We spoke with J.Y. Ping, co-creator of 7sage LSAT Prep, about how to do that.
Ping, who has a law degree from Harvard, has helped thousands of students prepare for the LSAT with really specific tips. We’ve compiled the best ones below.
The LSAT means a lot to law school applications. A good score can even help offset a poor GPA, according to law school expert Ann Levine. “If your 2.6 GPA shouldn’t be taken at face value, explain that. You can make the argument that the LSAT is a better indicator of ability,” she told BI.
1. Don’t answer all of the questions. The test contains a few questions designed for only the top third percentile, Ping said. “Why would you waste your time working on the hardest question?” Ping said.
The LSAT doesn’t penalise for guessing. Focus on the easy and medium questions first, Ping suggested. You can go back to the hardest questions later, when time starts running low. And if you don’t know the answer, just guess.
2. If you have to guess, answer “D.” 7Sage has collected a lot of test answers since the organisation’s birth in 2006. After analysing the data, apparently letter “D” appears as the correct answer a tiny bit more frequently than other choices. (A is least frequently the right answer, FYI.) Ping admitted it’s not enough to make a difference, but it’ll make you feel better.
The reading comprehension section includes about 28 questions, according to Ping. You’ll read passages and then answer questions about them, much like the ACT or SAT.
3. Brush up on your science knowledge. Lack of subject matter familiarity can pose a huge barrier in the reading comprehension section, and most students struggle with the passages based on science. “They’re real science writing, written by scientists for other scientists,” Ping said. If you understand the “framework of the subject,” like how hypotheses work, for example, you’ll have a better chance to score well in the section.
4. Improve short term memory. LSAT takers run into another big problem when they forget what they just read. When you go back and scan the paragraph (which you’ll have to do), you waste time.”You should only engage with a passage, on average, for about 10 minutes,” Ping said.
The idea isn’t to remember all the details. Because no one can do that. You do, however, need to retain the main points, which makes checking the information easier and less time-consuming. And to remember those, you need to bolster your short-term memory during practice tests.
First, Ping suggested students write down a very brief summary phrase next to each paragraph. For example if a passage contains three paragraphs, the first might discuss “economists’ definition of prosperity.” Then the next one could focus on “why some critics disagree.” The third — “an example of why some critics disagree.” You get the point. At the end of the entire passage, you should write down one summary sentence based on these summary phrases.
You should also test yourself afterward, Ping said. When you’ve read and summarized the passage, flip the paper over completely and re-write those three paragraphs summaries from memory. This will train your mind to remember more information, more quickly.
Most people know the analytical reasoning section as the “logic games” section. Yes, the section really contains games (and riddles). These 22 questions tend to “freak people out,” Levine said. But according to her, takers can improve their scores the most in this section. “It’s not based on knowledge that you just know or don’t. It’s about the way you think,” she said.
5. Write neatly. The LSAT’s directions recommend that you draw pictures to help your mind process the questions. Ping echoed that you absolutely have to translate the directions visually. But you only have so much space on the page. If you write too largely, or too messily, you’ll get overwhelmed. “It’s seem really obvious, but two months after the test, people go ‘Shit, I wish I wrote more neatly,” Ping said.
6. Combine rules. For example, if “A is before B,” eight lines later, the test could tell you “B is before C.” Unless you write down that “A is before B, which is before C,” you might miss the inference that “A is before C.”
“Every time you encounter a new rule, you have to see how it interacts with the rest of the question,” Ping said.
The logical reasoning section, at about 50 questions, comprises half of the LSAT. The questions present various scenarios in which you have to identify the flaw or problem.
7. Always question assumptions. If a question states that “all men are mortal” then will the statement “Socrates is a mortal” be true? Not necessarily. You might know from past experience and knowledge that Socrates is indeed a man, but “this is the LSAT world. They make stuff up,” as Ping said. “They could ask whether all vortophiles are gurglewolfs.”
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