The LSAT Morning After
- Sep 28, 2009
- Analysis of Previous LSATs, LSAT
The Patron has now officially exited my system, so I figure it is time to assess my LSAT experience Saturday.
Disclaimer: LSAC regulations (which, along with the obligation of paying our licensing fees, we take very seriously) prohibit me from discussing the actual content of the test. Thus I cannot talk about answers or deductions or any of that jazz. Please do not post comments regarding the same.
There were no huge surprises on the exam. Student reactions were split, with some thinking they aced it while others were browsing the Barbizon website for new career options.
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So here is what I thought about the test, section by section:
Section 1: Reading Comprehension
As expected, I started off with some Reading Comp. Swell. To say I found this section to be very difficult is to understate the matter.
I was delighted to read about an author named Kate Chopin and her literary development, which culminated in a wonderful novel called The Awakening. The novel, influenced by a group of female writers called the New Women, contained themes of femininity and motherhood. So, this was totally in my wheelhouse. Really. It would have made more sense to me if it hade been written in Sanskrit.
But the good news is that I’m now aware that there is a difference between objectivity and neutrality in historical writing. I think I’m a better person for learning this, and I fully intend to undertake a close study of the New Women.
At this point, I began to wonder if I’d had too much to drink the night before. But to my credit, I’d turned down a last minute evening in Vegas, though, admittedly, this was only after some fairly heated discussion with Teti. Nevertheless, I stayed home so I didn’t think I should be doing so poorly. For perhaps the first time, I experienced the self-recrimination a person does during an ugly section.
Fortunately, a load of circumstantial evidence is pointing to the conclusion that this was the experimental section.
Difficulty: 9 of 10
Annoyance Value: 10 of 10
Section 2: Logical Reasoning
The best thing about Section two is that it meant that the first section was over.
This section was marked by lots of Flaw questions and lots of Necessary questions. This was also the point in the test where I did laugh out loud. Apparently, if you invest in a man-made wig, you have to get it dry-cleaned regularly. This mental picture still makes me smile. Seven shirts, two pairs of slacks, three sweaters, and my wig: How much will that be? There were some tough questions and this was the more difficult of the two Logical Reasoning sections. Suffice to say, I’m critical of graduate student’s attempts to unionize.
Difficulty: 8 of 10
Entertainment Value: 10 of 10
Section 3: Reading Comprehension
More Reading Comp. Oh joy. Luckily for me, I found this section to be easier than the first one. Interestingly, the questions were equally distributed between the passages. There were six or seven questions on each one. This contrasts against those tests in which there are some reading comprehension passages with 5 questions and some with 8. Students who intend to attempt only 3 of 4 passages often choose to skip the passage with five questions, thus maximizing the number of questions they can attempt. Having roughly an equal distribution of questions made that strategy slightly less effective.
But onto the passages…
First, I got to learn about new archaeological techniques that have helped unearth important discoveries about the production of ancient textiles. Because that matters in life. Overall, however, I didn’t think this was too difficult. Once again, the LSAT loves the idea of figuring stuff out when there is no traditional evidence available. The second was a legal passage about copyright protection and whether an idea is a tangible object. This is a fairly easy concept as long as you know what the word “tangible” means. Hint: touchable.
Then came the parallel processing. Oh goodie… This was probably the most difficult passage of the four. As we all know, the flow of oil in oil fields is very hard to predict. I, myself, would have just guessed it flows downhill. But no. It took some very intelligent man a network of computers capable of working in concert without interfering with one another to figure it out. If that weren’t enough, this wonderful man also takes his cues from nature. Shouldn’t we all?
Then it happened. If you read my pre-game predictions, you know that I hypothesized there would be something scary about honeybees. And there it was. This scientist was going to use the structure of the honeycomb as a natural model for more discoveries. If I continue this streak, Miss Cleo is in trouble. Not since my colleague Colin Elzie had predicted there would be questions about dinosaurs prior to the June 2009 LSAT has the world seen such prognostication.
Finally, I got to read two shorter passages about music. I never knew that I had such expectations about the music I listened to or that it could have such a strong effect on my emotions. This had a profound effect on me. Last night, a classic tune by Lil’ Jon came on and I found myself switching between periods of calm and stress depending on the continuity of the music. In particular, the “Skeet, Skeet, Skeet” refrain aroused long forgotten feelings. It was intense.
Overall, I did not think this Reading Comp section was as hard as some of the more recent ones. Not easy, but not too bad.
Difficulty: 5 of 10
Educational Value: 3 of 10
Section 4: Logic Games
Game time, finally. I took a couple of minutes to savor what was to come. I’d bet Teti that I could finish the section in 20 minutes. I even toyed with the idea of waiting 15 minutes before starting, but remembered that such hubris could be a person’s downfall. So I just went straight.
The first one was a pretty straightforward Ordering game about a pharaoh constructing monuments in the years 601 through 605. That was a long time ago.
The second game was about parents volunteering for something. I’m still not certain what that something was, but I believe it was something worthwhile. The key to this game was to understand the Grouping relationships. (Stalker, Love, Hate, Baby for you Blueprint folks.)
The third game was a nice Tiered Ordering game. You had to order the takeoff of flights. But the flights were from different airlines and each flight was either international or domestic. Phew. Lots of stuff to handle, but there was one key deduction that made it pretty straightforward.
Finally, we got to go to summer school. I had a huge advantage here, because I’ve actually been to summer school, so that was nice. This was also an In and Out Grouping game, and conceptually, it wasn’t too bad. There were only three rules and the setup was fairly simple. But the questions were pretty tough and very time-consuming. Many students told me that they ran out of time on this one.
Overall, the Logic Games were average. Definitely easier than June and there was no mauve dinosaur disaster. To be honest, I was fairly disappointed. I got all dressed up (translation: sober-ish) and not much happened. I felt like Mayweather after the Marquez fight, though a bit poorer, I suppose.
Difficulty: 4 of 10
Letdown Value: 8 of 10
Section 5: Logical Reasoning
Be careful at your next job interview. The people at LSAC clearly do not like it when people put salt on their food without tasting it first. Oh yeah, and those damn bears. The most talked about Logical Reasoning question last night was about the bears in the Alabassit (?) Valley. That one was tough. Again, lots of Flaw questions and lots of Necessary questions. Besides those two beasts, I thought this section was easier than the first one.
Difficulty: 6 of 10
Unusually weird question value: 9 of 10
After taking the test, I am sticking with my predictions about the curve. My best guess is 11 wrong for a 170 and 25 wrong for a 160.
So that was the LSAT. I hope that the test went well for everyone and that you had a good time celebrating last night.
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