Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

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PDaddy
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Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby PDaddy » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:48 am

Good article folks! This is why the LSAT as we know it will soon be replaced with an even better test that includes all of the LSAT metrics plus some additional ones. Berkeley is at the forefront of trying to develop the new test.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0725014102

What Berkeley researchers are essentially saying is that the LSAT has much developmental value but doesn't accurtately predict one's potential to be a law student or lawyer, precisely because it is learnable. If the LSAT can retrain the brain's operations, so can law school classroom instruction and the outside studies that go with it.

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Jeffort
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Jeffort » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:38 am

Try not to get excited about the prospect that the LSAT as it currently is, will as you say, soon be replaced with a better test. I think in your interpretation you overly broadened the scope of the article and the conclusions the researches formed and stated in the study.

For many years now, academic scholarship out of Berkeley has been criticizing the LSAT in various ways and occasionally publishing something about developing a law school admission test with better predictive value about the performance of LS applicants than the LSAT currently does.

Plenty of interesting/entertaining/off the beaten track stuff and news comes out of Berkeley all the time. A bunch of years ago they had the naked student, a guy they let walk the campus and go to classes totally naked for a long time against the constant protests and objections from all over the place that went into mainstream media. Stuff about that and the guy was all over mainstream news for a long time. That's just one example of atypical stuff that comes out of Berkeley compared to other reputable academic institutions.

The rumors about Berkeley coming up with a 'new and improved LSAT' are largely just a bunch of academic 'sound and fury about nothing' wishful thinking. They've been talking about producing a better test for many years, but have produced nothing of the sort.

No offense intended, but your summary of what the Berkeley researchers are 'essentially saying' in the referenced articles is wrong. At the least it is a distorted, exaggerated interpretation that also has 'put things into context before making conclusions' problems.

The conclusions are very narrow in scope and mainly restate obvious things about studying and learning. My academic perspective and foundations would be rocked to the core if it wasn't true that skills -especially ability to reason validly-, abilities, potential performance with any type of activity that involves thinking could not be learned/improved via education and study focused on improving the particular sets that are important to perform well on any academic test or in any particular field of work/study/activity/etc.

To usurp the LSAT as the standard law school admissions test from LSAC, Berkeley would have to get a military and literally bomb LSAC headquarters into rocks, rubble and dust.

This stuff is fun to think, read and talk about for people that have already made their mark with an official LSAT score, but is totally useless and counterproductive to waste much of any time on for people preparing to take an upcoming officially administered LSAT.
Last edited by Jeffort on Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Miracle
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Miracle » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:05 am

+1 for Jeffort

People have been speculating about doing this test for ages. I love the LSAT and honestly do not understand why there is such a fuss about it-in a negative way. Study, study had and do well. We all do it, why can't some that complain about it.

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Jeffort
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Jeffort » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:28 am

Miracle wrote:
People have been speculating about doing this test for ages. I love the LSAT and honestly do not understand why there is such a fuss about it-in a negative way. Study, study ha[r]d and do well. We all do it, why can't some that complain about it.



^^^ +256

BrianP
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby BrianP » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:31 pm

I was actually wondering if the LSAT really determines anything as far as ability to be a law student or a lawyer for that very reason: that it is apparently learnable. If I were to practice and get my score up by even 10 or 15 points would that all of a sudden mean I would succeed in law school or as a lawyer when I previously wouldn't have? How many logic games do you do in law school?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:41 pm

BrianP wrote:I was actually wondering if the LSAT really determines anything as far as ability to be a law student or a lawyer for that very reason: that it is apparently learnable. If I were to practice and get my score up by even 10 or 15 points would that all of a sudden mean I would succeed in law school or as a lawyer when I previously wouldn't have? How many logic games do you do in law school?


I believe I analyze and process information in a much more critical manner than I did before studying for the LSAT. (I increased my diagnostic by 19 points.) While law school tests do not include anything close to logic games on tests, critical thinking is still important. (And as a side-note, the LSAT can teach you how to become better at timed multiple choice tests, which do happen in many law school classes--though most of these multiple choice tests are much more subjective than the LSAT.)

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:44 pm

PDaddy wrote:Good article folks! This is why the LSAT as we know it will soon be replaced with an even better test that includes all of the LSAT metrics plus some additional ones. Berkeley is at the forefront of trying to develop the new test.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0725014102

What Berkeley researchers are essentially saying is that the LSAT has much developmental value but doesn't accurtately predict one's potential to be a law student or lawyer, precisely because it is learnable. If the LSAT can retrain the brain's operations, so can law school classroom instruction and the outside studies that go with it.


The LSAT is an incredible test. Like Jeffort said, I don't think it's being replaced anytime soon. I would argue that LSAT is a much better test than many law school exams in many respects. (As in, better written and better at identifying varying skill levels of the test-takers.)

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Jeffort
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Jeffort » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:03 am

BrianP wrote:I was actually wondering if the LSAT really determines anything as far as ability to be a law student or a lawyer for that very reason: that it is apparently learnable. If I were to practice and get my score up by even 10 or 15 points would that all of a sudden mean I would succeed in law school or as a lawyer when I previously wouldn't have? How many logic games do you do in law school?


Absent some sort of brain damage/condition or significant learning disability, almost everything is learnable by most people, although mileage may vary on how well certain people learn something compared to others due to many factors.

People go to school, take classes, read books about, train for various things in life (academics, sports, chess matches, hot dog eating contests, etc.) in order to learn how to and get better/improve their skills/performance level doing almost everything and anything in life that is competitive and/or important or even just as a hobby.

The LSAT is not, and is not meant or designed to be a test of innate/static thinking/reading/reasoning skills/abilities people are born with (nobody knows how to read or reason logically when they are born). It's the opposite.

From LSAC:
It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants.

...

What the Test Measures:
The LSAT is designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to think critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.


Note the large bolded words above, especially the word "acquired".

That means the skills and abilities tested are ones that can be learned and improved, hence they are not innate and static (fixed from birth), but are dynamic and learnable/possible to improve, just like skill sets to do all sorts of things (making pizzas really fast for instance). Preparing for the LSAT is a matter of further developing your current relevant skill levels and specifically adapting/refining them for application to the format of the test.

The LSAT tests and measures peoples current (when they take the test) proficiency level with certain types of critical reading, thinking and reasoning skills that are important prerequisites to be able to learn about the law/legal thinking, perform well while in law school and build more skills important to succeeding later with a law career.

So what if law school exams are not the same format as the LSAT? They are different because in law school you are in a new higher level realm in order to learn more (knowledge about the law plus legal analysis for instance) to progress into learning and developing good legal reasoning skills that will be useful once you graduate.

Legal reasoning and analysis skills are built on the basic logical core of thinking, reading and reasoning skills one has already demonstrated proficiency with via the LSAT. Being able to learn and properly work with legal concepts/all the new stuff you are exposed to in LS classes and tested about is highly dependent on your current ability to apply critical reading, thinking and reasoning skills to legal subjects. It is the next building block step in your education to become a lawyer.

In short, all the skills tested by the LSAT are important to have as a foundation to build upon in law school to progress by learning/acquiring solid legal reasoning/analysis skills/abilities while doing time in law school.

If you lack ability with basic reading comprehension, logical and analytical reasoning skills, you are missing conditions that are necessary to be able to learn and develop solid legal knowledge, reasoning skills and abilities while in law school.

Even more simply, you don't take algebra I before algebra II. Why not? Because one builds on the other and the second in progression assumes you have acquired the core knowledge and skills taught and tested by the former, or, the horse goes before the cart.
Last edited by Jeffort on Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CyanIdes Of March
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:19 am

BrianP wrote:I was actually wondering if the LSAT really determines anything as far as ability to be a law student or a lawyer for that very reason: that it is apparently learnable. If I were to practice and get my score up by even 10 or 15 points would that all of a sudden mean I would succeed in law school or as a lawyer when I previously wouldn't have? How many logic games do you do in law school?


Whose to say that the studying process is not part of what they are trying to see with your score? Someone who would take the test with no prep and score low is someone who likely would do the same in school. No test is going to magically find out who can do well in law school, there are just too many variables to account for, but what you can test is who has the ability/drive to study hard and excel at a reasoning based exam, which imo is as close as you're going to get.

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DSman
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby DSman » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:10 am

Oh great. Thats just what we need...a bigger ego on "pre laws".

Miracle
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby Miracle » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:27 am

DSman wrote:Oh great. Thats just what we need...a bigger ego on "pre laws".


:D

BrianP
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby BrianP » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:17 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:
BrianP wrote:I was actually wondering if the LSAT really determines anything as far as ability to be a law student or a lawyer for that very reason: that it is apparently learnable. If I were to practice and get my score up by even 10 or 15 points would that all of a sudden mean I would succeed in law school or as a lawyer when I previously wouldn't have? How many logic games do you do in law school?


I believe I analyze and process information in a much more critical manner than I did before studying for the LSAT. (I increased my diagnostic by 19 points.) While law school tests do not include anything close to logic games on tests, critical thinking is still important. (And as a side-note, the LSAT can teach you how to become better at timed multiple choice tests, which do happen in many law school classes--though most of these multiple choice tests are much more subjective than the LSAT.)


I hope I will be the same way. That is awesome that you improved by 19 points!

BrianP
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Re: Studying for the LSAT makes you smarter (research says)

Postby BrianP » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:20 am

CyanIdes Of March wrote:
BrianP wrote:I was actually wondering if the LSAT really determines anything as far as ability to be a law student or a lawyer for that very reason: that it is apparently learnable. If I were to practice and get my score up by even 10 or 15 points would that all of a sudden mean I would succeed in law school or as a lawyer when I previously wouldn't have? How many logic games do you do in law school?


Whose to say that the studying process is not part of what they are trying to see with your score? Someone who would take the test with no prep and score low is someone who likely would do the same in school. No test is going to magically find out who can do well in law school, there are just too many variables to account for, but what you can test is who has the ability/drive to study hard and excel at a reasoning based exam, which imo is as close as you're going to get.


That is a good point. I can see that.

I had thought the LSAT was more of an intelligence test and I was stupid for getting a low practice score. But if it really tests how hard you studied to 'learn' the test, then there is hope for me. :)




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