LSAT study plan tips for people who initially scored 137-144

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LSAT study plan tips for people who initially scored 137-144

Postby anothergirlonthebsl » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:14 pm

I see a lot of folks dicuss how they made massive gains on the lsat in these threads but they usually started from scores such as 153-165. I want to know how folks with lower scores were able to jump score ranges and how long did it take. I’m assuming if you started at 138 you won’t be able to improve to 159 in 2 months realistically. How have folks with low scores managed the logic games and logic reasoning. Thanks!

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Re: LSAT study plan tips for people who initially scored 137-144

Postby » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:04 pm

Hi Another Girl,

There is not much difference in how you will approach the test starting with a 153-159 vs. a 137-144 in the sense that you will need to learn to recognize and approach each type of game and LR question. It's a little different for students starting over a 160, because students scoring 75%+ tend to be really strong with certain areas of the test such that their time is best spent identifying their specific weaknesses and working on those from the get go.

The major difference in how you would prep versus how someone with a higher starting score would prep will be that you will likely need to review certain topics more than once, particularly at the beginning. The 4 major things you need to develop in the next few weeks are:

1.) A high level of comfort with formal logic.

Formal logic refers to any statement that can be reduced to a sufficient and necessary condition wherein having one component is enough to know that you have the second. The concept of formal logic itself is complex enough that there are thousand-page books about it, but for the LSAT it is very simple as you are tested on the same statement again and again and again. To up the difficulty, LSAT presents formal logic in a variety of different ways. As the test taker, it's your job to not only be able to convert any statement that can be converted to formal logic to formal logic, but to recognize statements that can be converted into formal logic. These will be any statements that contain rule based language (must, is, always, requires, etc.) The reason why formal logic is so heavily tested and rewarded by LSAC is because law school is largely about applying law to fact, which requires you to understand when the rule applies, when it doesn't and when it could go either way (and thus is not formal logic). Formal logic, as tested on the LSAT, has been the basis of every legal system dating back to the Code of Hammurabi, some 3,800-years ago.

To learn formal logic, you can google formal logic for the LSAT, read every free primer available and if you still need help, consider purchasing stickied material, taking a course or working with a professional LSAT tutor.

If you get strong enough with formal logic, you can even reduce question that do not contain formal logic to something LSAT pros refer to as informal logic. Informal logic refers not to a statement/argument that is actually formal logic, but that seems like formal logic from the perspective of the person making the argument. For example, if I said that the Golden State Warriors will win the NBA championship because they have the best players and have won 3 of the best 4 championships, I am saying, "If a team has consistently won for 4 years and has the best players -> They will win this year". Frequently, difficult assumption questions will simply present the right answer choice as a formal logic statement that reads logically equivalent to the one above. A weakener would be something like "the best team always wins". Informal logic is not necessary to getting the correct answer on such questions, but is useful because if used correctly, it dramatically simplifies the logic of any argument to the point that it becomes difficult to get the question wrong. It's also useful in law school, on the bar and even in practice - as in-house counsel, frequently during meetings where two people are arguing for an hour, I'll say, "You're saying if a -> b whereas she is saying is if a-> c." By doing this, I not only helping to solve conflicts, but I also make it appear as though I am paying more attention than I actually am.

The point of the above shpiel is to illustrate that formal logic is your friend, and not something to try to avoid. The difference between people in the high 160s and high 170s is often the fact that the former actively avoids formal logic except where absolutely necessary, and the latter uses it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

2.) Spotting conclusions.

One of the linguistic elements of the test that is strange to people in your score range is that the words - argument and conclusion are, for the purposes of this test, synonymous. If you're trying to identify what role the fact about unicorns play in the argument, how to weaken the argument or the presupposition upon which the argument depends, you're really just being asked one of 3 things: "what is the conclusion/what's the relationship between something and the conclusion?", "how does the reader reach their conclusion?" or "how can you make this conclusion more/less shitty?" Regardless, the point is the same. On 3-3.5/5th's of Logical Reasoning, your life revolves around the conclusion". Being good at recognizing conclusions is necessary and often sufficient for scoring >mid-150's.

3.) Knowing the different kinds of logic games, and how to approach them.

Logic games are hard when you first see them, and some people compare them to sudoku because both involve pattern recognition. However, LSAC is testing something much more specific - that is, your ability to apply law to fact. All logic games are doing is testing your ability to apply law to fact. That being said, there are a few basic types of games that show up again and again, and a very memorizable process for each not only in terms of how to set up the sketches for each type of game and answer the questions, but also the types of rules to focus your broader thinking on such that you could solve most of the games before looking at any question.

4.) Reading critically.

It's common for people with low scores to assume that they will "just pick up on reading" because they at least have some idea of what they are doing on reading comprehension whereas they have little idea of what they are doing on other sections, and that they read all the time. I'll say two things: (1) the purpose of the LSAT is to reduce you to a percentile ranking, and everyone taking the LSAT reads a lot whereas few point out the flaws in their lovers' argument in favor of pepperoni pizza or rearrange their closet left to right based on criterion that would warrant an OCD diagnosis; and (2) you are being judged on your ability to do a specific kind of reading - the extraction of conclusions based on evidence and reasoning. This is a much more complex type of reading that is different from how you've read and processed information previously. You need to both become a good speed reader, and be able to think about long chunks of text in terms of what point the writer is making and how they are making that point.

Hope this helps! 22 points is a lot in 2 months, and the better approach would be to study hard for close to a year but if you master each of the 4 things above, you will likely get there.

Source: 5-star Yelp reviewed LSAT and bar exam tutor, ~ decade experience teaching the test, consistent track record of >20 point score improvements (from starting score).

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