Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

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ofthetribe

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Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

Postby ofthetribe » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:03 pm

After 15+ years as an independent LSAT trainer, working online, I've come across an utterly unique student and would be thrilled to hear any thoughts. This student is hell-bent on getting a 170+, but because of a learning disability, I just don't see it happening. I try my best to temper his unrealistic expectations, but here's the rub: he's dishonest. During our last two sessions, it became clear to me that he already had the correct answer before going over a particular LR question. He was answering high-difficulty questions in about a minute (even thought he's given 60 minutes per section), but when I asked him about the question, he had no answers. For example (among many): for a "main point" question, I would ask what he believed to be the conclusion of the stimulus. Despite "selecting" the correct answer, he misidentified the conclusion. So after busting him on his mendacity, he stopped. But then just yesterday he claimed to he completed 2 LR sections, at 40 minutes each, and only got one wrong over both sections. But he couldn't even explain half the content of the questions and admitted that he had trouble comprehending a lot of LSAT material. No way did he get only one wrong. I realize that luck plays a role in life, but luck can't explain it. There's no doubt in my mind that if he doesn't work with me, he'll just hire someone else, so I'm sticking with him because at least he'll have one person on his life who attempts to keep him grounded. But does anyone have any thoughts on how to deal with this? With respect, I will reject any claim that my student is being truthful (he's a bit flaky - cancelling sessions at the last minute, taking a month to order the right LSAT books, paying me late, etc). If he's telling the truth, then I have a brain tumor (no judgements - we're all sinners and I'm no exception). But how in the world am I supposed to help a student who isn't entirely truthful? Any and all comments are appreciated.

Mikey

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Re: Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

Postby Mikey » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:17 pm

if your student doesn't want to be truthful and work hard for himself, I don't think there is much you can do tbh. he has to WANT to learn from you..maybe he's just trying to show that he knows more than he actually does, but if he doesn't stop doing this then how does he expect to get the help he needs. he may not be as serious about it as he claims, who knows what he's thinking. I'd say just keep trying to help him and if things continue to go as they are, or if they get more out of hand, you might have to stop tutoring this individual.

llm614

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Re: Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

Postby llm614 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:56 pm

I can only speak from my own experiences as an instructor myself working with similar students, but I would try to not get too invested if there is an honesty issue. At some point, it becomes a toxic relationship. I think if you are willing to put in the time and be patient with him then he can certainly stand to benefit. Obviously, each learning disability manifests itself differently, so take this will a grain of salt, but the fact that he apparently memorized most of the answers in a section speaks to at least some innate ability.
If I was insistent on moving forward with such a student I would simply accept the fact that he will not be completely honest. I would get creative with lessons and "go off script", ie set up scenarios he cannot prepare for. This would help to truly gauge his abilities and you can move on from there. However, if the non-payment and lying issues compound at some point the relationship becomes a no-win situation for all involved. As the previous poster stated, there may well be nothing you can do, so I wouldn't feel too bad if you had to cut off the arrangement at some point. If you believe he has no compunction about lying in a situation that does not benefit him, he will probably lie about many other things. Thinking big picture, if lying and cheating are truly part of his nature is law school really a good fit?
Good luck!

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dm1683

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Re: Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

Postby dm1683 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:05 pm

ofthetribe wrote:After 15+ years as an independent LSAT trainer, working online, I've come across an utterly unique student and would be thrilled to hear any thoughts. This student is hell-bent on getting a 170+, but because of a learning disability, I just don't see it happening. I try my best to temper his unrealistic expectations, but here's the rub: he's dishonest. During our last two sessions, it became clear to me that he already had the correct answer before going over a particular LR question. He was answering high-difficulty questions in about a minute (even thought he's given 60 minutes per section), but when I asked him about the question, he had no answers. For example (among many): for a "main point" question, I would ask what he believed to be the conclusion of the stimulus. Despite "selecting" the correct answer, he misidentified the conclusion. So after busting him on his mendacity, he stopped. But then just yesterday he claimed to he completed 2 LR sections, at 40 minutes each, and only got one wrong over both sections. But he couldn't even explain half the content of the questions and admitted that he had trouble comprehending a lot of LSAT material. No way did he get only one wrong. I realize that luck plays a role in life, but luck can't explain it. There's no doubt in my mind that if he doesn't work with me, he'll just hire someone else, so I'm sticking with him because at least he'll have one person on his life who attempts to keep him grounded. But does anyone have any thoughts on how to deal with this? With respect, I will reject any claim that my student is being truthful (he's a bit flaky - cancelling sessions at the last minute, taking a month to order the right LSAT books, paying me late, etc). If he's telling the truth, then I have a brain tumor (no judgements - we're all sinners and I'm no exception). But how in the world am I supposed to help a student who isn't entirely truthful? Any and all comments are appreciated.


I'm just a dumb 0L but I have tutoring experience at my college's writing center so maybe my advice could be of some use. TBH I would just dump the kid. I know that's super harsh and I get what you're saying about him just finding another instructor, but hey, you have FIFTEEN YEARS of experience which would honestly be better used elsewhere. If the kid is not going to reach his goal, and he's disrespecting you with the dishonesty to boot, I think the best course of action is to cut him loose and use your valuable time and knowledge to help someone else who a) has realistic goals and b) is willing to be on the level for both his/her benefit and yours.

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lymenheimer

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Re: Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

Postby lymenheimer » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:35 pm

You're sticking with him because he's a paycheck. If you haven't learned, after 15+ years, that there are some people who need to learn some things the hard way, then frankly i don't believe you have been "instructing" for that long. 170+ is his goal, not yours. If he doesn't do the work that gets him there, especially if your statements about him are true, then that's on him. Sign him up for a real test and see where his methods get him. Maybe that will do some good

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MediocreAtBest

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Re: Odd question from an experienced LSAT trainer

Postby MediocreAtBest » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:44 pm

I have a short tolerance for nonsense like that so my initial reaction is to tell you to dump him. You're not gaining anything by giving yourself a headache with him, and with as much experience as you have, I'm sure you can find a paycheck elsewhere (especially if he's not paying on time). If you're set on staying with him, then I'd do as someone else already suggested and give him material that he can't memorize ahead of time, and don't be afraid to be brutally honest with him. He's tried to deceive you, so don't think you owe him any sort of kindness because of his disability or the fact that he's paying you.



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