Each week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖
I grew up in the suburbs of Jersey. My mom – one of the PTA regulars – always helped run our school’s Fun Fair – an afternoon of silly games that awarded tickets you could redeem for prizes. It was a fundraiser for the school, and my friends and I all anxiously awaited it. Me more than them, as my mom’s position afforded me the chance to see all the cool toys we could win ahead of time.
When I was eight or nine, I got really sick a few days before the Fun Fair. It was one of those early disappointments in life that will always stick with you – nothing too big, but big enough to a young Matt that I was in a bad mood. Read more
I know you’re studying right now. The test is this weekend.
Stop. Read more
Winter might seem like the worst season to start your LSAT prep. It’s dark. It’s gloomy. It’s full of distractions. But it’s not the worst season to start your LSAT prep; it’s the best season. Read more
Matt Shinners scored a perfect 180 on his LSAT…on his first attempt. He then received his JD from Harvard Law School. Now? He’s an LSAT instructor and curriculum developer for none other than yours truly, Manhattan Prep. This isn’t just a shameless plug for Shinners’ LSAT prep services (trust us, he doesn’t need our help); Business Insider recently reached out to Shinners for any last-minute advice or tips he might have for soon-to-be LSAT test-takers. In true fashion, Shinners delivered. See what he had to say here.
This advice is perfect if you just so happen to be taking the test this Saturday, October 3. Who knows? It might even help you boost your score by 2.7 points (the test’s standard deviation).
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Every week we bring you a new movie that teaches us about a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who says Netflix can’t help you study?
Originally scripted by Rod “I don’t have a nickname because you should know who I am” Serling, Planet of the Apes is the tale of when a group of astronauts stop being polite and start getting killed by walking, talking apes.
Today, we’re going to look at the game that had everyone talking after the June 2014 LSAT exam: Summit Company. Summit Company had everyone thrown for a little bit of a loop, and it’s not surprising why. It has been awhile since a Transposition game has shown up on the LSAT. Watch this video to hear Christine Defenbaugh explain the four step process to attack and conquer Transposition games.
Sometimes, a really difficult problem can teach you 10 times more than doing 10 easy (or medium ones). That’s why I sometimes recommend the super pile to my students. Need more practice? You can take a shot at our latest LSAT Logic Games Challenge, designed to help you flex those LSAT muscles.
It breaks my LSAT-tutor heart when a student walks in with bags under her eyes and a droopy face and tells me she’s been getting five hours of sleep a night because she doesn’t get to bed until midnight and wakes up at 5am to study. STOP! YOU NEED TO SLEEP! Your brain needs sleep for learning. It’s science. From a little place called Harvard.
3. Do the same game over and over again.
Think about it this way, you’re making a template in your brain of a game. And when you see a similar one next time, your brain is going to drag out that old memory, dust it off, and give you a nice push as you struggle under anxiety and panic and a sneezing neighbor.
4. Teach your mom an LSAT problem.
Been there, done it, got the t-shirt, and the t-shirt said: This was a really good exercise in making sure I actually understood a question. Key: Make sure you tell your mom (or dad, or aunt, or roommate) to really push you to explain why the wrong answer he/she likes isn’t right.
5. Turn off your cell phone.
You won’t. I know you won’t, because I know you, and you’re like me and everyone else on this forsaken 2014 tech-obsessed planet. But listen, do this much—put it on silent and flip it over. And then don’t look at it until you’ve done a whole section. Seriously, this will make your studying better.
6. Let the dog pout, let the cat kill you later.
I swear I’ve looked at cats that want to kill me. If I had one, or a dog, and I really needed to focus, I also swear I would lock them out of the room. You feel horrible, I know, because you love your pet. But since they love you back, they will understand (forget). The LSAT is a temporary priority over man’s best friend’s need for unending attention.
7. Making yourself read a whole boring article in a magazine or newspaper.
Choose whatever you find boring, something that doesn’t actually grab your attention and keep it for long. Try The Economist, or Scientific American. And then make yourself read the whole thing without taking a break. You’re going to start appreciating reading comp passages more after this, I guarantee it (maybe not)!
8. Only let yourself read each word one time.
I’m sure you aren’t someone whoever re-reads a sentence because you found yourself drifting the first time, right? No, that’s not you. That’s none of us. But regardless, I’ve assigned this as an exercise both in logical reasoning and reading comp for students who get into the bad habit of re-reading because their minds wander, and it’s great re-training.
9. Reward yourself for studying well.
This isn’t just a depressing list. There should be pay-offs for good study habits. Buy a cupcake (there are so many cupcake places near Manhattan LSAT!) or a beer or a movie on iTunes…whatever your treat of choice, but do make yourself study well to earn it. You’ll like it even more.
10. Stop scoring your tests.
This last tactic isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve become someone who’s so focused on that number, you can’t actually find the energy to do thorough review and believe in your ability to more forward because all you keep thinking about is “I WENT DOWN TWO POINTS?!” do yourself a favor and just: stop. Stop scoring. Learn it, get better, keep your chin up. And when you’re ready, score again.
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I LOVE Beyoncé. I want to sing like her and be like her, and last month I was supposed to fly to Dallas just to go to her concert with my sister. But instead, my flight was canceled and I was stranded in Queens watching You Tube clips while my sister and brother-in-law tried repeatedly to Facetime me from the rafters of the enormous theater. My self-pity video marathon included “All the Single Ladies,” and later, when I was thinking about this series and how best to describe negation technique, I thought of the song. While putting a ring on it is what Beyoncé wants for all you single ladies, what I want for you is this: When you’re facing an extreme statement (“all” “none” “best” “worst”)—not unlike my adoration for Queen B, herself—what I want you to do is put a hole in it.
For a quick refresher, we’re discussing how to “negate” an answer choice to a necessary assumption question on the logical reasoning section of the LSAT. You do this in order to test it. If negating the answer choice makes the argument fall apart, it is necessary. (If negating the answer choice doesn’t destroy the argument, or if you can’t tell what it does, look for a better answer.) Last week I wrote my first post of three on negation techniques. Today, we keep going.
What do I mean by “put a hole in it?”
If the answer choice reads, “All birds fly,” you negate it by poking a hole in it: not all birds fly. Or some birds don’t fly. Same thing. Either way, notice what we’re doing. If the statement were a big hot air balloon, we’d be pin-pricking it. We aren’t, in other words, trying to melt it down then mold it into something else completely: “No birds fly.” That’s not negation. That brings me to the DON’T of this post, what my friend calls roofing it.
Roofing a joke is when people are discussing a subject and someone takes it too far. A classic example is when someone calls you Hitler when you express your view that a local park needs a thorough mowing. Or when everyone is discussing how annoying skunks are, and someone suggests we just blow up all the skunks.
When it comes to extreme answer choices to necessary assumption questions, don’t negate the sweeping statement with an opposing sweeping statement—don’t roof it.
Suppose (A) reads, “Dr. Seuss is the best children’s author ever.” You could negate this by saying, “There was another children’s author who was as good as Dr. Seuss.” You wouldn’t say, “Dr. Seuss was the worst children’s author ever to walk on earth.” That would be roofing it.
Say (B) reads, “Dr. Seuss wrote faster than any other writer in history.” Negate it: He didn’t. Or, someone wrote faster than him. Yes, and yes. Roofing it: He wrote as slow as your granny backing out of her driveway. Too far.
In sum, when it comes to extreme statements in answer choices, poke it, don’t roof it.
Next week we’ll be discussing my rule for negating mild statements, courtesy of Destiny’s Child.