Let's end the games section

kill lsat
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Let's end the games section

Postby kill lsat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:22 pm

Forum Questions: Is the Analytical Reasoning section so artificial and removed from the actual practice of law that it renders the LSAT an unnecessary and unhelpful barrier to selecting qualified and diverse students? Is it inherently unfair to those without the funds to take a great prep course or those who just don't have the time to do endless examples? Does it pose an onerous burden on prospective law students? Does it harm the reputation of law schools that de-emphasize it? Should we campaign for its elimination or drastic modification? What can we do to make this happen?

Background/Argument: I am a professional with a solid engineering background. I fully understand that law schools need to know how well prospective students can apply the rules of logic and deductive reasoning to solve problems they will face as lawyers. However, AR tests nothing of the sort.

In just 8.5 minutes, you are expected to learn about an artificial world, with bizarre rules, and then draw inferences that will enable you to answer questions that require further inferences. There simply is no analog in legal work. Lawyers have weeks to write briefs, not minutes. Even oral argument is based on a known set of cases and specific background. Going 3 levels deep into inferences would lose everyone in the courtroom. You would be called supercilious, an idiot or irritating. And, if you were wrong, ....

I might be able to understand 1 game in 35 minutes, with 23 questions -- the vast majority of which test your understanding of basic logic. You would have a reasonable opportunity to adjust to a brave new (artificial) world and demonstrate that you have a basic, intermediate or advanced knowledge of logic and reasoning.

Unfortunately, 4 games in 35 minutes is more like a cruel joke. Only through quality instruction and significant practice, then a little luck on test day can all but the exceptionally gifted among us do well on that section. If you have neither the money to attend a solid prep course nor the time to do much prep, then you have nothing. Your innate intelligence, academic background and professional experience will not help you -- unlike in the other sections.

In the end, the games section (and, more generally, the entire LSAT) is little more than a con having the effect of preventing the vast majority of people from getting into the law school of their choice -- and of sewing a bright red letter of inferiority across the coat-of-arms of law schools who dare to de-emphasis LSAT scores.

Since our entire system of justice depends (in theory) on application of the law and having a good lawyer to represent you, this profession is simply too important to leave the weeding out process to the inequities and vagaries of time and money. Law schools should be picking the best-prepared candidates and/or those who are likely to make a significant difference in society or on campus (diversity). The best way to do that is to kill the games section in its current form (and hopefully, the entire LSAT, but I won't argue that for now).

Does anyone agree with all or most of this?

Any suggestions on how we can make this happen?

Kurst
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Kurst » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:25 pm

Retake.

cubswin
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby cubswin » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:33 pm

Thousands of people every year somehow manage to do just fine on that section and the LSAT as a whole, and many of us do not take prep courses. And believe it or not, there are people who score in the 170s (which requires a solid games performance) on their first attempt, without any preparation.

tomwatts
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby tomwatts » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:34 pm

I kind of like that the LSAT includes a section that is so learnable, and not just because my earning a living depends on it. I'd rather have a section that you can devote a few months to and master than something that is kept secret so that no one can do anything about it and that test-makers pretend tests some sort of innate ability. Hard work should count for something.

And not having time to study for the LSAT is lame. Make the time. You can get what you need from books if you don't have the money to take a course.

Though, frankly, the first response was more succinct.

dakatz
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby dakatz » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:38 pm

I tutored specifically in the games section since it was by far my favorite section and the one I found the easiest. Most people have the ability to do really well in it, but they don't approach it correctly. I'm not going to run through the methods or anything, but there are certainly strategies that make the majority of games pretty easy. That isn't to say that you don't get a really hard one from time to time, but most can be done pretty quick with the right approach. Its a combination of proper diagramming, making deductions, applying past work to new problems, reading carefully and understanding the different question types, and keeping the overall "picture" of the game in your head at all times.

What I loved most about this section is that it is pure logic. There is no guessing here because, if you do it right, the correct answer stands out every time and there is no need to dwell on a single question.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:42 pm

Oh goody, another 'I Suck At [X]; Therefore [X] Is Invalid And Should Not Be Relevant To Law School' thread.

LG is extremely learnable, far more than any other section. If LG is your worst section, you should rejoice, because you have much more potential to improve your score than someone who just can't master LR or can't read fast enough to finish RC.

(Edited to add something substantive.)
Last edited by rinkrat19 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

benito
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby benito » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:42 pm

I use to have the same thoughts about the game section, until I got better at it and started to feel differently. This probably indicates any animosity towards it is rooted more in personal frustration than it is any principled opposition to the section.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:47 pm

kill lsat wrote: Is it inherently unfair to those without the funds to take a great prep course or those who just don't have the time to do endless examples? Does it pose an onerous burden on prospective law students?


The LSAT is a wonderful thing for poor applicants. Socioeconomic status has far less impact on the LSAT than it does on all the other parts of the application process. If there were no LSAT schools would be forced to judge applicants largely on their grades and the quality of their undergraduate institution. That's an easier system for rich, upper class applicants to game than one with a difficult standardized test.

Being wealthy allows people to take prep courses and, at least in theory, more free time to spend studying. But, those advantages pale in comparison to what being wealthy or privileged allows to you in terms of undergraduate prestige, grades, extracurriculars, internships, jobs, and all the other ways they judge applicants.

Kurst
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Kurst » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:00 pm

One alternative to retaking: when applying to law schools, submit a "Why Analytical Reasoning is Unnecessary for Law School Success" addendum. But before you do, heed these observations from a couple of law school students:

rayiner wrote:So my torts midterm involved 10 different actors, chains of causation 4-5 elements long, and required u to apply dozens of rules u had learned through the semester. Diagramming it like I used to on the LGs was crucial.
Dman wrote:I see LGs very much correlated to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly that of Joinder. You will have many actors, that sometimes can bring a claim, must bring a claim and those that must bring a claim but technically will be unable to. Then add in diversity requirements via domicile, principal place of business determinations, multiple states of incorporation, and you will have a logic game that make the LSAT look easy.

It is very applicable. I suggest learning strong diagramming habits now

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esq
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby esq » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:12 pm

If you can find something fun about the LSAT, the games section would definitely be it. It's also the most learnable.

ps. Pick up the games bible, super easy methods - got mine for $35 on Amazon, so certainly this doesn't qualify as the "rich man's" method.
Last edited by esq on Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby birdlaw117 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:15 pm

kill lsat wrote:Only through quality instruction and significant practice, then a little luck on test day can all but the exceptionally gifted among us do well on that section.

Yeah, tests where the exceptionally gifted do better than others is clearly an unfair test... :roll:

I want EVERYONE to get a 180! That would make it so much more pleasant for everyone! Who needs a merit system? Certainly not lawyers...

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Stonewall
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Stonewall » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:17 pm

esq wrote:If you can find something fun about the LSAT, the games section would definitely be it. It's also the most learnable.

ps. Pick up the games bible, super easy methods - got mine for $35 on Amazon, so certainly this doesn't qualify as the "rich man's" method.


agreed. I actually foun the games to be the most "enjoyable" section

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rinkrat19
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:19 pm

Stonewall wrote:
esq wrote:If you can find something fun about the LSAT, the games section would definitely be it. It's also the most learnable.

ps. Pick up the games bible, super easy methods - got mine for $35 on Amazon, so certainly this doesn't qualify as the "rich man's" method.


agreed. I actually foun the games to be the most "enjoyable" section


Me too. I was thrilled when I saw that my experimental section was LG, because I wouldn't have to slog through an extra boring RC or LR.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Kilpatrick » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:23 pm

You don't need a prep course to do well on the LSAT but most people do need significant practice. Get the bible, make the time, retake.

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Veyron
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Veyron » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:25 pm

LSAT games section = what is tested on exams in torts (a little bit) civ-pro (somewhat) and crim (extremely). If you can't do it, you don't have the skillset for these classes.

Seriously, run a complicated liability analysis and then tell me its not a pumped-up logic game.

Edit: I suppose I should explain. In criminal law, a liability analysis is where you take the MPC (a book of "rules") or state statutes and then you get a fact pattern, and you have to decide what "slot" the D falls into (e.g. first degree felony/murder). This is complicated because the MPC contains a shitton of "rules" that modify liability and acts aren't always the same crimes that they intuitively seem to be.

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nygrrrl
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby nygrrrl » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:57 pm

Kurst wrote:Retake.

Kurst - Perhaps you didn't see this. Consider this a gentle warning.
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=146657&start=125#p4002383

kill lsat
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby kill lsat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:00 pm

Kurst wrote:Retake.

You're making this personal. Please evaluate the arguments.

kill lsat
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby kill lsat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:05 pm

cubswin wrote:Thousands of people every year somehow manage to do just fine on that section and the LSAT as a whole, and many of us do not take prep courses.


Can you point to any studies that show performance in AR of those who took courses vs. those who did not. I know that some law schools ask and probably have some indication, though honesty on that question is probably not uniform. If the numbers prove this to be a true test of innate analytical ability (outside of the exceptional people scenario), then I will withdraw that part of my argument.

cubswin wrote:And believe it or not, there are people who score in the 170s (which requires a solid games performance) on their first attempt, without any preparation.


Does that go towards supporting the argument about exceptional people?

littlepiggie818
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby littlepiggie818 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:06 pm

My husband is an engineer and he helped me so much with the logic game section when I was studying for the LSAT. He didn't study from the Bible and he wasn't planning on taking the LSAT or going to law school, he just thought the games were fun. And he thought they were like mini-math problems. The logic game made the LSAT a little more bearable for me.

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AreJay711
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:08 pm

Veyron wrote:LSAT games section = what is tested on exams in torts (a little bit) civ-pro (somewhat) and crim (extremely). If you can't do it, you don't have the skillset for these classes.

Seriously, run a complicated liability analysis and then tell me its not a pumped-up logic game.

Edit: I suppose I should explain. In criminal law, a liability analysis is where you take the MPC (a book of "rules") or state statutes and then you get a fact pattern, and you have to decide what "slot" the D falls into (e.g. first degree felony/murder). This is complicated because the MPC contains a shitton of "rules" that modify liability and acts aren't always the same crimes that they intuitively seem to be.


Veyron, I'm a 0L but how I would imagine they are different is the time constraints. Also, the type of reasoning seems different in the level of synthesis needed. You aren't building a fact set but rather running facts by the rules. Obviously, you know more about it than me but there do seem to be differences there.

Anyway, I hope that is the case lol.

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Veyron
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Veyron » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:22 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Veyron wrote:LSAT games section = what is tested on exams in torts (a little bit) civ-pro (somewhat) and crim (extremely). If you can't do it, you don't have the skillset for these classes.

Seriously, run a complicated liability analysis and then tell me its not a pumped-up logic game.

Edit: I suppose I should explain. In criminal law, a liability analysis is where you take the MPC (a book of "rules") or state statutes and then you get a fact pattern, and you have to decide what "slot" the D falls into (e.g. first degree felony/murder). This is complicated because the MPC contains a shitton of "rules" that modify liability and acts aren't always the same crimes that they intuitively seem to be.


Veyron, I'm a 0L but how I would imagine they are different is the time constraints. Also, the type of reasoning seems different in the level of synthesis needed. You aren't building a fact set but rather running facts by the rules. Obviously, you know more about it than me but there do seem to be differences there.

Anyway, I hope that is the case lol.


Silence 0L, there is nothing in the world more time constrained than a law school exam.

Also, I don't know what all this babble about synthesis is but all I can say is that the first time I did a difficult liability analysis I was all like "wow, this is exactly like an LSAT logic game." I mean, more prose and less setup is involved, but if anything, that makes it harder cuz you got to do shit in your head.

Hope doesn't pay the loans spock.
Last edited by Veyron on Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kill lsat
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby kill lsat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:24 pm

tomwatts wrote:I kind of like that the LSAT includes a section that is so learnable, and not just because my earning a living depends on it. I'd rather have a section that you can devote a few months to and master than something that is kept secret so that no one can do anything about it and that test-makers pretend tests some sort of innate ability. Hard work should count for something.


So, AR is about demonstrating that you can master something that is "learnable" and not about aptitude? RC and LR are so much more aligned with your academic preparedness, intellect and reasoning ability. They suffer from all of the pitfalls that any standardized tests have -- so are to be condemned on that basis. But, if you read well, think clearly and have a reasonable background in logic AND have good test-taking skills, you will do well. Due to the biases they introduce, I'm not a supporter of them, but they at least test what every lawyer should be able to do well. The artificial nature of AR tests what you just picked up in a course or from a prep book. Why should that be part of the selection process for law school?

tomwatts wrote:And not having time to study for the LSAT is lame. Make the time. You can get what you need from books if you don't have the money to take a course.

You just don't understand the difficult times that so many people are going through. Some of us have to work, take care of sick relatives, run a business or two, contribute to community events, deal with our own illnesses AND .... We just don't have time to do much more. However, we would still be outstanding lawyers if given the opportunity to compete fairly. We're not afraid of hard work -- no one works harder. But, if by hard work you mean spending weeks taking a course to learn the strategies for winning in an artificial arena that has little to do with aptitude, then that's something that no one should have to do and no one should be rewarded for.

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Veyron
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby Veyron » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:29 pm

kill lsat wrote:
tomwatts wrote:I kind of like that the LSAT includes a section that is so learnable, and not just because my earning a living depends on it. I'd rather have a section that you can devote a few months to and master than something that is kept secret so that no one can do anything about it and that test-makers pretend tests some sort of innate ability. Hard work should count for something.


So, AR is about demonstrating that you can master something that is "learnable" and not about aptitude? RC and LR are so much more aligned with your academic preparedness, intellect and reasoning ability. They suffer from all of the pitfalls that any standardized tests have -- so are to be condemned on that basis. But, if you read well, think clearly and have a reasonable background in logic AND have good test-taking skills, you will do well. Due to the biases they introduce, I'm not a supporter of them, but they at least test what every lawyer should be able to do well. The artificial nature of AR tests what you just picked up in a course or from a prep book. Why should that be part of the selection process for law school?

tomwatts wrote:And not having time to study for the LSAT is lame. Make the time. You can get what you need from books if you don't have the money to take a course.

You just don't understand the difficult times that so many people are going through. Some of us have to work, take care of sick relatives, run a business or two, contribute to community events, deal with our own illnesses AND .... We just don't have time to do much more. However, we would still be outstanding lawyers if given the opportunity to compete fairly. We're not afraid of hard work -- no one works harder. But, if by hard work you mean spending weeks taking a course to learn the strategies for winning in an artificial arena that has little to do with aptitude, then that's something that no one should have to do and no one should be rewarded for.


So basically, no lawyer should ever get paid for arguing a motion. Gotchya'

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nygrrrl
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby nygrrrl » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:38 pm

kill lsat wrote:You just don't understand the difficult times that so many people are going through. Some of us have to work, take care of sick relatives, run a business or two, contribute to community events, deal with our own illnesses AND .... We just don't have time to do much more. However, we would still be outstanding lawyers if given the opportunity to compete fairly. We're not afraid of hard work -- no one works harder. But, if by hard work you mean spending weeks taking a course to learn the strategies for winning in an artificial arena that has little to do with aptitude, then that's something that no one should have to do and no one should be rewarded for.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

kill lsat
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Re: Let's end the games section

Postby kill lsat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:42 pm

Veyron wrote:LSAT games section = what is tested on exams in torts (a little bit) civ-pro (somewhat) and crim (extremely). If you can't do it, you don't have the skillset for these classes.

Edit: I suppose I should explain. In criminal law, a liability analysis is where you take the MPC (a book of "rules") or state statutes and then you get a fact pattern, and you have to decide what "slot" the D falls into (e.g. first degree felony/murder). This is complicated because the MPC contains a shitton of "rules" that modify liability and acts aren't always the same crimes that they intuitively seem to be.


The differences between your examples and AR include:
1. You don't have 2-4 levels of inferences to deal with, but primarily linear constraints/procedures/definitions that you apply in turn.
2. You don't have 3 minutes to learn the MPC and statutes, you have months or years. It's hard to draw any analogies between 2000 rules of procedure and statute definitions and what a tester is asked to do in a few minutes.
3. You aren't asked to master a new and artificial world, with brand new rules, in each of your cases. The MPC and state statutes can be learned once, refreshed from time to time and applied to each of your cases. Add the fact that you have hours, days or weeks to formulate a charge and you can see that your real world experience is nothing like what LSAT testers are asked to do. You might be arguing for the suggested revision of having 1 game per section, with 23 questions.
4 - 6. We can discuss, if necessary ...




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