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The Morning Cometh: The Aftermath of the February 2011 LSAT

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The Morning Cometh: The Aftermath of the February 2011 LSAT
The sun has set on another February LSAT, and I for one was happy to see the earth turn to darkness.  Not that I don’t really enjoy taking the LSAT, but there’s something about February that’s always struck me as a bit odd.  The first reason for this is that the Law School Admissions Council (LSAT) never discloses any data on the February test. There are two upsides to this: (1) We can assume that the masterminds over at the LSAC are up to something out of this world by keeping it classified as top secret – think the government with Area 51. (2) I can rant and speculate all I want without anyone calling B.S. later on with so-called “proof” that I was full of it.  The second is that the February test is often full of surprises, and this one was no different.

That being said, I give my word that I will attempt an honest recount of the February test, section by section.  NOTE: Read to the very end if you want know what was on the test that has never been seen previously!

LG:

I have terrible sleeping habits but fortunately I haven’t had to get up before 10:00am in months. Unfortunately, the LSAC doesn’t care about when I want the test to start (noon or later please). And although this is the second time I have taken the test and my job requires me to be more familiar with the LSAT than I’d ever want any of you to be, I am not immune to pre-test anxiety that even an Ambien couldn’t conquer (doctor prescribed).  As a result, every problem on the test seemed to take a little longer than it should have. However, the games were even more time consuming than any other section and I don’t think the sleep deprivation was the only cause. The games were fairly straightforward but you couldn’t plow straight through them, especially the grouping game in which six streets had to be assigned to one of two snow plows (this should explain why I used “plow” as my verb earlier in the sentence). This was because there weren’t many deductions to make during the initial setup, which meant a lot of work when you got to the questions. This seems to be consistent with the October and December tests, so this might be a new trend to look out for. In addition, the time consuming nature of the first three games probably left some test takers with little to no time for the fourth game, which might have been the easiest one, also reminiscent of the December test. So everyone should remember to scout out the games before diving in.

LR:

There were no real surprises in these two sections and both were of moderate difficulty. The only notable feature was how weird and convoluted the wording of some of the questions were. I had to read several strengthen/weaken questions twice just to be able to classify what type they were. I would also like to note that hieroglyphics depicting basic grooming behavior such as hair washing should never be used to link two groups of people with each other on the basis that one currently does what is in the pictures and the other created the pictures. It seems one step removed from a buddy of mine telling me he’s a descendant of Genghis Khan because my buddy never shaves and Genghis Khan had a gnarly beard.

RC:

Okay, okay, okay I’ll tell you what was new on the test. One of the two comparative reading passages was nothing more than a set of guidelines. This particular set of guidelines was written by none other than… wait for it… United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization! YAY UNESCO! Several of the questions required applying the guidelines to the circumstances in the other passage, which proved to be tricky. Although the rest of the RC section was what we’d expect, in terms of both level of difficulty and content, this curveball made the section a little harder than usual. It also left us wondering how we could ever derive any value from a ship left at the bottom of the ocean; but, I will leave this question “in situ”.

Recap:

Usually after the test, the advice we like to hurl your way is go drink until you can’t remember any of the test (well maybe not that much). This is especially true now considering you’ll never know anymore than you know right now because LSAC doesn’t want you to and they know best. Although we will never know, I think the curve will be forgiving, especially at the top. Although the games weren’t particularly difficult they were time consuming, which can just as easily lead to fewer right answers as a section with one really hard game. In addition, the never seen before reading comp structure is sure to have thrown many test takers off.

Article by Blueprint LSAT tutor Nick Scott.

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