Mike's Trainer Thread

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The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed May 22, 2013 12:55 pm

how do you lose money on the ebook?[/quote]


You are the person who pm'd me twice wanting a free copy in exchange for reviews, right? I think you may have a misunderstanding of what I'm about.

It costs a lot to put together a book, and I have to pay LSAC significant licensing fees for each one sold. Selling these books is my main income, and I need to make just enough so that I can keep providing low cost services (such as a free website) to students.

Believe me, you don't get rich by selling LSAT books.

itachiuchiha
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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby itachiuchiha » Wed May 22, 2013 1:30 pm

The LSAT Trainer wrote:how do you lose money on the ebook?



You are the person who pm'd me twice wanting a free copy in exchange for reviews, right? I think you may have a misunderstanding of what I'm about.

It costs a lot to put together a book, and I have to pay LSAC significant licensing fees for each one sold. Selling these books is my main income, and I need to make just enough so that I can keep providing low cost services (such as a free website) to students.

Believe me, you don't get rich by selling LSAT books.[/quote]


Ok, chill out kid, twas just a question. It wasn't an attack on your character, no need to respond like it was. I was under the impression that ebook was all profit.

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby sublime » Wed May 22, 2013 1:36 pm

..
Last edited by sublime on Wed May 22, 2013 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed May 22, 2013 2:30 pm

tuffyjohnson wrote:
The LSAT Trainer wrote:
Gamine wrote:I can't wait for the e-book version. Any idea as to when that might be available?


If all goes according to plan, it'll be available four weeks from yesterday --

However, I do think, if at all possible, you should get the dead tree version -- nearly every other page in the book has drills and work that require you to write things in, circle things, draw lines between similar arguments, and so on -- the e-book guy and I are working on some clever adaptations of these drills for the electronic version, but I have a feeling most people will prefer doing this work on paper. Additionally, a physical book naturally inspires you to go forward and backward -- to review and look ahead -- this is very healthy to your study process -- with e-books, you tend to get lost in the moment (you know that feeling of not knowing how many pages you've read, or whether you are near the beginning or end of an e-book), which is great for reading a novel, but not so great if you are trying to develop a big picture understanding of something as complicated as the LSAT.

Keep in mind I love books, and miss bookstores (you know that 70% of Americans have not been in a bookstore in the last 5 years?), and so obviously I'm a bit biased --

HTH -- Mike


It would be nice to offer a package on both the electronic version and hard copy.


oops -- this was meant to be a pm -- sorry -- pm sent.

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Wed May 22, 2013 8:13 pm

sublime wrote:How do you think the book fits the needs as someone retaking, who scored pretty well (166) in October - LG was BY FAR my weakest point if that matters.

Thoughts on using your program, specifically the 16 week study schedule, in conjunction with other programs. Before coming across this thread, I was planning on using:

LG: Velocity with Powerscore and Manhattan as supplements
LR: Manhattan and Powerscore
RC: Manhattan.

Any thoughts on that particular combination, or the Velocity LG course in particular? As well as the order you would use to create a schedule. Additionally, I imagine that going through more than one system simultaneously would be a bad idea, correct?


Thanks for all your hard work Mike and I look forward to getting the book soon!


First off, it's pretty impressive you are already at 166, and still planning on doing so much more work -- there are a lot of personal stories that start just like that on TLS (noodley and JMJ are two recent examples), and most of them end very very well --

In terms of combining learning systems -- a lot of students have been asking me about that, and I think you are smart to use as many resources as possible -- to be honest, I don't think I'm the best person to answer this question, and soon enough I think that there will be some students with real experience who can give you a more accurate answer --

Here's what I think (obviously I am quite biased) --

-- The LSAT Trainer is very different from the Manhattan LSAT material, but I'm sure you'd be fine using them together. You might get really sick of reading my long-winded analogies.

-- I know very little about Powerscore, and nothing about Velocity. There is a lot of evidence that shows that Powerscore obviously makes a very effective product (not saying Velocity doesn't--I just don't know), but I don't know how well it will mesh with The Trainer. I do know people don't seem to have any problems mixing Powerscore with the Manhattan materials I worked on.

-- From what I have seen and heard from students, there is very little evidence that learning from different types of systems has a detrimental effect. I think it's kinda like learning two languages -- you would think one might have a negative impact on the other, but your brain is smart enough to handle it, and even get wiser from it. From what I've seen with students and read on the forums, using various sources, even conflicting ones (and perhaps even the act of deciding what works better for you) will make you a stronger student.

-- I didn't design The Trainer to be clever, and it's not meant to help you "outsmart" the test. The book is not about giving you tips and tricks -- it's much more about explaining the challenges of the LSAT specifically and accurately, and giving you plenty of practice and help at handling the exact challenges that you will see on your exam. I think of my systems as being fundamental, not unique, and so I personally think that they should mesh fine with any other legitimate learning system you use.

-- The one area in which companies seem to differ is in the amount of "upfront" work that they recommend. For example, certain systems recommend that you spend more time reading the RC passage, or more time setting up your LG diagrams, than you do actually answering the questions themselves. If you use these systems, the amount that you already know before you go into the question will be different, and the amount of time that you have for each question will be different. So, this is the one area where I can foresee some sort of negative conflict between learning systems.

-- Finally, in terms of ordering the various study tools, I would recommend that you use The Trainer schedule, and that you read The Trainer material first, followed by the other material. As you'll see, there is a lot of big-picture discussion in The Trainer before specific LR questions types and such are discussed. I think it makes sense to focus just on the Trainer for those beginning parts, and then to bring in other learning systems (which tend to be about giving you specific lessons on specific types of questions) once The Trainer itself starts to get more specific (right around Lesson 16). But again, I'm highly biased.

Good luck with your prep! Please PM if you need anything -- Mike

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby sublime » Wed May 22, 2013 10:37 pm

..

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu May 23, 2013 12:11 am

Ha! Suckered another one! Get ready for 600 pages of pure fluff -- :) --

Thanks so much for taking the leap -- I can't wait to see what you think. Please reach out if you need anything.

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby sublime » Thu May 23, 2013 12:13 am

..

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu May 23, 2013 2:20 pm

Hi everyone -- I just got informed by the moderators that this is considered spam and I will be banned unless I take it down -- I'm trying to see if there is some way to edit it and keep it around, but if there isn't, expect for it to be gone soon. I tried to make it more of an announcement, more than an advertisement, but to be honest I can definitely see it from their side.

In any case, I must admit that the response has been amazing and a bit overwhelming for my ego -- I thought the thread would mainly be about answer your questions -- but there's also been a lot of support, and I really really appreciate it. Whether the thread stays around or not, I'll be a regular on TLS ---

Mike

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Re: Introducing The LSAT Trainer

Postby itachiuchiha » Thu May 23, 2013 3:42 pm

I guess you can delete all links and mention of the specs of the book and keep this a thread about questions people have on the LSAT Trainer instead of attempting to sell it.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Thu May 23, 2013 11:44 pm

the thread has been modified and retained. the mods were very cool about it.

I'll be putting up another article early next week (like the how to review RC from last week) -- I've already got a couple of requests, but please pm if you are interested in seeing anything in particular -- especially if you are finishing up your prep for the june exam --

mike

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

Postby JamMasterJ » Fri May 24, 2013 1:46 am

Hey mike, if it's OK I'd throw something in the OP about your involvement with MLSAT given that it's been used to such great success by many people here.

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

Postby Dr. Dre » Fri May 24, 2013 3:02 am

Mike:

what's the difference between the Manhattan books and this?

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri May 24, 2013 11:16 am

JamMasterJ wrote:Hey mike, if it's OK I'd throw something in the OP about your involvement with MLSAT given that it's been used to such great success by many people here.


Thanks JMJ -- I've gotten such a kick from seeing people like you succeed with the Manhattan material --

The mods actually also suggested that I put the MLSAT stuff in the OP -- my sense is that that is probably clearer for TLS, and definitely more attention for me, but probably not so good for Manhattan --

MLSAT been pretty gracious so far about me writing the book, and they have their own people on this site, and I'm sure they would rather get Manhattan questions sent their way (though I'm more than happy to give my thoughts on any that appear here) --

Hopefully, soon enough, Manhattan isn't what people know me for --

I'm kind of sad you're already done studying for the LSAT (though I'm sure you are not) -- I would have loved to have seen what you think of the Trainer.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri May 24, 2013 12:11 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:Mike:

what's the difference between the Manhattan books and this?


Dr. Dre is finally here! I was wondering when you would show --

It's tough for me to answer this question without it appearing like self-promotion (after all, it's not like I set out to create a new, worse learning system) -- but I know a lot of you are asking this very same question and I'll try to give a fair response, discussing the best points for both -- I'm sure itachiuchiha will let us know if I've been unfair or unbalanced --

Sorry in advance for the long answer --

In terms of specific strategies --

There are obviously a lot of commonalities between all effective LSAT systems -- however --

In my head at least, the Trainer is very different from Manhattan LSAT --

There is no logic chain, no assumption family, no PEAR, no reading scale -- all of these things have been useful to students, and they are not available in the Trainer.

In their place, I explain the exam in terms of a few basic reading skills and reasoning skills, and in terms of mental discipline—I spend 600 pages discussing every micro-facet and challenge of the LSAT in terms of these very basic components. I would like to think that this allows my book to simultaneously be both simpler and more in-depth than any other LSAT product that exists.

In terms of the support and materials you get for buying into the systems --

Manhattan can offer far more resources, and far more expansive resources, than I can -- depending on what you are going to find useful, there are forums, videos, classes, the arcade, challenge games, and, most importantly, access to a team of all-star teachers. Especially if you are able to develop personal relationships with these teachers or get individual time with them, they are an incredible resource. I know that when I was teaching there, several times, students of mine ended up finding the advice of some other Manhattan instructors more useful than mine, and ended up gravitating toward those other teachers, who were able to better provide these students with what they needed. You obviously don't get all of those things with the Trainer.

On the Trainer side -- I think the big benefit is that the book is meant to serve as the main focus of your studies, and as such can really stand up as a complete resource. All the other learning tools that I make -- the schedules, organizers, infographics, articles, and such, will always be free, and they will always be meant to augment the book.

Finally, in terms of how the two were developed --

I created the Manhattan system and wrote the original books and courses and such with another guy named Dan Gonzalez (who is now the head of Manhattan Prep). At that point, Dan was much better at developing curriculum than I was, and I think that creating the Manhattan material is probably the only time in my life when I can honestly say that working in collaboration with someone enhanced my abilities -- I think we both felt that the product we put out was much better because we had worked together. And, since their release, the books have continued to get better because of the input of other talented teachers.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the most significant and successful LSAT learning system up to this point, the Powerscore/TestMasters/Blueprint system, was also the outcome of two people (Robin S. and David K.) working together (or at least that's the story I've heard -- I could be totally wrong -- please don't sue me Robin).

Most LSAT learning systems suffer because they reflect the biases, strengths, and weaknesses of the writers (I think you can sense that bias every time you read a solution or a strategy and realize it's not at all what you needed) -- unfortunately, students are in an awful position to judge whether they, or the lessons and strategies, are at fault.

I think having two different writers helped make Manhattan a very complete product, and obviously a lot of students have found the Manhattan learning tools to be exactly what they needed.

On the flip side—personally, relative to when I developed the Manhattan materials, I am at a whole other level in terms of understanding the LSAT, and understanding exactly what students need in order to get better at it. I'm very confident the Trainer reflects that.

Hope that answers your question, and I hope that doesn't sound like too much self-promotion. I'm going to be around here a while, and I'll be available to help anyone who wants the help --

Mike
Last edited by The LSAT Trainer on Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Dr. Dre » Fri May 24, 2013 12:29 pm

Great explanation Mike. I want to commend you for the Manhattan books because they are excellent.

That's very impressive that you're currently at a "whole other level" in regards to understanding the LSAT. I can't even fathom what that must feel like.

EDIT: I want to be your padawan 8)
Last edited by Dr. Dre on Fri May 24, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby davyboy » Fri May 24, 2013 12:53 pm

Just chiming in here: I thought your chapter on Sufficient Assumptions was great. It really helped me understand the difference between S.A. and N.A.

It also helped me with understanding Conditional Statements.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Fri May 24, 2013 4:23 pm

Dr. Dre wrote:Great explanation Mike. I want to commend you for the Manhattan books because they are excellent.

That's very impressive that you're currently at a "whole other level" in regards to understanding the LSAT. I can't even fathom what that must feel like.

EDIT: I want to be your padawan 8)


Thanks Dre --

I'm sure, if you'd spent as much time as I have thinking about the LSAT (which I don't recommend) you'd also be at a whole other level --

Here's to hoping that it's not some bizarre David Lynch-ian sort of level where I only make sense to myself --

Mike

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

Postby Clyde Frog » Sun May 26, 2013 11:09 pm

The RC section of your book has been especially helpful. The step-by-step guide to identifying argument structure allows me to absorb much more.

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon May 27, 2013 1:17 pm

Clyde Frog wrote:The RC section of your book has been especially helpful. The step-by-step guide to identifying argument structure allows me to absorb much more.


that's great to hear -- thanks so much for the comment -- please don't hesitate to PM if any questions come up --

MK

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

Postby the_pakalypse » Mon May 27, 2013 4:40 pm

Hi Mike,

Just purchased your book recently -- I couldn't find much on timing advice for LGs skimming through it so I thought I would ask you directly:

I'm a retaker and I've really been focusing on improving LG. On my official test day (PT 65), I ended up with only ~6 mins for my final game - I panicked -- and then I had to cancel. I've been practicing a lot, done a ton of repetition for the games (and mastered them pretty well), but I'm still scared of getting a game that trips me up. For example, I recently completed PT 64 and the stained glass just took so much time that it threw my timing strategy out the window really.. and then I felt like I had to rush for the other games. At the end, I still ended up with 3-4 minutes remaining but it just scared me a bit because it was very reminiscent of my official test day in that I was counting on a easier game at the end -- which I luckily managed to find this time-- but in PT 65 was unable to do so....just don't want to be counting on an easier game if I misjudge the section again....

I'm familiar with the Manhattan strategy of using a "time bank" but I find that its a bit complicated to keep that in mind while actually doing a section...although to be far I have not practiced it with it extensively...any advice?

Thanks!

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon May 27, 2013 5:41 pm

Thanks so much for trying out my book -- hope you are enjoying it --

I am really bored with my work today, so I hope you don't mind a longer-than-justified answer -- that stained-glass game is an absolute killer btw --

First, there is some fairly extensive discussion of LG timing in the final LG lesson, Lesson 39 (as well as some other timing advice scattered throughout). Have you checked it out? It may help you answer some of your questions. I recommend simpler timing strategies than I what recommended when I was at Manhattan, and in 39 I also discuss some tips for using your practice tests to finalize and internalize these strategies -- again, you may have already looked at this lesson, but if you haven't, I hope it provides some of what you are looking for.

The second point is an obvious one, but so close to the test, I thought I'd mention it -- timing strategies do not make a game any easier. What they can do is mitigate the consequences of having issues. I think, in addition to timing strategies, two things that you really want to do in your final prep are a) confirm that you see the big picture in terms of what games are all about (the Matrix analogy is obviously over-used, but it really does describe the feeling of "seeing the LSAT for what it really is" really well) -- make sure that you can bring together everything you've learned and understand how it relates. The better your big picture understanding of games, the better the chance you can handle unexpected circumstances; b) make sure your notations for common rules is air-tight and automatic -- this, along with your big picture understanding, is what makes you go a little bit faster on every question that you try. I think if you just have time for one resource for both of the above, lesson 15 is the place to go.

Going back to your actual test -- I think the thing that probably upsets you the most is not that you found the game hard (that will happen) but that you didn't react the way you think you should have. If you have a big picture understanding of games, if you have control over common notations, and if you have simple timing strategies that you are very practiced at using, I think that even if certain games scare the hell out of you at first (I think it's also helpful to keep in mind that they are simultaneously scaring the hell out of every other test-taker), you will be in perfect position to handle the challenge better than pretty much anyone else.

Lastly -- here's a riddle to waste your time -- it's one of my favorites (and has nothing to do with the LSAT) --

You go on a gameshow and you are presented with three closed doors. You are told that behind one of the doors is a new Tesla for you to win, and behind the other two there is nothing.

The gameshow host asks you to pick a door. Let's imagine you pick door one.

Now, here's what happens -- the gameshow host opens one of the other doors -- a door that is guaranteed to have nothing behind it -- let's imagine, in this case, he opens door #2. There is, of course, nothing behind it.

Now he asks you: do you want to stay with your original door? Or do you, at this point, want to switch your vote to door #3?

What do you do?

This is known as the Monte Hall riddle, and you can find plenty of solutions for it on youtube and such. I think it really plays with the fact that most of us are wired to regret losing something we once had far more than not getting something we could have gotten.

Sorry to get off topic -- if you want any more specific RC timing help, please PM or post here -- Mike

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

Postby rftdd888 » Mon May 27, 2013 8:00 pm

I'm choosing between the LSAT trainer and all three manhattan books. I already have the PS series. If I'm looking for more in depth knowledge of LG, and a good different look at LR and RC than what powerscore offers, can you explain why (if) your book is better than those three?

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

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Mon May 27, 2013 9:21 pm

rriles wrote:I'm choosing between the LSAT trainer and all three manhattan books. I already have the PS series. If I'm looking for more in depth knowledge of LG, and a good different look at LR and RC than what powerscore offers, can you explain why (if) your book is better than those three?


That's a tough question for me to answer --

rriles -- have you looked at my response to dre above? It may have some of the information that you are looking for --

Obviously, I have a vested interest in you purchasing my books (I don't make any $ on the Manhattan books), but I'll try to give you some balanced advice --

The Manhattan books are a great deal relative to mine -- if you purchase them on amazon, you get 3 Manhattan books for just a bit more than you would need to pay for my 1 book (hopefully my book will get a deeper discount soon -- I can't control that) -- if you are deciding which books will give you more total information, I think that's a pretty compelling factor on the Manhattan side. In addition, the Manhattan material has a track record of success -- a lot of people have raised their scores using Manhattan - especially after using Powerscore. Powerscore, then Manhattan, then drilling (or some variation) seems to be the most popular option for TLS users, and it seems to work well.

The one thing I will say about The LSAT Trainer that I think is relevant to your question is the fact that (at least I believe) it is extremely unique.

As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I've never taken a significant look at any other LSAT prep material. I have very little idea how Powerscore or anyone else teaches the LSAT. This was a conscious decision from the beginning of this whole LSAT quest -- I've always based all the Manhattan material I developed, and now all of The Trainer material, on two primary factors --

1. what I've personally figured out about the exam &
2. what I've figured out working with students -- those who have gotten better and those who have not

(of course, as I mentioned in the dre post, I've also benefitted from working with other top instructors at Manhattan) --

So, I think my book is inherently unique, and I definitely think it will give you a different perspective.

On my website, you can download the first chapter of the book. It will give you an accurate representation of how the book is designed. If you like what it says, you're going to like the book. If it sounds like a bunch of b.s., maybe you should elsewhere :) --

Hope that helps -- please feel free to follow up, on the thread or in a pm, if you have any other questions -- Mike

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

Postby AM12345 » Tue May 28, 2013 12:17 am

I've used the Bibles, Manhattan, & taken the Testmasters course, but I'm always looking for a new and fresh perspective...I'm sold. Ordering now!


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