you don’t have more than $5 you won’t be able to pay for it.

Does having more than $5 guarantee that you can get the poster?

No -- it doesn’t guarantee you have enough to buy the poster. You need at least $30 -- maybe you just have $6.

So with all that said, let’s look more carefully at the two phrases you mentioned:

“X is sufficient for a result that the absence of that factor is sufficient for the opposite result.”

In simpler language, what this means is that the author made the following mistake:

He/she assumed that since knowing A was enough to prove B, knowing the opposite of A must be enough to prove the opposite of B.

Using our example of the $ and the poster, -- a reasoning mistake that would match this would be “Since having $50 guarantees that I can buy the poster, not having exactly $50 must guarantee that I can’t buy the poster.”

Notice, per what we discussed above, that it would be a mistake to infer such a thing -- for example, you could just have $40 and still buy the poster.

The second phrase you mentioned was “fails to address adequately the possibilities that even if a condition is sufficient to produce an effect it may not be necessary.”

In simpler language, what is means is that the author is made the following mistake:

He/she forgot to think about the fact that even though something might be enough to guarantee a conclusion, it may not be needed for guaranteeing the conclusion.

Using the poster example, a reasoning mistake that would match this would be, “Since having $50 guarantees that one can buy a $30 poster, it is necessary for one to have $50 in order to buy the $30 poster.”

Again, notice that having $50 is sufficient, or enough, for buying the poster, but it’s not something that needs to be, or is necessary.

Finally, in terms of flaws, unfortunately I don’t have any magic advice about that -- being good at identifying flaws is not a black and white situation, but rather something you want to get better and better at throughout your studies --

Here are a couple tips you might find helpful --

1) When you experience symptoms, look upstream for the causes

Typically, when we run into problems on the LSAT, the causes of those problems happened well before -- for example, if you get stuck between two answer choices, it’s far less likely that it has to do with those particular answer choices, but rather with the way you thought of the problem up to the point when you started evaluating those answer choices --

When it comes to identifying flaws, there are several essential steps you have to perform well in order to put yourself in the right position -- namely --

1) you have to correctly understand the point/conclusion

2) you have to correctly emphasize with the author and correctly isolate the reasoning he/she is using to justify that point

And

3) you need to put yourself in a mindset where you focus in on just that conclusion and the support and make it your goal to understand, as best you can, why the support given doesn’t guarantee the conclusion reached.

So, when you have trouble IDing a flaw correctly, I suggest you always start your review with a focus on the above issues -- per my experiences with other students, I think it’s highly likely that getting sharper and sharper at those 3 steps will be the most important factor in terms of you getting better and better at recognizing flaws correctly.

2) Learn from your challenges

This falls into the “duh” category of advice, but as I mention often, your misses are your blueprint to a better score -- so, every single time you miss a flaw problem, or find one overly challenging, make sure to study it intensely and to not let it go until you understand completely, for yourself, in your own words, what the author’s point is, what the reasoning is, and why the reasoning doesn’t guarantee a conclusion.

You can use my flaw categories and such as a means to an end -- as a way of trying to understand flaws better -- but categorizing is not the same thing as understanding, and again, at the end of the day, your bigger goal is to try to understand each and every flaw you run into as best you can (and if there are any LSAT arguments you struggle with and after the fact just can’t see the flaw for, let me know and I’ll try to help as best I can) -- and, in addition to trying to understand them, with each new tough flaw you run into, do your best to organize/compare/relate it to other flaws you’ve seen, and you are likely to find the same types of arguments challenging you again and again (and the moment you see that (and why) clearly they will stop challenging you so much) --

I hope that helps --

One last thing I want to mention is that I’ve recently gotten a couple of related q’s on Lsatters -- I’ve answered one q and will be posting a response to the other as soon as I have some time -- figured you might be interested and find these discussions helpful --

http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/suffic ... necessary/

http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/words- ... uarantees/

Glad to hear you are finding the book useful and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike


Hi Mike!

I hope you are doing good. I am currently practicing sufficient assumption Q's and in my review I came upon one that I just cannot figure out why the right answer is correct.

It is PT35 S1 Q22:
No C's are T's, and all members of P are T. So no members of P belong to the family H.

a. all members of H are T
b. all members of H are C
c. all T's are P's
d. no members of the family H are C
e. no C are P

the right answers is B, and I just can't get the thought process correct. Here is what I have:

C-> NOT T
P->T
P->NOT H

CONVERSE:
T-> NOT C
T-> NOT P
H-> NOT P

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:19 pm

klaudiaxo wrote:
Hi Mike!

I hope you are doing good. I am currently practicing sufficient assumption Q's and in my review I came upon one that I just cannot figure out why the right answer is correct.

It is PT35 S1 Q22:
No C's are T's, and all members of P are T. So no members of P belong to the family H.

a. all members of H are T
b. all members of H are C
c. all T's are P's
d. no members of the family H are C
e. no C are P

the right answers is B, and I just can't get the thought process correct. Here is what I have:

C-> NOT T
P->T
P->NOT H

CONVERSE:
T-> NOT C
T-> NOT P
H-> NOT P


Yikes, what a hairy problem -- just had a chance to try it out (haven't seen it in a while) -- here's the thought process I went through, and if you felt like trying to reason your way through it this is one way you could do it:

Task - suff assumption q

Conclusion
- If P, don't belong to H.

I know at this point that I am going to be given, in the premises, most of the chain from the "P" part to the "not H" part, with a piece of that chain missing --

So as I go to search for the --

Support - I do so by first starting by looking for what I know of P -- and I can see that

All P are T, and (from first part of stimuli) all T are not C.

Gap - So, the conclusion is --

If P, not H.

And the support all adds up to --

If P, not C.

So, I need a "link" that tells us either

"not C, then not H" or the contrapositive, which is "if H, then C."

answers - Of the answer choices, only (B) and (D) focus on H and C, and those are the ones I had to evaluate most carefully.

If you want to utilize notation as you solve this problem (and I think that for this problem that's a good idea for the vast majority of students) -- you can follow the same thought pattern --

1) recognize that task will be to fill gap -- thus you know that there will be, in the stimulus, a clearly definable gap to fill.

2) search out and seek to correctly understand the conclusion -- in this case:

P -> not H ; (also helpful to keep in mind contrapositive form H -> not P.)

3) seek to mimic the conclusion / find missing link by chaining support - in general, you will be able to "start" where the conclusion does, in this case with "If P..."

P -> T -> not C.

4) identify that missing link --

so, what we need is a "not C -> not H" -- notice this would allow us to create a complete chain --

P -> T -> not C -> not H

And this would allow us to properly conclude P -> not H as the conclusion does.

I could add a bit more color but I'll cut myself off here -- hope that helps and take care --

-- Mike

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed May 11, 2016 12:04 pm

Fourteen Quick Tips For Your Final LSAT Practice Exams

Here are some tips to help you maximize what you gain from the final practice exams you take before test day. As I often say, you know yourself best and these tips may not apply to you -- feel free to pick and use whatever you think might be helpful -- (note: I'll also be posting this on Reddit and Lsatters) --

The first two recommendations are general and obvious --

1. Make sure to take each exam as realistically as possible

Part of the reason you are taking these exams is to build up your stamina and prepare your mind for the rigors of test day -- you can best do so if you are strict about not allowing yourself extra breaks and so on.

2. Make sure to review each exam as thoroughly as possible

You want to use your review to assess your understanding and strategies, and you want to try to address any issues that arise.

As you get closer and closer to test day, you also want to focus more and more on reviewing each exam in terms of your own performance, and the strengths and weaknesses you recognize in yourself. You are likely going to have lots of tough decisions on test day about where to allocate your time and energy, and the better you know yourself, the easier it will be to make the right decisions.

The next two are suggestions for what to do before taking your PT’s --

3. Create four note cards: one with reminders about LR, one with reminders about LG, one with reminders about RC, and one with reminders about general mindset.


On each note card, write out, as simply as you can, the two or three most important reminders you can think of for yourself. Maybe on your LR card you write just two phrases: “empathy,” and “word-for-word,” to remind yourself to read stimuli with the goal of understanding the author’s intent and to combat a bad habit you’ve noticed where you pick an answer without double-checking that all of its terminology matches that in the stimulus. Maybe on your LG note card you write “look for frames” and “make sure to double-check diagram.” You can do similar things on the other cards.

On test day, you may feel your head spinning with a thousand concerns -- taking a look at these note cards beforehand can help center you, and I recommend you get in the habit of using them for that purpose on your PT’s.

4. Set flexible timing goals


For example, depending on your goal score, you may want to be around the 7 minute mark when you finish the first RC passage, the 15 minute mark after the second, and so on --

No one is going to go through an entire exam hitting these marks exactly and you shouldn’t expect yourself to either -- a lot of it has to do with issues outside of your control -- perhaps the second RC passage is the toughest of the section and also happens to have the most questions, or maybe the first two passages turn out to be relatively simple and the final two brutal.

So, getting a bit ahead or behind your goal timing is nothing to be alarmed about -- at the same time, it can be useful to have these markers as gauges, so that you can keep track of your pace and you can make sure that you aren’t rushing too much or slowing down too much.

If you’d like, you can write these timing goals on the same note cards mentioned above.

The next four suggestions have to do with having an optimal mindset.

5. Be aggressive

Obviously, optimal mindset will be different from person to person, but, for most of us, it’s best to go into the exam with a pragmatic but aggressive attitude --

It’s very much like the experience of running into an ocean wave -- the harder you go, the more easily you can dictate the action; the more timid you are, the more you open yourself up to getting overwhelmed --

Similarly, going into an LR stimulus aggressively seeking to find the point, find the support, and so on puts you in a much better position than does going into an LR stimulus unsure of what you are supposed to look for and scared of what you might find.

6. Expect and embrace challenges

There will be difficult games, and difficult reading passages, and difficult Logical Reasoning problems. I think you put yourself at a disadvantage if go in hoping there won’t be -- hoping you won’t run into a tough game or a tough passage, etc. --

Rather, you want to go in with realistic expectations -- that you most certainly will run into a tough game or two, and so on, and also with the understanding that how you handle these challenges -- how smart you are about extracting as many points as possible while wasting as little time as possible -- is what will determine your success.

7. Expect to miss problems and allow yourself a certain number of misses

Think about the range of scores that are realistic for you, and set goals for how many you need to get right in each section in order to get to a score at the upper end of that range.

For most students, it is true that you can miss at least several problems per section and still do well. You want to keep this in mind when you run into the problems that cause you the most difficulty -- of course you want to try your best to figure them out, but you don’t want to overinvest your time and energy on the hardest problems when they aren’t worth any more points than the easiest ones -- speaking of --

8. Work to efficiently earn points

Because of the design of the LSAT -- because each problem, no matter how difficult, is worth exactly the same number of points, in order to perform at our best, most of us have to work very hard to train ourselves to mitigate a natural and understandable instinct that has developed throughout our entire educational lives -- our instinct to spend more time and energy on the hardest of questions.

This is an instinct that is very hard to control, and it’s an instinct that puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to the LSAT.

Of course you want to try to give yourself a chance to get every single problem right, but it’s essential to be mindful of the big picture, and to know that your real end goal is not to get the most difficult problems right, but rather to get as problems right in the allotted time as you possibly can -- for almost all students, this involves cutting time on problems that they find most difficult and investing that time into the problems they should and need to get right.

So again, to summarize all of the mindset tips, be aggressive, but make sure to try and channel your aggression wisely -- not toward obsessively trying to get every problem right no matter how long it takes, but rather toward trying to grab as many points as you possibly can in the limited time that you have --

Finally, here are just a couple of tips for each section --

Logical Reasoning

9. Think in Five-Problem Sets

Think of each Logical Reasoning section as a series of five-question mini-quizzes. You can use these five-question sections to plan your timing (for example, you may set a goal of being under a certain time by question five, being under a certain time by question ten, and so on) and accuracy goals (perhaps you expect, per your personal expectations, to miss one question in one of the first two groups of five, you are okay missing one question in the next group of five, and so on).

It can also be nice to use these five-minute blocks to allow yourself to hit the refresh button and carry forward less of the stress of previous problems than you might otherwise.

10. Learn to recognize the signs of trouble

Some questions are more difficult and will require more time to solve (and provide less certainty that the time spent will pay off with a right answer) -- you want to get better and better at recognizing the signs of trouble so that you can make more informed time-allocation decisions.

There are three main points at which you might sense that a problem will be more trouble than it’s worth:

1) When you read the question stem -- There are certain problem types, such as Match the Flaw and Match the Reasoning, that, on average, take longer and are also of above average difficulty. There may be other question types that you find less success with personally as well. It’s good to know all this so that, especially should you find yourself behind on time, you’ll know that these might not be good problems for you to invest a lot of time in. (On the flip side, certain types of problems, such as Identify the Conclusion, tend to, on average, be easier and take less time -- if you were running out of time, these might be good problems to invest time in).

2) When you read the stimulus -- If it’s confusing as hell the first read through that’s understandable -- if it’s still confusing as hell after your second or third read, that’s trouble.

3) When you are evaluating the answer choices -- You can look for signals from both sides -- do you either understand clearly why an answer is attractive or, (more frequently) do you see clearly why certain answers are not? If you have trouble making determinations for answer (A), then (B), then (C), etc., that’s certainly a sign you are having trouble.

If you find yourself having trouble at 2 or more of these checkpoints, it’s a very strong sign the problem is going to take more time than it’s worth to totally nail, and so you’ll want to be careful to, while still trying your best to get the right answer, make sure not to let yourself get sucked in and overinvest any extra time.

For Reading Comp --

11. Give yourself a pause after reading the passage to review it again for yourself.

You’ll feel rushed through the entire exam but there are certain moments where it’s really a great use of your time to slow down and work carefully -- after reading an RC passage is one of those moments.

Reading Comp passages work like great stories in that, especially for more difficult passages, it can be difficult to anticipate where the passage is going, or why exactly an author has mentioned something. However, after you are done reading a passage and have all of it at your disposal, just like when you are finished hearing an entire story, it becomes much, much easier to put all the pieces together and to understand why the author mentioned everything he/she did.

It can feel like you don’t have time to do this -- like you have to rush into the problems -- but trust me, it will take far less time than you might think, and it can help save you tons of time when you move on to those q’s.

12. Check against text and task

When stuck between two or three attractive answers, or when your lone remaining choice just doesn’t seem right, it can be very easy to get lost in our own thoughts and spin our wheels --

That’s when it can really help to have a habit of getting specific and practical -- don’t waste time comparing the remaining answers to one another, ruminating about them in your own mind, etc. -- instead, put your energy into checking the specifics of the answers against the text and task -- does the answer talk about exactly what the passage is talking about (oftentimes there will be subtle changes in subject matter, etc. that are very hard to spot until careful inspection) and does the answer choice actually match the task presented in the stem (often, when we get lost in thought on an RC q, thinking about the q stem becomes the odd man out).

For Logic Games

13. Use the Rules Q to verify your understanding

The vast majority of games -- very likely all four that you will see on test day -- begin with what I describe as a “Rules Q” -- a question that asks for one way in which the elements can be organized to satisfy the given rules.

These problems are designed to test your understanding of the given information, and the way in which I recommend you solve them is this:

You go down the list of written rules (rather than using your diagram), and use one rule at a time to eliminate answer choices that violate that rule. By the time you are done going down the list, you should only have one answer remaining, and that answer will be correct.

This first q is a great opportunity to settle into a game and get comfortable with it, but it’s also a great chance to make sure you understand the rules correctly -- if you go down your list of rules and for some reason can’t eliminate all 4 wrong answers, there is a very good chance you misunderstood or misinterpreted the full ramifications of one or more rules.

14. Spend more time on set-up, less on q’s --

There is the danger of spending too much time on set-up -- and, especially if you are using strategies where you often rely on creating multiple frames and so on, that is certainly a danger --

But for most students, it is generally beneficial to slow down a bit while you are setting up a game -- give yourself the time to make sure you understand the rules correctly and give yourself the time you need to draw a smart diagram that you can be comfortable with. Just as with RC, you will feel like you need to rush, but being a bit more careful during the setup will in general save you time when it comes to answering the q’s.

That’s it -- thanks for reading and hope you found at least a few of those tips helpful --

MK

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby dadownclub8 » Sat May 21, 2016 9:05 pm

Hi Mike. I saw that you posted that a 2013 version of the trainer would suffice but wondering besides correcting of typos if there are any other differences between that version at the newest one out (2016 I believe)? Thank you.

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon May 23, 2016 3:16 pm

dadownclub8 wrote:Hi Mike. I saw that you posted that a 2013 version of the trainer would suffice but wondering besides correcting of typos if there are any other differences between that version at the newest one out (2016 I believe)? Thank you.


hey - no differences - hope the studying goes well, and reach out if you need me -- mk

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby O.J. » Mon May 23, 2016 3:35 pm

In regards to, "fails to consider" and "takes for granted" (I'm on page 76).

It seems to me I can use either phrase, depending on the way I use it in a sentence, so it's causing me some confusion. For instance, your example, "Did you know Ted is older than Grandma? He must be really old."

I can answer this with, "Fails to consider the grandma may be 30 years old." Or, as you noted, "Takes for granted that being older than grandma guarantees that one is old".

Both feel right to me, though fails to consider seems even "more right", and I seem to be able to do this with several of these examples.

What am I "failing to consider" here? :)

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby BobLobLaw11 » Mon May 23, 2016 4:31 pm

O.J. wrote:In regards to, "fails to consider" and "takes for granted" (I'm on page 76).

It seems to me I can use either phrase, depending on the way I use it in a sentence, so it's causing me some confusion. For instance, your example, "Did you know Ted is older than Grandma? He must be really old."

I can answer this with, "Fails to consider the grandma may be 30 years old." Or, as you noted, "Takes for granted that being older than grandma guarantees that one is old".

Both feel right to me, though fails to consider seems even "more right", and I seem to be able to do this with several of these examples.

What am I "failing to consider" here? :)

Mike answers this question on his lsatters website: http://lsatters.com/forums/topic/takes-for-granted-vs-fails-to-consider/
You can essentially use either one of the phrases when describing a flaw, it's just from different perspectives. Plus, if you can see how both can be used then that is actually more helpful in understanding the flaw. Hope this helps, from one Bruin to another

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby O.J. » Mon May 23, 2016 4:41 pm

Excellent, thanks!

*performs 8-clap*

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby MAPP » Tue May 24, 2016 12:52 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:


Hey Mike, I'm having a difficult time with the conditional indicator "only". It seems to sometimes indicate a necessary condition ("only if") and also a sufficient condition (PT34, S2, Q10 in correct answer D). Is a differentiation made by the word "if"? If yes, that would mean "only if" signals a necessary condition and "only" signals a sufficient condition?

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed May 25, 2016 12:27 pm

MAPP wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:


Hey Mike, I'm having a difficult time with the conditional indicator "only". It seems to sometimes indicate a necessary condition ("only if") and also a sufficient condition (PT34, S2, Q10 in correct answer D). Is a differentiation made by the word "if"? If yes, that would mean "only if" signals a necessary condition and "only" signals a sufficient condition?


Hey --

You’ve definitely hit upon an important issue -- whenever you run into the word “only” on the test you want to make sure to think about it carefully --

Short answer --

There are three main ways (and some variations) in which they will use only -- “only,” “only if,” and “the only” -- the first two forms are more common than the third (the third form, “the only,” being the one in 34-2-10) --

“I’ll only eat oranges that are peeled.” (E -> P)
“I’ll eat an orange only if it’s peeled.” (E -> P)
“The only oranges I eat are ones that are peeled.” (E -> P)

So the “if” definitely does change the impact of the only, and you want to make sure to get comfortable with the differing impacts of those variations.

Long answer --

Just to be clear (and apologies for repeating myself if you are already aware of my opinion on this) -- in general, I don’t recommend thinking in terms of sufficiency indicators and such as you are taking the exam. I think doing so almost always has a detrimental impact on your overall ability to read well, and I’ve seen almost no evidence of top scorers (other than those who teach such methods for prep companies) thinking of sufficiency indicators and such -- again, you may be aware of all that already but I just wanted to make it clear.

I believe it’s much, much easier, and far more effective, to instead develop a system of gauging conditional phrases in terms of guarantees -- which is what I advocate for in the Trainer --

“I’ll only eat oranges that are peeled.” (E -> P)
Does this mean if an orange is peeled I must eat it? No.
Does this mean if I eat an orange it was peeled? Yes. (E -> P)

“I’ll eat an orange only if it’s peeled.” (E -> P)
Does this mean if an orange is peeled I must eat it? No.
Does this mean if I eat an orange it was peeled? Yes. (E -> P)

“The only oranges I eat are ones that are peeled.” (E -> P)
Does this mean if an orange is peeled I must eat it? No.
Does this mean if I eat an orange it was peeled? Yes. (E -> P)


The last example has the same structure as what u ran into on that problem -- "The only students with special educational needs are students with learning disabilities." Clearly that answer was written in a way that purposely makes it challenging for you to understand it correctly --

If the technical terminology throws you off, you can always use an analogy just to understand the reasoning relationship, then apply that back --

So here, I could replace special educational needs and learning disabilities and say to myself, "The only oranges I eat are ones that are peeled" means Eat -> peeled, so here the relationship must be special educational needs -> learning disabilities."


Sorry to answer your q in such a tedious and indirect way, but I hope that helps -- if you have any follow up please let me know -- MK

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby MAPP » Thu May 26, 2016 12:27 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Just to be clear (and apologies for repeating myself if you are already aware of my opinion on this) -- in general, I don’t recommend thinking in terms of sufficiency indicators and such as you are taking the exam. I think doing so almost always has a detrimental impact on your overall ability to read well, and I’ve seen almost no evidence of top scorers (other than those who teach such methods for prep companies) thinking of sufficiency indicators and such


The only reason I sometimes think in terms of indicators is I cannot determine which way the conditional relationship is working by simply working it out in my head. It would seem, however, that it is impossible to think of "only" as an indicator since it really could indicate a sufficient or necessary condition?

If I wanted to improve my recognition of conditional relationships with "only" would you recommend I drill conditional LR questions (I have a cambridge packet that groups LR according to conditional reasoning questions)? I need to do something to improve because I made another mistake with "only" while drilling today on PT 15-3-5. I choose E, reversing the conditional relationship given in the stimulus's conclusion.

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu May 26, 2016 3:35 pm

MAPP wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Just to be clear (and apologies for repeating myself if you are already aware of my opinion on this) -- in general, I don’t recommend thinking in terms of sufficiency indicators and such as you are taking the exam. I think doing so almost always has a detrimental impact on your overall ability to read well, and I’ve seen almost no evidence of top scorers (other than those who teach such methods for prep companies) thinking of sufficiency indicators and such


The only reason I sometimes think in terms of indicators is I cannot determine which way the conditional relationship is working by simply working it out in my head. It would seem, however, that it is impossible to think of "only" as an indicator since it really could indicate a sufficient or necessary condition?

If I wanted to improve my recognition of conditional relationships with "only" would you recommend I drill conditional LR questions (I have a cambridge packet that groups LR according to conditional reasoning questions)? I need to do something to improve because I made another mistake with "only" while drilling today on PT 15-3-5. I choose E, reversing the conditional relationship given in the stimulus's conclusion.


I gotcha --

Sorry if I gave the impression that you can’t determine what these words indicate -- just to clear that up --

“Only if” will precede the necessary consequent.

“I will eat an orange only if it’s peeled.”
“Only if an orange is peeled will I eat it.”

Both give us E -> P.

“Only” also precedes the necessary consequent.

“I eat only peeled oranges.”
“Only peeled oranges get eaten by me.”

Both give us E -> P.

“The only” precedes a sufficient condition.

“The only oranges I eat are peeled ones.”
“Peeled oranges are the only kind I eat.”

Both give us E -> P.

Definitely good to know these rules, and to have them in your arsenal -- so, I probably should have just given u them when you asked, and sorry I wasn’t clearer about that before -- :) -- in any case --

“Only when,” which is at issue on 15-3-5, is a variation of “only if” and works by the same rules --

And carrying through the orange analogy --

“Therefore, I’ll eat an orange only when it is peeled” yield E -> P.

In terms of practice --

If you are studying w/the Trainer -- check out the drills in lessons 18 and 31 --

In addition, years ago I helped create a “video game” for Manhattan called the LSAT Arcade -- it’s a bit clunky, but there’s an exercise called “if / then” or something like that -- from what I recall, I created the database of q’s after doing some extensive research into the prevalence of different types of conditional statements, and I think it can be a fun way to sharpen your instincts -- you may want to check that out as well.

LSAT problems are also, of course, always good for practice, but they won't give you quite the immediate feedback or focused attention --I think they are probably best as gauges of how comfortable you are with your understanding and with your methods, and as practice applying your skills and habits in the moment -- one thing you may want to try is going back through past q's you've already tried, scanning for "only" phrases, and testing whether you are comfortable w/them --

HTH -- MK

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Re: Mike's Trainer Thread

Postby MAPP » Fri May 27, 2016 11:57 am

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
HTH -- MK


Mike, you sir are a baller and a saint! Thanks for the help!


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