Articles published in February 2014

Should I take the June LSAT?

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should-you-take-the-june-lsatIf you’re just getting started with the LSAT, one thing you might be considering is when you should take the test.

The LSAT is offered four times a year—February, June, October, and December. October is by far the most popular administration, partly because it falls at the beginning of the admissions cycle and partly because it gives college students the chance to spend their summer studying.

However, if you’re willing to start studying a little earlier, I’d encourage you to consider the June LSAT. Here are a few reasons why the June test might be the right choice for you:

  • The June LSAT is the only LSAT offered in the afternoon. This is BIG. If you’re like me and think the true purpose of mornings is to lie in bed drinking coffee while watching House of Cards, then the June LSAT is a great choice. By taking the LSAT when you are normally awake and alert, you’ll likely perform better and feel more refreshed throughout the test.
  • You’ll be done sooner. That might not sound like such a compelling factor, but consider how busy the next few months will be for you. Essay writing, school visits, recommendation requests, endless application forms… do you really want to be doing all that while studying for the LSAT? Getting the test out of the way in June will reduce your stress and give you time to focus on your applications.
  • Taking the June LSAT can improve your law school admissions chances since it allows you to apply at the start of the admissions cycle. Most law schools accept applicants on a rolling basis. This is important because—even if you’re a very strong candidate—you may not get in if you apply too late. This is especially important if you’re applying to a top law school.
  • The June LSAT lines up better for students on the semester system. It might seem tempting to spend the summer studying, but if you take the October LSAT, that will likely fall in the middle of midterms. Not such a great plan.
  • If you take the LSAT in June, you’ll be able to retake in October. Of course, we hope you won’t have to retake! But the LSAT can be a daunting undertaking, and test day is often fraught with shenanigans. Do yourself a favor and have a fallback plan ready. If you take the October LSAT, your only real retake option is the December LSAT, which pushes you to the very back of the admissions cycle. However, if you take the June LSAT, you have the option to retake in October—which still lets you apply relatively early.

We have several classes starting this spring that are designed to get you ready in time for the June LSAT. Take a look at what we have coming up:

WASHINGTON D.C. LSAT COURSEStarts March 3rd

PHILADELPHIA LSAT COURSEStarts March 3rd

BOSTON LSAT COURSE Starts March 10th

BERKELEY LSAT COURSEStarts March 9th

IRVINE LSAT COURSE Starts March 10th

WESTWOOD LSAT COURSEStarts March 10th

BOULDER LSAT COURSEStarts March 11th

NEW YORK LSAT COURSEStarts March 11th

SAN DIEGO LSAT COURSE – Starts March 13th

AUSTIN LSAT COURSE – Starts March 27th

Take $100 off on us with the code SPRINGSTUDY14

Manhattan LSAT Courses Now Available In Philadelphia

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lsat-philly-classToday, Manhattan Prep is so excited to announce that we are expanding our Manhattan LSAT in-person complete course to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hosted at the beautiful City View. Right in the heart of downtown Philly, we think it’s exactly the right spot to host our Philadelphia LSAT course to better serve the growing need of students in the area, who have requested our expansion to Philly. Seats are filling quickly, so be sure to register before it’s too late!

Philadelphia LSAT Class Starts: March 03, 2014

Philadelphia LSAT Class Ends: June 02, 2014

Time: Mondays, 6:30 – 9:30PM

Location:

The Hub CityView, 14th floor 30 South 17th Street, Center City
Philadelphia PA 19103

In addition to over 60 hours of live instruction, LSAT students in Philadelphia will receive the following resources:

Class Recordings

Unlimited access to On Demand Class Recordings of our Complete Course (60 hours, taught in our interactive online classroom.)

Office Hours Session

Weekly 30-minute Office Hours Sessions in Philadelphia (one-on-one private instruction with a Manhattan LSAT teacher dedicated to answering students’ questions.)

Official Full-Length LSAT Exams

As a student, you’ll receive access to every exam ever released by LSAC. With every exam at your fingertips, you’ll be set to practice LSATs from start to finish.

Manhattan LSAT Strategy Guides

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Logic Games
  • Logical Reasoning

Games Intensive Lessons

As part of our in-personal Philadelphia LSAT class, you’l be given unlimited access to On Demand Class Recordings of our 6-session logic games intensive course (18 hours, taught in our interactive online classroom.)

 Additional Online Resources

  • LSAT Workshop Recordings: Over 30 hours of homework review sessions and workshops reviewing recent LSATs. Dig deeper into your practice and recent trends.
  • Online Labs: Guided lessons and exercises that help you practice LSAT techniques.
  • LSAT Tracker: Break down your results from your practice PrepTests. Learn your strengths and weaknesses with our proprietary analysis tool.
  • Syllabus: your customizable syllabus will help you create and follow a study plan.

Why Manhattan LSAT in Philadelphia?

  • 99th Percentile Teachers – Our teachers are the best in the industry. With 99th percentile LSAT scores and proven teaching abilities, they equip our students with the skills to earn top LSAT scores.
  • 170+ Focus – Our curriculum is designed for students seeking a 170+ score. Our comprehensive and flexible strategies prepare you for any curve ball the LSAT throws your way.

Personalized Attention – Our classes are small and personal. Capped at 10 in-person or 15 online, our classes ensure quality instruction designed to be both challenging and engaging.

MANHATTAN LSAT COURSES NOW AVAILABLE IN THESE NEW CITIES…

PHILADELPHIA: //dcoin2u.com/lsat/EventShow.cfm?EID=1&eventID=1257

BERKELEY:

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and SANTA BARBARA:

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Should I Cancel My Score?

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cancel-lsat-scoreSo you woke up early on Saturday morning, scrambled some eggs, stuffed your wallet, pencils, and passport-size photo into the Ziploc bag you remembered to buy at midnight the night before, and took yourself an LSAT. But it didn’t go as well as you hoped. You’re considering canceling your score, but you’re not sure if it’s the best idea. Here are the critical questions to consider.

1. Was this LSAT considerably different than your usual practice test experience?

Did you only complete 3 games or reading comp passages when you usually complete 4? Or did you become violently ill? If you know you bombed the LSAT, then you should cancel unless all your goal schools are firmly committed to only considering your best score. You can find out which schools focus solely on your highest score on their websites. For example, Harvard averages your scores (“and considers them,” which means your highest may still be what really counts); Northwestern takes your highest; most schools are even fuzzier than Harvard. But unless you know you’ll score higher next time and that that higher score will be what counts, don’t keep a score that youknow is too low for you. 

2. Was this LSAT below your practice scores, but only your best ones, and/or only by 2-3 points? 

If you were at the bottom of your score range or slightly below it, the question becomes: which is a more accurate reflection of how you’ll perform on the next “real” LSAT—how you were scoring on practice, or how you scored in a real test setting? This is a time to be very honest with yourself. Did you give yourself slightly more time during practice? Did you “count” questions right that you thought you should have gotten right? If either of these, or something similar, is true, then your “practice scores” weren’t accurate. It is also important to consider how anxiety plays a role in your life.

To say, “but I was anxious so it’s not a reflection of how I’ll score next time” only makes sense if you are going to work on your anxiety between now and then. I see many students who think that going in and bombing because they were nervous is something that’ll just solve itself on its own before the next administration—unfortunately, I havenever seen that happen. If you got a lower score than you think you should and think you may be able to do better, but you believe anxiety played a role in this last test-disaster, cancel your score only if you plan to work on your anxiety between now and June. Yoga, exercise, meditation, long practice exams with focused calming techniques, therapy—whatever your preference, be committed to trying whatever it takes.

3. Are you going to put in the work to do better next time? 

Along the same lines, you can’t just sit on your laurels (that’s the first time I’ve ever used that word, and hopefully the last). Even if you were steadily scoring higher on practice, you’re going to have to maintain working in order to maintain your skills. More likely, you actually want to improve between now and the next test. Questions to ask yourself are: do you have time to devote to studying? Do you have energy? Do you have motivation? It’s fine to take a break, first, especially since you’ve probably been working your butt off in the last week or so before the test, but after that 1-2 week break, you’re going to have to dive back into LSAT-prep land. Are you willing and able?

4. What do you actually need to achieve your goals? 

All of the above should be considered in light of what you actually need to score in order to feel comfortable applying to your goal school. If you’re in the school’s median LSAT range, and you didn’t bust, i.e. score WAY lower than you have been, and you don’t have a GPA in the crickets-zone, keep the dang score. Work on making your personal statement awesome. If you are below the 25th percentile, the questions above become relevant: how likely are you to do better next time?

If you determine that realistically, the odds of your doing better under your life circumstances are not worth the risk (and so you don’t cancel), and yet you anticipate you have scored below the 25th percentile of your target schools, I suggest revisiting your goals. Play around with the LSAT/GPA calculator that the LSAC helpfully provides while you wait for your score. Still apply to your goal schools if you want—I’m not saying you shouldn’t—but at least consider adding more schools that are within a safe range for your anticipated score.

Take a deep breath, and consider this as rationally as you can. It’ll be okay.

If you want to take it again… 

If you are concerned you bombed it–or just didn’t do as well as you know you can–and therefore have decided to take it again, check out upcoming in-person and online classes at Manhattan LSAT.

If you are bidding X –> Y goodbye (for now)…

Now that you’re LSAT-free, it’s time to turn your attention to the rest of your law school applications. Check out the blog at jdMission for all kinds of tips and strategies on applying to law school, from writing your personal statement to getting letters of recommendation. You can also sign up there for a free consultation with an admissions consultant.

Regardless, I hope you are all proud of yourselves for showing up on Saturday and giving it your best. It’s not an easy test or a short day, so give yourselves a big pat on the back for taking on the challenge. Just think–now you have a hundred gallon-size Ziploc bags to last you through 2014!

Tackling the LSAT: Experimental Section Q&A

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As you hit the home stretch of your preparations for the upcoming LSAT, you should be considering how to keep yourself in the best possible state of mind before and during the exam. One major area of consternation, confusion, rumor, and anxiety centers on the Experimental Section. To be perfectly frank, this section is something you just shouldn’t think about a great deal, but that’s easy to say and terrifically hard to do, so let’s break down the facts about this legendary section. Once you know what is true and what isn’t, make the choice to simply put it out of your head until the exam is finished!

Experimental Q&A

Q: Wait, there are FIVE sections?

A: While the published PrepTests contain four sections (2 Logical Reasoning, 1 Reading Comp, 1 Logic Games), all official administrations of the LSAT will contain a fifth section — the experimental section. This section will not count toward your score, nor will it be released if/when the exam is published. Remember, February exams are typically undisclosed (i.e., no sections will be available for review when scores are released).

Q: Why are they doing this to me?

A: Well, like so many irritating things in life, it’s not really about you. The LSAC needs data on the difficulty level of questions and sections they are currently writing and plan to use on future exams. Where better than to get that data, then from all of you willing test subjects! So, while your performance on the experimental has no affect on your score at all, the LSAC is still very interested in the results for their own construction of future LSATs. This is the way that the LSAC is able to “pre-equate” each administration of the LSAT and ensure that scoring is fair and even-handed across multiple administrations.

Q: Where will it show up?

A: The conventional wisdom used to hold that the experimental section would only appear in one of the first three sections. Up until a few years ago, that was true, and as a result test takers could sometimes use the ordering of their sections to determine (usually after the fact) which section must have been their experimental. At the very least, they could be certain that their final two sections would be scored.

However, beginning with the October 2011 exam, some test takers have received exams with an experimental section in one of the final two sections of the exam (sections 4 or 5). So you can no longer simply trust your section lineup to tell you which section is experimental. You need to give every section your best effort.

Bottom line: in the current LSATs, the experimental can potentially show up in any section!

Q: What will it look like?

A: The experimental could be an extra section of any of the sectional formats. So, you might find yourself with 3 sections of Logical Reasoning, or 2 sections of Logic Games, or 2 sections of Reading Comprehension. One of these may sound like a dream come true, and one may sound like your own personal nightmare, but unfortunately, you can’t sign up for your preferred experimental format–it’s randomly assigned and you may have a different experimental format than your neighbor. You need to be mentally prepared for any lineup.

The experimental section will look and feel just like any other scored section. It has to, or the LSAC wouldn’t be able to gather useful data from your performance on it. Occasionally test takers report seeing slightly different wording on questions, or unusual question types, but those things appear just as frequently in the scored sections, so they are not a reliable indicator of which sections will be scored and which one will not.

It may feel easier than other sections, or harder, or exactly on par. Experimental sections range the gamut in difficulty levels, as do scored sections. Also, a particular exam might have an above average difficulty Logic Games (scored) section, and a below average difficult Reading Comprehension (scored) section, or any other combination. Don’t assume in the middle of a particularly difficult section that it must be the experimental, and decide to not give it your all!

Q: So how am I supposed to figure out which section is the experimental??

A: Well, during the exam, you aren’t. Seriously, since the LSAC can’t just scan your brain (yet), they are very invested in you performing at your peak during the experimental. As a result, they aren’t interested in making it easier for you to figure it out during the exam.

And what would you do if you figured it out? Take a nap? First, that’s probably not a great idea even if you were able to identify it accurately–keeping yourself mentally limber and active is more valuable. But consider the absolutely devastating consequences that would follow if you incorrectly concluded a particular section was experimental and decided to take that nap. Those costs are entirely too high, and whatever minimal benefit you might have gotten from a break is not worth that risk.

Q: But I heard you can figure it out by….

A: Probably not. Whatever rule you heard has exceptions, and you might fall into them. Do you really want to risk your score on that?

Q: So, what’s the upside?

A: Well, the fact that the experimental section could be anywhere, and anything, can be a valuable psychological tool for test day in limited circumstances. Let’s say you just got the Logic Games section to end all Logic Games sections, and you are feeling downtrodden, demoralized, and discouraged. But the proctor is telling you to pick up your pencil and start the next section. You have to pick yourself up and brush yourself off and GET BACK IN THE GAME!

How do you do it? Lie to yourself. Tell yourself that the section you feel like you just bombed was TOTALLY the experimental, OBVIOUSLY. Make yourself believe it. And get back to business. Who knows? It might even turn out to be true!

Q: So, for the most part, I should just ignore the fact that there is an experimental, and treat this like an exam with 5 scored sections?

A: Exactly!

3 Musts to Read/Watch Before Saturday’s Test

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LSAT-february-datesLSAT countdown week! When it comes to final tips, we’ve got you covered. Here are a couple of posts to check out before you freak out.

1. LSAT Cheat Sheet. Wish you could take a cheat sheet into the exam? Of course you do. But since you can’t, do the next best thing: make one anyway, then review it before. More here.
2. Final Dos and Don’ts. It’s not too late to make smart decisions on how to spend your last 48 hours. Here are some ideas.
 
3. Think about the end goal. Once upon a time, this guy took the LSAT. Fast forward to last week. His 2-minute video aired during Super Bowl halftime in Georgia and is being called the “most insane Super Bowl commercial ever made.” Dream big, guys. You could be next.