Articles tagged "Tips"

4 More Sample Law School Personal Statements, Critiqued

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Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - Sample Law School Personal Statements Critiqued by Mary RichterWe  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.


In case you haven’t been following, over on jdMission‘s blog, I’ve been critiquing real law school personal statements week by week—naming what’s working, what’s not, and offering up a takeaway for each one in the Real Law School Personal Statement series.

Here’s a round-up of four recent takeaways!

1. No headings. No gimmicks.
 
Give your essay a heading if you want, sure. Give it a weird layout. Write it as a poem, an acrostic poem or haiku or turn it into a musical if you want.
And then revise into not these things.
It is good for you to do whatever you need to do so that you’re able to freely and genuinely write from the heart, but then, best take out whatever quirky structural element enabled you to write openly. You may be convinced it’s cute/clever, but that’s sort of like being convinced your baby is the cutest baby of all time.
(Those of you who still don’t trust me, please set up a [free] consultation and let me try to convince you!)
Sample essay here
 
2. Put your head in your story. 
 
In your creative writing classes in college, you were probably told to “show, not tell.” If you were writing a short story, you’d be advised to reveal the characters’ feelings by what they did and how they acted, rather than by announcing it: “Lydia was heartbroken.”
This holds true to a certain point in personal statements. You want to give enough detail that your story is sincere and poignant and resonates with the reader. But you actually don’t want to leave it open to interpretation in the same way that many contemporary short stories are, because you actually have an agenda here, which is to persuade someone of your suitability to a particular law school.
Sample essay here.

3. If you say you love American History (or any subject), you have to explain what you love about it. 
 
Remember in most romantic comedies ever made when two people are on a date, and one says, “I love that book!” never having read it, and comedic tension ensues as he tries to converse about a book he hasn’t read? If you say you are passionate about a subject or thing, and you don’t actually say why, or what about it you love so much, it comes across a little like this. It’s an easy mistake to make — but for the same reason, it’s an easy one to fix, too, if you catch yourself doing it.
 
Sample essay here.

4. When you discover abstract truths (“who you are” or “your life’s purpose”), elaborate…concretely.

This is along the same lines as the previous reminder, because both boil down to: Don’t leave the reader hanging. Here’s a brief excerpt from the critique of a personal statement that had this problem: “At the climax of her essay, the candidate writes, ‘I needed to help them see from my perspective and also see from theirs. In Korea, it was no longer just about how to speak, but also how to make the other person understand.’ Great! But what? I don’t know what her perspective was, or what needed to be understood.”
Again — an easy fix if you know what to look for.
Sample essay here

For literally dozens more critiques, visit jdMission’s blog. Happy writing! 📝


Don’t forget that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free. We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


Manhattan Prep LSAT Instructor Mary Richter

Mary Richter is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. Mary has degrees from Yale Law School and Duke. She has over 10 years of experience teaching the LSAT after scoring in the 99th percentile on the test. She is always thrilled to see students reach beyond their target scores. At Yale, she co-directed the school’s Domestic Violence Clinic for two years. After graduating she became an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in New York City, where she was also the firm’s pro bono coordinator. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and more. Check out Mary’s upcoming LSAT classes here.

Friday Links: 0L Orientation, Debt-Free Path to JD, & More!

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hot newsHappy Friday! Here is a roundup of some of our favorite news articles and law school tips from the week:

Weigh the Benefits, The Risk of Attending a New Law School (U.S. News Education)

Some new law schools are experimenting with new curriculums that allow students to have concentrations. But what are the risks?

Law Schools Devise Debt-Free Path to Degree (Politico)

Some law schools are exploiting the loophole that could lead to billions of dollars in written-off federal student debt.

A Life Outside Law School—Just Breath (Ms. JD)

Next week law school classes start up again, so this week is 1L Orientation. Here are some great tips for making it through that first week.

Which Law Schools Have the Best Return on Investment (Above the Law)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the value of a law degree and ATL shares why degrees from some law schools are worth more than others.

Off the Beaten Path: First Lady Michelle Obama (jdMission)

Becoming a lawyer is not the only path you can take after graduating from law school. JdMission takes a closer look at Michelle Obama’s career path.

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

Those Pesky Quantity Terms

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By now if you’ve been studying for a while, either on your own, in a course or with a tutor, you’ve encountered the ubiquitous “quantity terms” scattered throughout the test: some, most, majority, etc. You may have been surprised to learn that “many” does not mean “most” and that “some” can include “all.” (You may even have slammed down your pencil at this discovery.)

The quirkiness of LSAT quantity terms can be frustrating when you first encounter it, but it isn’t as counterintuitive or labyrinthine as it initially appears to many (but not most). The key question to keep in mind at all times when it comes to a quantity term is: what’s its maximum, and what’s its minimum?

Here’s a useful guide. Once you commit this to memory, you should be in good shape to take down the LSAT on its own quantity terms (har har):

Term

Min

Max

Some/sometimes more than one all
Many/often/frequently more than one all
Most/usually/typically/ordinarily more than half (more than 50%) all
Majority more than half (more than 50%) all
Vast majority more than half (more than 50%) all
More often than not more than 50% of the time up to 100% of the time
Likely more than 50% chance up to 100% chance
Unlikely zero/nothing less than 50% chance
Not unlikely 50% chance or higher will occur up to 100% chance
Less than likely zero/nothing up to 50% (not more, but could just be at 50%)

 

Friday Links: Top 100 Law Firms, Law School Grading, and More!

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Hoping LSAT scores are released soon!

Still looking for something to do while you wait for LSAC to release  the June 2013 LSAT scores? Check out this week’s roundup of great tips and news about law school and the legal profession:

10 Things Every Summer Associate Needs to Know (The Careerist)

Here are 10 essential tips from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In—Women, Work and the Will to Lead, that apply to lawyers (both men and women) and summer associates.

Vault Law 100 (Vault)

The 2014 Vault Law 100 is here. Nearly 17,000 law associates rated law firms based on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige.

Law Firms Hiring! (JD Journal)

Law School graduates can expect better returns, better job opportunities, and overall more hiring by larger firms, says JD Journal.

10 Surprising Things I Learned in Law School (Parade)

Attorney Vibeke Norgaard Martin and Matthew Frederick (creator, editor, and illustrator of the 101 Things I Learned series) offer insights into the world of law that can benefit everyone.

Can Law School Grading Be More Fair? (Above the Law)

Above the Law considers the proposals of one law professor who has thought through some modest ways to make grading exams “something less of a random crapshoot.”

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT.

Friday Links: Clerkship Applications, LSAT Stress Management, & More!

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June LSAT scores will come. Patience is key!

If you took the June 2013 LSAT this week, it’s now time to play the waiting game. Here are some of this week’s top articles for you to read while you pass the time.

Law Schools Shift Focus for Grads (U-T San Diego)

In the face of a grim job market, some law schools are steering students toward legal areas where careers are more promising.

Evaluate Professors to Find a Good Law School Fit (U.S. News Education)

Prospective students can get a feel for a teacher’s style by observing a class.

The Top Five Law Schools for Jobs, Cost, Clerkships, and More (Above the Law)

Here are the top five law schools based on each individual data point that composes Above the Law’s rankings formula.

The Time is Now: Start Preparing Clerkship Applications this Summer (Lawyerist)

If you just finished your 2L year, this summer is the time to start getting your clerkship applications together

LSAT Sanity: Stress Management (Part 1) (jdMission)

Did we miss your favorite article from the week? Let us know what you have been reading in the comments or tweet @ManhattanLSAT

For It to Take You Seriously, You Need to Take It Seriously

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Blue Pill

There's no magic LSAT pill, just hard work and dedication

Here’s a beautiful fantasy: you walk into your first LSAT class, and you’re given a set of books full of LSAT secrets. Over the next six to twelve weeks, you memorize these little treasures, which are like decadent bite-size morsels, and you leave your last class knowing exactly what you need to regurgitate in order to score a 180. It was merely a matter of getting down all the tricks! You scribbled them in your notebook, took a snapshot with your brain, and that’s all there was to it.

If only.

When you take a Manhattan LSAT course, at some point your instructor will likely deliver the bad news that this fantasy is just that. There isn’t a magic pill to make you do well on this test–but there are certainly things you can do in order to perform better, and when you get to a certain level, it’s no longer about memorization.

If I memorized all the rules of good writing–be specific! have vivid characters! create conflict!–does that mean that if I just sit down and apply all of those rules, I’m going to write a great story? A story that’s in the top 1% of all stories?

No. If I actually apply everything I’ve learned, and if it’s good information, then I’ll probably write a pretty decent story–a better one than I’d written before. But in order to move from decent to outstanding, I’ve got to have something else: flexibility. I’ve got to be able to know where the rules stop and my own sense of the story’s logic takes over, because there is no perfect formula that applies to every tale ever written or to be written.

The same is true of the LSAT. If you work hard to learn rules and apply them, your score will likely go up. It may go up a lot. You may score a 165 or a 168. But people who score 175 are not just applying rules; they know how to think on their feet to interpret unfamiliar questions, and to come up with variations on the principles they understand well.

The beauty of the LSAT is that it’s a logic test, and logic can be learned. But logic is also not something you can fool your way through for four 35-minute sections. To score in the 99th percentile, you should absolutely study methods, general rules, and tips. These will get you far. But  to reach those extra few points, you are going to have to work at making yourself better at logical thinking. And there’s no shortcut for that.

Friday Links: Networking Tips, Going Abroad, LSAT Retake Questions, & More!

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iStock_000004292176XSmallHappy Friday! Set your LSAT prep work aside for a moment and catch up on some of this week’s top law school tips and legal news:

5 Top Tips for Networking in Large Groups (Ms. JD)

Networking is an extremely important part of your law school career. In part one of this two part series, Ms. JD shares five top tips for how to successfully network in a group.

The Most Influential Lawyers in the World: Meet the Attorneys on the Time 100 (Above The Law)

Last week, Time Magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Above The Law has the details on the top lawyers who made the list.

Take 2? Answering Your Top LSAT Retake Questions (Law School Podcaster)

Wondering if you should cancel your LSAT score or retake it? Or how law schools will view multiple test scores? Take a minute to listen to this week’s podcast featuring Manhattan LSAT’s Norah Teitelbaum.
Read more

Friday Links: Judicial Clerkships, Books to Read Before Law School & More!

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newsCatch up on some law school and other legal news and tips from the week with our weekly links roundup:

For Midlands Law School Grads, Job Picture Still Healthy (Omaha.com)

Job prospects look promising for grads from Midland’s four law schools—Creighton, Nebraska, Drake, and Iowa—as area experts say demand for lawyers is high if graduates look in the right places and specialties.

Survey: Law Firms Must Change, But Don’t Know How (Bloomberg Law)

Lee Pacchia from Bloomberg Law sits down with Bruce MacEwen, consultant and publisher at Adam Smith, Esq., to discuss the widespread agreement that law firms need to change their fundamental business models.

Law Schools with the Highest Placement Rate in Full-Time, Long-Term Legal Jobs (The National Law Journal)

Check out the list of the top 20 law schools that placed the highest percentage of their 2012 graduates in full-time, long-term positions that require bar passage.
Read more

Friday Links: Regional Law Schools, The Future of Legal Education, & More!

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friday cheerHappy Friday! Time to catch up on some useful law school tips and news from the week:

Are Lawyers Destined to Either be Miserable or Broke? (The Girl’s Guide To Law School)

This week The Girl’s Guide to Law School encourages you to share your thoughts about how to create a new vision for the legal profession.

Who’s Smarter? Law or Biz Students? (Poets & Quants)

Poets & Quants explores the provocative and tongue-in-check question of whether law students are smarter than business students or vice versa.

Question Authority: Law Students Have An Important Role to Play in the Future of Legal Education (The Legal Whiteboard)

Law professor at Indiana Law urges law students to ask law professors tougher questions about the current state of legal education, albeit with respect.
Read more

Friday Links: Criminal Justice and Law Scholarships, Grads Who Earn The Biggest Salaries, & More!

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WeekendHappy Friday! Enjoy the weekend and check out some of our favorite law school tips and news stories from the week:

Make an Informed Decision When Considering Law School (U.S. News Education)

Law professor Paul Campos advises prospective law students to take a critical look at the job statistics and answer a set of important questions to determine if law school is the right choice.

Ms. JD’s Pre-Law Prep Guide: Choosing a Law School That Works Best For You (Ms. JD)

Here’s a comprehensive assessment from Ms. JD that covers just about everything you need to know when it comes to choosing the best law school for you.

The Law Schools Whose Grads Earn the Biggest Paychecks (Forbes)

Forbes looked to Payscale.com to determine the top 25 law schools whose graduates make the most in the early stages of their careers.
Read more