Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog

June 2007 LSAT Video Explanations

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We’re very excited to announce that we have posted video explanations for the June 2007 LSAT logic games.  You can see them here: //www.atlaslsat.com/logic-games-recordings.cfm or on You Tube – //www.youtube.com/user/atlaslsat#p/u.  Dan and Mike put a lot of time into coming up with truly useful recordings.  Granted, we’re much more about teaching — i.e. making students think — than presenting solutions, but when you’re studying, it’s obviously useful to see how someone else solved a game (particularly how one of our super nerdy curriculum developers did it).  If you’d like to see explanations for the entire game, check that out on our forums: //www.atlaslsat.com/forums/

For our students, we’re developing video explanations for some of the toughest games in our course HW.  Unfortunately, we have to restrict those to our students in order to respect LSAC’s copyrights.

The June 2007 LSAT is a great way to get your feet wet with the LSAT.  However, make sure you take it under timed conditions!  If you’d like to get a copy, as well as some of our resources associated with that test (including a spreadsheet that will analyze your answers), take a look here: //www.atlaslsat.com/lsat-practice-test.cfm

Have fun and good luck!

What makes for a good LSAT Teacher?

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One of the most interesting parts of my job is to watch candidates audition.  I’ve written previously about our audition process:

first stage – phone interview –  knocks out about 30-40%,

second stage – online audition – knocks out about 70% of those who make it there

third stage – in-person audition – knocks out about 90% of those who make it there

In case you’re auditioning or just curious, I’ll tell you the top three reasons we reject teaching candidates:

1. Lectures. Folks who have taught for other test prep companies usually lecture instead of teach.  This makes sense since many of them have mostly taught in large lecture halls, where Socratic teaching isn’t necessarily practical.  But, with our small classes, we need folks who know how to teach through questions and discussion.   We have a bunch of reasons why we think lectures are not effective for mastering the LSAT; for one, students don’t have to do a lot of work during a lecture.  More on this later . . . Read more

LSAT Weaken Questions – Logical Reasoning

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Weaken questions can operate in a few different ways. Let’s look at some examples.

Sep 09 Exam, Section 4, #2

Here’s the basic logic given in the argument:

You can always keep your hands warm by putting on extra layers of clothing (clothing that keeps the vital organs warm).

THUS, to keep your hands warm in the winter, you never need gloves or mittens.

This argument is a sound argument – no flaws or assumptions. If you have another option for keeping your hands warm, then you never truly need gloves or mittens.

In this case, the correct answer actually attacks the main premise. The correct answer says that sometimes (when it’s really really cold) putting extra layers of clothing on actually is not enough to keep your hands warm. Notice how this contradicts the premise. So, to weaken an argument you can attack a supporting premise.

Read more

LSAT Classes in Irvine and in San Diego

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We’re very excited to announce that we’re launching classes in Irvine and in San Diego this month!

If you’ve poked around on our site, you know that we are VERY picky about who we hire.  In the final stage of our 3-stage audition we fly each candidate to NY, even putting him or her up in a hotel (not the W or some other shmancy place, but DEFINITELY something with a door that locks and a bed with at least one pillow 🙂 ).  I bring this up because in this rather costly stage we reject over 90% of candidates — and that’s after the first and second stages, which have knocked out about 30 and 50 percent respectively of the folks who reach each of those (and all of that is after a resume filter eliminates a bunch).  When you pay one of the highest salaries in the industry, you get to be choosy.

My point?  We’re very excited to have found Matt Sherman, a seasoned pro.  He even started his own successful LSAT prep company at one point — writing the books, curriculum, etc.  He knows the LSAT like he knows the back of a grape.  (Read his bio and you’ll get that reference.)

So, Southern California, prepare yourselves!  We’re landing and we expect you to do some work.  Look here to sign-up to see what Matt is all about: www.atlaslsat.com/lsat-locations.cfm

US Soldiers Taking the LSAT

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We’ve been working to set up free and discounted prep courses for soldiers who are trying to get ready for the LSAT.  Here’s an e-mail update we received from Carina Ballard, a US soldier (a lieutenant, I believe). This really puts some LSAT struggles in perspective.

I am stationed in Tallil, Iraq which is southern Iraq, on Contingency Operating Base (COB) Adder.  It is the hottest and dustiest part of the country.

I had some issues with LSAC registering and paying for the test.  They actually emailed me the wrong registration deadline and when I tried to register it obviously didn’t work.  I had to make several phone calls (which is not easy here) to work it out.  Luckily I had saved the emails from LSAC and could verify that they had in fact misinformed me.  Eventually it worked out, but it was difficult.

I started out studying in my room, but that was problematic because my roommate works the day shift and I work the night shift so I was studying in the dark balancing books on my knees with a tiny light and trying not to make any noise.  So that really didn’t work.  Instead, I started coming into the trailers where my Tactical Operations Center (TOC) is and working there all night, but a lot of people come in and out so I eventually moved out of there as well.  I ended up having the most success working in a spare office in my Battalion Commander’s office trailer.  It was the only quiet place and very few people were in it in the middle of the night. Read more

Assumptions and Flaws: Focus on the Argument Engine

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Do you struggle with assumption and flaw questions? Do you often choose answers that seem right, or relevant, but end up being wrong? This may help.

Consider the following argument:

Many respected entrepreneurs assert that insufficient capital, capital required to cover operating expenses in addition to initial start-up costs, is inevitably a factor in the failure of start-up businesses. However, all of the failed start-ups with which I’ve been involved have failed as a result of executives’ lack of expertise in the product or service that the company provides. Thus, insufficient capital is not a factor in causing start-up businesses to fail.

If this were followed by a question that asked you to choose an assumption, this would be a pretty tough question. The average test-taker attempts to memorize, or “learn” the entire argument, and then gets distracted by answer choices that seem relevant to some particular part of the argument that ends up not mattering so much. This leads to wrong answers. Read more

LSAT Prep Course Review with Ann Levine

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We just did an interview with Ann Levine, and admissions consultant,

//www.lawschoolexpert.com/podcasts.html

A very fun conversation.  Some of the big themes: what sort of score increases to expect, how to choose a prep option that’s right for you, and some of the myths about LSAT prep.

This is our first chance to work with Ann, but it sounds like she has a lot of sound advice for navigating the law school application process smoothly.  Check out her blog: //www.lawschoolexpert.com/blog

And I’ve just ordered her book: //www.lawschoolexpertbook.com Looks useful . . .

September 2009 LSAT – Whether To Re-Take

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You’ve taken the LSAT!  Hoorah . . . but how did you do?  If you’re one of the many folks considering whether to re-take or not, take a look at this:

//www.atlaslsat.com/lsat/blog/index.php/2009/07/01/lsat-re-take-considerations-how-to-improve-your-lsat-score/

But do not operate under the influence . . .

If you’d like to review the LSAT with us, we’re holding a live online workshop on October 25th at 8pm EST //www.atlaslsat.com/EventShow.cfm?EID=3&eventID=113

One interesting development in the latest LSATs is the introduction of a new strain of question in logic games.  The LSAT has begun to ask which rule change would have no effect on the scenarios possible under the rest of the game’s constraints.  One of the impressive aspects of the LSAT is how it continues to evolve so that it remains an accurate assessment of one’s ability to make inferences.  Strict executors were thrown for a loop by those questions since they’re new and not directly covered in most courses or books.  Flexible test-takers were able to adapt.  One of the major considerations with such a question — and a line of thinking that can help you avoid the time-consuming testing out of each answer choice —  is “How does the removed rule affect the game?”  All rules limit the possibilities, so the challenge is to figure out how that happens in relation to the other rules.

Final LSAT Tips

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I thought I would add one more tip to a previous posting full of tips for those about to go and take the LSAT: //www.atlaslsat.com/lsat/blog/index.php/2009/06/03/final-lsat-tips/

Bring some light warm-up LSAT material with you to the testing center. I suggest bringing some tough questions that you completely mastered.  Before you enter the testing center, just run through the questions one last time, toss the paper into the recycling bin and head to your room.  Don’t bother checking your work.  The reason to do this is that you don’t want to use the first section of the test as your warm-up.  You want your logical thinking already moving when you start section 1.  The brain is a muscle, so warm it up just like you would your legs.

And I stand behind my night-before-the-LSAT recommendation: Legally Blonde, 1 or 2.

Good luck!

Testmasters LSAC Lawsuit Update

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For all aspiring lawyers, note the power of your profession: after LSAC filed its lawsuit, TestMasters agreed to pay its outstanding bill and the two parties decided upon a new fee structure.

The LSAC is very careful with how its material is used, but I will say that folks who criticize it for being focused on profit are ignoring a lot of factors.  First of all, the organization is not-for-profit.  Secondly, the cost of taking the LSAT surely does not cover all the costs the LSAC bears in terms of creation, protection and administration of their tests (and many who apply for fee waivers receive them).  Finally, LSAC is pretty generous in terms of allowing free use of its materials by pre-law advisors and those who are using LSAT questions in a community-service manner.  My suggestion: hate the test, not the test-makers!  (and pay if you use their questions).