Anna Wang

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Reading Comprehension Studying

After a go at a Reading Comprehension passage or two, you’ve come to realize that Reading Comprehension might not be a total breeze just because you know how to read. But then you hit your next mental block, which is the belief that studying for RC is pointless. How can a few months of studying change the way you read? You’ve been reading for hundreds of months—since you were a wee thing—and how you read now is just ingrained in you, right?

Be honest, how often do you regularly read something that is multiple paragraphs long while keeping track of multiple things at once? (The pictures in the BuzzFeed “articles” don’t count as paragraphs). With the reading for your classes, you’re either reading for the facts or for a general sense of what’s going on so you can raise your hand at least once a class (or every other class). And, you have as much time as you’re willing to spend to reread paragraphs to make sure you have the right idea.

RC is completely different from the reading you typically do, which means that how to do RC is actually not already ingrained in you. It’s a skill set that you can master with practice.

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Writing an Explanatory Essay That Passes the Eye Roll Test

You’ve taken the LSAT, crafted a killer personal statement, and secured your letters of recommendation. In theory, admissions committees have all the information they need to make a decision. But what if a first glance at that information would give them the wrong idea about your capabilities – say, if you had a mediocre GPA because of a really low GPA one semester, or if you had to take the LSAT multiple times?

Guess what, kids – you’re in luck, because rather than trying to weave in an explanation in your personal statement, you get a chance to put it all in the explanatory essay. An explanatory essay is like it sounds—you get a chance to provide an explanation for something problematic.

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How Useful Are LSAC Evaluations?

Five years ago, LSAC rolled out an evaluation service. Evaluations are like letters of recommendations—those who know you judge your personal capabilities based on what they have seen of you—but in quantified form. There are questions within categories such as intellectual skill and task management, and, for each question, evaluators must select from the same answer choices: Below Average (Bottom 50%), Average (Top 50%), Good (Top 25%), Very Good (Top 10%), Excellent (Top 5%), Truly Exceptional (Top 1–2%), and Inadequate Opportunity to Judge. Evaluators also had space in each category (up to 750 characters) to make comments.

Back then, three schools required evaluations: Albany Law School, University of Detroit Mercy, and University of Montana.

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Avoid These Bad Habits When Studying for the LSAT

You’ve gotten a handle on the strategies for the LSAT. Now all that’s left for you to do is practice them. What habits should you avoid getting into so you can be at peak preparedness come test day?

Unrealistic test conditions
Taking the actual test is a high-pressure event, so you want to replicate those conditions as closely as possible.

Studying in Complete Silence or in Noisy Conditions
While it may make things easier for you to study in complete silence, this is not what’s going to happen on test day. Your neighbor will be tapping her pencil, fiddling with her collar, and playing with her hair (how does she have so many hands?!). You will be distracted—if you let yourself. That’s why you need to practice at not being distracted when there are distractions.

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LSAT Got You Down? It Could Be Worse

The LSAT isn’t fun. Now, at Blueprint, we try to make the LSAT as enjoyable as possible – but at the end of the day, the LSAT is still a test that takes up half the day, matters a lot, and sometimes is less-than-fascinating.

But it could be – and was – worse! Lest you think I’m grossly exaggerating in the way your parents and/or grandparents do (“back in my day, I had to walk twenty miles through blinding blizzards – uphill, in my bare feet – to get to school”), the LSAT used to be a six-hour slog, with some seriously bizarre sections.

In this episode of Count Your Blessings, You Young Bucks #firstworldproblems, let’s go over some of the old sections that will make you grateful that you only have to deal with Logical Reasoning, Logic Games, and Reading Comprehension (and your writing sample, technically).

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How I Bombed My First LSAT

I’m going to talk about the first time I took the LSAT. Hoo boy – unlike Branden or Laura, I was, straight up, a hot mess.

Allow me to explain. I had decided a few months prior to go to law school and fulfill my destiny of becoming a hotshot lawyer. I had it all planned out: In order to become a hotshot lawyer, I had to get into a good law school, and in order to get into a good law school, I had to take the LSAT and do really, really, really well on it. I was going to take the late September LSAT, so I’d have plenty of time to work on my law school applications.

I self-studied, and had no idea what was going on. The LSAT was completely foreign to me. The first thing I did was a practice test, and I did terribly. I was twenty points away from a perfect score on the SAT when I took it at 15, so bombing this practice LSAT made me spend a lot of time googling, “Do people get dumber over time?” and “sugar brain deterioration.”

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Keep Calm and Study On

There are three weeks left until the LSAT. What’s the best plan of action?

A) Spend all your time studying, with breaks to go to the bathroom (two minutes max), sleep (two hours max), take showers (two a week max), and answer the door for the smoothie delivery guy (no solids—remember the bathroom rule).
B) Do practice tests, wonder why you’re not making as much progress as you should be, wail about how the world will be over to anyone who will listen, and pull a Chicken Little and send a series of tweets to LSAC demanding the LSAT be canceled, because there won’t be any test centers around anyway. #theendisnigh
C) Party, go to the beach, Netflix all day and night. You’ve already learned all you’re going to learn anyway. What will come will come. Who are you to fight fate?

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How Should Pre-Laws Spend Summer Vacation?

Summer’s just around the corner, which, for the prelaw, means that you have plenty of time to beef up your law school application. If you’re taking the LSAT, you’ll be spending some time studying for the LSAT, though not all your time studying for the LSAT (despite what you may have been led to believe, vitamin D insufficiency does not automatically add ten points to your LSAT score). And if you’ve already taken the LSAT, you need to figure out what to do for the summer. Should you get a part-time gig at a law office, or should you do something unrelated to the law, so you can show admissions offices that you have outside interests?

For the most part, law school admissions is based on three components: your GPA, your LSAT score, and the “character and individuality” factor.

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The Eternal Debate: Should Law School Be Two Years?

Every year or so, a major news outlet publishes an op-ed calling for the abolishment of the third year of law school. Having gone through law school, I can say that there’s some validity to that argument.

Allow me to explain using the following well-worn adage: In 1L, you’ll get scared to death; in 2L, you’ll get worked to death; and in 3L, you’ll get bored to death.

1L: Scared to Death
1L is really not that bad. But. You’ll still be terrified out of your beautiful mind some of the time.

The law is completely new to you, so there’s that learning curve. Then, you have the actual curve, which is unforgiving and will be spoken of by your classmates as if it’s an actual horror-film entity.

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What To Do When You Backslide

While preparing for the LSAT, you may find that you’ve suddenly mastered a section of the test that you’d been having problems with, resulting in a rapid score increase in a very short period of time. This is wonderful, and will confirm many things you suspected were true: you are a genius, you are as charismatic as Chris Pratt, and you are destined to clerk for and become BFFs with the Notorious RBG.

And then you might find that, after a week of riding high, you’re getting answers wrong in the section you thought you’d conquered and your score backslides. This will make you question many things: Were you really switched at birth with a better, LSAT wizard of a baby? Is the Earth actually flat?  And just how notorious is RBG anyway?