How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

PJENNEWE
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How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby PJENNEWE » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:35 pm

Here is my situation: I have been wanting to go to a top law school since as long as I can remember and, long story short, I have meticulously planned out my curriculum to make this happen. Right now, with 69/120 credits under my belt in college, my GPA is a 3.97. I am taking 15 hours this semester and 12 hours next semester (studying abroad. Following this academic year, I will start thinking about the LSAT so that I can write in June of 2014 before my year off to gain work experience, hoping to apply for Fall of 2015. I will be graduating a semester early so I will have about 5 months of uninterrupted study time that I can devote solely to the LSAT (if I so choose). I know this is really early to be thinking about thinking about the LSAT, but honestly I just really like reading these threads and so I thought I would make my own. Here are my questions:

1) What prep materials should I get? Money is not an issue because what can be more worthwhile then investing in a test that can save me THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarship money
2) What classes do you recommend for the spring of 2014 when I will be in study mode?
3) What other advice do you have?

EDIT: I took a Kaplan diagnostic last year. I scored a 151 without any prep.

SCHEDULE:
This year: 27 hours completed
Summer '13: 6 hours completed
Fall '13: 18 hours completed -> Graduation
Spring '14: STUDY FOR THE LSAT
June '14: Writing the test

EDIT2: I should also add that my 18 hours of fall '13 will be a ALL ELECTIVES. Again, I planned out my curriculum so that I could take ceramics and introduction to music during that semester :D
Last edited by PJENNEWE on Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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gaud
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby gaud » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:01 pm

Check out Pithypike's Complete LSAT Study Guide. It's been used by many users and is highly reviewed.

By all means avoid Kaplan.

Good luck!

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ilovelawtays
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby ilovelawtays » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:49 pm

Are you going to be studying for the LSAT during spring semester, and then for another 5 months after that? I'm confused. :oops:

PJENNEWE
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby PJENNEWE » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:01 pm

ilovelawtays wrote:Are you going to be studying for the LSAT during spring semester, and then for another 5 months after that? I'm confused. :oops:


Sorry! I added what my schedule looks like on the original thread. Basically, I will study from January 2014 -May 2014 uninterrupted. However, I plan on starting basic prep from June 2013-December 2013 while I am in classes

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cahwc12
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby cahwc12 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:47 pm

I think it's as good a plan as any, but if you're at a good school, I would be careful pulling 18 hours of senior-level classes if you have a legitimate major, especially if you've never taken that many classes before. It's totally doable if you have a good work ethic (which it seems you do, although that 4.0 is from gened classes) and no outside obligations.

I think 5 months is a good amount of time to study, but I also highly recommend you commit to some volunteer work or other extra-curriculars as well--anything with highly flexible hours. "Full-time" study is something like 3-4 hours per day with 1-2 days off per week and your brain will turn to scrambled eggs if you try to do more than that for a long period of time.

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:19 am

If you search on this site, you will find lots of recommendations for materials to study. You should take a look at what has already been recommended, and then ask more specific questions.

Congratulations on planning so well for your future. You have increased your chances of success enormously. The advice I give below presupposes that money is no problem and that you have lots of time, as in fact you do.

What is your major? If it is not Philosophy, then make sure that you take a Critical Reasoning course. If the Critical Reasoning course does not include a section on propositional logic, categorical logic and fallacies, then take a course that does, or, better yet, hire a Philosophy graduate student to teach you propositional logic, categorical logic, and logical fallacies. (Make sure that a logic professor recommends the graduate student.) Most formal logic courses (as opposed to Critical Reasoning courses) will teach you more than you need to know for the LSAT, Law School and Law Practice. In most formal logic courses, you begin to do proofs almost immediately, but that is entirely unnecessary for your purposes.

However, propositional logic is essential. From propositional logic you will learn all you need to know about conditionals, necessary and sufficient conditions, inference, how to translate English terms into symbolic logic etc. Probably more than half of the questions on the LSAT either require knowledge of propositional logic, or are quicker and easier to answer if you know propositional logic. Categorical logic will teach you about None, Some and All statements, and teach you how to negate them etc. And you already know how many Flaw-In-Reasoning questions there are on the LSAT. Understanding fallacies helps enormously with these questions.

And knowing this logic will help you in law school and in law practice. You would be surprised at how many practicing lawyers there are who don't understand the logical form of words like “unless,” and so don’t know how to use the word correctly in their own work. There are even lots of lawyers who don’t recognize fallacies in other lawyers’ work or their own work. Those people are never going to make partner.

Students who do the best take the time to learn the real logic. They don't have to rely on rules of thumb that may not be helpful in lots of cases. Since they understand the actual logic, they have the flexibility to apply the logic they need in the most helpful way in every case. So, make sure you learn the actual logic. It really isn't all that hard, if you have a good teacher or at least a good text. (I can recommend some if you want.)

Well, sorry about the rant. But the way that logic is given a second place in a profession that uses arguments constantly really irritates me.

I noticed that what you wrote is not entirely grammatical and somewhat awkward. Of course, maybe that is just because you wrote really quickly. But if your writing is not really good, and by good I mean with good grammar, good diction and good style, then do yourself a tremendous favor and take a writing class, or take every paper you write to the school's writing center, or, better yet, hire a graduate student from the English Department to teach you how to write really well. (Again, get a recommendation from professors in the department.) Teaching student to write is very time consuming, and most professors in the English departments of most universities refuse to do it. That is the origin of Writing Across the University programs, and that is why most of these programs are taught by graduate students, not professors. As much as universities advertise themselves as caring about teaching, almost all professors do as little teaching as possible. If you want to write well, you have to take it upon yourself to find the resources to help you. I really cannot emphasize enough how important it is to write well. Your first impression on the people who decide which applicants are awarded the scholarships and which applicants receive the highest paying jobs is determined by your writing style. If you don’t write well, you will make yourself look stupid. And the other people, who have taken the time to learn how to write, and may not be nearly as intelligent and talented as you, will get the scholarships and jobs. So don’t handicap yourself. Learn to write as well as you can talk.

Good luck!

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ilovelawtays
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby ilovelawtays » Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:23 am

I absolutely agree with taking a logic course and learning how to write. I took a logic course in 2005 and it is still helpful today. However, learning how to be an effective writer is truly priceless. I have worked with so many great attorneys, and they are universally great writers. The writing I've seen that is mediocre comes from (you guessed it!) mediocre attorneys.

There's a divide between the great attorneys, with some adopting more antiquated prose and some using a straight forward, plain English approach. I prefer the latter, because I think it results in less confusion.

If you want to become a better writer in general, look for books by Bryan A. Garner. His primary focus is legal writing, but his methods absolutely apply to most writing formats. Legal Writing in Plain English is excellent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_A._G ... _A._Garner

I find it ironic that Scalia is his occasional co-author, as I find Scalia's writing to be somewhat hard to follow (could it be the douche-factor?). However, style books co-authored by a SCOTUS member are probably worth reading.

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Ixiion
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby Ixiion » Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:49 am

A+ To you! All the advice given so far is really good, and I don't have much to add.

The only thing I'll toss in is re: prep materials.

What I've bought and has so far helped me:
- Every PrepTest available, though this is obvious.
- PowerScore LR, LG bibles.
- Manhattan LSAT LR, RC, LG guides.
- Cambridge LR, LG, RC separated by type.

The PS bibles are very good and very helpful, and the MLSAT ones are even better in some things. I recommend getting both because, well.. firstly, having more information at your fingertips is always good. And, secondly, there are certain sections in PS that are better than MLSAT and vice versa. They complement each other extremely well.

The Cambridge ones are extremely important for drilling. This way, when you do more PTs and whatnot and you recognize your problem areas, you can drill those questions. For example, if one of your problem areas is parallel reasoning, cambridge has every single PR question in order of difficulty from PTs 1-40. This saves you time (so you don't have to search every PT for those questions), and I believe it also protects the "integrity" of the test. In other words, if you had to search through PT 30 to find that question, and later on you ended up taking PT30 as a preptest, it might be easier than it should have been because you would have already seen all the LR questions, thus artificially inflating your score.

PJENNEWE
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby PJENNEWE » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:12 pm

EDIT2: I should also add that my 18 hours of fall '13 will be a ALL ELECTIVES. Again, I planned out my curriculum so that I could take ceramics and introduction to music during that semester :D

Also, to the dismay of many TLS users, I don't really care about writing on this forum, as long as I get my point across. I am English major. I don't want to sound arrogant but I believe that I am an exceptional writer due to what my professors have said. I was actually invited to study for a year at Oxford by one of my professors who taught there (there was a program my school did for one English student every year). Anyway, writing is a strength of mine and writing is a passion. I just realize a time and a place for really working hard at it and I don't consider TLS one of them. Thank you guys for the recommendations though and keep them coming! You have no idea how helpful this is to me. My family constantly criticizes me about how I do way too much planning and I need to enjoy college. While I agree halfheartedly, I also have to realize why I am here: to make something of myself in the academic world.
Last edited by PJENNEWE on Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ilovelawtays
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby ilovelawtays » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:16 pm

PJENNEWE wrote:EDIT2: I should also add that my 18 hours of fall '13 will be a ALL ELECTIVES. Again, I planned out my curriculum so that I could take ceramics and introduction to music during that semester :D


Be careful with that! I saved Intro to Photography and Intro to Acting for my final two quarters and ended up with a B and B+, respectively. Turns out taking pictures and making an ass of yourself in front of a lot of people aren't super easy. Who knew?

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:45 pm

Hi PJENNEWE,

I didn't mean to assume that you don't write well. I thought that you might just be writing quickly. And you're right it doesn't matter on TLS, and I write quickly here as well so I really wasn't dismayed or complaining.

But, since you also write well, you are truly in a great position to go to the school of your choice.

Do you still have the option to spend a year at Oxford? I know there is a one year law degree at Cambridge, the LLM. Probably Oxford has the same. I went to Cambridge because I was helping my professor with his book and he took a leave to go to Cambridge. It turned out to be the best experience in my life, socially as well as intellectually. And, of course, a year at Oxford would look great on your applications. If you can take a year off, it is something to consider.

PJENNEWE
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Re: How to maximize LSAT score in this situation

Postby PJENNEWE » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:31 pm

Though I was invited, I had other obligations to my wallet that did not allow me to go. I am a resident advisor so I get my room and board paid for as well as getting a paycheck and money for books. Studying abroad for a full year in a city with a high cost of living would not be in my best interest financially. It would set me back thousands of dollars, unfortunately. However, I still will be studying abroad in the spring in Rome, thereby giving me the same opportunities to travel with less expense




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