Road to 180 eBook
A guide to the LSAT that answers the top 10 most frequently asked questions and the top 10 questions that you should be asking about the LSAT.
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Good Luck on the September ...
HEY SEPTEMBER LSAT TAKERS! I just wanted to tell you all how proud I am of you. You've been working so hard and now is the time to relax. So, that means that today is your last day of studying. Put your materials away, go hang out with your loved ones and get a lot of rest. Tomorrow, you will conquer the June LSAT. To help you navigate through the chaos, I have compiled a list of the things you MUST bring, should/can bring and CANNOT bring. NOTE: Everything you bring to the testing center must be placed in a clear plastic ziplock bag (max size: 3.79 liters). YOU MUST BRING THESE: 1. Admission ticket This is the ticket you receive when you register for the LSAT. Print it out and have it handy. You only need to bring page 1 of the 5 page admission ticket. Make sure to sign your ticket at the test center. If it is not signed, a reporting hold will be placed on your file. 2. Identification Bring a form of valid government-issued ID that has a recent and recognizable photo, e.g. passport book, driver's license, US military card, etc. You can check the LSAC website for a comprehensive list of all the IDs that you could bring. 3. Passport Photo Bring a recent passport-type photograph (taken within the last six months) showing only your face and shoulders. It must be no larger than 2 x 2 inches (5 x 5 cm) and no smaller than 1 x 1 inch (3 x 3 cm). This must be a different photo than the one on your ID. Attach this photo to your admission ticket. 4. Pencils Remember to bring at least a couple fully sharpened no.2 or HB wooden pencils that have good erasers–you CANNOT bring in a mechanical pencil. YOU SHOULD/CAN BRING THESE: 1. Wallet 2. Keys 3. An analog (non-digital) watch, e.g. the LSATMax Timer 4. Medical or feminine hygiene products 5. A highlighter 6. Erasers without sleeves 7. A non-mechanical pencil sharpener 8. Tissues 9. A beverage in a plastic container or juice box (20 oz./591 ml max size) 10. A snack for the break (I always recommend a peanut butter and banana sandwich) THINGS YOU CANNOT BRING: 1. Electronic timers of any kind 2. Electronic cigarettes 3. Fitness tracking devices 4. Digital watches, alarm watches, beeping watches, calculator watches 5. Cell phones, pay phones, beepers, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs) 6. Personal computers 7. Calculators 8. Photographic or recording devices 9. Listening devices 10. Headsets, iPods, or other media players 11. Books, dictionaries, papers of any kind 12. Rulers 13. Mechanical pencils 14. Ink pens 15. Briefcases, handbags, backpacks of any kind 16. Earplugs 17. Hats/hoods (except religious apparel) may not be worn on the head 18. Weapons or firearms I also always recommend printing out a few Logical Reasoning questions that you feel comfortable with and bringing them with you to the testing center. Complete these questions while you stand in line outside of the testing center to get your mind in the "LSAT groove." Make sure to throw them away before you head inside. This is a great way to kickstart your brain to be ready for the LSAT. And lastly, remember to breathe, stay calm, and believe in yourself. Trust me, experience will tell you what to do. But, confidence will allow you to do it. You got this! We believe in you! Feel free to email or call (855.483.7862) us afterwards and let us know how it goes.
The Calm Before the Celebra...
You need to stay calm and keep happy. Remember, you’ve been working hard during your LSAT prep, studying smart and dodging all of LSAC’s red herrings and tricks. Now, what next? First things first. If you haven’t driven to your testing center at least once, then why not go on a test drive? It’s important to keep yourself as centered as possible on the day of, so freaking yourself out getting lost on the way to your LSAT is something you should definitely avoid. Next, you need to go onto LSAC’s site (here). Make sure you have everything on the LSAC list of testing items that are required for admission to take your LSAT exam. If you are missing an item you WILL be turned away. Make sure to make a checklist and check it twice. Remember to attach a passport size photo to your testing ticket. Don't forget to bring a healthy snack as a starved mind will not get into law school. As a personal recommendation, peanut butter is a wonderful go-to snack for test day. I, myself, brought a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Peanut butter is brain food and bananas are full of potassium so your hand won’t cramp bubbling in the answers! Alright, what should you be doing study-wise? These next few days are where you really need to be honing in on the details. We are fine-tuning and checking all the nooks and crannies of your LSAT knowledge. Only take timed sections, so you can get yourself as used to the pace and endurance of the sections as possible. Let’s go through a very quick break down of things to go over in each section. The LSAT Section Checklist: Logical Reasoning Logical reasoning, also known as "LR", is significant hurdle for LSAT students. Follow these tips and score higher on the LR section. Make sure to include the premise and conclusion in every argument you read in order to identify the disconnect or flaw of an argument. When dealing with a strengthen question you want to fill in flaw, and when dealing with a weaken question you want to tear apart the flaw further. Get more on the logical reasoning section of the LSAT exam here. Reading Comprehension Reading Comprehension (RC) is defeated with symbols and markers. The symbols and lines you draw on your passage should be signs of where to come back to for a certain idea. Don’t waste your time rewriting paragraphs in the margins. More tips on the LSAT's Reading Comprehension section here. Logic Games Logic Games (LG), as I'm sure you've realized by now, are by no means a game. I want you to take your time getting your setup, rules and deductions down on the page. Remember, when you take the time to get the deductions down, you save time later. Use your previous work to answer the questions. The LSAT exam is similar to a marathon as it is a test of endurance, especially in the LR section. Don’t waste time trying out answer choices when you’ve already written them out in hypotheticals from previous questions. Double-check your rules! I can’t tell you how many times students have been stuck on what would be an easy game because they forgot to write down a key rule or wrote a rule down incorrectly. Get into more logic game tips and hints here. Remember, every single question on the exam is worth one point. Don’t waste your time on questions that will take a while or are confusing. SKIP THEM and then come back to them when you are done with the rest of the questions in the section.* Don’t waste your time trying to figure out a hard question when you have easy and medium questions ripe for the picking. It’s not a race. Accuracy is more important than the quantity of questions you get to. Most importantly, remember to breathe. The day before your exam I encourage you to take a break. If it makes you nervous not to study at all the day before, then do a couple of timed sections, but stop your studying latest by 3pm. Take the rest of the day to relax. You know, as well as I do, that those last few hours are better spent easing your mind than tiring it. If you’re counting on those last few hours to make or break your score, then we’ve got other problems. I guarantee you that it’s more productive to wind down the rest of the day. You’ve worked hard during your. Take a breather. Rent a movie like Legally Blonde, or do anything else that has nothing to do with what law school or the LSAT is really like. Personally, I chose to go to Disneyland the day before my exam. It was a well-deserved and very relaxing day. Stay confident and calm. Happy Studying and Good Luck! P.S. if you decide to jump any questions, MAKE SURE YOU NOTE YOUR ANSWER SHEET! The last thing you want to do is miss-bubble.
Creating an LSAT Prep Study...
Creating an LSAT Prep Study Calendar All right, so you've decided to take the LSAT and go to law school. How can you optimize your LSAT prep experience to ensure you do as well as possible on this all-important exam? As we've written, top LSAT scorers are consistent, engaged, and strategic about prep time. In addition, top scorers develop and stick to an LSAT study calendar. This post is designed to help you do just that. Step 1: Create an actual calendar. Work backwards from the date of your intended LSAT exam day. Ideally, ensure that you have at least twelve to sixteen weeks of prep time before that exam date. Step 2: Divide the calendar into Learning Time and Practice Time. The most successful LSAT takers know that prepping for the exam requires two distinct phases. First, you have to learn the strategies necessary to perform your best. Then, and only then, you have to ensure that you consistently apply those strategies, without fail, through practice, practice, practice. An ideal LSAT study calendar reflects this important bifurcation. Let's assume you've allotted sixteen weeks for LSAT prep, starting your review approximately four months before your chosen exam day. The first six to eight weeks of your study period is Phase 1, during which you should focus exclusively on learning the strategies necessary to perform optimally on the LSAT. For Logical Reasoning, for example, you should use this time to learn the answers to questions like: What is the difference between the stimulus, the question stem, and the answer choices? How should you approach each Logical Reasoning question? What is the difference between an argument and a set of facts? What are the different question types, and why does this typology matter? For Reading Comprehension, you want to gain familiarity with common passage subjects (i.e. Science, Humanities, Social Science and Legal); question types; and strategies for breaking down long stretches of text into manageable components. And for Logic Games, you want to review the common game types; learn how to create the setup efficiently and accurately; and practice diagramming game rules and making deductions. During Phase 1, you should not be engaged in timed LSAT practice. Rather, you should be doing practice questions, passages, and games without time pressure, focusing exclusively on learning the fundamentals inside and out. The reality is that you will initially slow down as you learn new strategies and begin to apply them to actual LSAT questions. It is perfectly fine to be aware of the time—1 minute and 45 seconds per Logical Reasoning question and 8 minutes and 45 seconds per Logic Game/Reading Comp passage—but do not stop working on the question/game/passage when the time expires. You should structure your learning during Phase 1 so as to cultivate the focus and stamina required to excel on the LSAT. This means scheduling study periods of up to four uninterrupted hours, ideally at the same time of day as your actual LSAT exam. Only after this period should you embark on Phase 2: timed practice. Step 3: Schedule full-length practice LSATs during Phase 2. During Phase 2, you should engage in two different types of timed practice. First, you should schedule one full-length practice LSAT per week, as well as debrief time (during which you carefully review that LSAT and ensure you fully understand each and every mistake you may have made). Second, you should schedule additional practice time that consists of timed sections (two or three at a time), but NOT full-length LSATs. The point during Phase 2 is to hone the strategies and techniques you learned during Phase 1 under time pressure while also avoiding burnout. Some students feel like the only way to optimize their LSAT score is to take back-to-back full-length LSATs in the run up to test day. That's crazy, and you should not do it. Rather, you have to pace yourself. You should endeavor to take your practice LSATs under conditions that are identical to the ones you will face on the day of your real LSAT exam. This means: a quiet place, at the same time of day of your actual LSAT, with no distractions of any kind. You can use our free iOS app, Exam Proctor, to simulate an authentic LSAT experience with proctor instructions and even background noise. You must also schedule review time to go over each and every full-length practice LSAT you take. You should set aside approximately the same amount of time to review a practice LSAT as to take one, and you should go through each and every question to ensure you understand (a) why you got the answer right, or (b) why you got the answer wrong. Reviewing your mistakes is imperative if you want to avoid repeating those mistakes. Once you understand the importance of a bifurcated LSAT study schedule, you'll see why it's a mistake to sign up for an LSAT prep course that is paced to complete only Phase 1—the learning of strategies and techniques—right before your target LSAT date. It's no coincidence that LSAT prep companies that cut off your access make tons of money by recharging you to retake the course once you realize you haven't practiced enough to be prepared to sit for the actual LSAT on the date originally planned. We understand the importance of Phase 2 and this is precisely why LSATMax is the only LSAT prep course to offer instant and lifetime access to our course materials. We hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time via email or at 855.483.7862 (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm PST).
Donald Trump, Hillary Clint...
Earlier this month, at a campaign stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told supporters that his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, "wants to abolish—essentially abolish the Second Amendment." "If she gets to pick her judges," Trump said, "nothing you can do, folks." But then he added: "Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." Trump's incoherent rambling ignited a firestorm of public controversy. The New York Times wrote: "Oblique as it was, Mr. Trump's remark quickly elicited a wave of condemnation from Democrats, gun control advocates and others, who accused him of suggesting violence against Mrs. Clinton or liberal jurists." In the aftermath, a lot of people are wondering: were Trump's comments protected under the First Amendment? Given that the First Amendment is a frequent topic on the bar exam, we figured we should capitalize on this controversy by examining it from the perspective of your bar exam review. So let's get started, using the BarMax Con Law outline checklist as our guide. First, we need to examine whether the speech in question is protected. Although the First Amendment provides "Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech," it only applies to protected speech. What kinds of speech are not protected by the First Amendment? Speech by government officials, True threats, Speech inciting imminent lawless action, Defamation or libel, Obscene speech, and Commercial speech. Government Official Speech Is Donald Trump, as the presidential candidate for a major political party, a government official? No; not yet or never (depending on who you ask). OK. Was Trump's comment a "true threat"? True Threats A true threat is a threatening communication that can be prosecuted under the law. As the name suggests, a true threat is distinct from a threat that is made in jest. Most likely, Trump's Second Amendment comment is too vague (read: incoherent) to be considered a true threat. Was he actually implying that Second Amendment supporters should try to assassinate or otherwise harm Ms. Clinton or those jurists she nominates to the Supreme Court if elected? Or was he merely suggesting that Second Amendment supporters exercise their right to vote this November? Honestly, who can tell what this guy is saying half the time? The Supreme Court has held that true threats are not protected under the First Amendment based on three justifications: Preventing fear, Preventing the disruption that follows from that fear, and Diminishing the likelihood that the threatened violence will occur. Many people are definitely fearful of Trump (or at the very least some of his policies), and his comments are disruptive, but they're also so incoherent that it's unclear whether there's ever a likelihood that any threatened violence would ever actually occur. Fine. But—incoherent or not—did Trump's comment incite others to imminent lawless action? Incitement In 1969, the Supreme Court decided Brandenburg v. Ohio, holding that speech is not protected by the First Amendment if there is a substantial likelihood the speech will cause imminent lawless action and if the purpose of the speech was to cause imminent lawless action. Brandenburg actually sets a high bar. For speech to be unprotected by the First Amendment under an incitement theory, that speech must cause imminent lawbreaking. Imminence is defined as "likely to occur at any moment" or "impending." The tricky question here is whether Trump's (again: fairly incoherent) comments satisfy this high bar—and the answer is they probably do not. Most likely, a court reviewing the incident would not conclude that Trump's comments amounted to incitement. Defamation Defamation refers to the act of damaging someone's good reputation. Libel is a written or published defamatory statement, while slander is spoken aloud. Trump's Second Amendment comments were not aimed at damaging Ms. Clinton's reputation. Defamation doctrine does not apply. Even though defamation is not applicable here, let's not forget the First Amendment issues that would arise since Trump's comments referred to a public figure, i.e. Hillary Clinton. In addition to the normal requirements for defamation, Ms. Clinton would have to show (1) that the defamation is false and (2) malice by Mr. Trump. (Interestingly, the über-thin-skinned Donald has threatened to "open up libel law" if elected. However, experts have pointed out that there is no federal libel law to "open up.") Obscene Speech In Miller, the Supreme Court set out a test for obscenity that was not protected by the First Amendment. Under that test, speech is considered obscene if it describes or depicts sexual conduct that: Appeals to the prurient interest (applying contemporary community standards), and Is patently offensive in its description or depiction of sexual conduct, and Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value (applying a national standard). Trump's Second Amendment ramblings did not touch on sex at all, so obscenity doctrine is irrelevant too. Commercial Speech We all know Donald Trump is selling something: Donald Trump. Nevertheless, his political campaign is not technically classifiable as commercial speech. OK. So Trumps Comments Are Not Unprotected Speech. Is there a First Amendment Problem? No. Why? Because there is no state action to censor or otherwise limit Trump's speaking. To sum up: looks like Trump's comments about Ms. Clinton pass constitutional muster. We'll leave the separate question of whether Trump could be prosecuted for his comments (see 18 U.S.C. § 879) for another day, since that's not something you need to worry about for your bar exam prep. But we will note that 18 U.S.C. § 879 is a content-based restriction on speech, although clearly one that would pass strict scrutiny.
How the Top Scorers Prepare...
So, you know that your LSAT score is incredibly important for your law school admissions prospects and future success as a lawyer. But how, you may wonder, can you optimally prepare for this über-important exam? To get the most out of your LSAT prep, strive to achieve (1) consistent, (2) engaged, and (3) strategic prep time. Consistent. The LSAT tests your ability to think a certain way under extreme time pressure. Unlike other graduate school admissions tests (like the MCAT or GRE), the LSAT is not a content-based exam. You can't memorize your way to a top LSAT score—you have to practice thinking logically. To ensure that they are fully prepared to think logically under a time crunch on test day, top scorers structure their LSAT prep time to maximize consistency. Consistency in this context means both a consistent approach to each question you encounter, and a consistent method in your daily LSAT prep. Cultivate a completely consistent approach to each LSAT question. For Logical Reasoning questions, for example, you always want to undertake the same steps in the same order for every single question: Read the stimulus carefully and critically. Ask yourself: is this an argument, or a set of facts? If you identify an argument, be sure you are clear on the premise(s) and the conclusion. Evaluate the argument: does the conclusion follow logically from the premises? Read the question stem and identify the question type. Then read all five answer choices carefully. If you find yourself stuck between two or more answer choices, go back to the stimulus: you've missed something important. Developing a clear and consistent "order of operations" for each section of the LSAT, and practicing that approach each and every time you sit down to prep for the exam, will help you develop solid habits and a calm state of mind—crucial tools for a successful test-day experience. You also want to try to be as consistent as possible in your daily LSAT prep methodology. Endeavor to study at the same time and for the same length of time each day. Ideally, you want to be practicing LSAT questions at the same time of day as the exam you will ultimately take—especially if you are not a "morning person" and you are not taking the June LSAT. Sitting still for four hours without distractions or breaks is grueling—if you practice this consistently, you'll find the actual test-day experience much more bearable. Turn off your cell phone, log out of Facebook, and really focus on the task at hand. Engaged. Many students mistakenly believe that the more they practice—the more practice LSAT questions they answer, the more LSAT Prep Tests they take—the better they'll do on the actual exam. This is not necessarily true. Completing practice Logical Reasoning questions, Logic Games, or Reading Comp passages is only half the battle. It is absolutely critical that you then spend an equal or greater amount of time really reviewing that question, game, or passage and ensuring that you fully understand any mistakes you may have made. If you just plow through as many questions as possible, never stopping to really carefully review each one, you may be cultivating bad habits—failing to evaluate the argument, ignoring the question type, not reading all five answer choices, etc. Top scorers are fully engaged in their LSAT prep—not just when they're answering practice LSAT questions, but also afterwards, when they review their results. Strategic. Finally, be strategic. For the first few weeks of your LSAT prep, your only objective should be to fully internalize key concepts and logical constructs. This period of LSAT prep should emphasize *untimed* practice: you should spend up to four hours each day on practice LSAT questions and conceptual review. Rather than worry about how long it's taking you to get an answer, focus on ensuring that every answer you arrive at is correct (and, if it's not, make sure you fully understand the mistake(s) you made). Taking the time to really understand each and every mistake you make will help ensure that you won't repeat that mistake. After all, you will never see that LSAT question again, so it is imperative to take something away from it that you can apply to future LSAT questions. Only after you have really grasped the fundamentals should you start to incorporate strategic timed LSAT practice into your daily LSAT prep routine. Note that, most often, sitting through more than one full prep test per week is ill-advised. Taking too many full-length LSATs is a great way to burn out, and, if you aren't taking the time to meaningfully review each prep test, it's also a great way to inculcate bad habits. Introduce timed practice by doing one, two, or three timed sections at a time. Force yourself to answer each question without checking your answers along the way. When you're done, take a short (5 minute) break, and then sit down and spend time carefully reviewing each and every question. Consistent, engaged, and strategic LSAT prep is critical for optimal scoring! Hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time via email or at 855.483.7862 (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm PST).
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