Mike's Trainer Thread

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.
october
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:23 am

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

Postby october » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:51 pm

hey Mike, your book has been a great help to me over the past few months. My diagnostic was a 143 and I saw steady improvements with every PT. My progression looked like this: 143, 152, 152, 156, 155, 162, 165. However, all those tests were either from the 50's or 40's. Once I hit the most recent tests, in the 60s, I saw a huge drop in my score, back down to the high 150s. I think it is mostly because of the logical reasoning section. I feel it is really different from the previous tests. My morale hasnt recovered from this drop, and I feel really pressured to take the test in 2 weeks. Do you have any advice for me in approaching the most recent LR sections?

Thanks

viviana7211
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:48 am

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

Postby viviana7211 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:22 pm

Hi Mike! I just received The Trainer in the mail and I have a few questions. I downloaded the 16 week study schedule standard workload + 7 extra exams. I also have the three PowerScore bibles. So my questions are, do I read both the trainer and the bibles at the same time? Or do I finish the trainer, then start the bibles? Or is it better if i do the 12 week schedule so I have a few weeks left before test day (June) to read the bibles?
Thank you!!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:32 pm

october wrote:hey Mike, your book has been a great help to me over the past few months. My diagnostic was a 143 and I saw steady improvements with every PT. My progression looked like this: 143, 152, 152, 156, 155, 162, 165. However, all those tests were either from the 50's or 40's. Once I hit the most recent tests, in the 60s, I saw a huge drop in my score, back down to the high 150s. I think it is mostly because of the logical reasoning section. I feel it is really different from the previous tests. My morale hasnt recovered from this drop, and I feel really pressured to take the test in 2 weeks. Do you have any advice for me in approaching the most recent LR sections?

Thanks


Hi there --

It's great to hear that you've found the trainer helpful, and I'm impressed with your overall improvement --

I don't think it's unusual to see some inconsistency / a dip in score -- in fact, inconsistency is the norm -- the steady and consistent rise you saw from 143 up to 165 is, in my experience, the more unusual aspect of your circumstance. Of course, I'm sure you would have preferred to have this inconsistency earlier, as opposed to 2 weeks before the test, but do know that it's natural, and that it doesn't mean you aren't going to end up scoring at the high end of your range.

The LR section has evolved in the 60's, but the changes are relatively minor, and my guess (and of course I could be wrong) is that much of your dip has to do with
getting closer to the test and you, consciously or unconsciously, subtly going from "practice mode" to "game mode." A consequence of moving into game mode is that you can tighten up, and you end up being more exhaustive, and less aggressive, than you may have been previously -- this will make right answers feel less definite, and wrong answers feel more attractive.

A couple of suggestions for you --

1) Take your remaining pt's as realistically as you possibly can, and this will help ensure that test day goes more and more like you expect it to. Try to mimic pressure as much as possible so you can get used to it.

2) Go a bit over the top with respect to two particular steps: zeroing in on argument core (when there is one) and "fitting" the right answer in between the stimulus and question stem. Remember, there will always only be one answer that matches the argument, and the task -- focus on these two things and that answer will separate itself for the others better. Think about too many other things and other answers start looking more attractive.

3) Remind yourself to stay aggressive. It's our nature to go into exhaustive mode when we feel pressure -- "oh man this test is hard! i've got to be hyper focused about everything!!!!" -- however, being exhaustive can really negatively impact our ability to prioritize, and to be aggressive. Especially with the easier q's, you want to make sharp, strong, fast decisions about wrong, and then right, and you want to move on. Practice pushing the pace and being more aggressive, and see if this helps any.

Of course, different students have different issues, and it may be that your dip is due to something other than what I discuss above. If so, or if you try some of the above but it doesn't seem to be effective for you, please let know and we can keep going back and forth until we figure this out.

It's very hard to get a "lucky" 165, just like it's hard to get "lucky" and throw a fastball 90 mph -- getting a score like that typically indicates that you are that good -- you've got that score in you, and that score is what you should expect, and feel you deserve, on test day. I think a few tweaks in mindset can get you back there, and I hope the above suggestions are helpful for that -- again, reach out if you need anything else -- Mike

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:48 pm

viviana7211 wrote:Hi Mike! I just received The Trainer in the mail and I have a few questions. I downloaded the 16 week study schedule standard workload + 7 extra exams. I also have the three PowerScore bibles. So my questions are, do I read both the trainer and the bibles at the same time? Or do I finish the trainer, then start the bibles? Or is it better if i do the 12 week schedule so I have a few weeks left before test day (June) to read the bibles?
Thank you!!


Hello Viviana -- thanks for trusting in me and picking up my book! --

I suggest that, overall, you think of your prep has having 3 overlapping phases-- learning (from books, etc.), drilling, and practice sections/exams (all with ample review, of course). You want to use the study guides mostly during the learning and drilling phase (there are a lot of drills in the trainer), and then you want to make sure you save plenty of time toward the tail end for additional drilling and for pt's (the trainer schedules are designed to account for all three phases of your prep).

So, my suggestion is to use both the trainer and the powerscore books toward the beginning of your prep, rather than the end. The powerscore books are designed to teach you one question type/game type etc. at a time. The trainer starts with a lot of instruction that isn't question category-specific, then starts to discuss how you want to approach particular q types and such around lessons 16/17. So, my suggestion is to start with just the trainer, and then to integrate the powerscore guides if and when you need them when the trainer starts getting more specific.

You can start with either the 12 or 16 week schedule and you should be fine -- you'll want to adapt them to fit in the powerscore books, and I also encourage you to adapt them to fit your own strengths and weaknesses -- don't be afraid to push the pace when you feel really comfortable with something, or to slow down and spend some extra time when you don't. Starting with the 12 week schedule might be nice because it allows for a bit more flexibility/leeway.

Hope that all helps -- good luck with your prep, and reach out whenever you need me -- Mike

Nicolena.
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:44 am

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

Postby Nicolena. » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:55 am

I have a few questions about strengthen/weaken...

The idea is to strengthen/weaken the bond (gap) between the premise-conclusion, so does that mean the answer choice will almost always relate to the premise and conclusion, and not just one? Are there circumstances where it only touches the conclusion, not the premise? Is there a way of identifying these circumstances?

As always, thanks!

Edit: also, in regards to strengthen and weaken questions concerning the correlation/causation issue - when looking at AC what exactly should you be looking for? Weaken - AC something showing a weak link in the cause and visa versa for strength? Is this right?

Last thing, I read this somewhere in MLSAT a while back and I was wondering your take on this. It stated in the strengthen weaken chapter that if the question stem refers to ("hypothesis" or conclusion) or (Reasoning, or argument - meaning the gap, right?) is that what this means? When they say this (pg. 255) does that mean - when a question stem says the hypothesis it's referring to strengthening/weakening the conclusion and then when the stem says reasoning it's referring to strengthening/weakening the gap in the argument? Is this always true?

Thanks again!
Last edited by Nicolena. on Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

acegirlk
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:41 pm

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

Postby acegirlk » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:28 pm

Hi Mike, I just bought The LSAT Trainer and I have to say I love it! I'm actually enjoying lsat studying time now. I wanted to use preptests 2, 7-31 for drilling and then 32-71 for preptest since i have a lot of testing anxiety I wanted to get more real practice test in. However, I'm afraid of mixing your study schedule up and messing everything up since your book and study schedule seem very well thought out I wanted to get your opinion on how to go about adding more drills from older tests. I saw your answer on similar questions, but the sixteen week study schedule has very specific drills and I'm confused about how i would go about substituting the drill questions since they're organized by different types and not simply "take section, take pt" until later in the schedule. Can you give me an idea of how I can add more to the sixteen week schedule to incorporate drills from older tests. I have roughly 4 months until the June lsat and although I work, I do plan to intensely study.

Also, can you give me some advice on when I should start cutting myself off after the allowed time? Thanks so much for writing the LSAT Trainer Mike! You are like Stephen Hawking simplifying astrophysics to the masses!

Lsataddict175
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:32 pm

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

Postby Lsataddict175 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:00 pm

Hi Mike,

Can't believe I'm about to finish the Trainer! It was a long, arduous journey but well worth the effort and time.
I wanted to ask you whether it would be worth it to read the book a second time to really internalize everything. I know you believe in practice more than learning methods/strategies, but I'm in no particular rush to take this exam. I want to get a 170+, and if it means taking the test in a year from now, I'm willing to do it.
Looking forward to hearing from you!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:50 pm

Hi everyone --

Sorry I've been m.i.a. -- I have been without a steady internet connection (!) for the past several days, and I still only have intermittent access -- I feel like a caveman -- anyway, while I'm connected I'll try to answer as many questions as I can.

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:20 pm

Nicolena. wrote:I have a few questions about strengthen/weaken...

The idea is to strengthen/weaken the bond (gap) between the premise-conclusion, so does that mean the answer choice will almost always relate to the premise and conclusion, and not just one? Are there circumstances where it only touches the conclusion, not the premise? Is there a way of identifying these circumstances?

As always, thanks!

Edit: also, in regards to strengthen and weaken questions concerning the correlation/causation issue - when looking at AC what exactly should you be looking for? Weaken - AC something showing a weak link in the cause and visa versa for strength? Is this right?

Last thing, I read this somewhere in MLSAT a while back and I was wondering your take on this. It stated in the strengthen weaken chapter that if the question stem refers to ("hypothesis" or conclusion) or (Reasoning, or argument - meaning the gap, right?) is that what this means? When they say this (pg. 255) does that mean - when a question stem says the hypothesis it's referring to strengthening/weakening the conclusion and then when the stem says reasoning it's referring to strengthening/weakening the gap in the argument? Is this always true?

Thanks again!


Hi Nicolena! Good to hear from you --

I wrote that Strengthen/Weaken chapter in the MLSAT book -- it is always true, but there are a couple of important factors to keep in mind --
1) you are asked far, far more often (to put a number on it, I'd estimate roughly 10 or 20-to-1) to s/w arguments, as opposed to just conclusions or claims. You should think of s/w the argument as the default, and s/w the conclusion as an unusual twist.
2) when they ask you to s/w a conclusion, they don't give you an argument. There aren't (at least that I can recall) any situations where a stimulus gives an argument, but the q stem asks you to just focus on the claim. Rather, when q's ask you to s/w a conclusion (but not the reasoning), stimuli are typically set up like "explain a discrepancy" stimuli, with background or a point against, and then an opinion, with no support. If a stimulus does contain an argument, your job will be to s or w that argument.

With regard to your first q -- not only will correct answers always relate to the relationship between conclusion and support, this is arguably the most valuable clue you have for differentiating between right and wrong answers -- it is often especially useful for the toughest of s/w q's, which are commonly difficult because they have wrong answers that impact just the conclusion or just the support, but not the relationship between the two.

Ideally, you want to always know exactly what's wrong with an argument first, then go into the answers, but of course it doesn't always work out that way -- sometimes we are able to separate out conclusion and support, but can't clearly understand the issue. In this instances, it can be helpful to try and work backwards with the most attractive answer choices -- for example, for a strengthen q, to try and confirm a right answer -- fit it in between conclusion and support and see if it could relate to any sort of reasoning flaw. By doing this, you can sometimes recognize flaws you couldn't see in the first place. You can also often see that an answer can't, in any way, relate to the reasoning issue, even if you don't understand the reasoning issue as clearly as you'd like.

Finally, in terms of correlation/causation & strengthen/weaken -- I feel like a part of the book -- pgs 112-113 -- says a lot more than what I can write here and better -- see if reviewing that helps at all, and if you have any q's that section doesn't address, happy to keep discussing further, here or through pm --

Have a good study week, and let me know if you need anything else -- Mike

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:44 pm

acegirlk wrote:Hi Mike, I just bought The LSAT Trainer and I have to say I love it! I'm actually enjoying lsat studying time now. I wanted to use preptests 2, 7-31 for drilling and then 32-71 for preptest since i have a lot of testing anxiety I wanted to get more real practice test in. However, I'm afraid of mixing your study schedule up and messing everything up since your book and study schedule seem very well thought out I wanted to get your opinion on how to go about adding more drills from older tests. I saw your answer on similar questions, but the sixteen week study schedule has very specific drills and I'm confused about how i would go about substituting the drill questions since they're organized by different types and not simply "take section, take pt" until later in the schedule. Can you give me an idea of how I can add more to the sixteen week schedule to incorporate drills from older tests. I have roughly 4 months until the June lsat and although I work, I do plan to intensely study.

Also, can you give me some advice on when I should start cutting myself off after the allowed time? Thanks so much for writing the LSAT Trainer Mike! You are like Stephen Hawking simplifying astrophysics to the masses!


Hi there -- thanks so much for your comments! I'm especially happy to hear that it's helping you enjoy studying for the test --

I think the easiest, and cleanest way to do what are asking, if you are willing to amend your plans just a little bit, is to use 52-56 for drill work assigned in the trainer, and then to organize everything else the way you had originally planned. This will still allow you to keep the rest of 32-71 as full pts (and you can add more from pre-32 to make up for the difference if you'd like) and you should be fine. I do believe there is a danger to not exposing yourself to the most recent tests until later in your prep, and I think using 52-56 along with the trainer will give you some early exposure, while also making it easier to follow along with the study schedules.

In terms of adding on drill sets, my suggestion would be to do so starting after lesson 17, when I first start getting into specific q types. My suggestion is to plan on doing some of your drilling for a particular q type after reading the corresponding lesson in the trainer, and doing some of your q-specific drilling after you have completely finished the trainer (as much as you need to until you feel mastery).

You can get the q's separated out by type from Cambridge LSAT--their categories are not quite the same as those in the trainer, but the link between them should be mostly obvious, and if you have any q's about how the different categories correspond just let me know and I'll be happy to help out.

Additionally, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I think it can be useful to drill a question type by looking for that question type yourself (rather than having the q's pre-separated out for you). Imagine you do the flaws lesson, then go through tests 7-31 looking for flaw q's -- by the end of it you will be automatic at correctly recognizing flaw q's, and it'll help "train your elephant" to go into a certain mode when it sees a flaw q. If you do a set of flaw q's that have been pre-organized for you, you aren't going to focus on the q stem (because you know what type of q it is) and you won't make as strong an association.

Hope that helps -- thanks again for trusting in the book and I'm so happy to hear that you like it so far -- if you need anything else just let me know -- Mike

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:09 pm

Lsataddict175 wrote:Hi Mike,

Can't believe I'm about to finish the Trainer! It was a long, arduous journey but well worth the effort and time.
I wanted to ask you whether it would be worth it to read the book a second time to really internalize everything. I know you believe in practice more than learning methods/strategies, but I'm in no particular rush to take this exam. I want to get a 170+, and if it means taking the test in a year from now, I'm willing to do it.
Looking forward to hearing from you!


Hi there -- congrats on nearing the end and glad to hear it was so difficult! :) Honestly, though, it is good to hear that you found it challenging -- I think using my book is kind of like working out -- if it feels too easy, you aren't getting out it what you should --

I do think it's helpful to go through the book a second time, in large part because you tend to notice/focus on different aspects of the test at different stages of your prep, and I think you'll find some advice in the trainer to match what you need toward the beginning of your prep, and some to better match what you need at other stages --

My suggestion would be to incorporate the second read into your drilling, and to use it in service of your drilling. For example, you can re-read a chapter on a question type in the trainer as your prep before doing a drill set of that question type, or return to certain parts of the trainer if certain weaknesses become apparent during your drilling. Or perhaps you review the first swatch of LR lessons (5-9) then do a drill set of just argument-based q's that require you to be critical. Or skim LG 10-15, then do a drill where you diagram a large set of LG games consecutively, to make sure you are prepared for any type of game that can come your way.

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

User avatar
jlk411
Posts: 185
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:52 pm

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

Postby jlk411 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:12 pm

Hi Mike, I am working through the Trainer and am finding it to be a really great resource! I have been cross referencing with Manhattan's posted logical reasoning explanations for any questions I've missed, but did not find a thorough explanation for pt 43.3.6 (yes I know a super early question!). I selected answer choice (d) and am not quite sure why that is less preferable or correct than (e). Thanks in advance!!!!!!

User avatar
DMW723
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:52 am

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

Postby DMW723 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:31 pm

jlk411 wrote:Hi Mike, I am working through the Trainer and am finding it to be a really great resource! I have been cross referencing with Manhattan's posted logical reasoning explanations for any questions I've missed, but did not find a thorough explanation for pt 43.3.6 (yes I know a super early question!). I selected answer choice (d) and am not quite sure why that is less preferable or correct than (e). Thanks in advance!!!!!!


Hey JLK! I know I'm not Mike but I'm working through the Trainer as well and figured it wouldn't be bad practice to try to explain this as well.

I believe that (E) is correct because the safety of their investments is not the primary issue at hand. It seems upon closer inspection that Antonia and Maria both concede that the stock market isn't safe (A: 'it is often volatile;' M: 'profits quickly, but just as likely to take a huge loss.') which would eliminate (D) as an answer choice. They disagree about whether it is preferable to gamble at making a quick profit, or to pick an investment which is slow and reliable.

I hope this helps! If that's not right then just disregard what I've said. :P

User avatar
jlk411
Posts: 185
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:52 pm

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

Postby jlk411 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:04 pm

DMW723 wrote:
jlk411 wrote:Hi Mike, I am working through the Trainer and am finding it to be a really great resource! I have been cross referencing with Manhattan's posted logical reasoning explanations for any questions I've missed, but did not find a thorough explanation for pt 43.3.6 (yes I know a super early question!). I selected answer choice (d) and am not quite sure why that is less preferable or correct than (e). Thanks in advance!!!!!!


Hey JLK! I know I'm not Mike but I'm working through the Trainer as well and figured it wouldn't be bad practice to try to explain this as well.

I believe that (E) is correct because the safety of their investments is not the primary issue at hand. It seems upon closer inspection that Antonia and Maria both concede that the stock market isn't safe (A: 'it is often volatile;' M: 'profits quickly, but just as likely to take a huge loss.') which would eliminate (D) as an answer choice. They disagree about whether it is preferable to gamble at making a quick profit, or to pick an investment which is slow and reliable.

I hope this helps! If that's not right then just disregard what I've said. :P


That helps a lot, thanks!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:52 pm

jlk411 wrote:
DMW723 wrote:
jlk411 wrote:Hi Mike, I am working through the Trainer and am finding it to be a really great resource! I have been cross referencing with Manhattan's posted logical reasoning explanations for any questions I've missed, but did not find a thorough explanation for pt 43.3.6 (yes I know a super early question!). I selected answer choice (d) and am not quite sure why that is less preferable or correct than (e). Thanks in advance!!!!!!


Hey JLK! I know I'm not Mike but I'm working through the Trainer as well and figured it wouldn't be bad practice to try to explain this as well.

I believe that (E) is correct because the safety of their investments is not the primary issue at hand. It seems upon closer inspection that Antonia and Maria both concede that the stock market isn't safe (A: 'it is often volatile;' M: 'profits quickly, but just as likely to take a huge loss.') which would eliminate (D) as an answer choice. They disagree about whether it is preferable to gamble at making a quick profit, or to pick an investment which is slow and reliable.

I hope this helps! If that's not right then just disregard what I've said. :P


That helps a lot, thanks!


Great answer DMW -- I don't have anything to add, but JLK let me know if you have any other q's.

I do have a small something to add -- I really dislike the right answer here, and on the test I'd be annoyed at having to pick it (it is certainly best available, but, in my opinion, not supported nearly as much as I'd like) -- q's like this (where wrong answers are more wrong than the right answer is right) really show th importance of being able to rely on your elimination process -- MK

mymrh1
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:11 pm

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

Postby mymrh1 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:49 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:Hi Nicolena! Good to hear from you --

I wrote that Strengthen/Weaken chapter in the MLSAT book -- it is always true, but there are a couple of important factors to keep in mind --
1) you are asked far, far more often (to put a number on it, I'd estimate roughly 10 or 20-to-1) to s/w arguments, as opposed to just conclusions or claims. You should think of s/w the argument as the default, and s/w the conclusion as an unusual twist.
2) when they ask you to s/w a conclusion, they don't give you an argument. There aren't (at least that I can recall) any situations where a stimulus gives an argument, but the q stem asks you to just focus on the claim. Rather, when q's ask you to s/w a conclusion (but not the reasoning), stimuli are typically set up like "explain a discrepancy" stimuli, with background or a point against, and then an opinion, with no support. If a stimulus does contain an argument, your job will be to s or w that argument.


Hi Mike,

I read the s/w chapter in the MLSAT book. I am not sure I 100% understand the differences between s/w questions asking to s/w conclusions or claims, and s/w questions asking to s/w arguments.

Using an example from Ch6 MLSAT LR book:

Core:

Sally owns more cookbooks than Finn ---> Sally is better cook than Finn

If we have "Finn is a good cook" as a choice, it doesn't weaken the core.

However, if only the conclusion "Sally is better cook than Finn" is given, and it is a weaken question, then I guess "Finn is a good cook" does weaken the conclusion??

I guess what I am trying to say is that it seems there are more possibilities to strengthen/weaken claims/conclusions, as as opposed to arguments? Thanks!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:01 pm

mymrh1 wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:Hi Nicolena! Good to hear from you --

I wrote that Strengthen/Weaken chapter in the MLSAT book -- it is always true, but there are a couple of important factors to keep in mind --
1) you are asked far, far more often (to put a number on it, I'd estimate roughly 10 or 20-to-1) to s/w arguments, as opposed to just conclusions or claims. You should think of s/w the argument as the default, and s/w the conclusion as an unusual twist.
2) when they ask you to s/w a conclusion, they don't give you an argument. There aren't (at least that I can recall) any situations where a stimulus gives an argument, but the q stem asks you to just focus on the claim. Rather, when q's ask you to s/w a conclusion (but not the reasoning), stimuli are typically set up like "explain a discrepancy" stimuli, with background or a point against, and then an opinion, with no support. If a stimulus does contain an argument, your job will be to s or w that argument.


Hi Mike,

I read the s/w chapter in the MLSAT book. I am not sure I 100% understand the differences between s/w questions asking to s/w conclusions or claims, and s/w questions asking to s/w arguments.

Using an example from Ch6 MLSAT LR book:

Core:

Sally owns more cookbooks than Finn ---> Sally is better cook than Finn

If we have "Finn is a good cook" as a choice, it doesn't weaken the core.

However, if only the conclusion "Sally is better cook than Finn" is given, and it is a weaken question, then I guess "Finn is a good cook" does weaken the conclusion??

I guess what I am trying to say is that it seems there are more possibilities to strengthen/weaken claims/conclusions, as as opposed to arguments? Thanks!


Hey! --

You are absolutely right that there are far more possibilities for s/w just a conclusion as opposed to an argument, and it really helps to think of the details of an argument as being really limiting -- the more you can focus on that, the less attracted you will be to tempting wrong answers.

As I mentioned before, you will be asked to s/w an argument far, far more often than you will just a conclusion (more on this in a bit), but when you are asked to impact a conclusion, the answer choice will impact it a bit more directly than the example you gave -- notice that the conclusion is a comparative -- to strengthen or weaken it, we need answer choices that relate more directly to the task of comparing Finn and Sally, as opposed to just giving information about one of them.

You may benefit from taking another look at pg 70 in the trainer -- it discusses, in general, an issue that I think is relevant here, which is that --

On the LSAT, I think it's really helpful to keep in mind that --
1) there is nothing inherently right or wrong about the conclusions presented in stimuli. Your opinion about a point that is made is simply that -- an opinion -- and the LSAT has zero interest in testing your opinions.
2) there is nothing inherently right or wrong about premises. They are just information.

The only thing that you can judge is the use of that support to validate that conclusion -- right and wrong only has to do with this relationship.

That's why it's really rare for them to ask you to just strengthen or weaken a conclusion without support (I think they do it as the "flip side" of asking you to s/w an argument), and that's why they are much, much more interested in your ability to s/w an argument.

Sorry if all that is stuff you already know/that you are already focused on, but I thought it might be helpful -- take care -- Mike

User avatar
suitsfan
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:59 pm

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

Postby suitsfan » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:25 pm

Hey Mike,

I wanted to integrate the trainer with cambridge drilling packets. im kinda confused how to because the trainer isn't completely separated by question types since they come up again at times. any suggestions?

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:52 pm

suitsfan wrote:Hey Mike,

I wanted to integrate the trainer with cambridge drilling packets. im kinda confused how to because the trainer isn't completely separated by question types since they come up again at times. any suggestions?


Hey there -- the trainer does go into specific LR q types, but not until a bit later in the book --

I know a lot of people are having some of the same issues -- if you (or anyone else, for that matter) don't mind, if you can list here the cambridge drilling categorizes, I'll be happy to give some more specific advice about how to integrate the two --

Mike

10052014
Posts: 590
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:12 am

.

Postby 10052014 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:57 pm

.
Last edited by 10052014 on Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MDJ2588
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:22 am

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

Postby MDJ2588 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:27 am

Hello Mike,

I just purchased your LSAT Trainer on Amazon, and I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival. If you could assist me with some advice/confidence, I would really appreciate it.
As of right now I am still in the beginner's midst of my Prep Work, as I just began this past January 9th. I have registered to take the LSAT on June 9th, and will do whatever possible to achieve my goal of a 180. Of coarse it is a score that requires a vast amount of dedication, and work. I have made many of the necessary preparations to procure "A PERFECT SCORE", including but not limited to; exercise, virtually a complete disconnection from any (non-academic/LSAT) social life.... besides with my wife, thus far I invest 15-20 hours per week for my Prep Work. I have downloaded/printed virtually all the most highly reviewed study guides on TLS, and consistently try to acquire additional input via TLS Forums. In addition to my recent purchase of your LSAT Trainer, I have the Powerscore Logical Reasoning/Game Bible(s), 10 Actual, Next, and Super Prep Tests.
My full PT Scores are as follows (beginning from my cold diagnostic): June 07’-Timed: 129, Feb 94’-Timed: 131/ Untimed: 148, and just today I took Oct 99’- Untimed: 153. When I practice individual games I score a usually between -0 to -2, and I see a drastic grasp of the LG, but in the actual application, especially in timed circumstances I am finding great difficulties. There is nothing more that I want to achieve in my life then to obtain my JD degree, and practice law. I want; rather I will enroll and be accepted in a T14 school. My question is what more can recommend under the present circumstances that I can do to achieve my goal of a 180. I saw your YouTube videos and have read your posts, your perspective is extremely motivational, and direct, if you could help me I would greatly appreciate it, especially since I am doing a full self-study. I am fortunate to have the self-motivation to study countless hours (also a wife willing to work, so I commit to school/LSAT), but don’t have the financial means for a tutor. Thank you for your commitment to TLS and us members. YOU’RE AWESOME!!!!

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:48 pm

jaylawyer09 wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:
suitsfan wrote:Hey Mike,

I wanted to integrate the trainer with cambridge drilling packets. im kinda confused how to because the trainer isn't completely separated by question types since they come up again at times. any suggestions?


Hey there -- the trainer does go into specific LR q types, but not until a bit later in the book --

I know a lot of people are having some of the same issues -- if you (or anyone else, for that matter) don't mind, if you can list here the cambridge drilling categorizes, I'll be happy to give some more specific advice about how to integrate the two --

Mike


Heres a nice graph showing them.

http://www.cambridgelsat.com/resources/ ... ion-types/


i made a quick and dirty table to help with using the two together -- let's see if this works -- if the image I post isn't clear enough, you can pm me and I'll send you the original PDF -- hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other q's --

Image

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:53 pm

MDJ2588 wrote:Hello Mike,

I just purchased your LSAT Trainer on Amazon, and I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival. If you could assist me with some advice/confidence, I would really appreciate it.
As of right now I am still in the beginner's midst of my Prep Work, as I just began this past January 9th. I have registered to take the LSAT on June 9th, and will do whatever possible to achieve my goal of a 180. Of coarse it is a score that requires a vast amount of dedication, and work. I have made many of the necessary preparations to procure "A PERFECT SCORE", including but not limited to; exercise, virtually a complete disconnection from any (non-academic/LSAT) social life.... besides with my wife, thus far I invest 15-20 hours per week for my Prep Work. I have downloaded/printed virtually all the most highly reviewed study guides on TLS, and consistently try to acquire additional input via TLS Forums. In addition to my recent purchase of your LSAT Trainer, I have the Powerscore Logical Reasoning/Game Bible(s), 10 Actual, Next, and Super Prep Tests.
My full PT Scores are as follows (beginning from my cold diagnostic): June 07’-Timed: 129, Feb 94’-Timed: 131/ Untimed: 148, and just today I took Oct 99’- Untimed: 153. When I practice individual games I score a usually between -0 to -2, and I see a drastic grasp of the LG, but in the actual application, especially in timed circumstances I am finding great difficulties. There is nothing more that I want to achieve in my life then to obtain my JD degree, and practice law. I want; rather I will enroll and be accepted in a T14 school. My question is what more can recommend under the present circumstances that I can do to achieve my goal of a 180. I saw your YouTube videos and have read your posts, your perspective is extremely motivational, and direct, if you could help me I would greatly appreciate it, especially since I am doing a full self-study. I am fortunate to have the self-motivation to study countless hours (also a wife willing to work, so I commit to school/LSAT), but don’t have the financial means for a tutor. Thank you for your commitment to TLS and us members. YOU’RE AWESOME!!!!


Hi there --

Thank you so much for your comments, and for trusting in The LSAT Trainer. I wish you the best, and if you need anything ever, please get in touch with me here, through PM, or through the website for The Trainer --

The first lesson of The Trainer has a lot of discussion about how to study for the LSAT, and I think it'll information you'll find useful. Additionally, here are some other thoughts that come to mind when I read your message --

I think one thing that's very helpful to be mindful of, especially when you are toward the beginning of your prep, is the range of abilities that the LSAT requires, and the range of experiences that should be a part of your preparation process. Some students don't develop a full sense of what the LSAT is testing, and so they over-invest their prep into limited areas and end up frustrated with their results. Likewise, some students don't cover all the bases when it comes to their prep, and that can also make improvement much harder than it needs to be. So, I want to offer a few different ways to think about the scope of your prep -- I hope you find these thoughts helpful, and I encourage you to revisit these comments whenever you find yourself frustrated or spinning your wheels -- often, in these situations, shifting to a different aspect of your prep process can be the key to seeing things clearly/improving more quickly.

1. You need understanding, strategies, and experience

As I'll discuss more in the trainer, other exams that we take in life often don't require all of the above from us (specifically, high school exams are far less about strategy, and far more about understanding/memorization). However, the LSAT is about how you utilize abilities in real time, and this requires you to gain understanding about the exam, to develop strategies that help you effectively handle challenges, and plenty of experience putting this understanding and these strategies to good use.

2. You need accurate tools for assessment, access to quality information, and methods of improvement

There is assessment on a macro-level (your pt score is probably the broadest indicator) and assessment on a micro-level (ability to always correctly translate a certain type of conditional, or ability to always recognize correct conclusion of an argument, for example). And there is assessment in terms of all the range of issues discussed in some of these other points (assessment about whether your understanding is good/bad, your strategies are good/bad, etc.).

Do not confuse assessment with practice -- I've known many students who spend months and months basically just assessing themselves (taking PT after PT, or doing section after section) and not taking the next steps off that assessment -- that is a terribly inefficient way to study. It's like working out by posing in the mirror all day long.

Make sure you devote time to assessing your skills, and make sure to keep working on expanding your ability to assess -- as you learn more about the exam, you should expect that you can evaluate yourself in different and more meaningful ways. And make sure you have the tools to do something with the information you gain from the assessment -- specifically, that you have learning systems that will help get you the knowledge and strategies that you need, and that you know of exercises that will help you get better at whatever you need to get better at.

3. Make sure to work on your reading skills, your reasoning skills, and your mental discipline

This is an area where lack of perspective or scope really has a negative impact on a lot of students. For example, they might see the test as purely one of reasoning ability, and, if they do, they will fail to take advantage of other characteristics of the exam (like learning how to read it better), try to overcompensate by coming up with more and more complicated ways to reason through challenges, and end up making the test far harder on themselves then they need to.

As I'll discuss at length in that first lesson, all of the challenges on the exam can be thought of as falling into three categories -- tests of reading ability, reasoning ability, and mental discipline -- and you want to make sure you assess your performance on all of those terms, and that you work to get better at all of those aspects of the exam. In my experience, improvement in reading ability is the most significant driver of score increases, but the big key is to cover all of your bases.

4. Make sure to work on learning, drilling, and PT's --

You want to spend significant time learning from books, videos and whatnot, significant time drilling like-q's, and significant time taking full practice exams. Make sure to account for all three during your prep, and, more specifically, make sure you get the work in the trainer done early enough so that you can do a lot of drilling / pt'ing afterward.

5. Recognize that at the end of the day, your goal is to develop the correct skills and habits

Imagine you see a tough question on test day. What's going to pop up into your head/what are you going to end up thinking about? How are you going to try and solve the question? Do you have the skills to execute properly?

Always keep in mind that at the end of the day, all of your prep is ultimately about developing the correct skills and the correct habits, so that you can react with the best of your abilities to the challenges that are presented on test day. Sure you want to gain knowledge from the best prep books, and sure you want to push yourself to get a lot of studying done, but those things do not directly impact your score. Make sure that whenever you learn something you find to be useful, you focus on putting that information into action, and turning into a skill. And make sure that the work you put in on practice problems and such isn't causing you to entrench bad habits -- be very conscious of planning/doing drills in such a way that they reinforce good "form."

The last thing I'll say is something fairly obvious, but just to put it out there --

We all love learning, and getting better at things. I don't know many people who don't. And there is something very, very satisfying and addicting about getting better at the LSAT. We all hate banging our heads against the wall, and banging out heads against the wall is the worst way to maintain motivation. Your most valuable commodity is time -- the majority of your prep time should make you confident that you are getting better, and I encourage you to expect that from your studies. Don't bang your head against the wall and "hope" for improvement -- if you don't feel that the things you are doing every day are definitely making you better at the exam, look to other study tools/methods or get in touch with me and I'll try to help.

That's it -- sorry for the length, but trust that there will be a lot more info in the trainer for you -- I hope you find that helpful, and if you need anything else please don't hesitate to get in touch --

Best, Mike

ioannisk
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:38 am

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

Postby ioannisk » Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:11 pm

Hi Mike, I've been studying the LSAT for a good month or so for June 2014 and I've completed Manhattan Lsat/Power score LG/LR books about 4-5 months ago. I'm pretty okay at both, -3 each. I suck at RC, getting -7 to -10 sometimes.

I already bought your book awhile back and I'm thinking to go through it.

I'm thinking to go through LR/LG but do you think it'll be a waste of time to go through those sections?
I really suck at RC....

Furthermore,
What kind of score would you think someone would be averaging after finishing your Standard Workload + 18 Extra Exams study guide?

User avatar
The LSAT Trainer
Posts: 621
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 4:57 am

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:15 pm

ioannisk wrote:Hi Mike, I've been studying the LSAT for a good month or so for June 2014 and I've completed Manhattan Lsat/Power score LG/LR books about 4-5 months ago. I'm pretty okay at both, -3 each. I suck at RC, getting -7 to -10 sometimes.

I already bought your book awhile back and I'm thinking to go through it.

I'm thinking to go through LR/LG but do you think it'll be a waste of time to go through those sections?
I really suck at RC....

Furthermore,
What kind of score would you think someone would be averaging after finishing your Standard Workload + 18 Extra Exams study guide?


Hi there --

I do (of course) think you should go through the entire book -- at the least, it'll offer a contrast from Powerscore, and in my opinion The Trainer is a significant advancement over the Manhattan products.

In terms of what to expect after finishing the trainer -- I think you know that's not really a question that I can answer. I think of the trainer like a piece of exercise equipment -- the more you use it the more you'll get out of it (rushing through it, just like rushing through a workout, isn't going to do you as much good), and it's overall effectiveness is based much more on you than it is on me.

My general suggestion for someone in your situation is just to read the first lesson, which should take you an hour or less. It'll give you a very clear sense of my teaching style, and I'm sure that by the end of it you'll know whether this is the right fit for you or not --

HTH and good luck -- Mike
Last edited by The LSAT Trainer on Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest