16 DEC / 2014 0

21 Ways NOT To Get A Good LSAT Score

Topics: LSAT Tips

In the past, we have written about ways to get a good LSAT score, and even ways to get a 180 on the LSAT.  However, people often do not focus on the things they should NOT do if they want to get a good LSAT score.  Test-takers learn many different LSAT tips and strategies from many different sources.  It is often difficult to sift through all of them and, ultimately, decide what works best . . . and what to avoid.

Here, we list and briefly identify the 21 things you should NOT do if you want to get a good LSAT score.

21 Ways NOT To Get A Good LSAT Score

1) Do nothing

This should be readily apparent.  If you do nothing to prepare for the LSAT, chances are you will not do well (unless you’re a genius).  So . . . do something . . . anything, alright?

2) Don’t take an LSAT prep course

Taking an LSAT prep course that teaches you the logic on the LSAT and emphasizes practicing with actual LSAT exams is the best way to prepare for the exam and get a good LSAT score.  (Here is a free LSAT logic guide and free logic course to get you started.)  The best way not to get a good LSAT score?  Subscribe to the mentality that commercial LSAT courses are just out to take your money, and that you could do well on the exam through self-study.  We aren’t saying it can’t be done.  But the odds of getting a good LSAT score would be against you. 

3) Spend every waking second studying for the LSAT

Spending 10 hours per day, seven days per week for six months may help you cover every LSAT ever administered.  But it will also burn you out.  Devote just a few hours a day to studying, and do so for two to three months.  Getting a good LSAT score is a marathon, not a sprint.  Don’t over-do it. 

4) Use every single study aid you can get your hands on

Many LSAT study aids on the market will guarantee you that elusive good LSAT score.  By trying to read them all, and memorizing every piece of advice ever given on the LSAT, your head will likely explode.  You will also find that some advice will conflict with other advice, and that conundrum will confuse you.  Instead of taking an all-of-the-above approach, choose a select few, and stick to them.

5) Learn the logic, but don’t practice

We’ve emphasized before that, to get a good LSAT score, you need to learn the logic that the LSAT tests.  However, being able to identify the various logical principles on the LSAT is one thing.  The ability to recognize these principles as they appear on the exam, in context, is another thing entirely.  To succeed in doing that, you must practice as much as possible with actual LSAT exams.  If you do not take the time to practice, you will not be able to recognize the logic on the exam, nor will you become familiar with the question types and how these logical principles manifest themselves on the exam.  This is usually a recipe for . . . you guessed it . . . a low LSAT score.   

6) Practice, but skip the logic

An alternative to the approach above is jumping straight into practice.  The benefit of this approach is that you become familiar with the exam very quickly.  You may even score well after a few tries.  However, this approach lacks the substantive foundation necessary to understand what you’re actually doing.  Why did you get certain questions wrong?  How do you diagram those logic games?  What is conditional reasoning anyway?  Practicing without understanding these concepts is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel.     

7) Practice with made-up LSAT questions

The best way to become familiar with the logic on the LSAT and the exam in general is to practice using actual LSAT exams and actual LSAT questions.  Want to know how not to become familiar with the exam or prevent yourself from achieving that good LSAT score?  Practice with made-up questions!  Some LSAT prep courses or tutors may use made-up questions or examples to teach you the exam.  The problem with that approach is that it undermines the very goal of becoming familiar with the LSAT.  You will not understand how the test writers prepare LSAT questions, and you will not be able to anticipate what the next exam will look like.  It’s like going into the exam with blinders on. 

8) Don’t review incorrect answers on your practice exams

An effective way to identify your weaknesses on the LSAT is to identify and understand which questions you are answering incorrectly.  That way, you can work on improving those weaknesses, which, in turn, will help you improve your LSAT score.  If, on the other hand, you don’t care about those pesky weaknesses (or a good LSAT score), then don’t bother! 

9) Study in a group

Group study is not the most efficient means of studying for the LSAT.  Learning the logic on the LSAT principally requires drilling and practice.  Group study will largely prevent you from spending time on drilling or engaging in the repetitive training required to master LSAT logic.

10) Master the skill of speed reading for use on the Reading Comprehension section

You’re not supposed to speed read or skim through the Reading Comprehension passages.  If you do, you’ll miss critical information . . . and answer questions incorrectly. 

11) Don’t bother to figure out where you stand . . . ever

Speaking of blinders, one of the most effective ways to remain in the dark about this test is never to figure out how you’re doing with your score.  Wisdom dictates that, at the beginning of your LSAT prep, you should take a practice test cold, just to see where you stand and for assessing how high a hill you need to climb.  Further, as you get into the practice-intensive portion of your LSAT prep, you should measure your performance to see how you’re doing.  Not doing either of these things leaves you in the dark, without a clue, and farther than you’d like from a good LSAT score. 

12) Get drunk or high the night before the big exam

Why?  Why would you do that?

13) Wake up the morning of the exam and eat five candy bars (or eat a lot of sugar in the days leading up to the exam)

Want to know what a lot of sugar does to your brain?  Bad stuff . . . like poor memory formation.         

14) Wait until test day to figure out how to get to your test center location

Good LSAT Score

Imagine waking up the morning of the LSAT and discovering that you have 20 minutes to make what is normally a 35 minute trip.  Or realizing, on that Monday afternoon test administration, that the parking situation at your test center isn’t optimal.  These are sure-fire ways to lose valuable time and sacrifice critical points on the exam.

15) When the exam begins, skip the directions

The LSAT tests you on how well you follow difficult and silly directions.  If you don’t pay attention, you will, again, miss critical information.

16) Day dream during the exam

If you can’t go 3 1/2 hours without day dreaming about the girl next door, the musical you watched last night on Lifetime, or the identity of the Reverse-Flash, you’re going to have a difficult time getting through – and answering every question on – the LSAT (let alone coming close to a good LSAT score). 

17) Make assumptions about the information in a question

Everything you need to answer a question will be on the page or pages in front of you.  You should use only the information that the question provides.  Thus, if you want to completely torch yourself on this test, assume some additional information (that has no connection to the LSAT) based on the information in front of you.  Or you could omit some other part of the question or assume some part of it is not important.   

18) Rely on outside knowledge to answer Reading Comprehension questions

All Reading Comprehension questions can and should be answered using only the information in the passage.  Therefore, an effective way to blow a question is to answer it using your own knowledge (you know, because – lucky you! – this passage is about computer science, and you’re like a total super-duper expert in that computer stuff).  

19) Allow the LSAT to frustrate you

The LSAT is designed to mess with your head.  So, if you let some insane Logic Game or silly Logical Reasoning question get you angry, the LSAT wins.  And you lose. 

20) Skip or don’t answer questions

The LSAT doesn’t penalize you for guessing.  By skipping a question, you lose that 20% chance of getting that question right.  You have nothing to lose by guessing.  So, if you want to completely deprive yourself of the slimmest of chances of getting a question right, skip it.  

21) Don’t keep track of time

Who needs time, right?  (Or a good LSAT watch.)  Spend 20 minutes on that first Logic Game.  Let that second Reading Comprehension passage consume 15 minutes of your life.  Focus, after all, should be prioritized . . . over a good LSAT score.

And that’s a wrap!  If you want to get a good LSAT score, don’t do any of the above.  Or try to avoid as much of the above as possible.

2 DEC / 2014 0

Should You Apply For An LLM?

Are you a foreign lawyer who has studied outside the United States? Are you considering an LLM in the United States? If the answer to these questions is yes, you should carefully consider and reflect upon the reasons for your desire to pursue advanced legal study in the United States.

What is an L.L.M.?

An LLM or Masters of Law, allows you to gain knowledge and specialize in an area of law through research. It is a globally recognized postgraduate degree pursued by practicing lawyers.

While open to everyone who has a law degree, international attorneys are found to benefit from the LLM because it exposes them to the basic legal principles of the American legal system. The LLM curriculum varies per program, but there is a large scope of opportunities available worldwide. The most popular programs include tax law, environmental law, and international rights law.

LLM Degree

Most international applicants discover that a degree in LLM is advantageous in career advancement and international credibility. In fact, many law firms favor LLM-degree holders because they have the training and skills required to deal with advanced multinational legal issues.

Admission Requirement

In order to apply for an LLM, you must first obtain a professional legal degree – either a JD in the United States or a Bachelor of Laws in the UK.  International applicants whose native language is not English must also complete an English proficiency test (TOEFL/IELTS).

Length of Study

The LLM normally takes a year to 2 years to complete. The length depends on the program and university, whether it be a research-based program that requires you to complete a thesis or a program that requires you to take a certain number of courses.

Bar Examination

An LLM itself does not qualify graduates – both American and international – to practice law. In order to practice law, students must pass the bar.

For more information regarding Law Degrees you can explore, contact a law school admissions expert at InGenius Prep.

This article was written by an admissions expert at InGenius Prep.

13 NOV / 2014 0

The 180 Watch: LSAT Timing Simplified

Here at LSAT Freedom, we often survey the LSAT landscape to find other LSAT- and law school-related tips and advice for our readers.  Every so often, we come across products that might help LSAT test-takers or aspiring law school students (like the best laptops for law school).

For this post, we decided to zone in on the 180 Watch, an analog wristwatch designed for the LSAT.  The 180 Watch was founded by Harvard classmates Daniel Valenti and Matt Thomas.  We caught up with Daniel and asked him a few questions about the 180 Watch.  He was more than generous in obliging . . . .The 180 Watch

Interview with The 180 Watch

LSAT Freedom: What is the difference between the 180 Watch and a regular analog watch?  Why is it better?

180 Watch (Daniel): The 180Watch is a purpose-built watch specifically for high-achieving LSAT students. We have designed it to conform to the rules of the test while being as simple as possible to use. Unlike other watches, there is no hour hand to worry about, no second hand that keeps ticking beyond control, and no bezels to rotate or crowns to pull out and set. The 180Watch simply has a start/stop button and a reset button. With one push of a button, the second and minute hands automatically return to zero. Test day is stressful enough; knowing exactly how much time you have left in each section should not be one of your concerns.

LSAT Freedom: Why did you create the 180 Watch?

180 Watch: As an LSAT student, I realized how important timing is for the test. One extra minute on a logic game, I found out, can go a long way. Further, I was surprised how fast the LSAT moved between sections – not exactly a ton of time to pull out the crown of my watch, adjust it to zero, and wait for the second hand to tick back around. Overall, I was spending too much mental energy figuring out how much time I had left, when those precious few brain cells were much-needed elsewhere (trust me). I searched around on the internet, and couldn’t find a simple solution that conformed to the test rules, so I created 180Watch.The 180 Watch

LSAT Freedom: How does the 180 Watch work? 

180 Watch: 180Watch is simple. There are two buttons and two watch hands. The large minute hand sweeps across the dia,l and the second hand is in the small inset circle. One button starts/stops timing, the other automatically sets both hands to zero. When using the 180Watch, you know exactly how much time is remaining.

LSAT Freedom: What purpose does each knob on the right serve?

180 Watch: There are only two buttons – a start/stop button, and a reset button. That’s it! (There is a knob, but it is of no use).

LSAT Freedom: Why does the 180 Watch have extended tick marks at the 8-minute intervals?

180 Watch: This feature helps test-takers gauge their progress on logic games. A common goal among top test-takers is to complete each game within 8 minutes, so a quick glance at the 180Watch instantly tells you how far along you are.

LSAT Freedom: How is the 180 Watch different than other LSAT watches?

180 Watch: The 180Watch is not for everyone – it’s the premium LSAT watch. We have designed this watch from start-to-finish specifically for the test. There are other solutions, but none that work as simply and as precisely as the 180Watch. We also encourage people to see if other watches allow for resetting of the second hand. The 180Watch is for students who value precision and ease-of-use and recognize the value of even one extra point on the test.The 180 Watch

LSAT Freedom: Has the Law School Admission Council approved the 180 Watch for use during an officially-administered LSAT?

180 Watch: LSAC has confirmed that the 180Watch conforms to its rules of no digital watches.

LSAT Freedom: How much does the 180 Watch cost?

180 Watch: The 180Watch is $59.99

LSAT Freedom: If someone has a question about the 180 Watch, how can he/she contact you?

180 Watch: Please email us at orders@180watch.com – we’d love to hear from you!

LSAT Freedom: Do you have any plans for future products?

180 Watch: We are always open to ideas that help people realize their goals. We aren’t currently building anything else for test-takers, but we’re always open to new ideas!

Once again, if you’re interested in the 180 Watch, visit their website.


11 NOV / 2014 0

4 Simple But Powerful LSAT Prep Strategies

Topics: LSAT Prep, LSAT Tips

In this post, I’ll share four ways that students can improve the effectiveness of their LSAT study efforts. The LSAT, perhaps more so than other standardized tests, can seem like some sort of an IQ test that can’t be studied for. The simple fact is that you can study for it, and with focused practice, you’ll improve.

But, there are certainly better and worse ways to approach your study efforts. The four tips we’ll discuss today are:

-Make a strategic, customized study plan

-Drop the belief that any portion of the exam can’t be studied for

-Understand that you only learn by doing

-Use official practice materials

1. Make a strategic, customized study plan

I often use the word “strategic” when talking about academic and test prep planning, and at its core, it just means that you make intentional choices about what to do and not to do, after gathering some relevant facts about the situation, while understanding that there are tradeoffs in how you spend your time.

So, taking an LSAT prep class because that’s what everyone seems to do, or purchasing an LSAT prep book, opening it up, and beginning to read through it, may be helpful ways to begin to learn about the test, but they aren’t strategic approaches to building a study plan.

LSAT Prep Strategies

If you are making a strategic plan, you should follow a four-step process:

a. Set a goal

Start by understanding your target score, working back from your target law schools. Only with a target score in mind will you be able to measure your progress and know how much farther you have to go.

b. Gather facts about the situation

When preparing for the LSAT, the facts you need to know address questions like:

-What’s on the LSAT?

-How much do I already know about how to answer questions in the reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning sections?

-What study options exist? Classes, books, videos, tutors, etc.?

-What study options am I most comfortable with based on previous prep experiences?

-How much time do I have to study?

-How much money can I spend on LSAT prep?

Answering some of these questions requires reading about the test on the Law School Admission Council website, and should involve taking an official practice test to measure your in-going skill level.

c. Develop alternative prep options

Alternative prep options will address materials, focus of your study efforts, time, and cost.

A prep class works for many people. But, if you’re really struggling to achieve an average score, or if you want to hit that 90th percentile top tier score, it’s probably not for you. Private tutoring is the ultimate in customized help, but it’s expensive. Do you tend to be very self-motivated and easily avoid procrastination? If so, self-study might actually be best. If you’re comfortable with technology, online LSAT prep options are often a good choice.

If you score in the 90th percentile on one section of your practice test, but in the 30th on another, you may want to consider building your plan with a clear focus on that particular section. With the LSAT, many students fear the logic games (i.e., analytical reasoning section). But, with the right allocation of time, most students can get much more comfortable and confident with that section.

The point here is that by simply considering the various options available to you and thinking them through, you’ll be able to come up with a rough roadmap for your study plan that works well for you.

d. Make a specific plan

Once you’ve determined, roughly, what materials you’ll use, where you’ll focus, what support you’ll get, etc., it’s time to write out a specific plan. That plan should be finished a few days before you take the exam. A three-month study plan seems to be reasonable for many people. It should include frequency of study sessions, location of study sessions, frequency of practice tests to measure progress, and more. It should be very specific, and something you will hold yourself to following.

Developing an effective, strategic, customized study plan is not easy, but it can be powerful. It’s one of the main themes of MyGuru’s new book, 99th Percentile: A Roadmap for Achieving Drastic Performance Improvement on Standardized Tests.

2. Drop the belief that any portion of the exam can’t be studied for

One of MyGuru’s best tutors, a person who has scored a 180 on official LSAT exams several times, been contracted to write official LSAT questions by LSAC, and tutored hundreds of students, tells me time and time again – you can prepare for and learn how to score well on the LSAT. It is not fundamentally a test of innate intelligence or aptitude.

Once you drop the belief that the LSAT is in some way an IQ test, you’ll be able to focus fully on your study efforts and get more out of the time you spend studying.

3. Understand that you only learn by doing

We learn new things when synapses in our brain are formed as a result of actively thinking and wrestling with a subject. If we aren’t actively engaged in something, it’s much more difficult to learn it or remember it. Just seeing or reading is much less effective than doing.LSAT Prep Strategies

So, if you really don’t understand a particular strategy used to answer LSAT questions, you can start by reading about the strategy, but you need to quickly transition to actually doing LSAT practice problems. The analytical reasoning section is a great example of this. You will improve your score in this section only be actively doing practice problems, not by reading about how to do them. It’s as simple as that.

4. Use official practice materials

In the past, MyGuru has been contracted by test prep companies that write LSAT test prep materials to provide editing and review services. So, we’ve been paid to review questions, make sure they make sense, spot errors, and ensure they align with the standards set forth by LSAC.  In other words, we’ve been hired to answer the question, Do our materials provide the same type and quality of questions students will see on the actual LSAT exam? The answer, unfortunately, is often a resounding No.

Test prep companies who are in the business of creating materials need to have new sets of materials every year, and are constantly trying to keep up with subtle or not so subtle changes in writing style or substance that the folks writing the official materials might introduce. Sometimes they do a good job, sometimes they end up being pretty far off.

This is a big problem. When you took the ACT or SAT, you may have experienced a practice test from a major prep company that, while it seemed to have the major components of the official exam, was significantly easier or harder. So, you either gain undue confidence, or your confidence takes a hit unnecessarily. In an even worse case, you begin studying concepts that you saw in the prep material that isn’t going to be on the actual exam. Now, you’re wasting time and filling your brain with unnecessary information.

There is no substitute for official LSAT materials when studying for the LSAT.

About the Author

Mark Skoskiewicz holds a B.S. in Finance from Indiana University and an MBA from Northwestern University, and is the founder of MyGuru, a private 1-1 tutoring and test prep company based in Chicago, with locations across the U.S. Private LSAT tutoring is a key focus area for MyGuru.

MyGuru’s goal is to empower students with ideas, insights, and advice about how the right mindset, effective study habits, and strategic thinking can unleash large increases in grades, test scores, and academic and professional success.

7 NOV / 2014 0

How To Determine Your Legal Specialization

Topics: Law School

One of the biggest decisions that you will have to make during your legal career is choosing your area of specialization. Law schools do not expect you to know the kind of law you want to pursue upon entry. In fact, most students wait until they matriculate and search for jobs before they make that decision. However, it is always good to have a focus in mind to prepare you for your future career.

Law school will arm you with the knowledge and skills for you to succeed in your career, but it will also help you explore the possibilities that are available to you. You can select a few electives during your latter two years in law school to get an idea of what you are interested in. Once you finish the core curriculum in law, you are given the freedom to choose law school programs in accordance to your chosen field of practice.How to Determine Your Legal Specialization

While your career objectives and interests will guide your decisions, it pays to research credible resources, including lawyers who have practiced in that field for a period of time. They can give you a glimpse of their daily responsibilities and lives and can even serve as a personal contact for prospective jobs in that special area.

If you’re interested in practicing law, but don’t know what you want to specialize in, here are a few ideas:

Criminal Law. Criminal law revolves around the prosecution of any person who committed a criminal act. Lawyers ensure the protection of the rights of the victims, as well as the accused. There are a variety of different manners in which you can practice criminal law whether as a government lawyer on the state or federal level or any number of other criminal law-related jobs.

Corporate Law. Otherwise known as business law, corporate law focuses on business enterprises and organizations. You help ensure that the administration and management of business affairs is in accordance with state and federal laws. Your responsibilities will cover various topics, including mergers, acquisitions, shareholder rights, reorganizations, or disputes between companies. 

Entertainment Law. Entertainment law focuses on legal services, rights, and royalties rendered to the media in the arts, film, television, or sports. This is an interesting area of law for many people because of the subject matter involved and the variety of sizes and styles of clients ranging from big corporations to individuals.

International Law. International law is a broader concept, which represents the rights and principles of the nations and states. This has two divisions – private and public. Public international law largely applies to customary tenets of international law and treaties entered into by two consenting states or groups. Generally, this work heavily involves the government or international institutions. On the other hand, private international law practice can offer opportunities in law firms or multinational corporations.

Patent Law.  Patent law involves the protection of the creations of inventors and the encouragement of innovation. Lawyers who will prosecute patents must be specially-licensed and have some background in scientific study.                      

If you’re still unsure of what to specialize in, schedule a consultation with the InGenius Prep law school admissions experts today.

This article was written by an admissions expert at InGenius Prep.

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