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Author Topic: HOW I GOT A HARVARD ENTRY LSAT SCORE  (Read 8574 times)  Share 

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« on: November 01, 2019, 02:37:15 pm »
Alrighty, so the October 2019 LSAT scores were just released and I was stunned to receive a 174 (top 0.8 percentile). This follows from a 151 LSAT three months earlier (48 percentile).

As you can see, thatís a pretty big jump in score Ė going from average to Harvard-entry.

The interesting thing, however, is I didnít get any smarter over those three months. I ate the same lunch as I usually do. I had the same job, the same undergrad degree, the same life.

What changed between my 151 and my 174 was how I approached the LSAT. I radically changed how I studied for this test and even how I think on a day-to-day basis.

Given that, I want to share, quickly, some of the lessons I learnt after having fought daily with this bloody test for the best part of half a year only to then witness my score leap up by more than 20 points. Ultimately, this post is for all students who want to do Melb Uni law and need some clarity on how to conquer the infamous LSAT.

But, first, just a reminder in case you didnít know just HOW BIG A DEAL the LSAT is...

For any of you guys who want to study law at Melbourne University (or overseas), you are going to have to do a brutal 3 hour and 20 minute test that basically tests how good (or bad) you are at thinking super-logically, reading super-dense material, and analysing super-complex arguments.

The reason this exam is such a big deal is not only because it is an admission ticket into the best post-graduate law degree in Australia (and 6th best in the world), but also because you could save over $100,000 by scoring well.

Your score on that exam, combined with your WAM, will determine whether you pay $150k for your law degree (full-fee), $120k (bursary), or $35k (CSP). While a graduate who decides to do commercial law could potentially stomach $100k+ debt (though with todayís job market, who knows), anyone who doesnít want to kill themselves in a corporate law firm WILL NEED TO GET A CSP, e.g. those who want to work in international civil law (like me), in criminal law, or maybe arenít sure what they would like to use a law degree for. You don't want to not be able to buy an apartment or house down the track because you're crippled with debt.

Now, a lot of students want to know what LSAT score they need to get a CSP. Iíve trawled through the internet and can tell you that the basic consensus is that there are three general brackets that candidates fall within:
- If you have an 80+ WAM, an LSAT score around 163ish will give you a very good chance.
- If you have a 75ish WAM, youíll need an LSAT score of 167+ at least.
- If you have a 70ish WAM, then you are in a very difficult position in terms of getting a CSP and will need a 170+ LSAT.

Also, recognise that a UniMelb undergrad degree will probably count a little more than degrees from less competitive unis. (It aint fair, but thatís the way it is).

And, remember that UniMelb law applications donít count your last semester. So, if you are currently studying and are planning to use your last semester to boost your WAM, you wonít have that privilege.

So, the key here is to identify what WAM you will most definitely have by the end of second year-second semester, and then to see what LSAT score you need.

So, anyway, here is how I went from 151 to 174...

Just to be clear, I am not an "Einstein". My WAM is nothing flash, nor I was particularly brilliant in high-school. Nor can I say hard-work is the reason I jumped 23 points. I actually worked harder for the two months leading up to my 151 than during the three months prior to my 174.

I did, however, do three things that I'm pretty sure hardly anyone else did. And I'm fairly certain, upon reflection, that these three things played a big part in my levelling up. Here they are below:

1. Study formal logic

The logical reasoning section accounts for half of you score on the exam. Itís also fairly hard to improve on, I found, unless you become really good at logical thinking. By logical thinking, I mean understanding that sentence preceding this sentence was actually a conditional statement with an antecedent and a consequent. If you are totally lost by what I am talking about, that is because you donít know how to reduce language and argument into its logical form and, thus, you are highly unlikely to score well on the LSAT.

For example, the argument (Jake will only go to the part if Tony does; Jake went to the party; therefore, Tony went to the party) is actually a really simple example of modus polens, which follows the argument structure of ďIf A, then B; A; therefore, BĒ.

Now, the above argument is pretty simple. However, on the LSAT you will get REALLY tricky versions of the above argument (and others) and you will have to be able to analyse them (break-them down, find flaws, etc) in around a minute per question (which is hardly any time). To avoid running out of time, and also to just be able to answer these really complex questions, you need to be able to distil complexity into simplicity. Turn chaos into order. Being able to reduce arguments to their basic logical form lets you do just that.

In terms of how to learn formal logic, reading Powerscoreís LR Bible is a really good place to start. But I highly recommend going beyond that and heading to the logic section of the Ballieu and borrowing a textbook on symbolic and categorical logic. I canít express how sharper and clearer thinker I became because of studying these textbooks (in fact, in my last sem at uni, I have seen my Arts essays jump to 85+, which I think is a direct consequence of learning logic).

2. Review, review, review

I cannot understate just how important reviewing is. In fact, I think how well you do on the LSAT is directly proportional to how well you review Ė not how many tests you do, or how long you study for, or even really how smart you are.

By review, I donít mean merely going over the answer choices you got wrong. I mean, for example in logical reasoning (LR), analysing ALL the questions you did, reducing them to formal logic (if possible), and formulating analogous arguments. Once I started going really deep on my review (it would take me 3+ hours to review a single LR section), my LR score went through the roof (from like -7 per LR to like -1).

Thereís also an art to reviewing the reading comprehension section which took me a long time to figure out. Once I figured out how to review it, I dropped far less marks. And also the logic games section MUST be reviewed by redoing every game you do until you can remember them in your sleep.

3. Become a nit-picky asshole

So, thereís a reason I didnít have many dates over the past few monthsÖ

Becoming good at the LSAT requires you to become a nit-picky asshole.

What I mean by this is that at its core the LSAT is testing you at your ability to not overlook small but important details. ALL of the harder questions on the LSAT, the questions that separate the low-160s from the high 160s) exploit the human tendency to make assumptions that arenít implied by the actual text. Basically, with such complex argument like seen in logical reasoning and such dense text as seen in reading comprehension, itís really easy to overlook a small detail and, in doing so, make an unwarranted assumption. In fact, the wrong answers will actually invite you to do so.

To become really good at never overlooking small details or forming unwarranted assumptions about an argument, it is not sufficient to just do prep-tests and review them. You need to become that person who really annoyingly picks others up for making small mistakes and constantly debates them, e.g. if someone says ďJake is crying because his cat diedĒ, you should try and get in the habit of automatically debating them (do this in in your thoughts or you will have no friends), e.g. ďwell you are assuming that if Jakeís cat dies, then he will cry. Youíre assuming a cause and effect relationship. Maybe Jakeís cat dying and Jake crying is just a coincidence and thereís a different reason why Jake is crying, e.g. his girlfriend dumped him.Ē

I found that ďthe debaterĒ mindset was something I had to consciously cultivate being the pretty laid-back guy I am. However, once I began to shift to that ďI am always arguingĒ attitude in which ďevery little detail mattersĒ, the LSAT became WAY easier.

One last considerationÖ

The LSAT is a VERY learnable test.

My story from 151 to 174 is paralleled by countless others. You can train yourself to become very good at the LSAT, even if you are super-smart.

However, becoming good at the LSAT requires more than just hard work. It requires you to study smart. Iím willing to concede that there might be a multitude of ways to get a high score, but Iím adamant that ALL the high-scorers do very well the three things I mentioned before while NONE of the low-scorers do.

Iíll also add that I think itís a wise idea to meet with someone in-person who has actually done really well on the LSAT and try and break down exactly what they did in a tutoring session or two. While you can figure it all out for yourself (like I did), it's a lot easier to just follow what someone else did. The benefit is you potentially avoid doing 2 months of low-quality study like I did before my 151 (in which I studied basically every day following this person's advice and ending up doing dismally).

So, if you're planning on doing the LSAT next year, donít hesitate to give me a text (0477 615 759) and we can organise a class. In the class we can go over everything I did and draw up a clear study plan for you to follow. ***Also, I have every single LSAT test and every single LSAT prep book imaginable which Iím happy to give you access to.

In any case, good luck with your LSAT journey!!! While itís stressful having $100k on the line, there are ways to significantly increase your chances and I hope some of my advice is one of them :)