Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog

Exercise and the LSAT


Go Little Blue Man, Go!

Summer is here and it’s time to get off your butt and start studying for the October LSAT. But, it’s also time to get off your butt in general. It’s now fact (until proven otherwise) that exercise improves brain function! I first read about this in The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge – a mind-blowing book. When he discussed the exercise-brain link, Doidge was a bit more focused on preventing Alzheimer’s disease. But, now I’ve read in Science Daily that it’s also true for the pre-geriatric crowd.

Charles Hillman, the brainiac behind the study, says that “regardless,” he said, “the importance is the same. Physical activity is related to better cognitive health and effective functioning across the lifespan.”

Another study, as reported in Entrepreneur explained:

1. As you exercise, your muscles contract.
2. This releases chemicals, including a protein called IGF-1.
3. IGF-1 travels to the brain and stimulates the release of several chemicals, including brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).
4. Regular exercise increases levels of BDNF.
5. BDNF stimulates neurons (brain cells) to branch and connect in new ways.
6. New junctions between neurons are the basis of learning.

(Why exactly is Entrepreneur reporting on this? I guess the same reason I am…)

Boom! And this is at the heart of getting truly better at the LSAT. Since most of us were not born holding a golden gavel (i.e. thinking like a lawyer), going beyond the usual LSAT score increases means switching from the B.S.-production-write-a-10-page-paper-about-what-YOU-think mindset that we develop in high school & college to the legalistic mindset that is needed to be, well, legalistic. A few new neural pathways could definitely help!

So, the daily 12-hour LSAT study marathon may not be such a great idea this summer- instead, do a 6 hour LSAT marathon, then an actual marathon, and then another 6 hour marathon. Well…maybe just a half-marathon. Actually, you probably should limit your study sessions to a few hours – the brain needs a break, and a jog.

Waiting For Your June LSAT Score!?


The Wait

If you’re already trying to figure out whether to re-take, take a look at a discussion of the re-take issues or marvel at our re-take flowchart – a true breakthrough in flowchart technology.

While you’re waiting I suggest you sign-up for our review the June LSAT workshop.  The workshop will include:

  • A review of one or two logic games.
  • A review of several logical reasoning questions and a lesson on improving your approach.
  • A discussion of  your re-take options.
  • A special test-analysis spreadsheet – one of our LSAT trackers – to help you analyze your results to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Our fingers are crossed for you!

The LSAT and Weight Loss


How Can This Not Work?

I was reading an Atlantic Monthly article, “Beating Obesity” by Marc Ambinder. Even in the overly air-conditioned doctor’s waiting room, I couldn’t help but raise an LSAT eyebrow at one claim:

“[A] Stigma [against overweight people] might be more bearable…if diet and exercise, the most prescribed solutions to obesity, worked. But they don’t. Qualification, if you eat less and exercise more, you’ll lose weight. But the chances that you’ll stick with that regimen are slim, and the chances that you’ll regain the weight, and then some, are quite high.”

First of all, how frustrating! Diet and exercise don’t work? Perhaps that’s good because going to the gym and dieting both suck. But then, this requires a bit of thought: Ambinder states that eating less and exercising more DOES work! So, there’s a bit of a disconnect here. It must be that Ambinder’s point is that diet and exercise would work, if people did them. Really, he should have written: “Prescribing diet and exercise doesn’t tend to work.” Read more

Pitch Meetings – An Atlas LSAT Logic Game


Can You Make The Cut?

A screenwriter has pitch meetings with six producers – F, G, H, I, J, and K – over the course of a day. He will meet with each producer once, and one at a time. The following conditions apply:

* The screenwriter will meet with K before G if he meets with F before J.
* The screenwriter will meet with G before H only if he meets with I before J.
* The screenwriter will meet with F before I if, and only if, he meets with F after J.
* The screenwriter cannot meet with G last.

1. Which of the following could be the order of meetings?

(A) H, J, G, F, I, K
(B) I, H, F, J, K, G
(C) G, H, J, F, I, K
(D) H, G, J, I, K, F
(E) I, G, F, K, J, H

Read more

When Will They Release The June LSAT Scores?


When will LSAC Call?

It can be agonizing waiting to hear about your LSAT score. Maybe the LSAC isn’t that in to you. Maybe it lost your number. It may simply be best to take up basket weaving or memorizing medieval poetry to take your mind off things. What I don’t recommend is refreshing your in-box every 5 minutes for the next 3 weeks! Take comfort in the fact that the LSAC is relatively consistent about their score release dates. Go ahead and read our summary of the LSAT score-release history so you can figure out when to start actually refreshing your in-box every 5 minutes 🙂

If you’re trying to decide whether to cancel, in general it’s best to have one great score on your record, but if the schools you’re applying to take your best score, a lower score won’t hurt. That said, if you know you bombed the exam — mis-bubbled, didn’t get to 2 games or passages when you usually finish all 4 — then canceling makes sense. More on this issue here.

In the meantime, good luck with basket-weaving.

Ye Olde’ Last Minute LSAT Tips for the June LSAT


If you’re having a bit of an LSAT freak-out, take a break from your umpteenth preptest, stop negating assumptions and talking about contrapositives. Drink some tea (not Long Island), and read some tips:

Final tips from people other than your mother

Tips for chilling out and getting YOUR best score

What to do the night before the LSAT

Is the LSAT a Wealth Test?


Test This!

Recently, the Huffington Post put up a blog post by Noah Baron arguing that the LSAT is basically a test of your wealth. The reasoning was peculiar – because only wealthy college students have both the time to study during school (because everyone else is working) and the means to afford a prep course, they have a strong advantage on the LSAT. Baron is missing the big picture though: wealth and quality of education are strongly linked in our country, and a rigorous education (and I’m talking K-12, along with college) is one of the best preparations for the LSAT. One does not quickly learn to think critically, or to read quickly and with understanding! Courses like ours can definitely help people improve these skills (and part of the point of our curriculum is that go beyond simply exposure to and categorization of the test), but there’s no doubt in my mind that if I had to choose between 10 years of challenging and effective high-school and college classes or 3 months of a great prep course, I would choose the former. I think we’re great, but let’s be realistic!

There are many other problems with Baron’s reasoning — take a look at the comments to hear some great critiques — but I’ll add that the disadvantages faced by low-income students are not at all specific to LSAT-prep. In fact, for some, our classes are what help them overcome a lack of a rigorous education. To help out those who would otherwise not be able to afford LSAT prep, we offer discounts and scholarships, and we focus particularly on folks who are serving in the armed forces.

LSAT Questions, Answers, and Explanations


Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - LSAT Questions, Answers, and Explanations

We incorporate the latest discoveries in learning science into our LSAT course to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your prep. Want to see? Try the first session of any of our upcoming courses for free.

Hey! You there—are you looking for explanations to LSAT questions? We’ve got the goods. Browse our forum explanation bank, read explanations, and, if you’d like, join in the discussion—maybe even add your own two cents! While you’re at it, you might as well go ahead and bookmark this invaluable page now. Read more

Should I Postpone, Cancel or Take an Absence for the LSAT?


Good question! Obviously this depends on your situation, but in general, if by this Friday, May 14 – your last day to postpone your registration for the June LSAT – you are not scoring at least 3-4 points from a score that you’d be OK having, you probably won’t like your actual score. There are definite exceptions to this rule, but that’s a decent rule of thumb. But don’t pull your hair out over this question, because if you decide NOT to postpone, and then realize – eek! – you’re not feeling the LSAT winds blowing in your favor, you will face a set of options, many of which are perfectly acceptable.  Steve Schwartz wrote a great analysis of these different options,

New Atlas LSAT classroom in New York City


For those of you reading this blog from outside of NYC, you may not know how big a deal real estate is in NY, but suffice it to say that it is completely common to ask a near-perfect stranger what she pays for rent. It’s sort of a shared burden, so why not ask? Thus we’re very excited that we now have a great new class space! And it just the right size for our classes — enough to keep 18 students in LSAT-blissdom. (Don’t ask about the rent though!).

If only my apartment were this large!