Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.
User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:54 pm

Hi, there,

You're certainly a lovely and talented group of future lawyers.

My name's Dave, and I'd like to help you do better on the LSAT. By way of introduction, here's some more info about my own experience with the test.

So, I'm thinking that I'll update this thread every day (or at least nearly) with some bit of info I think will be useful to you, and I'll answer any question you have about the LSAT.

To start us off, I've got a question for you: As you're beginning the journey to law school, what part of the road ahead is the scariest/least comfortable for you? If I can, I'll try to make it more manageable.

I look forward to the conversation!

Love + kisses (too much? You're right. Too much)

Respectfully,

d
Last edited by Dave Hall on Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Nova » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:55 pm

Welcome back, Dave!

User avatar
sublime
Posts: 17022
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby sublime » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:57 pm

..

User avatar
unodostres
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:01 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby unodostres » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:12 pm

Can I have one of your 180's?

kthxbai

User avatar
Mack.Hambleton
Posts: 5417
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 am

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:39 pm

why didn't you just go to law school when you got a 179 on your first test

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:23 pm

sublime wrote:
Nova wrote:Welcome back, Dave!

:D

How neighborly. Thanks!

User avatar
Sgt Brody.
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Sgt Brody. » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:25 pm

james.bungles wrote:why didn't you just go to law school when you got a 179 on your first test


Hey answers this in his website

" get that a lot, as you might imagine.

The short version - I make more money doing this than I would practicing law, and I love it.

The long version follows (and is, I'd imagine, pretty boring to anyone not named Dave Hall, but remember that you asked, OK?)...

I'd say that if they really thought about it, there are three considerations most people (and I certainly include myself here) think they should weigh in choosing a career (as opposed to a job, which is mostly about one thing: money). Those considerations are, in alphabetical order:

Growth potential - the belief that your work will have an arc, not just a long flat line. You want to know you're headed somewhere.
Happiness - the belief that your work has meaning. When it does, you sleep good (even if not enough) and you're better to everyone in your world. You find it easier to become a citizen when your work fulfills you, and you're a better one for it.
Money (of course. Come on).
​In other words, you want to do work that will allow you to retire someday. In this America, that's a tough proposition. You want to do work that's meaningful, so going to work isn't a chore. And for me, I wanted work that would allow my wife (who wanted to stay home full-time) to live the life she wants, too.

Velocity gives me all three of those - and in particular the second one of them - in a way that law school didn't seem to offer.

The particular history: When I took the test for the first time I got a 179 (those bastards) and figured I'd go to law school. This was for mercenary reasons - I had no particular love of the law nor calling to practice, but I'd just found out that my wife was pregnant. I needed a big kid job (before that, I'd been doing construction work in rural Appalachia, then teaching part-time for a national test-prep company. With a wife with a baby in her belly, I needed more income and security all of a sudden). Anyway, I do love to teach, and figured I'd go to law school just because I could, then teach law.

Then I started investigating law schools. Realistically, to follow the traditional path to a law professorship, I needed to go to Yale (or Harvard), which meant I'd shell out plenty of money for school to move my newly-growing family across the country for three years, then have to get a job practicing law for at least a little while before finding a position that might move us all across the country again… It wasn't an awesome-sounding life path.

Instead, I accepted a position running the LSAT program in Southern California for that test-prep company, and after some time doing that, I found that I was making more money than I would've been earning practicing law (At least, at any law firm I'd think about working for - my lawyer friends in such firms made between $65-90K. Yes, there are opportunities in law to earn 2-3 times that just to start, but like those friends, I wouldn't have even considered going into (highly-remunerative) indentured servitude at a big corporate firm. And look, if that's your bag, that's cool, and I'll help you get there, but it sounded like misery to me, even at the million-a-year I'd certainly eventually make as a partner).

So that was part three of my triptych from above, but I still had a significant hole at number one (growth potential - I had no intention of going any higher up the ladder than the Assistant Vice President label they stuck on me to justify my salary. Really, can you imagine me sitting behind a desk all day? Yeah, neither can I. So it seemed like I'd tapped out my potential for growth), and as a result, I wasn't all the way home at number two (happiness), either.

Then I did the deal that I'm proudest of in my whole working life; I negotiated a contract with that test-prep company that allowed me to work part-time teaching live classroom courses for them, while starting my own online-only venture at the same time. This deal satisfied my loyalty to the company and at the same time allowed my broader ambitions. I believe it's without precedent, and it managed to satisfy their needs and mine in a way that gives me a career doing meaningful work where I can grow almost without limits, work on my own hours, see retirement ahead of me, and still drop off and pick up my boy from first grade. Plus, think about how awesome this sounds: I get to offer the absolute best LSAT preparation available anywhere, and I get to determine the price, so we made it cheap so that it's not only rich people who get access to the best product.

We're trying to start a revolution, is what I'm saying.

And that, for the one person still reading this far, is how a guy with multiple perfect LSAT scores doesn't end up going to law school"

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:27 pm

unodostres wrote:Can I have one of your 180's?

kthxbai

Yes! I think we could arrange a trade. In return, I'd like your black belt in Karate (or Grandmaster status if you know Kung Fu). If you don't have either of those, I don't know... But we can talk about it.

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:52 pm

I think that mostly, we'll enjoy doing some Logical Reasoning problems together, concentrating on what I will call here the Four-Fold Path of Velocity:

1. What is this question asking us to do?

2. What job will the right answer perform?

3. What will the right answer sound like (typically)?

4. What should I avoid in answer choices?

LET'S DO THIS.

Hot Tip: 63.1.2

(I'm talking about PrepTest 63, Section 1, Question 2, if you weren't hip to my jive).

1. The question asks us to make the argument weaker; we're going to make the conclusion at least a little less likely to be true.

2. The right answer will function by attacking the assumption of the argument; it'll show that in some way, some of the shit the arguer just assumed was true might not really be true.

3. We can expect the right answer typically to use "semi-strong" language. I mean, you need enough evidence to really make the argument sting; you're not likely to hurt any argument much by saying a thing like "Some people don't like cumin in their chili"—you're much more likely to do damage if you say something like "But, hey; most people don't like cumin in their chili." And really, you could probably totally ruin someone's argument if you pointed out that "Actually all people hate cumin in their chili." See? The stronger the language, the more damage you're likely to do. Over time, we've come to find that most Weaken responses don't go so far as our third example here. That's why—even though such aggressive language would do the job—we've come to expect the middle (semi-strong) language in these cases.

4. One thing to avoid is an answer that strengthens the argument. Yes, this sounds dumb to say, but the thing is that sometimes, an answer that does a really kick-ass job of making the argument better is attractive, even when it's the opposite of what you were supposed to be looking for. It's as if the mere fact that an answer choice has a clear effect on the passage makes it seem appealing in contrast to the sea of awful choices around it. Nearly every Weaken question has at least one answer choice that does something to strengthen the argument.

So, putting it all together here, we get a workup that looks something like this:

The zookeeper concludes that Jocko's keeping his mouth shut in order to keep the other chimps away from his banana [throughout, please try not to think of "banana" as a euphemism for anything].

This is an example of a Causal Flaw; the zookeeper has made an assumption about the cause of Jocko's behavior; essentially, she has assumed that chimpanzees are just kind of dicks. In her head, the other chimps heard about the bananas and then stole them (dicks!) and now Jocko wants to keep the last banana to himself (dick). And, hey; maybe that's true. But maybe there's another reason. As we head into answer choices, we do so with something specific in mind: We expect an answer that provides another possible cause for Jocko's behavior.

And then we notice how (B) does just that; if chimps bark only when there's lots of food, then maybe they're not dicks at all; maybe Jocko called the others over just to share, and when he had only one banana, and there wasn't enough to share, he didn't bother the others about it. This tells us the zookeeper was wrong in her assumption; chimps are really good sharers, and this alternate cause punctures the zookeeper's conclusion about Jocko's motives.

Lastly, notice that (E) tends to make the argument maybe a little better; if all the chimps love bananas, then maybe Jocko (being a chimp and thus a banana-lover) really did keep quiet so that those other a-holes wouldn't come steal his beloved banana.

So, that's that. Bananas!

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:09 pm

Hot Tip: 66.2.19

One of the most important skills on the LSAT is the ability to condense what you read into smaller, salient bits. I call this Structural Reading, and this passage—and its question—provides a typical example of the utility of this sort of reading. The awesomeness will be made more plainly evident if you read the argument first as it was originally presented. So please, take your time. I'll be here when you get back.

OK. Long and awful, right? We'll make it better. But first, let's attend to our Four-Fold Path of Velocity (and to a greater velocity).

1. This question is asking us to provide a sentence that will solve all the problems of the argument.

2. The right answer will (almost always) tie the evidence in the passage to the conclusion conditionally.

3. The answer will use conditional (what I call Load-Bearing) language. It will almost certainly be what logicians call the Major Premise of a syllogism (the argument itself contains the Minor Premise and Conclusion; the right answer fills in the missing piece).

4. Expect to very often see a wrong answer that provides us the Major Premise, but BACKWARD. That is, lots of times we'll see a bad answer that is enticing because it's exactly the opposite of what you actually needed (are you seeing the similarity to our discussion of Weaken questions from yesterday? Good). This fact alone should suffice to make you study your conditional symbols and eat your broccoli.

[Ed. note: Here, I assume that you already know how to do conditional symbols. If you do not, I highly recommend the free video series on conditionals available on YouTube starting here]

So, back to our structural reading. Here, the whole argument correctly boils down to this:

Marxism is a scientific theory.

Thus, Marxism is not a political program.

In my mind, I condense it even further, until it's just symbol:

S(cientific theory)

∴~P(olitical program)

Knowing (from our Four-Fold Path) what we've got to do, and how we're likely to do it, we now head into answer choices looking for something specific. We want an answer that says S → ~P

Because look how neatly that solves our argument:

S
S → ~P
∴~P

If the conditional is true, then we've proved our case! Too. Easy.

And this is what I'm talking about when I talk about the importance of structural reading.

Hope that helps!

quigglyboom
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:14 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby quigglyboom » Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:53 pm

Isn't taking the LSAT without the intent of applying to law school specifically prohibited by the LSAS?

User avatar
flash21
Posts: 1536
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:56 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby flash21 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:47 pm

If i am doing well on level 3 questions in the cambrdige pack but getting crushed by level fours, what should I do? just keep doing them slowly and breaking them down, reviewing mistakes?

User avatar
Pneumonia
Posts: 1789
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:53 pm

quigglyboom wrote:Isn't taking the LSAT without the intent of applying to law school specifically prohibited by the LSAS?


Some people strike that part of the agreement before signing : )
But be warned, it can delay your test results.

User avatar
Clyde Frog
Posts: 8945
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Clyde Frog » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:48 pm

quigglyboom wrote:Isn't taking the LSAT without the intent of applying to law school specifically prohibited by the LSAS?



Uh oh! LSAT Police!

User avatar
SpiritofFire
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:48 am

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby SpiritofFire » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:18 pm

Hey Dave,

Here's a question for you:

How often do you read all the answer choices to a question on a typical logical reasoning section? Do you ever use process of elimination or do you just know the right answer when you see it?

Okay, that was two questions XD

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:11 pm

flash21 wrote:If i am doing well on level 3 questions in the cambrdige pack but getting crushed by level fours, what should I do? just keep doing them slowly and breaking them down, reviewing mistakes?

I'm not familiar with the classifications you're referencing, so I will assume that "level four" just means "harder".

With that assumption in mind, two things:

1. Have you ever played a sport? If you have, then you'll remember that your practices sometimes involved scrimmages or sparring or practice games/matches/bouts, but more often involved skill drills. In other words, you spent a little bit of practice actually playing your sport, but you spent most of your practice time developing skills and traits that either directly impacted your abilities (batting practice, for example) or even indirectly enhanced your performance (wind sprints, for example).

This is like that.

Your practice sessions should never be about speed; that's what timed tests are good for measuring. Instead, all your practice sessions should be about building skills that will directly impact your ability on test day. Just this subtle shift in focus may be enough to make a substantial—and meaningful—impact on the way in which you study. This change is aimed toward getting you to understand the LSAT. Because if you really understand what the test is asking you to do, you're immediately better able to provide answers that earn you points.

2. With that in mind, I'd direct your focus specifically toward developing a strong sense of pattern recognition. With small exception (maybe 5-ish% of test questions), every question on this test looks just like a whole host of other questions already asked on this test. This is true almost by definition; it's a standardized test, so it has to be... standardized. Make it your job to figure out ways in which each new question you answer is like other questions you've seen before (and will see in future).

To help you do that, here is a set of actions for you to take with your work (if you already know the answers to these questions, you might still want to do this as a review):

Part (A)

Go through an entire LR section, looking at each question. For each one, answer the following questions:

1. What exactly does the question demand from you? (You must be able to answer for 26 of the 26 questions)

2. What can you expect the right answer to do? (You must be able to answer for 26 of the 26 questions)

3. What can you expect the right answer to sound like? (You must be able to answer for at least 22 of the 26 questions)

4. What is one wrong answer likely to say? (You must be able to answer for 26 of the 26 questions)

Part (B)

Then, go back through that section (without bothering with questions this time) and read each passage. For each, answer the following questions:

1. What is the main conclusion of the argument? (You must be able to answer for at least 20 of the 26 passages - no main conclusion for Inference and Resolution Questions!)

2. What is wrong with the argument? (You must be able to answer for at least 16 of the 26 passages - several passages don't exhibit flawed reasoning)

3. How is this flaw typical of others you've seen? (You must be able to answer for at least 10 of the 16-19 passages that exhibit flaws)

4. Which words are likely to be most important in determining the correct answer (no matter what question you might be asked)? (You must be able to answer for at least 20 of the 26 questions)

If you cannot answer all eight of these questions in the proportions indicated, then you do not yet have a strong enough grasp of the fundamental principles involved, and you'll know what you need to work on!

Hope this helps,

d

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:28 pm

SpiritofFire wrote:Hey Dave,

Here's a question for you:

How often do you read all the answer choices to a question on a typical logical reasoning section? Do you ever use process of elimination or do you just know the right answer when you see it?

Okay, that was two questions XD

Hi!

Two answers:

1. Always!

2. Both!

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:29 pm

SpiritofFire wrote:Hey Dave,

Here's a question for you:

How often do you read all the answer choices to a question on a typical logical reasoning section? Do you ever use process of elimination or do you just know the right answer when you see it?

Okay, that was two questions XD

Just kidding back there with that. Don't know why I thought it would be funny to pull a sort of dick move like that.

Real complete answers:

1. Always. It just doesn't take very much time to skim 5 answer choices, and there are several instances in which doing so saved my bacon (you probably know this feeling, too): I'd be chugging along, findin' answers, feelin' confident enough to start droppin' some g's, then circle an answer choice (A) that looked all sexy, only to skim and see that (D) ALSO looked pretty good. Then I read (D) more closely, and then I read (A) mo' better, and I find that (A) IS WRONG AND (D) IS RIGHT. But that's totally cool, because I took the extra few seconds to skim all the answers specifically for this possible outcome, just so I didn't choose (A) all willy-nilly.

So, always. But next note how I read answer choices...

2. Both! For the vast majority of questions, I head into answer choices already knowing what I'm looking for from the right answer choice (see my post just above this for some more on how I accomplished this using my practice sessions). So as I read answer choices, I'm not entertaining most of them as possibilities—instead, I'm comparing them against the vision in my head of what the right answer to this question should look like. In this way, I'm performing a process of elimination, but not in a vacuum, and not just relative to other bad answers. I'm eliminating choices that don't do the duty (Ha! I said "do the duty") demanded by the question.

On the questions that are most difficult for me (when I either don't know what the right answer should say, or I don't find any answer choice that says what my answer says), then I compare the contending choices to each other, with the sole goal of figuring out how they're different from each other. Whatever the difference is between them will illuminate what's important about them. In this way, I can make an intelligent decision based on the inherent qualities of my choices.

Hope that was better. It was longer, anyway.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4168
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Clearly » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:35 pm

Hi Dave! Good to see you back! Velocity alumni still recommend you around here!

jgutella
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:08 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby jgutella » Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:20 pm

Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?

User avatar
Fianna13
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:05 am

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Fianna13 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:33 pm

jgutella wrote:Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?


Why do you assume their advices would be mutually exclusive? More than likely they would offer you similar general study advices. As for specific techniques, you really should try to see which ones work for you personally.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Nova » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:35 pm

jgutella wrote:Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?

trust them both

learn and apply different strategies and do what works best for you

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby 03152016 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:41 am

jgutella wrote:Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?

Dude, there are a bunch of pros on this board. Shinners, Jeffort, Graeme, Steve Schwartz, Noah, and probably dozens more who teach LSAT. It's not like it's just Mike and Dave.

Also, Dave has been around for a while. I remember Velocity was really popular when I was doing my prep (those heady days back in 2011/2012).

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:39 pm

Clearly wrote:Hi Dave! Good to see you back! Velocity alumni still recommend you around here!

Hi, and thanks for the welcome!

Are you the artist formerly known as ClearlyNotStefan?

User avatar
Dave Hall
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:18 pm

Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:41 pm

jgutella wrote:Question:

We now have two identifiable, public LSAT experts on this forum. Who should I trust more when it comes to LSAT advice: you, or Mike Kim?

Only one way to find out:

LEG WRESTLING.


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bobloblaw21, lnj2249 and 4 guests