Thursday, August 30, 2007

Me versus the LSAT

So, I'm going to take the LSAT at the end of September. Of course, the end of August signals the arrival of the official "freak out" time. Yes, it is still four weeks away. However, there is something about a test that requires an officially acquired fingerprint on the registration card that ignites one's nerves rather early on.

What do you do? Buy as many overpriced instruction manuals from Borders as you possibly can. Make sure they include attention grabbing validations of their content, like they are published by "The Princeton Review", they include at least one CD ROM for good measure, and they assure you that you will "crack the test" after synthesizing their strategies.

Basically, the LSAT includes three main parts. One is a writing sample, so you can't do much about that ahead of time--only the pricey LSAT prep course could assure you of writing sample success. The other two sections that are left are: argument analysis and logic puzzles.

I figured since argument analysis will be a little more section by section, I would leave that off and take it in chunks. The logic puzzles, on the other hand, are patterned very much the same way, so mastering them first assures you of a good score on two sections of the test even before you go into the arguments. That mastery always provides the much needed confidence boost going into something as complicated as the arguments section, so I figured I would take them on first.

The logic puzzles give you a set of items or people and then a set of conditions based on the situation they are placed in. For example, the premise may be: a restaurant features a different entree every evening, starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday. Then, you get a list of entrees and a set of conditions: each entree is featured exacctly once, the veal gets served on Monday, the spaghetti is served the day after the lamb, etc. After that, you have to answer five or six multiple choice questions based on the puzzle.

The first one is always the same: Which of the following is an acceptable order for these items based on the premise and conditions? The easiest puzzles always are the ones that have a specific event or item at a certain time or place in the puzzle. For example, if we use the restaurant premise, one of the conditions could be "the veal is always served on Mondays". At least then you have something to go on. Other puzzles just give you "if "this", then "this"" conditions. Then, if you bother to diagram the stupid thing, there is nothing to diagram.

I worked on this in the local library today, and after about six sets of these questions, I was ready to fall alseep. The LSAT people should let people go if they manage to get a whole set associated with the same puzzle right. Regardless, the sheer repitition will bore people, perhaps to death. Maybe that's why they fingerprint you ahead of time. They can put your registration certificate on top of your body bag and they can identify who you are no matter what state you choose to test in.


anonymous jones said...

Bloody hell, that sounds complicated.
I made chocolate crackles today!

captain corky said...

Good luck with the test! Something tells me you wont need it though.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It all sounds hyper scary. The procedure seems trickier than the test.

M@ said...

I know what you mean about those preparation manuals and had carried one or two in my "briefcase" to work for the past year. I don't know. It sounds like such a pain the ass, though. Maybe I can become a professional blogger instead.

Kat said...

Ugh...I only had to take the GRE, and that sucked. Sending much empathy your wa--with the knowledge you'll do just wonderful. Make sure you reward yourself once it's all said and done.

ellesappelle said...

Sheesh, that sounds terrible. Good luck on the exam! It's interesting to hear about what it actually is as I've only ever heard about it before off Legally Blonde :)

booda baby said...

hahahahaha (and I really mean it!) It is obvious to me NOW that the LSAT tests nothing that's really valuable.

Neel Mehta said...

Took the LSAT when it was all multiple guess/choice, so this is new to me.

Writing sample: if it's a legal argument you're writing, then they'll want the IRAC format that proves so popular in law school and the bar exam: Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion. For example...

Legal Writing

Generally, graders prefer legal writing to be boring and familiar. Here, I've stated the ISSUE as a heading, and placed the RULE as the first sentence in the paragraph. I have also clearly denoted the APPLICATION of this rule by preceding it with the word "here," and will complete my argument with a final sentence that serves as a CONCLUSION. Therefore, I think I can play this stupid game, bitches.

Unfortunately, this meta-example is way more interesting than the real thing.

My e-mail address is on my page, in case you want to talk about the LSAT and law school.

"Angeldust" said...

"If" YOU don't pass the writing sample, and the other two sections of argument analysis and logic puzzles 'will burn to joint down!!!

I have all the confidence in the world that you could be administering the test without a blink.


So, you take a good breath and leave the fretting to the mindless, illiterate crowd that occupies needed space.

In the event that a negative result should fall upon you (!?) - it will not be a reflection of your abilities but that of a system that does not recognize its brightest - as it is all possible in our wonderful world...

Big hug
In your case luck will have nothing to d with it.