LSAT as a foreigner?

iskim88
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LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby iskim88 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:52 am

I don't know if anyone here speaks english as their second language but yes, i do.

Although my assumption is that at least 90~95% of the people here are all native-english-speaking-people, I still want to continue on with this question of "preparing for the LSAT as a English-Second-Language person."

Though most of my professors approve highly of my writing skills, I still lack that certain "connotation" behind the language 'cause I haven't lived in the states long enough. Though I was born in the US, I lived most of my life in Korea and only 7 years out of 22 was the duration of my stay in the states.

I'm currently in the Korean military to maintain my dual-citizenship status, and am planning to prepare for the LSAT from next month for about a year. I have about 3~5 hours a day to study for it, so I'm willing to use all of that free time just for the LSAT. My plan is to take the Sep/Oct LSAT of 2011.

Though I have read a lot of posts/blogs that explain the "3-month-plan," I haven't seen a year-long plan yet.

What I'm planning to do is to read the whole International Herald Tribune (newspaper) everyday for about three months to improve my fast-reading skills, and go through all the necessary books while going through that process. I had gone through some sets of Barron's LSAT practice tests and scored in the range of 153~163 (extremely broad -_-;), but I don't think it's that accurate (and I didn't time myself strictly enough)

Any suggestions on the "long-term" preparation on generally improving my skills for the LSAT? (or books to recommend? I ordered 11 books to be sent to Korea) What I ultimately want is to improve my general use of the language through the course of studying for this certain exam. I have a year. or even more if I want to take the exam later. Any comments on the post will be greatly appreciated =]

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3|ink
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby 3|ink » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:07 am

Since time is apparently on your side, you might want to use a few months to break that language barrier. From the look of your post, you appear to be competent with our language. However, I've known quite a few bi-lingual people in my time, and they all claim that it's much harder to read a second language extensively than it is to speak it. Thus, I'd recommend reading some complicated books in English. You could kill two birds with one stone if you focus on books about informal logic. You could also read about economics or science or anything that would contain an argument. I highly recommend economics.

After a month or two of this, you could move on to reading the PS bibles. From there you can begin taking all of the PTs ever administered and released.

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jks289
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby jks289 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:08 am

Many people recommend The Economist for LSAT prep. It is a good magazine source of brief, dense articles. If you can get comfortable reading it, I think you'll be set for the LSAT. You are going to be at a disadvantage in general, so make sure you are very comfortable with the wording ambiguities in games. They prompts repeat themselves, so it is completely learnable. Other than that prep the same as anyone: reading and timed practice. Good luck!

iskim88
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby iskim88 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:39 am

3|ink wrote:Since time is apparently on your side, you might want to use a few months to break that language barrier. From the look of your post, you appear to be competent with our language. However, I've known quite a few bi-lingual people in my time, and they all claim that it's much harder to read a second language extensively than it is to speak it. Thus, I'd recommend reading some complicated books in English. You could kill two birds with one stone if you focus on books about informal logic. You could also read about economics or science or anything that would contain an argument. I highly recommend economics.

After a month or two of this, you could move on to reading the PS bibles. From there you can begin taking all of the PTs ever administered and released.


jks289 wrote:Many people recommend The Economist for LSAT prep. It is a good magazine source of brief, dense articles. If you can get comfortable reading it, I think you'll be set for the LSAT. You are going to be at a disadvantage in general, so make sure you are very comfortable with the wording ambiguities in games. They prompts repeat themselves, so it is completely learnable. Other than that prep the same as anyone: reading and timed practice. Good luck!



Thanks for the advice to both of you! :)

3|ink// Because I'm a double-major in Politics/Urban Design, I had gone through some substansive amounts of reading while I was in college (still have 3 semesters left). But about that "book about informal logic" - do you think you could recommend me with any? Books I've been reading while I was in the military for the past 11 months vary from Mere Christinaity, Catch-22, Biography on Putin to On Liberty (Mill), but I really cannot find the right choice to simply "improve" my general skills. I like reading so I try my best to do a lot of it when time is available, and those books I listed I believe represent the different fields I've been touching on (or at least that's what I've been trying). Any personal recommendations would be greatly appreciated :)


jks289// I was actually conflicting over choosing IHT or the Economist. Do you think the weekly magazine will be enough to fill up the week? I used to read the Times magazine back in high school every week to improve on my SAT reading section, but I did figure that the economist is harder. I'm currently uncertain on whether I can get hands on either of them, but if I can, do you think it'd be better for me to go through both of them or choose one over the other? what do you think is a more logical/rational decision?

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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby Hedwig » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:30 am

Since you have time, I would suggest reading:
- any thick, dense book dealing with arguments, history, economics, that you could properly call a tome
- a variety of literature so that you don't die of boredom because of all those tomes you're reading, and also so that you get a bit more of the natural sense of the language.

That way you'll get at both sides - the dense, difficult to read stuff that shows up on the LSAT, and just probably a better understanding of English in general and more ease through the other books.

I recommend Harry Potter. In all seriousness. If you're motivated to find out what happened, you keep reading. Of course, this argument only works if you agree that Harry Potter keeps people motivated to find out what happens next.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby Nulli Secundus » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:37 am

Hey there,

I am not a native speaker as well but I learned English in a way that was very very fun, but I doubt you have the time for that :P

During high school, I played Dungeons&Dragons, and believe me when you go into detail on that one, you end up with 30+ rulebooks with small fonts, erratas, conflicting rules superseding each other etc etc, forces you to improve, in short.

Then in 2005 I started playing World of Warcraft, and was on Ventrilo program for every evening for 3 years, with English speakers from all over Europe, got to know all kinds of accents (some are considerably harder to crack, damn you Scots..). Anyway, as you see my experience was anything but traditional.

But, I also read 1 Time and 1 Newsweek issue per 2 days for the entirety of my 5 years work life, filled the remaining 3 days of week with an English novel. That might have contributed as well :P :P

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penguin
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby penguin » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:59 am

I'm glad I found another person who is a non-native speaker working on LSAT. I'm bilingual in Japanese and English, grew up in Japan and came to the US about 10 years ago for my BA so I'm much older than you are. It is really hard to read LSAT language when your native language is not even English.

My diagnostic score was unbelievably low so I don't think I could give you any useful advice but I suggest you to do some more research about LSAT and techniques on this forum. There are a lot of interesting and useful information to build your study plan on this forum. I'm trying to prepare for Feb. 2010, and writing up my study plan looking at these study plans 180ers used. Also, LSAT Blog: Ace the LSAT is useful. This LSAT blog had a 7 months study plan you might be able to change a little and use.

My weak point is LR since I'm not familiar with logics. I took only one philosophy course in college but it was a long time ago and I don't even remember what I learned in that class... So in order to understand logical thinking, I started reading "A Rulebook of Arguments" by Weston (you can get it @ Amazon for about $8). Also, I am thinking about getting some more logical thinking books before I start working on PowerScore bibles and PTs.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby Nulli Secundus » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:04 am

Um, if you've been living in US for the last 10 years, it should have helped I guess. My total experience out of my country is 8 days :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Day2Daze
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby Day2Daze » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:08 am

Douglas Waltons 'Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach' is the book you need to read. Its the best on LSAT type of logic and if you can read it and understand it well before your actual prep it will be a big help. Other books like that are one by stephen Layman, and another by richard epstein...dont have the names, but I can vouch for the Walton one, the first edition. :)

Also, when you do start looking at prep materials go for prep company materials from Powerscore, Atlas or Blueprint- they are the best. Kaplan, Princeton etc. arent aimed at the higher scorers and alot of their methods are....nowhere near as good as the other companies. Good luck!

iskim88
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby iskim88 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:07 am

eit// Harry Potter... lol I'm more of a Tolkien fan and read the lord of the rings series and banned Harry Potter out of my life since middle school :p I vaguely remember the story but I remember giving up on it after the first volume because it wasn't as interesting to me as other fantasy novels I had read before.
The thick books... I don't know what and where to start on. perhaps US/European/Middle Eastern/Asian history texts? I did read a lot of those during high school/college but I guess I only read what was assigned. Thanks for the advice =]



nullisecundus// well it's kinda hard for me to play D&D or WOW when I'm stuck inside the military... lol
and I'm one of those ppl who cannot get out of games once they get stuck in it. I once was an addict of a game called "Ragnarok Online" and it ALMOST ruined my life until I decided to get rid of my account. So I don't think that method would work out fo me D: thanks for the advice though =] (p.s where are you from?)




penguin// I actually orderd all my books from the recommendations of that blog :p
I guess it'd be really hard for you since you went to the US after you finished high school...
I myself speak Japanese as well (learned it through high school) and realized that it's probably the language that's on the exact opposite end of the poll to english.
thanks for the adivce, and ganbatte kudasai :)



Day2Daze//Gahhh!! I ordered that book by Waltons! I'm so glad I did =] my parents are in the states right now for business and they will be coming back next week so I ordered 11 books from amazon to be sent to their hotel. I ordered them through the recommendations on the "LSAT blog"
Did order the Powerscore books as well =] didn't think Barrons one was that good either... their methods seem to be all extremely ambiguous and somewhat deceptive (to us).




Thanks for the advices everyone =]

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GATORTIM
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby GATORTIM » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:06 am

--ImageRemoved--

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kazu
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby kazu » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:16 am

My advice would be to concentrate on your reading skills for the next 6~8 months, and start "actual" LSAT prep 4 to 6 months before the exam.

If you have to choose between the Economist and the IHT, I definitely recommend the Economist since its density & writing style is more similar to the LSAT RC. Also, read a lot. I personally think that anything "difficult" will help you (such as Shakespeare), but if you search around the forum there are a lot of books that people recommend.

When does your service end? Will you be taking the LSAT in that part of the world?

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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby downing » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:59 am

Certainly, reading difficult texts on a very frequent basis, for good chunks of time, will guide you on your way to becoming a superior reader. I advise against reading texts that are too literary and/or artistic in nature, however. Not every book defined by its challenging prose (e.g. Shakespeare's stuff)is sufficient (omg omg omg) to qualify as productive test prep reading material. In fact, much of what's out there could work against your efforts to improve your level of reading comprehension. Take, for example, the majority of continental philosophy or epistemology - very challenging, often pointless, and mostly illogical. Novels, plays, and the classics: beautifully rendered, historically relevant, and uninterested in being logical (Proust or James Joyce anyone?). On the other hand, being able to quickly grasp the content issued in the Economist and other similarly themed and written texts will be hugely beneficial to your goal, because that's what the LSAT looks like, and that's what you'll have to parse out and make sense of.

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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby 3|ink » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:24 pm

iskim88 wrote:3|ink// Because I'm a double-major in Politics/Urban Design, I had gone through some substansive amounts of reading while I was in college (still have 3 semesters left). But about that "book about informal logic" - do you think you could recommend me with any?


http://www.amazon.com/Informal-Logic-Pr ... 991&sr=1-1

I believe this one comes highly recommended from other people on this site who got a 180. I myself bought this book, but I never got around to finishing it.

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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby Hedwig » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:46 pm

iskim88 wrote:eit// Harry Potter... lol I'm more of a Tolkien fan and read the lord of the rings series and banned Harry Potter out of my life since middle school :p I vaguely remember the story but I remember giving up on it after the first volume because it wasn't as interesting to me as other fantasy novels I had read before.
The thick books... I don't know what and where to start on. perhaps US/European/Middle Eastern/Asian history texts? I did read a lot of those during high school/college but I guess I only read what was assigned. Thanks for the advice =]


Yeah, the first book ... you kind of have to realize it's an introduction to the series and it's about 11 year olds and it's more of a younger kid book. As the protagonist ages the series does as well and it's SO AWESOME and interesting but whatever. I read the first one when I was 9 and made my mom go out and get the 2nd one and then got all the rest on the day they came out lol.

But I still suggest reading NOT high literature but fun literature. Someone was criticizing some "high" literature for being illogical - yes, don't read Shakespeare cause nobody talks like that. Read something contemporary.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby Nulli Secundus » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:12 pm

As some others said, Economist is the best you can find, a lot of dense passages all in one place.

In forum vernacular, my experience with Economist was like:

At first I was like "LOL WUT", but then I said "AHHHHH!!!".

Edit: Time & Newsweek work as well, but their English level is kinda lower, or that seems to be the case because of topics.

iskim88
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby iskim88 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:26 pm

Kazu// hmm... that sounds like a good idea too- except for the fact that I always have limited time availability everyday to actually focus myself just on one subject. If I could study for like 6~8 hrs / day w/o anyone disturbing me, I would have gone with the 6~8 months of improvement & focusing on the test itself for just 4~6 months plan, but I don't have that much time... so splitting my time up would be a good choice for me I think.
I'm leaning toward just reading the Economist now... along with some 'hard' but 'logical' literature :p (not a big fan of shakespeare since AP Lit from high school... D;)
my service ends on October 2011, and I think if I'm ready by then I'll be taking it in Korea, but if I'm not, probably back in New York =]

downing// hmm... so reading books on metaphysics won't really help huh :p never thought of it that way before but I think I get the jist of what you are saying. will look for books that won't further my knowledge but rather logical thinking process =]

eit// I really enjoyed reading Catch-22 recently... if that counts as modern literature at all. I like cynical, sarcastic, twisted satirical books that forces you to laugh at some point in the book. But I think I'll try Harry Potter out again since a lot of ppl including you did not believe it when I told them I didn't go through Harry Potter YET (I guess I just don't like following the hype maybe :p). After all, it was in middle school when i read the first volume so i might be able to read it in a different light now that I'm at least a bit more mature and a bit more objective than I was before =]

nullisecundus// yeah i remember giving up on reading the economist in the freshman yr of my college D; should've continued. I'm up for it now :) thanks!

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downing
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Re: LSAT as a foreigner?

Postby downing » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:34 pm

Honestly, reading Harry Potter will not lend you the vocabulary necessary to fully comprehend the material on the LSAT. I don't think it'll depreciate your gains, but it won't help either.
I'm not being biased, as I read and enjoyed every book in the series, but I really don't think it'll benefit you at all. The Newspaper would be better. Think about the question topics on the LSAT, featured in the RC and LR sections.

Typical and recurrent topics
Economic issues
Political issues**
Real estate issues**
Social Science issues**
Literary THEORY issues (literature and theory are totally different ballgames.)
Life Science and general Biology issues
Historical and critical Aesthetic concerns
Law related text

Where are the Magical Adventure issues?
I guess my point is - if it's an entertaining page turner, don't bother. Literature, in general, is an unhelpful area of investigation; so is a lot of philosophy. Some analytical philosophical might be beneficial, especially the kind of philosophy that is structured around conditionals and logical symbols, and their relations to each other.




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