Mike's Trainer Thread

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:13 pm

lsat_hopeful wrote:This isn't directly related to the LSAT Trainer (I hope that's ok), but just wanted to get your input on something.

I was watching a 7sage video (logic games explanation video for PT55, Game 1: http://7sage.com/lsat_explanations/lsat ... -4-game-1/) and in it J.Y. suggests that for a global, could be true question, we should dive straight into the answer choices (it seems like he was suggesting to start by creating a hypothetical for each answer choice until we find the correct answer).

Just curious if you agree with this approach, or if you suggest a different method.

Thanks a bunch!


Hi there --

First off, let me say that I am a huge fan of J.Y., both as a person and as a teacher--he is a star--and in my opinion you should have all the confidence in the world in his advice -- listen to that man --

In terms of your specific question --

There isn't a whole lot of upfront work to be done w/a global CBT, and in general I'd suggest you just dive into the answers --

When you get to a point where you are very strong at games, the "default" experience for a global CBT should be that the inferences you've already made allow you to quickly and fairly easily see that four of the answers must be false, and you should be able to do so without having to write hypotheticals (or much of anything at all) out. Again (and I think this is a great marker of LG mastery) this should be your experience most of the time.

Having said that, obviously not all questions work the same way (otherwise the test would be too easy) and there will be instances where the answer that "could be true" will jump out at you and be easier to see/confirm than the 4 that must be false, and there will be instances where you should expect that you'll need to write things out/create hypos in order to test out answers. I think the question you linked to represents the latter of these situations. Notice that each of the answer choices is about the possibility of two things happening simultaneously -- this is tougher to see, mentally, then are inferences about just one element or one position. Evaluating the answers requires you to consider, again and again, whether two different things can be true together at the same time -- this doesn't necessarily make the question harder (the evaluation process for this question, for example, is fairly simple) but it does make it so you should expect that you'll more likely have to do things on paper, rather than just in your head.

Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any follow up or need anything else -- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby lsat_hopeful » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:18 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:
When you get to a point where you are very strong at games, the "default" experience for a global CBT should be that the inferences you've already made allow you to quickly and fairly easily see that four of the answers must be false, and you should be able to do so without having to write hypotheticals (or much of anything at all) out. Again (and I think this is a great marker of LG mastery) this should be your experience most of the time.


I think this is exactly the explanation I was looking for. I'm hoping to get to this level before taking the LSAT and I think J.Y.'s comment threw me off a bit because it seemed like it could turn out to be a very time consuming approach (had the correct answer not been "A", as it was in that question). Otherwise, I agree that J.Y. has tons of knowledge and I wouldn't watch his videos if I didn't believe I would gain a lot out of it.

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Having said that, obviously not all questions work the same way (otherwise the test would be too easy) and there will be instances where the answer that "could be true" will jump out at you and be easier to see/confirm than the 4 that must be false, and there will be instances where you should expect that you'll need to write things out/create hypos in order to test out answers. I think the question you linked to represents the latter of these situations. Notice that each of the answer choices is about the possibility of two things happening simultaneously -- this is tougher to see, mentally, then are inferences about just one element or one position. Evaluating the answers requires you to consider, again and again, whether two different things can be true together at the same time -- this doesn't necessarily make the question harder (the evaluation process for this question, for example, is fairly simple) but it does make it so you should expect that you'll more likely have to do things on paper, rather than just in your head.


I agree. However, I do think having two things simultaneously also makes it easier to eliminate answer choices, since if one part of the statement is not true, we are able to eliminate the entire answer choice altogether and thus not have to worry about creating a hypothetical at all.
Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any follow up or need anything else -- Mike

Thanks, you are too awesome! I really appreciate your help/sharing your wisdom with us! :)

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby mymrh1 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:01 pm

Hi Mike, I purchased your book from Amazon. I just started reading it. I don't quiet understand what you mean by what to think about (not what to think) from page 16 and 17. Do you mind explaining your concept in way of some examples? Thanks.

So far, I like your introduction section a lot. I feel your introduction is a great way to restart my Lsat study.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Nicolena. » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:46 pm

I'm taking the test in December. At this point, I'm taking PTs every other day, but what should I be doing on off days, besides review? Would you suggest drilling by type with LR or mixed review? Does doing untimed work help at all? Or should everything be timed these last two weeks?

Thanks again for all of your responses and help!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:30 pm

mymrh1 wrote:Hi Mike, I purchased your book from Amazon. I just started reading it. I don't quiet understand what you mean by what to think about (not what to think) from page 16 and 17. Do you mind explaining your concept in way of some examples? Thanks.

So far, I like your introduction section a lot. I feel your introduction is a great way to restart my Lsat study.


Hi there -- glad you are liking the book thus far, and I think a lot of the points I make upfront will resonate more clearly as you get deeper into it (a reviewer on Amazon just mentioned the exact same spot you are asking about and said as much in the review) --

To focus on what to think about rather than what to think means that, as you walk through problems and as you review your work, you think in terms of the mental steps you are supposed to take, rather than prioritizing what the "right answer" or "right thought" is in regard to each situation.

Let's use LG scenarios and rules to illustrate (and I won't bring up elephants) --

For a logic game, you want to start off thinking "I need to understand the general design of the game," "I need a sense of how the rules relate to one another," and "I need to see which rule or combination of rules to prioritize" -- I almost always figure all this out even before I start writing anything down -- this puts me in a good position to see the game cleanly, and to have an understanding that carries over into and impacts how I solve problems. Once I put myself in this position, I trust that I have the skills and experience to perform the tasks correctly.

To focus on what to think is to not set those types of prioritizes, and, rather, to simply focus on getting each chunk of work correct -- setting up a diagram base correctly after just reading the scenario (a terrible mistake), notating each rule correctly in the order in which they are given (another terrible mistake) and so on. If for LG, your thoughts are dictated by the order in which you are given information, it's much, much easier to get sucked into their tricks and traps, and it's much more difficult to ensure you've thought about the right things in the right way.

What to think about rather than what to think probably has its biggest impact when you review your work. To see why a right answer is right, or to understand why a wrong answer is wrong, is an example of what to think. You certainly want this understanding, but it's not enough -- it's kind of like understanding the punchline to a joke -- sure it makes the joke make sense, but it doesn't necessarily ensure that you'll be able to anticipate the punchline to a similar joke in the future.

When you review your work, you want to walk through your mental processes and what you thought about. Did you start off with a good understanding of task? For an LR argument based q -- Did you seek out the argument conclusion, and, if so, did you go about it the right way? Did you zero in on the right support, or did you get distracted by the background? And so on. You want all the other thoughts you have to service your review of these action steps.

Imagine yourself on test day with a q in front of you -- what's going to determine your experience with it? It's what pops into your head -- your ability to think about the right things at the right time. Most students know they need to understand things correctly, but they don't do as much to make sure they think about the right things at the right time. Focusing on what to think about, not just what to think, as you do your prep will be extremely helpful in terms of helping you have the right thought pop into your head at the right moment.

Hope that clarifies things a bit, and let me know if you need anything else --

Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:39 pm

Nicolena. wrote:I'm taking the test in December. At this point, I'm taking PTs every other day, but what should I be doing on off days, besides review? Would you suggest drilling by type with LR or mixed review? Does doing untimed work help at all? Or should everything be timed these last two weeks?

Thanks again for all of your responses and help!


I think it differs based on the person --

One thing I definitely suggest is to do some self-assessment -- particularly with regard to systems -- do you have habits for dealing with all major/common situations?

A test of this: without looking back through your notes, for LR and RC, write down the different q types, and what your general approach is for solving them. It'll tell you something if you can't come up with the lists, and it will tell you something if you can't name for yourself a general approach. Often, you do actually have this understanding and these approaches, but it's a matter of confirming it for yourself and clarifying it for yourself. And I think this can be a useful clarification exercise/reminder exercise. For LG, see if, again, without looking at your notes, you can list out all the possible things that can happen in games, and mark whether or not you are comfortable handling all of these situations.

Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and work on the lowest hanging fruit -- the areas where you can make the quickest change -- based off that, you may want to revisit parts of the trainer, so more drill sets, or more section/mixed review work.

One other suggestion I have, and I know you didn't ask about this Nicholena, is to make sure you use these final PTs to firm up your timing habits -- as I discuss a lot in the trainer, this isn't just about developing an idealized version of how you want your timing to go -- it's about developing systems for handling anything that can happen (a first game that takes way less or way more time than you expected, for example). Most people suffer on the exam because they have to stress about how to allocate their time. If you can get your timing habits down over the next couple of weeks so that you can implement them without having to think about them, it will given you an advantage --

Hope that all helps and let me know if you need anything else --

Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby retaking23 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:25 am

Hi Mike,

I was reviewing a PT and one question's got me thinking about the approach you suggested for sufficient assumption family questions.

PT 70, S4, q15 (the one about burglars).

Here's how I went about it in real time: I read the question stem and realized it's asking for a sufficient assumption. With that in mind, I read the stimulus and thought I would need a choice that, if assumed, leads to the conclusion that the government's proposal is justified. I didn't get anything with that degree of specificity. So, I decided to eliminate and work from wrong to right and, fortunately, the wrong choices were quite obviously wrong. Left with the one [right] answer, (C), I moved on.

Now, I'm reviewing this and wondering how you would have solved it. The right answer doesn't really guarantee that the government's proposal is justified; in fact, all it guarantees is that it might be justified. So, is this better approached as a strengthen question? Because I got a little nervous when I didn't get a true sufficient assumption answer choice.

Thanks.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:50 pm

retaking23 wrote:Hi Mike,

I was reviewing a PT and one question's got me thinking about the approach you suggested for sufficient assumption family questions.

PT 70, S4, q15 (the one about burglars).

Here's how I went about it in real time: I read the question stem and realized it's asking for a sufficient assumption. With that in mind, I read the stimulus and thought I would need a choice that, if assumed, leads to the conclusion that the government's proposal is justified. I didn't get anything with that degree of specificity. So, I decided to eliminate and work from wrong to right and, fortunately, the wrong choices were quite obviously wrong. Left with the one [right] answer, (C), I moved on.

Now, I'm reviewing this and wondering how you would have solved it. The right answer doesn't really guarantee that the government's proposal is justified; in fact, all it guarantees is that it might be justified. So, is this better approached as a strengthen question? Because I got a little nervous when I didn't get a true sufficient assumption answer choice.

Thanks.


Hi there --

I just took a look at this q for the first time (though w/a bit of a head start b/c I read your message) -- here are my real time thoughts (along w/additional comments)--

- it's a principle support q -- not a sufficient assumption q -- so I don't need a slam dunk answer (I do expect, typically, to get an answer that fits the gap in a fairly clear and obvious way) -- notice the wording in the q stem -- "most helps to support" -- if they expected you to find an answer that guarantees, they would use more absolute language --

- stimulus: conclusion: taking part of burglar's wages justified; why: $ will go to burglary victims.

What's wrong? The word that jumps out to me is justified? How do you say whether or not something is justified? And the support isn't about the concept of "justification" at all. The support is just about how the $ is being used.

So, going into the answer choices, my thinking is that we need a generalized principle that connects, in some way, the way in which the $ is used to the idea of whether taking it from the burglars is justified or not.

With this in mind, as you said, the wrong answers are fairly obvious here (though I was tempted into overthinking the connection between "should" in A and "justified" in the conclusion) -- the wrong answers also validate my original thought process (because they all "play," incorrectly, off the gap I saw, if that makes sense). The right answer, (C), is fairly close to what I expected.

HTH, and let me know if anything wasn't cleared up for you -- happy thanksgiving -- MK

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Tyr » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:36 pm

Hi Mike,

I apologize if this is one of those questions that "answers itself" once I actually start reading your book, but I thought I'd ask before I even begin. I recently purchased The LSAT Trainer and I'll begin my LSAT study in December for the June 2014 LSAT. I'm interested in combining your book with drilling using the Cambridge LSAT bundles. Is this advisable? Do your question type break-downs match up with how Cambridge does their categorizations?

Thanks!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby lsat_hopeful » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:51 pm

Hi!

I was just wondering if you could provide validation/criticism of my analysis of the answers for Q21 from the second LR section in the June 07 PT. ("Ehticist: On average..."):

A - doesn't address moral issue (as stated in the conclusion) or anything about increasing population, etc (as stated in the premise). How can you possibly weaken an argument without addressing anything in the premises or conclusion?

B - correct because it addresses the second premise ("With grain yields leveling off, large areas of farmland going out of production...")

C - irrelevant to points made in premise and conclusion and if anything, if this was true, this could possibly provide support for the conclusion (i'm not going to try to explain that, since I don't think it's super important)

D- out of scope - doesn't address any part of the premises or conclusion

E - does not address address premises/conclusion (basically why the majority of answers are wrong and B is right - B only addresses one specific part of one premise, but this is more than any of the answer does, so it makes B correct).

Any validation/criticism is welcome!

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Lsataddict175 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:44 pm

Hi Mike,

I've been reading the Trainer for a few weeks now and have found it extremely helpful. Thank you!

My question: I just finished Chapter 19 and got all the practice LSAT questions correct but I still feel like I'm not 100% clear when it comes to distinguishing between necessary/sufficient assumptions. For example, on the bottom of page 271, you provide an example: "Because we locked the door, no one can break into our house. " Then you go on to state that the following statement would not be considered a necessary assumption: " The door is the only way out of the house, and the lock impenetrable." If the lock in not impenetrable (negation test), wouldn't that mean that someone can break into the house, thereby killing the argument? Why wouldn't this be considered a necessary assumption?

My second question:I'm almost half-way done your book and I've only been getting around 83% percent of the sample LR questions you provide in the chapters correct (untimed). I have just started studying for the exam and I'm a bit concerned about getting so many answers wrong. Is it normal at this stage in my study process to be getting a large number of LR questions wrong? How long does it typically take to really conquer LR? If I want to hit my goal of 170+ I understand that I can't get more than -2 per section.

Again, thank you so much for your awesome book. Feel bad for people who took the LSAT prior to the book's release. Have a great day!
Last edited by Lsataddict175 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby ZVBXRPL » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:17 pm

Mike K.,
Two questions.
1. Why the bubbles and fish?
2. Is it necessary to find flaws in strenthen/weaken questions (like you do on page 294-5)?

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:07 pm

Tyr wrote:Hi Mike,

I apologize if this is one of those questions that "answers itself" once I actually start reading your book, but I thought I'd ask before I even begin. I recently purchased The LSAT Trainer and I'll begin my LSAT study in December for the June 2014 LSAT. I'm interested in combining your book with drilling using the Cambridge LSAT bundles. Is this advisable? Do your question type break-downs match up with how Cambridge does their categorizations?

Thanks!


Hi there --

I'm a big fan of Cambridge LSAT, and I think it's a great idea to use the two in combination. In particular, I recommend that you solve certain questions over and over again, and I think buying PDF's that you can print multiple copies of makes a lot of sense. I also think the breakdowns match fairly well -- if you have any questions about how they equate, you can always get in touch w/me or with cambridge (he's on here regularly) and we'll be happy to help --

Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:09 pm

lsat_hopeful wrote:Hi!

I was just wondering if you could provide validation/criticism of my analysis of the answers for Q21 from the second LR section in the June 07 PT. ("Ehticist: On average..."):

A - doesn't address moral issue (as stated in the conclusion) or anything about increasing population, etc (as stated in the premise). How can you possibly weaken an argument without addressing anything in the premises or conclusion?

B - correct because it addresses the second premise ("With grain yields leveling off, large areas of farmland going out of production...")

C - irrelevant to points made in premise and conclusion and if anything, if this was true, this could possibly provide support for the conclusion (i'm not going to try to explain that, since I don't think it's super important)

D- out of scope - doesn't address any part of the premises or conclusion

E - does not address address premises/conclusion (basically why the majority of answers are wrong and B is right - B only addresses one specific part of one premise, but this is more than any of the answer does, so it makes B correct).

Any validation/criticism is welcome!


Hey --

The one other thing I'm curious about is your sense of what the flaw in the argument was -- but in any case, I just tried the problem (I've seen it before) and my thoughts were very similar to those you wrote above -- the one difference, I think, was that I was a bit more attracted to (E) than you were. Nice work! -- MK

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:34 pm

Lsataddict175 wrote:Hi Mike,

I've been reading the Trainer for a few weeks now and have found it extremely helpful. Thank you!

My question: I just finished Chapter 19 and got all the practice LSAT questions correct but I still feel like I'm not 100% clear when it comes to distinguishing between necessary/sufficient assumptions. For example, on the bottom of page 271, you provide an example: "Because we locked the door, no one can break into our house. " Then you go on to state that the following statement would not be considered a necessary assumption: " The door is the only way out of the house, and the lock impenetrable." If the lock in not impenetrable (negation test), wouldn't that mean that someone can break into the house, thereby killing the argument? Why wouldn't this be considered a necessary assumption?

My second question:I'm almost half-way done your book and I've only been getting around 83% percent of the sample LR questions you provide in the chapters correct (untimed). I have just started studying for the exam and I'm a bit concerned about getting so many answers wrong. Is it normal at this stage in my study process to be getting a large number of LR questions wrong? How long does it typically take to really conquer LR? If I want to hit my goal of 170+ I understand that I can't get more than -2 per section.

Again, thank you so much for your awesome book. Feel bad for people who took the LSAT prior to the book's release. Have a great day!


Hi there --

Great question -- It's the combination of elements (the door being the only way in and out and the lock being impenetrable) that takes it above and beyond being necessary, and I think it's much easier to see that the first part (the door is the only way in and out of the house) goes above and beyond what needs to be true.

To tell you the truth, even if it were just the statement "the lock is impenetrable" -- I don't think it would be necessary (though I think the truncated statement, by itself, goes into an area that is more subjective, or "grayer," than you would see on a real necessary assumption q) --

The negation of the lock is impenetrable is indeed that it is penetrable, but that doesn't necessarily, in my opinion, ruin the argument (though again, I think it does go into a bit of a gray area, depending on how you think of penetrable, and how you think of the concept of "break in"). The reason it doesn't destroy the argument: if the lock is penetrable using a key, and I am the only person who has the key, and no one can get it from me, then I can still say no one can break in.

In terms of your second, more general question, I think you are in great position -- basically, your % means that you are already getting 5 out of every 6 correct -- that's a fine spot to be in right now. My warning, though, is that some people get stuck where you are at, and others keep going forward -- one big key is self-awareness -- a correct understanding of what your strengths and
weaknesses are, and another key is the ability to change -- a huge % of test takers study for months and months then go into the exam and think about things exactly the same way they did on the first diagnostic -- obviously self-awareness and ability to change go hand in hand. The final key is work ethic, but I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that. Just keep thinking about problems in terms of your actions, and keep thinking about your issues in terms of reading skills, reasoning skills, and mental discipline, and you should see continued improvement. Again, I think you're in a great position right now.

HTH, and thanks for the kind comments! If you have any follow up, or need anything else, please let me know either here or though pm -- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:01 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:Mike K.,
Two questions.
1. Why the bubbles and fish?
2. Is it necessary to find flaws in strenthen/weaken questions (like you do on page 294-5)?


Hi -- I'll start w/the second question first --

Yes, as much as possible --

Keep in mind that you want to think of LR q stems very very literally -- and they will, 99% of the time, ask you to strengthen an argument -- not a conclusion, but an argument --

The argument is the relationship between support and conclusion

Tyr's avatar image has me thinking of war analogies --

Think of yourself as a war time commander, and you have a bridge in front of you connecting two areas -- the supporting premises area, and the conclusion area.

And what you know (for any strengthen or weaken q) is that the bridge has issues -- it either has a bunch of clear vulnerabilities, or it has an obvious weak point--

Depending on what side you are fighting for, your job is either to strengthen this bridge, or to weaken it.

In either case, it makes sense that you want as clear an understanding of the weak point(s) as possible, so you know what needs supporting, or what can be exploited in an attack.

Getting more specific -- sometimes the gap will be specific and sometimes it'll be more vague, and sometimes you'll just have trouble seeing the flaw (in which case you'll just want to work off of your understanding of support and conclusion), but the better and better you get at seeing the weak point or points in an argument, the easier it'll be for you to eliminate wrongs and pick rights on strengthen and weaken q's --

In terms of #1 -- it's tough for me to think of something to say that isn't too cheesy --

It is a long book, and a hard book to get through if you are really doing your work in it; I think the many fish on the inside cover are a nice distraction, and I think the picture can be a nice little reminder of what type of fish you want to be/why it is that you put in the extra work this book requires of you.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby staples88 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:07 pm

hey thanks mike. along the same lines of the person who first started reading the book a few weeks ago, is the trainer something you can get through in a month (from Oct release to Dec test day)?

I tried that with MLSAT LR + LG (after coming off Powerscore), and I don't think a month was enough.

Does not spending your time with the book prevent you from fully reaping its benefits?

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:58 pm

staples88 wrote:hey thanks mike. along the same lines of the person who first started reading the book a few weeks ago, is the trainer something you can get through in a month (from Oct release to Dec test day)?

I tried that with MLSAT LR + LG (after coming off Powerscore), and I don't think a month was enough.

Does not spending your time with the book prevent you from fully reaping its benefits?


Hi there,

I really think the trainer can be helpful whether you have just a couple of days with it, or you have months to spend with it -- I know that sounds like a sales pitch, but it is my honest opinion --

If you are short on study time, or if you are a retaker looking to fill in gaps, I hope you'll find that the Trainer is organized so that you can quickly find and focus in on the areas that are most relevant to you. You won't need to wade through paragraphs and paragraphs of material hoping to find some kernel of knowledge you might find useful -- all key points are clearly emphasized and highlighted. To illustrate, you could spend about 5 -10 minutes skimming through any chapter in the book, and just read what the headlines, pull quotes, drills and such are, and get a very good sense of what the main lessons of that chapter are. And even though the book is fairly long, I did my best to be as succinct as possible -- over and over again I felt I was able to say more, with far fewer words, than I did in the Manhattan books. There are several stories -- on this thread and in the Amazon reviews -- of people successfully using the book for a short period of time to address particular weaknesses that they might have had in LR, RC, or LG, so I do think the book is effective in this role.

At the same time, much of the trainer is designed as a workbook -- many of the pages involve you doing drills and such that are meant to be repeated until mastered -- as opposed to you absorbing instruction. Because of that, I kind of think of it like going to the gym -- the more work you put in, the greater your results will be. And as you'll see in the trainer, I'm a big believer in doing lots of work to build up effective habits. So, if you are at the beginning of your prep, or if time is less of a consideration, I obviously want to encourage you to spend as much time with the book as possible, and, in order to fully immerse yourself in it and do all the work, you will definitely need quite a bit of time.

Finally (and I imagine you already are accounting for this but just to put it out there) any schedule ought to also of course involve drilling and PT's, and, if you have limited time, you want to be strategic about how you allocate it.

HTH -- please let me know if you have any follow up q's or need anything else --

Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby Fianna13 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:04 pm

Quick LR question Mike, On inference questions, how should you internally process the statement If A, then B can happen? I understand that this is not a true conditional statement, does that mean essentially you can't really derive any certainty about B about given condition A?

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:18 pm

Fianna13 wrote:Quick LR question Mike, On inference questions, how should you internally process the statement If A, then B can happen? I understand that this is not a true conditional statement, does that mean essentially you can't really derive any certainty about B about given condition A?


Hi Fianna --

This is the LR equivalent of must be vs could be issues in LG -- you are right that it's not a true conditional, and you are right we can't derive any certainty. I think the most important thing is simply to be aware of the difference between could be and must be -- that is, if they give you a could be true statement, there will likely be incorrect answers that tempt you to over-infer, and, if a right answer relates to that particular statement, you just want to make sure it matches the "degree" of that statement (that is, the inference itself discusses possibilities rather than absolutes). HTH -- Have a good week and let me know if you need anything else-- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby aesth24 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:36 pm

Hey Mike

Wanted to thank you for your contributions, I found them very helpful. Reading through your posts it seems like you're quite the avid tennis fan/player? Thought I'd point out how awesome that is! Great to see others who are fond of the sport.

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:24 pm

Hi everyone --

Here's part two of my breakdown of all LG from 29-69 -- this infographic includes a list of the 10 most difficult games from that bunch, with special guest commentator J.Y. Ping of 7Sage --

http://www.thelsattrainer.com/articles/ ... 9-part-two

I hope you find the above useful. You can buy any of these games (without buying the entire exam) at Cambridge LSAT --

-- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby ah.yes.indeed » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:34 pm

Hi Mike. I bought your book this summer and I must say, it is perhaps the best LSAT book around.

Right now I am in a bind. I prepped to take the test October, then post-poned till this December (because I thought it would be better). However, I am still in UG and in the middle of finals. Two weeks ago, I took an entire week off just to focus on intense school work. Now, as I am getting back to the grind, I just don't feel as confident.

My highest score ever was a 167. My average score was a 165. My goal is to score 170 or higher (I want HYSCCN). I want to know if you would recommend me taking the December test, considering the aforementioned. Do you think if I take it I will be able to score 170+ ?

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:17 pm

ah.yes.indeed wrote:Hi Mike. I bought your book this summer and I must say, it is perhaps the best LSAT book around.

Right now I am in a bind. I prepped to take the test October, then post-poned till this December (because I thought it would be better). However, I am still in UG and in the middle of finals. Two weeks ago, I took an entire week off just to focus on intense school work. Now, as I am getting back to the grind, I just don't feel as confident.

My highest score ever was a 167. My average score was a 165. My goal is to score 170 or higher (I want HYSCCN). I want to know if you would recommend me taking the December test, considering the aforementioned. Do you think if I take it I will be able to score 170+ ?



Short / non-preachy answer: You might be able to get a 170. A 167 is very close to a 170 (and realize the test does have a certain amount of standard deviation), and most people who are capable of getting an average of 165 can, on a good day, get 170.

Longer / preachy answer: That's a pretty open-ended set of questions, and I know that you know that I can't really answer them for you, and I think you may just want some perspective (or maybe not) -- if you want my personal advice about what your mindset ought to be, here it is --

1) Imagine that you decided you wanted to get married by the time you are 25. You are 24 years old, and you've got a few months to go, but you are not in a relationship. So, you assess all the single girls or guys you know, try to get to know each of them a little better, whittle your options down, then, in the last month before you turn 25, decide on one that will agree to marry you and go for it.

2) Imagine you are going into a boxing match, and your mindset is that you are hoping to win. You train with the mindset that you hope you are doing enough to win.

The person you are fighting against absolutely has to win. For him/her, winning means steak and lobster for the family every night, and losing means holding a sign on the side of the freeway. The person has been training for months and months knowing this, and knowing that he/she has no other choice but to win. Might you win this boxing match? You might.

3) Imagine yourself in a room of forty test takers on the day of the LSAT. Getting a 170 roughly equates to getting the top score in that room. Do you feel confident in your ability to do so?

Okay -- here's what I'm getting at --

The LSAT is hugely important to your legal career -- objectively speaking, it's hard to argue against the idea that it's more important than the entire semester's worth of work that you are finishing up.

If you want to be successful in your life's work, you owe it to yourself to spend as much time as you need to get to as high a score as possible. If the LSAT were 20% of the admissions decision, I wouldn't put it in these terms, but the LSAT is the most significant factor in admissions, and where you go to law school is the most important factor for getting a good job. Not getting as high a score as you can puts you at a huge (and unnecessary) disadvantage right from the beginning of your career.

You may have some particular reasons for why you have to take the test now or why you have to go to school next year, but in my experience, 9/10 times the timing urgencies are not nearly important enough to warrant getting a lesser score -- put in more concrete terms -- would you rather graduate law school a year earlier (or take the LSAT a few months earlier) and struggle to find a job out of law school, or take your time and put yourself in a position where you have your pick of great jobs? Just like it makes sense to wait to get married until you find the right person, for most students, I think it's best to take the LSAT whenever you feel you are as ready as you can be, and to worry about everything else after that.

You've got some lofty goals, and of course I love that, but your competition is stiff -- take a read through some of the study group forums and you'll see plenty of discussion from people who have devoted themselves to an extreme degree to studying for this exam. I know very little about you, and you may fall into this category as well, but from your note I sense that you feel a bit guilty about not being as prepared as you can be. I don't want to dishearten you from thinking you may be able to pull off a great performance -- you are already at an impressive score level and I think it's definitely worth it for you to take it to see what you can do, but if you do have to study again for a retake, my general advice is to take the exam when you know you've done everything you can to be as ready as possible --

Sorry for getting off on all those tangents, but I hope that was helpful -- let me know if you need anything else -- Mike

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Re: Mike, author of the LSAT Trainer, answering questions

Postby lsat_hopeful » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:37 pm

In the last lesson of reading comp (lesson 37, page 541) you mention that the secret to success of many top scorers is getting through easier questions quickly while maintaining accuracy. Does this apply to LR as well? (Or is it specific to RC.)


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