Articles published in April 2012

The Role of the Goal: Part I of II

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Goals are important when it comes to LSAT preparation. First we’ve got to make them, then we’ve got to stick with them.

This week and next, I’ll be talking about these two processes.

10 (3) Goals You Should Set, No Matter Who You Are

LSAT cellphone

1. Put your phone away. You can’t resist checking to see who texted. You just have to send that one email. You only need to map the tapas restaurant now so you will know what train to take there after you finish doing this practice test. Or would be doing, if you didn’t keep checking your phone.

Trying to study the LSAT with your Droid or Blackberry buzzing (or silently existing) next to you like trying to do yoga alongside a tiny man whispering, “Don’t clear your mind!” (I’m not sure why he has to be tiny, but he does.) Leave the phone in the other room–or just across the room–and you will practice better, which means you’ll score better. Are you really going to let your cell phone be the reason you end up at a lower ranked school? Harsh, but true. Read more

The Dumb Kids Didn’t Get the Message? Woah, there.

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You may have heard the news. At the end of a decade of soaring law school application numbers, they’ve finally started plummeting. Over the past two years, there has been a notable dip in the number of people taking the LSAT and, accordingly, the number applying to law school. Interestingly, it turns out that the greatest decrease has been among test-takers scoring highest on the test. The smallest change has been among students scoring at the low end. In other words, the potential 170s are mostly the ones deciding to forego law school. The potential 150s (and under) are still showing up.

lawyers

I have been troubled over the past couple of weeks by the chatter about why this may be the case. The popular consensus that has emerged: the smart kids are “getting the memo” that law jobs are few and far between, so they’re moving on to do other things. Then there the dumb kids, who just don’t get it. They’re still applying. Read more

You + Manhattan LSAT + Pizza = Total Enlightenment

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MUST. TEACH. LSAT. At Manhattan LSAT, teaching is an addiction. Yesterday we had the honor of doing a free LSAT workshop for the Stern Business and Law Association at New York University. Mary Adkins gave a lesson on Logic Games, as well as anecdotes her experiences at Yale Law School.

At Manhattan LSAT, teaching is what we do. If you have a group of people who are preparing for the LSAT, holler at us! We’d love to give a free workshop complete with pizza and trendy Manhattan LSAT sunglasses (see photo).

You can help us feed the monster by emailing [email protected]/lsat/ to arrange a workshop with your student group or professional organization.

A Logical Book Report

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What do you do when you go on vacation? Do you whip out a book of logic puzzles? Yes, I do. Say what you will, but this is what it’s like in the life of an LSAT geek.

Alice in Puzzle-Land

On my latest vacation, I started in on Alice in Puzzle-Land, by Raymond M. Smullyan. I recommend it if you have some extra time on your hand for strengthening your logic brain power. The puzzles are arranged in sets that build on similar logical themes. Some are pretty easy, and some are killers. Here’s a summary of the first puzzle of the book:

There are two brothers. One is named John. I forgot the other one’s name. One always lies, one always tells the truth. I forgot which one does which.

Your job is to figure out which one of the brothers is named John. But, everyone is in a rush, so you may ask only one brother a three word question. That’s it! You need to be able to figure out which brother is John from that question.

Ideally, you should figure this out while sitting in a hot spring on vacation. Go ahead and post your answer or e-mail it to me (my first name @manhattanprep.com/lsat/)

THIS JUST IN: PROOF THAT GOD EXISTS!

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Bible Study

When I was in third grade, a lot of the kids dreaded going to Sunday School because it was boring. I dreaded it for another reason. At eight years old, I had become deeply skeptical about the existence of God. (Okay, maybe not that deeply.) This was particularly inconvenient as I was the minister’s daughter at our Baptist church. I was not supposed to be an atheist. Especially not before I was tall enough to ride most roller coasters, old enough to drink caffeine, or able to multiply by six without using my fingers.

So when my Sunday School teacher passed around bright, green, half-page sheets with the heading “Proof that God Exists” at the top, I couldn’t read fast enough. Proof! Here was proof! Give it to me!

Under the heading were several lines. They read (something like):

  1. God is the greatest thing that can be conceived.
  2. We conceive of God.
  3. It is greater to exist in reality than only in the imagination.
  4. Therefore, the being of which we can conceive must exist in reality. (Otherwise, we could conceive of something greater, which is impossible.)

On the bottom of the page was a single name: Anselm. Forget Madonna or Prince. Anselm was my new celebrity crush. Read more

Could Be a List v. List of What Could Be

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LSAT class list

Remember ABC order? You know you hum “elemenopeee” when you’re looking for a “P” word in a list.

ABC order can be useful in an LSAT-specific context. It can help you distinguish between two question types that look very similar but are actually different in logic games.

Consider these two hypothetical question stems:

(1) Which of the following is a list of students any of which could be assigned to Mr. Patrick’s class?

(2) Which of the following could be a list of students assigned to Mr. Patrick’s class?

Often, you’ll see “complete and accurate” smashed in there before “list”:

(1) Which of the following is a complete and accurate list of students any of which could be assigned to Mr. Patrick’s class?

(2) Which of the following could be a complete and accurate list of students assigned to Mr. Patrick’s class?

The questions are obviously similar. For the novice test taker, they can look identical. But they’re asking for different things.

Question (1) is asking for a list of all possibilities, in any scenario. What students can be assigned to Mr. Patrick, ever, at all, in any situation? It’s not asking for a list of students that must be able to be in Mr. Patrick’s class together in one scenario. Read more