Articles published in August 2011

The Strain of ‘Decision Fatigue’

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Decisions, decisions!

Decisions, decisions!

A member of the Manhattan LSAT Forum community – who, like a good lawyer-to-be, is keeping himself anonymous – sent me an interesting article in the NY Times magazine that has some interesting implications for LSAT study. Take a look at the article and what he had to say about it – I think this is spot on:

The article is about “decision fatigue”: how merely making a large number of decisions (whether deciding LSAT questions or deciding your breakfast cereal) leads you to a point where you are more liable to make bad decisions or take shortcuts to avoid having to invest yourself in more decisions.  There were  a few things I think are relevant to LSAT study:

#1. This could underlie the fatigue students often feel towards the end of an individual test (it’s not just having to read a lot or analyze a lot of logic—it’s literally the act of making so many decisions) Read more

Introducing: LSAT Review Sessions

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Perhaps the word “studyhall” brings up bad memories of detention for you – I will do my HW, I will do my HW, I will do my HW.

But cast aside your chalkdust torture nightmares, these Review Sessions are a different breed. All of our Fall LSAT classes (the ones aiming for the December LSAT) will now include 12 live online Review Sessions. Each session will be 2 hours of LSAT goodies  – one of our teachers will lead the class through an extra set of questions on topics taught in a recent class. As usual, we’ll expect you to work hard, ask questions, answer them, debate, laugh, cry, etc. It’s an extra touch, a bit more practice, another taste of that great meal we call LSAT prep.

Some of our students will no doubt be too busy to attend – there’s a lot of HW to do already, and life is life, but we’re excited to get to teach a bit more. If you’re looking for a fall LSAT class – now with 66 hours of instructional time in all – check out our upcoming schedule and jump in. We promise we won’t make you clean the erasers.

Five Things I Learned in Undergrad That Helped Me at Yale Law School

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Back To School

Back To School

It’s mid August and for many of you that means only one thing: another summer break is in the books and its time to move out of mom and dad’s house once more (can I get a hallelujah?!) and head back to school.  But before you set off to platform 9 and 3/4, we wanted to leave you with some words of wisdom.

Mary Adkins is one of our superstar LSAT instructors here in New York City, and she also happens to be a graduate of Yale Law School.  In the ‘back to school spirit’, we asked Mary if she could reflect on the top five things she learned during undergrad that had the biggest impact on her life in Law School. Hopefully it’s not too late for you to take some of her advice (and if you’re intrigued by Mary’s insights and are looking for a New York course, consider signing up for her course).  So without further ado…

5 Things I Learned as an Undergrad that Helped me in Law School:

1. No one else knows what’s going on either.  Remember when you were a freshman in college and your mom gave you a giant, sloppy kiss on the cheek before reminding you to separate the whites from the colors? You were embarrassed until you realized that everyone else (a) also had dorky parents, and (b) couldn’t do laundry either. When I got to law schoolI was positive that I was the only one there who was utterly confused. What’s a holding? What’s dicta? “Oh no,” I thought, “I’m actually an idiot. How have I managed to fool everyone all this time?” However, once I learned that everyone else felt equally lost, it was liberating. It was also a great way to launch friendships—over shared panic and distaste for the law. I mean, over beers. Read more

Bad Test Taker? We’ve Got a Workshop for You

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Slightly More Complicated Than Minesweeper

Comedian Daniel Tosh has a bit in his stand up act poking fun at people who claim they are ‘bad test takers’. He quips:

“Don’t you love it when people in school are like ‘I’m a bad test taker’ — you mean you’re stupid!  Oh you struggle with that part where we find out what you know?  I know, I can totally relate, see, because I’m a brilliant painter minus my god awful brush strokes.”

While it is incredibly tempting to pick apart the flawed logic used by Mr. Tosh in this analogy, I am simply going to disagree with his overall statement; being a poor test taker does not mean you are stupid, nor are standardized tests an exhaustive or conclusive measure of one’s intellect.

There are many among us who are quite sharp yet don’t excel in the realm of standardized test taking. There’s a TON of pressure, and questions are often phrased in a misleading or confusing way.  In the case of the LSAT, the exam writers are constantly setting answer traps to trick you. With all of these obstacles present in most standardized test formats, it is no wonder that many folks simply do not perform well on these exams.

Luckily for you, we at Manhattan Prep have your back.  On September 15th we are debuting our first ever “Reaching Your Standardized Testing Potential” workshop in New York City.  The session will be run by Jen Dziura, owner of two perfect scores on the GRE.  Jen will discuss the various habits and practice routines that can help improve your performance on test day, as well as hack away at some of the intimidating myths surrounding such high stakes exams.

The best part?  It’s totally free to register. Join us and begin learning how you can maximize your standardized testing potential.

You’re Working Too Hard. Take a Break.

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The Kitty Shuffle

I know I’m supposed to be blogging about the LSAT, but it’s Monday – you’ve just found yourself drooling on top of PT32 (that French and Russian Works game is tough!) and you’re feeling out of touch with the world. Let me help you put things into perspective.

Go and buy Dancing with Cats – my friends just gave it to me as a housewarming gift. Here’s an excerpt:

“Other cat dancers I’ve talked to on the Web use heavy metal, Techno, and World Beat. One guy says he uses Marley to build up such strong vibrational levels in just five minutes that they last for days. But you have to be careful; sometimes the energy is so powerful I worry about overstimulating my aura. At those levels, an unstable etheric oscillation could collapse into an astral vortex and suck my spiritual reserves into a state of negative sub-matter.”

Yes, indeed. Here are some other great pics of people who dance with cats. Take a break, grab a kitty for a twirl to some Marley – but be careful…

Logic Creep

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Have you noticed that your every day interactions are effected by your LSAT prep? Consider the following example:

Civilian: You’re an hour late, you seem drunk, and you forgot about our date. You [email protected]#$ idiot.

LSAT Student: Darling, in order to draw that conclusion it’s necessary that you assume that I’m not late because I was building up the courage to tell you that I love you. And there is the flaw in your argument – it’s a classic case of concluding a certain explanation when many others would have sufficed.

One byproduct of a healthy dose of LSAT prep is the application of formal logic to one’s every day, non-LSAT-prep-related- life. You may not even realize this is happening at first, but trust me – this is a very real phenomenon and it will drive the people in your life bananas!

Since this is such an important issue – I mean let’s face it, it’s imperative that you preserve what is left of your social life– I have taken it upon myself to diagnose and (attempt to) treat this epidemic afflicting LSAT’ers everywhere.

My official diagnosis is ‘Logic Creep’ (every worthy affliction needs a label). Aside from doubling as the name all of your friends and family are calling you behind your back, it’s short and to the point.

So how can you get yourself to stop analyzing arguments in your personal life in terms of premises, conclusions, supporting principles, and assumptions? My advice is simple: don’t stop!

If you’ve trained your mind to scrutinize the logic of every argument you’re faced with in order to determine what assumptions it relies on and how certain evidence justifies or supports the argument, I’d say you’re heading for success in logical reasoning come test day.

However, if logic creep continues to be a problem in your personal relationships, try hitting them with a dose of their own medicine:

LSAT Student: “Your continued protests of my logical approach to our discourse is going to hinder my progress in getting a great LSAT score and you know how important that is to me. You must not love me!”

Are Those Real? The Naked Truth about Fake LSAT Logic Games

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We are often asked whether or not we use real LSAT games in our class (the answer is YES! The vast majority of the questions featured in class, homework, and from our books are 100% real LSAT questions!), and the question has been asked so many times that the question now reveals more than the answer itself. Someone, at some point, was teaching the LSAT using fake games, and those students were not happy. Whoever that is/was, shame on you – may your pencils be always dull and your erasers leave annoying streaks on your paper.

But, the truth is that our site does sport a rather large number of fake games. What’s up with that? You thought Manhattan LSAT keeps it real; grade A, pure 100% USDA LSAT beef. We do, I swear, but we do like to dip our toes into the world of synthetic LSAT stimulants for extra practice. There are two big reasons for us having fakes. One is that we want to write games that are harder than the usual ones out there so we can push our students’ brains past their usual limits. But the most important reason we have these games is to hone our teacher’s skills. Every one of our teachers must write a logic game as part of his or her training, along with many other curricular and pedagogical challenges (up to but not including having to walk across a bed of coals while reading aloud a reading comp passage). Read more