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Studying with Rod: 9 weeks until the LSAT

9 weeks until the LSAT

Hey-O! Welcome back to studying with Rod. According to our Google analytics, there are literally dozens of you anxiously waiting for this latest installment, and I do not intend to disappoint my throngs of fans around the world (I’m looking at you Norway). If you read my post last week, you know that I finished Lessons 1 and 2, and used Must Be True questions to inform you that I won the Blueprint March Madness office pool. This info will give you an edge on June 7th, and I certainly hope you were taking notes. The fact that I am using logical reasoning questions to talk about college basketball brings up a phenomenon that all LSAT students are experiencing right now, but few have the courage to talk about.

You see, spending a couple hundred hours in class and studying to get in the right frame of mind for the LSAT is bound to bring about some physical and mental changes, and I call this the Nerdification Effect (it’ll catch on). It starts with physical changes — you aren’t getting quite as much sleep, your skin starts to get a little oily, you’re not getting to the gym as often so you gain/lose a couple pounds. Then you realize that in your desire to crush this exam, you have fully embraced reading comp passages (“Do you know about the London Pianoforte school of musicians and their stylistic principles? Hoollly shit, you’re in for a treat…”). You start doing some more difficult logic games, and you get a small adrenaline rush when you make a big deduction. I am slowly descending into Nerd-dom. I look in the mirror and wonder how I got a pair of thick bifocals and a pocket protector. I’ve never even been to an eye doctor. I suppose my point is that the LSAT is much easier to take on when you convince yourself that it is interesting, fully commit to it for 2-3 months, and then hopefully never think about it again. (There’s a dumb dating joke in there somewhere).

So, getting down to business, I completed Lessons 3, 4, and 5 since my last post. Here are some highlights (this would be an awesome time for an LSAT study montage, and I would imagine it would be the first of its kind. Stay tuned…)

Quantifiers:

We are already familiar with ALL and NONE statements at this point, and quantifiers introduce SOME and MOST statements. Check out page 25 in Lesson 3 to review the ways that these statements can be combined to form other deductions. For example, if we know that ALL people who wear Hawaiian shirts are here to party and we also know that MOST people who wear Hawaiian shirts are rather large, we can properly conclude that some rather large people are in fact, here to party. Never try and combine a MOST and a SOME statement…horrible things will happen. Trust me.

Main Point / Describe Questions:

I actually have a pretty easy time with these two Logical Reasoning question types. In both, you need to develop the skill of reading an entire argument and then summing up what the big picture is, or how the argument goes about making its point. In other words, these two question types test your ability to sift through the bullshit and understand the important stuff — no doubt an important skill in life and on the LSAT. Let’s make up our own Describe question, inspired by recent pop culture news:

— Sandra: I see no reason to take you back after the embarrassment you have put me through. You cheated on me with about a dozen different woman, and one of them has a particularly offensive tattoo on her forehead which makes this even more difficult.

— Jesse: I do not deny that my behavior was unacceptable. However, I plan to attend “sex rehab” to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Furthermore, I do not see how my mistress’s neo-Nazi facial ink is relevant.

Jesse responds to Sandra by:

(D) Proposing a possible solution to his behavioral problem and calling into question the relevance of one of Sandra’s premises.

…I’m no LSAC-certified question-maker or pop-culture expert, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Logic Games – Overbooked/Underbooked ; Multi-Tiered:

Most of my friends who have taken the LSAT, and many people in my class seem to like Logic Games. Quite frankly, I am not one of these people. For whatever reason, logic games are a pain in the ass for me, but I must say I am improving fairly steadily with practice. Lesson 5 introduces Tiered Ordering Games, essentially adding more factors and levels to each setup. These games are definitely more challenging than the very simple ordering games in the first couple of lessons. One thing I have noticed is that the difficulty of a game depends on whether or not the people in the game have their shit together. Let me explain.

In simple one-to-one ordering games, people just need to be told when they can show up. Rod cannot be first or last. No problem, see you somewhere in the middle. As logic games add tiers, these people become more and more absurd. You’re telling me that Betsy either plays the flute or the trombone, but not both, AND she doesn’t know what color dress she is going to wear? Dammit Betsy.

All jokes aside, your performance on the Logic Games section can be improved drastically, and I am already seeing marked improvement. I must give a shout-out to a special logic game in Lesson 5, (page 16). Juarez and Rosenberg. For any of you who have ever considered going into the publishing/editing field, these two high-maintenance assholes will surely have you reconsidering. In other words, I got all of the questions right, but it took me about 16 minutes.

I hope everyone is doing well. Let me know how your studying is going, and I’ll see you next week…

– Rod

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