The Future of the LSAT - Part 1

Posted by on April 27, 2015 at 11:00 AM

There's a natural tendency among test takers, and those who guide them, to speculate on what the future holds for the exam they face. This makes sense, as it's an undeniable truth that tests change. To name but a few examples, the GRE underwent a major revision in August 2011, the GMAT saw subtle but critical changes in June 2012, and the SAT is on the brink of the second massive revamp in just the past decade. The LSAT too is an ever-evolving creation, and arguably due for an overhaul.

What I'd like to do here is discuss that evolution in two parts, exploring the path that's led us to the present, and then considering where the journey may take us in the years to come. Let's begin at, well, the beginning, as I highlight what I consider to be the most notable moments in LSAT history:

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Topics: LSAT Prep, LSAT

Did You Get Invited to Cheryl's Birthday? We Didn't Think So.

Posted by on April 23, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Last week, people around the world spent countless hours trying to figure out when Cheryl's birthday isa strange priority considering we haven't yet cured cancer. Understandably, as experts in all things logical, we were asked about it by students and colleagues dying to know all about Cheryl. Is she a harbinger of Logic Games to come? We think not. Test makers are not terribly creative when it comes to stuff like that. Then again, keep giving them ideas...

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Topics: LSAT Logic Games

The Law School and LSAT Terminology Dictionary

Posted by on April 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Students preparing for the LSAT and applying to law school invariably come across a slew of unusual terms and acronyms. Below, we define these terms:

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Topics: Law School Admissions, LSAT Prep

LSAT Logical Reasoning: Three Reasons NOT to Read the Question First

Posted by on April 16, 2015 at 12:35 PM

This is an issue that comes up quite commonly with students; some have a favorite question type, and prefer to attack those first in a given section; others note the potential advantage of knowing what to look for before even beginning to read the stimulus. Below are three reasons that I suggest NOT reading the question first, but instead attacking each logical reasoning question in this order: Stimulus, Question, Answer Choices.

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Worth the Wait: Navigating the Law School Waitlist Process (guest blog post from Ms. JD)

Posted by on April 13, 2015 at 12:30 PM

No one has ever said that the law school admissions process was fun. What can make it even worse is finding out one or several of your top law school choices have decided to place you on the waitlist. For many students, placing on the waitlist can be difficult to navigate.  I mean, being put on the waitlist means that they don’t like you, right? WRONG.

As a law school admissions representative, I guide students through this process on a regular basis. To them, it’s as cold as being outright rejected, but as confusing as an advanced physics problem. Rest assured, however, the waitlist is not your enemy. Then why do law schools have it, you ask?  There are typically two reasons.

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Topics: Law School Admissions, LSAT Prep

Can you prepare for standardized tests such as the LSAT, SAT, and GRE? Part 2

Posted by on April 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM

In my last post, I talked about the myth that you can't prepare for standardized tests, how that myth was created, and why it has been perpetuated. In this post, we'll look at some explanations for why those beliefs are false. 

Let’s begin by looking at the original broad-based tests that started the whole thing: the Army Alpha tests, which were meant to reveal native ability. For example, they intended to “Supply a mental rating for each soldier” and “Assist in discovering men of superior mental ability,” among other goals, which would then allow the Army to place soldiers into the best possible job for their skills. Did the test do that? In a word, no. Here are three sample questions from those original Army Alpha tests, with answers immediately following: 

Directions:   First unscramble the words to form a sentence, and then indicate if the sentence is true or false.

  1.       happy is man sick always a


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Topics: LSAT Prep

Can you prepare for standardized tests such as the LSAT, SAT, and GRE? Part 1

Posted by on April 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM

I met some new people the other day, and when I explained to them what it was that I did, one of the guys asked me whether you could actually prepare for tests like the LSAT (or GMAT, GRE, SAT, etc). I get that question enough that it doesn't bother me, and in fact, I always find it an interesting conversation (whether they find it an interesting conversation is a different matter though!). While it is near gospel that almost any endeavor that requires skill—such as playing an instrument, pole-vaulting, learning to cook, or even wine tasting—also requires significant preparation or practice time, when it comes to standardized testing the belief is often that you can't prepare, and you really can only rely on your basic abilities to succeed. Why is that belief so prevalent, and why is it incorrect?

The myth that you can't prepare for standardized tests comes from a few sources. The first traces back to the historical origins of the first standardized tests in the US. When the first large-scale tests were implemented—IQ tests given to Army recruits during World War I, later the Army's Alpha tests, and eventually the SAT—the people making and administering the tests believed they were indicative of native ability. As Nicholas Lemann, author of The Big Test, says, the original test creators “clearly believed in the basic theory that intelligence is an innate and sort of biological quality and that it's the most important human quality.” In other words, they thought they were giving tests built to measure you exactly as you were, and which could reveal your inherent capacities. Since the test creators also believed you cannot change your inherent abilities, the message they sent to the world was these tests, by their very nature, disallowed preparation. Consequently, this belief became one of the founding axioms of admissions-related tests. This belief was also completely false, but that wasn't known until well after the myth was entrenched.

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Topics: LSAT Prep

LSAT Numbers on the Rise

Posted by on April 2, 2015 at 11:00 AM

The number of test takers who took the LSAT this February represented a 4.4% increase compared with the figures from last year. That means there were nearly 1000 more students (859 to be exact) who took the test this February than last February--a break from the downward trend of the past few years. So, why the increase?  Several colleagues and I were discussing a number of possible contributing factors.

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Topics: LSAT

The PowerScore 2015 Law School Rankings

Posted by on April 1, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Each year, PowerScore conducts a rigorous examination of every American Bar Association (ABA) law school in the country. We collect data from a wide variety of sources, including students, professors, administrators, and the ABA. For example, students are surveyed extensively about their school experience and the resources available to them both pre- and post-graduation. Faculty members are questioned about their qualifications, teaching workload, support from the administration, and the resources available to them. Data about the school is extensively analyzed, from admission statistics and financial aid packages to school funding and budgeting to student job placement and future expected salaries. In the end, all of this information is compiled in a detailed portfolio that provides us with an amazingly complete look at each school (for more information on our data collection and rankings methodology, please see the end of this article). After this information is compiled, a weighting system based on 42 separate attributes is used to measure the quality of each institution described here. This is, without question, the most complete and accurate assessment of law schools ever produced. However, the way that we have weighted the factors is not the same as the rankings you see elsewhere. 

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Topics: Law School Admissions

LSAT Logical Reasoning: Speaker Identifiers

Posted by on March 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM

In a number of LSAT Logical Reasoning questions, the first thing you see is an identifier of the type of speaker making the argument that follows. For example, you might see “Archaeologist,” or “Researcher,” or "Expert,” to name three examples from a recent LSAT. Most students fly right by these speaker identifiers without further thought, but should they? Probably not, so let’s talk about why that is the case.

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Topics: LSAT Logical Reasoning, LSAT Prep